The Seven Best Places to Close a Deal in Silicon Valley


I like studying what works and what doesn’t. I focus more of my time on the former, but often learn more from the latter. I compile tactical, earthy techniques from my mentors’ books and sprinkle in a bit of technology. Think of my maneuvers as real-world Google Analytics, but with a focus on extrapolating future conditions and outlining countermeasure options for when the shitake hits the fan.

With that introduction…Here is my list of the seven best places to close a deal in Silicon Valley. It’s meant to give you a home-field advantage even when you’re on the road. It’s street smart to have an array of spots to close deals; here is a window into mine.

1) Menlo Park Starbucks

Meetings that happen in the office on Sand Hill road are official. Official meetings suck.

They suck because

a) You are in a bullpen office designated solely for meeting with entrepreneurs where the “no” rate is 90+ percent
b) They are scheduled back-to-back-to-back
c) Before you go to an office the size of my dog’s crate, you have to hang in the holding zone of the receptionist’s area
d) It feels corporate.

As my military strategist mentor taught me…where you fight matters. I say meet off-site. Away from the offices.

Taking a meeting at the Menlo Park Starbucks says, “If my venture fund won’t fund your startup, I might cut you a check from my personal account.”

2) The AlwaysOn Venture Summit

VCs love to look like they have lots of meetings lined up. It’s like they think that having more meetings translates into a direct return for their LPs.

It is most important for a VC to look busy when they are at a conference. They want to impress the other VCs with whom they might syndicate their next deal (or slide into the back-half of a tech deal they have no clue on, but appears hot and sought after). The best place to do this is at a venture conference and AlwaysOn is hosting one this week (December 13-15).

3) Fraiche Yogurt vs. Palo Alto Starbucks

Starbucks on University Ave is where VCs go for filler meetings before or after the two-and-a-quarter hour lunch at Evvia (see tip #5). This place is drenched in failure. A quarter of its customers are out of work and trolling LinkedIn, and a quarter of them are … Next Page »

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Larry Chiang is CEO of Duck9 and teaches Engineering 145 as a Stanford Entrepreneur in Residence. He has a fund called "Larry Chiang Stanford G51 Fund of Stanford Founders." Follow @

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One response to “The Seven Best Places to Close a Deal in Silicon Valley”

  1. I hope this article is satire. Manipulation is not a good start to a relationship. Better to look for a place that is convenient, comfortable, and that will encourage both sides to let their guard down and listen without haste.