Larry Chiang – Author and CEO of Duck9

Larry Chiang believes that engineers should not let engineers graduate without street smarts.

He studied engineering and now mentors undergrads at Stanford. He helps Stanford CS majors host parties at SXSW, gets undergrads to sell print advertising to tech bloggers and helped StartX connect up with tech blogs to mentors undergrad engineers.

He is CEO of Duck9. He executes what he preaches by hosting a Final Four AfterParty, producing a Sundance Film AfterParty and getting a law passed for $217 dollars called the Credit Card, CARD Act.  Larry also has published works on TechCrunch, GigaOm, VentureBeat, AlwaysOne, Xconomy. He edits the BusinessWeek channel, What They Don’t Teach You at Business School.

What are you working on right now?

I work, work-out and write.

What does your typical day look like?

6:45 – 3pm I work on maintaining.

3 – 6 I work out then eat.

6-11:11pm I go cause trouble and disrupt stuff.

11:11pm +/- 15 min I host office hours via the phone.

3 trends that excite you?

I start trends. Discovering trends is tough… (letting the universe tell you there’s a problem that you need to solve is easier).

I started the ReverseVC pitch, CSmajorCEO and Asse9.

There is a trend where VCs pitch us the entrepreneur. I started that at Stanford’s b-school. I charged VCs $95 to come to a free, no guest-list party. 13 VCs paid and I tied a balloon around their wrist. Fast forward 2 years later, over 60 tier one VCs have paid me to pitch.

CSmajorCEO is my belief that learning CEO skills as a CS major is easier that teaching CS skills to a CEO. I teach a class on this and guest lecture at the two best CS schools in the country: MIT and University of Illinois. And Stanford 🙂 But only because I live in a dorm room and classroom are one Margueritte shuttle ride away.

I started Asse9. I think its asinine if you don’t own 100% of your own business. I think you are dumb if you prematurely sell equity to venture capitalists. I think its incredibly blind if you don’t think that everyone in this economy isn’t at least partially entrepreneurial. Remember, stock never gets sold. It gets bought.

I fix broke stuff. That is why I started Duck9. Before Duck9, people never got ‘Deep Underground Credit Knowledge” and were just in the dark about their credit card credit FICO score. Now people can duck 9’s. 9s are charge-offs. Charge-offs are bad loans that the bank gives up hope of ever collecting.

What is one book recommend we read, and why?

What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?