Mark Zuckerberg

2 Chainz and Wale Meet the ‘Cupid of Silicon Valley’ aka ‘Shorty’ ;-)

My 2 Chainz Most Expensivest episode is finally here! 2 Chainz has his own thoughts about the service, aiming a suggestion at the viewers who might be on the lookout:

“If you ugly and got low self esteem, you better get you some money. There ain’t no ugly billionaires. Billionaires is cute […] Get yourself some money and for the low price of half a million dollars, you too can buy yourself a wife.”    

Love how Chainz called me ‘Shorty’- I think my business card needs a new title! And yes Wale, I think there needs to be an HBO special about this too!

 

Style in Silicon Valley …

Linx is featured in Business Insider today: Silicon Valley’s Top Matchmaker Tells Us What Techies Should Wear On A Date by Madeline Stone.

Silicon Valley professionals get a bad rap for being uncreative when it comes to personal style. The common stereotype is that engineers live in hoodies, jeans, and flip flops, while venture capitalists constantly rock fleece vests and v-neck sweaters.

Menlo Park-based matchmaker Amy Andersen has seen her fair share of young professionals sporting these uniforms. She founded Linx Dating in 2000 when she saw that a surprising number of professionals were having trouble navigating the Silicon Valley dating scene. Since then, she’s coached a wide network of people in the tech, financial, and health care industries to better position themselves for success in dating.startups-ep2-silicon-valley-map-652x300

Andersen shared her take on style in Silicon Valley as well as some tips for what young professionals should be wearing to impress their dates.

Q: Business Insider: Do you think there’s a Silicon Valley dress code?

A: Amy Andersen: There is a definite Silicon Valley aesthetic and culture. The mentality is you want to fit in here and you don’t want to stand out. Employees want to blend into their company culture. I have heard stories about people taking jobs at Facebook, as an example and, before the job started, dying her hair to be a mousy brunette so as not to stand out too much as a platinum blonde. theinternship02

With the kinds of perks that Google or Facebook or Palantir, for example, offer to employees, it is easy to see why an employee on the margin might stay at work rather than venture out and would certainly not focus on fashion. The goal is to work and stay on the company campus, while having some fun too. If you think about it, the culture at these companies for 20- and even early 30-somethings is not unlike the dorm experience at a top university — project teams bond over what they do all day. It’s more about living to work than it is about working to live, and so you do everything together. The movie “The Internship” might have been fiction and was probably a bit exaggerated but it was pretty much on target.

In Silicon Valley, in the fields of tech and engineering, there’s no focus on outward appearance unless you have a client-facing role, like in leadership or sales. In that case, you are expected to be polished and dress the part.

Expression outside of the campus environment is totally different — techies and those in those circles express themselves through a variety of ways to their inner sanctum of friends. This could be through the new Italian wheels in their garage at home, artwork displayed on their walls, recently purchased memberships at private social clubs like The Battery in San Francisco, or epic new multimillion dollar pied-a-terres in San Francisco. 2ade3ba83f46ef67_Justin-Timberlake

BI: Is the clichéd hoodie a reality in the tech community?

AA: For many, hoodies are a way of life in the tech community, as fleece vests are a way of life in the venture capital and hedge fund community. I see a ton of guys (and girls) walking around town in their respective company hoodies. Let’s not just focus on hoodies though! Tons of guys wear frog feet shoes “5 finger footwear.” They say it is good for posture. I think they’re completely hideous and a huge fashion offense! blog+-day2+063

The Adidas black and white sneakers are very popular, and backpacks are a way of life here as well. The ironic thing is most all of the major fashion houses for women are using backpacks for Spring 2014 as part of their look for women — not a Jansport backpack but more Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Chloe. gerard-butler-adidas-originals-samba-vulc-ii-white-black-wheat This pic of Gerard Butler shows off his Adidas kicks but actually is a good example of the type of cute long sleeve shirt and cargo pants that look great on guys for casual day sorts of dates or a super chill/lax pm date (i.e., if you are seeing a flick, dive bar drinks….that sort of environment).

BI: How often are wardrobe consultations part of your coaching?

AA: A few times a month. Some clients hire me to do this for them and other times I match the client to the right stylist according to their budget and personality. I have a roster of great stylists for every type of person that contacts me.

BI: What kinds of things do you tell your clients as far as dressing better?

AA: First impressions are so important. If you are coming from work, do what it takes to put your best foot forward and freshen up. No one likes a sweaty, frazzled date! Women will often put a lot of time and thought into their first date outfit. It is not uncommon for her to get a manicure, maybe even buy a new dress. A woman doesn’t need a guy to look impeccable, but she does want him to look presentable … “Nice” could be a pressed dress shirt and nice pair of dark denim, brown belt, nice brown loafers or dress shirt and pair of Banana Republic khakis. This is not hard to achieve and will send a signal that a man is taking the early stages of dating seriously.

BI: What should guys wear out on a date?

AA: This is all situational and depends on the context of the date. It also depends on the person largely. If going for sushi and cocktails, throw on dark denim, a cool t-shirt, and unstructured blazer for a little bit of an edgy look. If you are reading this and saying, “Huh?” then do dark denim and a Rag & Bone basic long-sleeve t-shirt with the right shoes. That is definitely more Silicon Valley code for casual, yet on the right guy and body could look totally hot. If it’s a more dressy date, I would suggest a nice pair of slacks and dress shirt or fantastic blazer paired with dark denim, gorgeous loafers (or drivers), and a dress shirt with cuff links. Totally polished, put together, and making a stand-out impression.

BI: What should women be wearing out on a date?

AA:
Like advice I would give to men, let’s start with being confident. Once you are there, rock it out and have fun with your clothing. What men tell me they find appealing is a woman who is confident and sexy in her own skin.

At Linx I get a lot of demands for a woman who is classic, ladylike, stylish, not trying too hard, not showing too much skin, but perfectly presentable. For better or for worse, men are impossibly visual creatures. A universal message is that men like a woman who accentuates her figure.OL Olivia Palermo and fashion stylist, event designer, and style writer, Lucas Somoza

What does that mean from a style perspective? Think more Olivia Palermo than Pamela Anderson. For a casual to more dressy date, do a pair of skinny pants, a great silk tank style top, an edgy leather jacket (so hot for Spring 2014), the right costume jewelry, and some nude pumps. If it’s a fancy sort of restaurant and you want to seal the deal, do a body hugging Herve Leger bandage dress paired with a great blazer, hair in a loose bun atop the head or at the nape of the neck, and statement heels.

BI: Why is style important to dating more effectively?

AA: I would say style and first impressions are important considering people generally make up their mind in the first 60 seconds if they are interested in getting to know you better romantically or not. Why not do everything you can to substantially increase your odds of success from the start?

Linx on ABC News Nightline!

We have been so completely inundated with matchmaking requests since Nightline aired nearly two weeks ago, that we are just now placing this entry up! It was so exciting getting to see the final product of our nearly 1.5 years in the making of this feature story.

Our featured song for this entry is Peter Gabriel’s Big Time. 

With only about 7 minutes of total airtime, a lot of great footage of other clients having participated never made it to the final cut. We had three other client stories and my actual interview with Bill Weir was 45 minutes! Such exciting stuff for our little business out of quiet Menlo Park, CA!

By KINGA JANIK

July 10, 2012

 On paper, Sundar Iyer seems like quite a catch.

He has a doctorate in computer science from Stanford. His second company sold when he was just 28 years old. His interests include ballroom dancing, standup comedy and recreational math.

So the ladies of Northern California must be lining up around the block to swoon over his intellect, dream about having children with him and splitting up the stock, right? But Iyer says not so much.

“I‘ve tried Match.com, I’ve tried eHarmony,” he said. “It’s hard to find people you can really relate to.”

And there’s others like Iyer. Silicon Valley may be the most recession-proof corner of the country, packed with brainiac billionaires, but the Revenge of the Nerds won’t truly be complete until these guys can find love.

And that is where self-made matchmaker Amy Andersen comes in.

I think when people initially visualize that Silicon Valley guy, they’re really picturing these mini Bill Gateses running around with coke bottle glasses and maybe pocket protectors, just totally clueless around women, and there is definitely some of those, let’s be honest here,” she said.

About a dozen years ago, Andersen said she realized that the dotcom boom in Silicon Valley created a lot of very successful and very lonely men. Meanwhile, nearby San Francisco was crawling with smart, attractive and single women. So Andersen launched Linx Dating in 2003 to bring the two groups together.

I find a lot of the guys in Silicon Valley can be so exceptional on paper. These guys have been absolutely rock stars in their academic careers. Professionally, they’ve sold companies. They are just going incredible places. And when they come into my office, I often see this deep insecurity, especially in landing or trying to pick up and attract a beautiful woman. It’s very hard for them,” she said.

Andersen started out beta-testing her idea on her friends and researching dating advice. Almost a decade later, Linx Dating has grown into a prosperous business with more than 1,000 paying clients, according to the company’s website.

But Andersen’s services don’t come cheap. Packages start out around $1,000 and go up to the VIP level with a hefty price tag of $50,000, which includes wardrobe consultations and date coaching, Andersen said.

For instance, he might show up for a first date in a really shiny sports car. And that’s really great and all, but the wrong woman is going to end up with him for the wrong reasons. My advice for these guys, and it’s happened so many times, is to rent a car. Borrow your buddy’s Prius or Honda. And if you’re with the right woman, she will be with you for the right reasons, and not the wrong ones,” she said.

For his part Iyer says he signed up with Linx not for coaching, but for introductions to women he might not otherwise meet in the male-centric Valley.

When Andersen meets with clients, she has them fill out a vast and deeply personal questionnaire, which includes such questions as “rate your physical appearance on a scale of 1 to 10. She then works to build their confidence and match them up on dates.

I think a lot of the Silicon Valley-based guys who are so incredibly successful and cerebral tend to be very analytical. They can be very preprogrammed and robotic in the motions that they carry on through life. It’s their mind that has led them to be so successful. Now the issue at stake is that that analytical mentality doesn’t exactly compute over to the dating world where emotion and feeling and that emotional intelligence is really important,” Andersen said.

Andersen said her method works better than Match.com or eHarmony — websites that use computer algorithms to match people’s profiles — because she can help her clients get over their anxieties and teach them how to present themselves on dates.

A computer can’t whisper into your ear and say here’s a little history into your match, and this is what you should wear. These are points to talk about. Avoid this,” she said. “It’s really that very personalized approach that makes this incredibly unique, and that no algorithm could do, no computer, no geeky piece of technology or iPhone app could figure out.”

Perhaps she is right. Maybe, even in Silicon Valley, love is tech-proof.