Looking for more details on how this process works? Check out 500 Details: The Process of Mentoring Startups
I’m figuring out how to mentor people and companies as I go. Over the past 4 years I have met with literally thousands of founders, wantrepreneurs, operators, dreamers, doers, social media “gurus” and other people who make up the rich fabric of our tech ecosystem. This means I’ve seen a lot of patterns, and I’ve also worked in businesses ranging from just me to Fortune 500, and on a startup in the consumer space that failed to gain traction but was acquired by Groupon, and my current startup which has traction and is disrupting telecommunications in the face of 100 years of tradition.
Exploring Your Ideas
I’m unlikely to get bored by your startup idea, if anything I’m likely to sell you even harder on why you should do it. I don’t believe in wasting people’s time, and I mentor intensely for short periods of time (and longer ones if I’m obsessed with your product).
I’ll let you know if the way you’ve explained your idea is confusing. A lot of times its about up-leveling the messaging, or reframing it depending on who you’re talking to. Investors, your potential cofounder, your first employee… they all need to hear the same core things but expressed in different ways.
Talking About Money
I love marketplaces, I love thinking through deals and distribution, I’m excited by un-sexy problems like supply chain and managing inventory and I have experience in both. I can walk you through a market-sizing exercise, help you think through whether bootstrapping or raising angel money is a better fit with your plans, or explore the different scenarios for determining the acceptable cost of acquisition for your customers.
I like being tactical and hands-on, I like talking about the details of executing your business. Think of me as your 20-minute Chief Operating Officer.
What I Can Promise
I’ll tell you the truth and ask you the questions that might make you question everything… but you won’t have to burn yourself to learn those things. I could save you months, maybe years. I’ll say what I think even when it makes us both uncomfortable, and I’ll keep trying to tell you until you understand even if you are one of the most stubborn people on the planet. I’ll do it with firm kindness, but if your baby is ugly I’ll let you know.
I’m not saying I have all the answers, but my mind is on, my eyes are open, and I’m on your side. Let’s get a coffee and chat!