Stanford in the Alley: Negotiation and How You’re Already an Expert at It


There’s a lot of talk about Silicon Valley vs Silicon Alley. Let’s be honest: New York startups head west for the Silicon Valley investors. Silicon Valley companies open offices here for the access to the wealth of established industries that only New York offers. As for the rivalry: enough already, although one thing that the Valley does have that the Alley doesn’t is Stanford University. In a new spirit of collaboration, AlleyWatch is bringing Stanford East, with a series of videos from classes taught at the esteemed university.

“You’re never going to find a class on how to negotiate when you absolutely have to have the deal,” say Joel Peterson, a professor at Stanford who’s been negotiating for decades with $10 billion worth of deals under his belt. That’s not how the world works, and sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win the war.

So first, what is negotiation? Peterson defines it as “getting what you want at a price that’s acceptable to you.”

In reality, everyone is an expert negotiator. Many parts of life require it, such as being in a marriage, and it’s how you got where you are today.

But what goes into a successful business negotiation? Peterson goes over the key parts to negotiation by discussing seven situations from his experience to illustrate these points.

Remember, “one good mindset to have is that negotiation is just a conversation.” We all talk every day and make agreements. Be yourself, be likable, mean what you say and you’re in for the win-win.

“This is how I’ve made a marriage work for 35 years,” he said. If you can be a better negotiator, other parts of your life will improve, too. “Negotiation will be something that gives you life.”

About the author: Vanessa Trawicky

A recent graduate from the University of Georgia with a major in linguistics and a minor in German, Vanessa Trawicky is currently interning as an English teaching assistant in Germany and as a copyeditor with AlleyWatch.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, biking, cooking, studying languages and always learning something new on Coursera.

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