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Day 38 – Challenge a CEO to a Staring Contest

After walking into three businesses to get a job in one day, I started wondering what would it take to get the CEO to talk to a stranger like myself who shows up unannounced. I’m sure she wouldn’t come out if I tried to sell something, offer a deal or look for a job. Then, what about I come in and ask something completely outrageous, fun and harmless? Would that do the trick then? Thanks to the idea from the Cullen family from Michigan, I went into Bloomfire, an online collaboration software company in Austin and challenged the CEO for a staring contest.

The CEO still wouldn’t come out. However, the VP of Marketing, Heidi did. She was sports enough to accept my challenge and subsequently beat me. Although I didn’t get what I ultimately requested, Bloomfire made me happy by providing an alternative which probably was the better results anyway, since Heidi was very fun to talk to. Had Heidi not come out or accepted my request on behalf of the CEO, I would have left feeling a little disappointed, although I was looking to get rejected. It wasn’t fair/unfair, just human nature.

Learning: In the day when I was trying to exchange training with a trainer, I explained how to give a perfect rejection. I want to add one more – if there is no way to get a ‘yes’ to the original request, provide an alternative. For example, when you are in customer support, give a $10 credit to the angry customer. Remember, retaining an existing customer is 8 times cheaper than acquiring a new one. Over a period of time, $10 is a very small price to pay. Moreover, making an existing customer happy and appreciative is the central part of word of mouth marketing.


  • Jack C.

    Jia, We continue to love your posts/videos/comments.

    Where is the entry/post for Day 37? Did we somehow miss it? The posts jump from Day 36 to Day 38. Thank you.

    • Jia

      Jack, thank you for your interest. On Day 37, I made a request which honestly wasn’t one I liked, because it wasn’t realistic. It broke my own criteria of “the rejection should be based on craziness of the request, instead of physics”. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-eAW-eL74k. I didn’t get any learning from it and just want to do better in the future.

      • Jack C


        Thanks for your response to my comment re Day 37 seemed to be missing. We have now watched it and, although it’s a bit lame, it’s still part of your efforts and experiences.

        Has your daily/near daily email of new therapies been down/not working? We have not been receiving them, either at all or not at timely (ie, several days late).

        We also determined, late yesterday, that via facebook we can find all of your posts, and we can see them sooner (than the email notices). In fb we can see each new post much sooner, although fb does not show your wise and funny comments the way the daily email notices do/did. We like/prefer the daily (or near daily) notices via email, as your comments and lessons learned are in the email, and the email has a direct link to your web page.

        We’re not complaining, love your videos and posts and comments; just want to make you aware of the recent deterioration with the emails. Our use of fb is not preferred, but we’ll use it to keep current with you and your goings on.

        Thank you, and keep up the excellent work with all of this!i

        • Jia

          Jack, thanks for the comments. The blog is a few days behind the videos, and I apologize for the delay. It is mainly due to time-constraint. I am constantly raising my standard of writing to bring more insights to myself and my readers. However, it is also becoming very time-consuming. Combining blogging, filming, preparation and editing, it takes time to manage the process. Since I have a business to run and a family to raise, it is becoming increasingly difficult.

          However, I am trying to get some help with this process, so this type of delay doesn’t happen too often, and you will be able to get the most up-to-date videos as well as my fresh thoughts through my blog.

          Thanks for your understanding and continued support.

  • rojopaul

    Heidi is a great sport! I was totally cracking up when you two were intensely staring each other down. ha

  • Bloomfire, inc.

    I could not believe my ears when Jia asked to have a staring contest with our CEO. I had him repeat the request to ensure I heard him right the first time. In any case, I thought that was an interesting request that deserves some attention. Heidi, our VP of Marketing, was gracious enough to accept the challenge and determined to win. WTO

    • Jia

      Heidi was beyond awesome. Any company would be lucky to have such a cool woman handling marketing.

  • wordcoaster

    Aw, I was wishing you would request that if you beat Heidi you would then be allowed to challenge the CEO (the final boss 😉 ) Still, one of your most entertaining videos–that staring contest was INTENSE! So funny!