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PAUL BOUTIN — Unless you pull a YouTube in the next six months, you won't get asked to Sun Valley by July. Instead, aim for Mike Arrington's next Atherton bash. Follow our 3-step plan and stick to your story: Valleywag? I've never heard of it.

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[photo by Scott Beale, Laughing Squid]

Tech people proclaim Silicon Valley is a meritocracy, but you can't get your merit assessed by those who've never met you. Getting into VIP mixers is a fast track to having your business plan read, your resume floated, your lunch calendar booked solid. That's why "How do I get into the next TechCrunch?" is a top SVUG request.

Full disclosure: We tracked Mike down and asked him. He left us to figure it out for ourselves. We reverse-engineered not one, but three access channels to TechCrunch, GigaOm and other permanent floating riot clubs.

  • Buy some ads. You can't buy press coverage. But big advertisers get asked to the parties they've paid for. The sponsor thank-you events are boring — great quarter, Josh! — but you can use them to meet players who'll invite you to the real shmoozefests.
  • Spill some info. Journalists and analysts can be bribed. Not with cash or goods, but with information. Feed them tips. Serve as a background expert. Build out a blog they can plunder. You know stuff Mike doesn't, right? Out with it!
  • Throw your own party. Remember First Tuesday? People who throw good parties get invited to good parties.

Once you're in, what do you do? Easy:

  • Put on a jacket. You can always take it off.
  • Bring a hot friend. Trust us, it's like fly fishing for moguls.
  • Stop talking! Unless you're Jason Calacanis, it's boring as hell. Power players hate people who spout big ideas all night. The funding goes to those who exude quiet I-can-execute confidence.

One personal tip: Don't try to "+1" your pals onto your invitation. The host wants you, not that guy who follows you around. Hey Mike, I know this guy who writes for Valleywag, can he come too? Bad move.