Category: Mentors

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” – Woodrow Wilson

Entrepreneurs need advisors.  In the world of accelerator programs, we call them mentors.

You don’t know everything and you need critical feedback.  Find people who are good at things you are not, like finance or sales; whatever it is.

Find people who will tell you the truth; people who will help you confront the brutal facts.

Find people who know other people.  You may need an engineer or programmer or venture capitalist.

Meet with them regularly and share your progress.  Listen carefully.  Buy their lunch.


“[Advice] is me talking to a previous version of myself” – Austin Kleon

I had a conversation with a good friend a few days ago.  We have a mutual acquaintance who has been very successful in his business, his family and his spiritual life.  My friend told me how he meets with this guy once a year with a long list of life, business and personal questions.

We all need mentors.  They point out things we miss.  They share things about themselves they might have done differently.

Seek out someone who has been where you want to go.  Buy them dinner and go with a long list of questions.  Develop this relationship so you can go back in 6 months, or a year or a few weeks.  All you are asking for is their story and their life lessons.  If they choose to share their network or give you more time, that is up to them.  The advice is worth the price of dinner.

Read “Steal Like and Artist” by Austin Kleon


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosbey


It’s interesting how often people predict the doom of Apple because of the iPhone.  Every version had quirks and bugs and yet we are on the 6th (?) version and Apple continues to set the standard.

Startups have plenty of “advisors” and critics.  The community is being overrun now with entrepreneurial service providers, accelerators, mentoring programs and the like.  Angels groups are growing and now we have crowd funding for investors.  All of these interests have their value in helping to shape entrepreneurs for success.

But there’s really only one measure…

Are your customers buying your product?

If the advice you’re getting does not point you to that, then it’s bad advice and a likely key to failure.

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” – Segal’s Law

You can overanalyze.  And you can get too much advice.

Mentors are essential but pick them carefully. You need to think about covering your weaknesses but relationship is important too.

Look for a mentor who has the experience you need and will tell you straight.  Experience meaning success AND failure.

When you get conflicting advice, it’s tough but the decision is still yours to make.

“Don’t complain about the things no one taught you. Go learn for yourself!” – Karl Hughes

No one owes you an education.  It’s YOUR responsibility. And you can’t get it all from the university.  They will give you frameworks and ideas but you have to figure it out.  A degree means you did it someone else’s way.  You still have to find your own.  Here is a short list of where to get an education in order of preference.  Of course it’s my opinion but feel free to make it yours.

  • Experience
  • Mentors
  • Collegues
  • School
  • The Cloud

Read Karl’s Blog –


” I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.” – Leo McGarry from The West Wing

“This guy’s walkin’ down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you! Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole; can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey, Joe, it’s me. Can ya help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are ya stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out. ”

Find a mentor.  A close advisor.  A coach.  Someone whose been where you are.

Buy them a cup of coffee.

Listen to what they have to say.