Make friends with door openers, both literal and figurative. Someone doesn’t need to be rich, famous or good looking to be important to your success. The door man at the club is a great example of a guy with a minimum wage job that can do a lot for you. Know and greet them by first name. There is nothing like the impression given when you rock up to the hottest club in town with a date and the doorman greets you by name and asks if you would like your usual table.
Don’t get me wrong, you should always be nice but some people you should really go out of your way to make friends with. Besides the door man, some other good examples are bartenders, managers of any place you like to frequent, police (sometimes that just isn’t possible), mafia guys (with great caution), taxi drivers and the guy that gets you your apartment. For some reason Charlie and I have found that the guy that rents you a short term apartment is often the “guy who knows a guy”. To put it another way, he’s often the guy that can get shit for you; drugs, reservations, advice, you name it.
You should understand that in most countries in the world tipping is not like it is in the US. People don’t expect 15% – 20% just for showing up at work with a pulse. A well placed tip is really appreciated in most other places in the world. You have to be careful about how you do it though because we westerners are also often view as arrogant rich fucks with more money than brains. The proper way to leave a large tip is to strike up a conversation with the person you intend to tip, learn their name, maybe ask for something a bit out of the ordinary but that you are sure they can easily deliver or simply ask them for some advice. As you are leaving thank by name, give them a genuine smile, thank them for whatever it was they did that was above and beyond the call of duty and leave them a decent tip. This person will be on your team for the rest of your life 9 times out of 10.
Let me give you an example of the large tip at work… recently Charlie and I were drinking in a bar in Sozapol, Bulgaria and boy were we drinking and buying all kinds of drinks for others. We drank almost from sun down to sun up. When the bill came it was only 21 EUR. Bulgaria is cheap, but it isn’t that cheap. We’re pretty sure this might have something to do with the 10 EUR tip we gave to the bar tender the night before. Sometimes the big tip really pays off in spades.
In a nutshell what you want to do is go out of your way to identify and make friends with the people that can do things for you. You should always be nice but make sure you give extra special treatment to door openers.