Mentorship

Over the past couple of years that I’ve worked with TNW, I’ve been humbled and blessed to be asked by a number of startups to mentor them, or to be an adviser, in some official capacity. I’ve always turned them down, graciously, because my primary job was that of a writer on a publication that could very well write about them, and that’s a line that I didn’t want to cross.

The fact is, I have zero doubt that I can be objective, but it’s the outward appearance that matters. In my day-to-day role I had next to no editorial oversight placed upon me because I was the editorial oversight. People knew that fact, and I didn’t want to have any potential conflicts of interest.

But my job has now changed. I’m doing business development, and I’m back into a world where I’ve cultivated a long, somewhat-distinguished career. I have zero input as to what should or shouldn’t be written on TNW anymore. That’s the job of Matthew Panzarino, as well as some others. In fact, I now have editorial oversight placed upon me, and I have full faith in Matthew’s ability and willingness to tell me no.

The first thing that popped into my head when I switched jobs was “oh crap, I hope I don’t screw this up.” But the second thing was “maybe I should be more open to mentorship requests now.”

So I did what I do when I have questions about what the right thing is – I turned to Micah, who I consider as one of my own mentors, even though there’s nothing on paper saying that. His response?

“I say go for it. You will be very helpful to entrepreneurs.”

Done deal. As of today I’m opening up the floodgates (or at least the dripping faucet) to those of you who feel like I could help you. I’ve seen thousands of companies. I’ve seen what makes them successful and I’ve seen what makes them fail. I don’t claim to know everything about startups, but I’ve done a couple myself with varying degrees of success. That said, here are the areas in which I can offer guidance:

There’s probably some other stuff that I’d be OK at doing too, but these are the areas in which I’m immediately confident that I can help people. David Tisch, a guy that I respect a lot, once told me something pretty smart - “If you want to be a mentor, just be one.” I think that’s a good rule under which I will feel comfortable working.

It should also be known that I’m not looking to profit by doing this. At some point I may agree to a small stake in return for my assistance, but the time isn’t right for that yet. I have to prove myself first. Rest assured, if that day comes, I’ll be quite public about that transition.

I’ll do as much as I can, in the time that I have, to help you to be successful. I’ll expect you to understand that I have to keep my family fed, so my work with TNW has to be priority #1. I’m also going to be highly selective about the companies with which I work, because I only want to be involved with the ones that I feel I can help the most. So if you’re interested, drop me a line and let’s chat.

 
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