Starting Y
Starting Y

Episode 22 · 3 months ago

How to be a mentor as an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

“You can multi-task on a lot of things, but some tasks really need deep focus” Joe Templin, Entrepreneur

Our Intro is based on Quantum Jazz’s piece “Orbiting a distant planet”, published under Creative Commons

Our Guest:

The Host:

· Jörn is a podcaster, startup scout, consultant, and entrepreneur, who is based in Frankfurt, Germany. He has a background of more than 12 years of management consulting but spends most of his time helping international investors and corporations to find, cooperate and invest in startups in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. He hosts an English startup podcast, covering the German startup scene (https://linktr.ee/startupradio) You can learn more about Jörn “Joe” here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joernmenninger/

You can suggest questions here, use #startingy

Twitter Michelle: https://twitter.com/salutemichelle

Twitter Jörn: https://twitter.com/JoeMenninger

https://medium.com/@StartingY/how-to-be-a-mentor-as-an-entrepreneur-for-entrepreneurs-b13a1d30272d 

This is a starting why podcast. Here we ask entrepreneurs, actors, investors in the native and artist on the why, why they are doing what they are doing, what motivates and drive them and why can't they stop? We will start in five, four, three, two one. Guys, welcome back to starting why with Joe, and this time again with another Joe. Hey, don't what come to our Joey, Joe, where you going with that gun your hand? Joe, can you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience? So my name is Joe Templin and I am a human Swiss army knife. I have a very eclectic background, and I say ECLECTIC as opposed to being a renaissance man, because I can't draw a straight line, even with a ruler, no matter how hard I try. I've got backgrounds in applied physics, martial arts, psychology, tax law, financial planning, behavioral economics and top it all off, I am an ultra runner and special needs parent. So I have a plethora of experiences that I can draw from and have drawn from in term was building my own businesses and mentoring other individuals within the technology and financial spaces. When you've been talking about an ultra runner. I thought, well, I can also run four mile, but I don't think that is what you have in mind right. No, my friends joke that marathon is a warm up. So the longest run that I've done I did a hundred kilometers in October and I was actually training to do a hundred and twenty five kilometers next week, but I broke my leg and dislocated...

...my ankle and so my physiotherapist said if I ran before healed then I'd probably break it worse and I wouldn't be able to run a hundred miles on my birthday. So I'm in sort of dry dock for a little bit. So that is something above seventy five miles for the metric hating Americans out there. Yes, so a hundred kilometers is sixty two and a half. For the American audience, the hundred and twenty five is roughly seventy five. So it's a little over three full marathons. I did never in my life finish even the halfmare ton. This claimer I did not even tried. I'm not necessarily the running guy, but I do it from time to time and when I do it I'm really, really proud of myself if I could take over somebody who's rolling in a wheelchair uphill. That's called the kill, by the way, in races when you pass someone. So it doesn't matter if it's a spectator or another runner, or it's the old lady sitting there on the park bench, it's still all counts, even the park bench is okay, okay, okay, I see so well. Also, maybe ultra marathons, a long distance running. We talk about here about entrepreneurship and especially the mental framework. I can already see that you're very interesting guy, because you also an entrepreneur. So that means some people are completely busy, their whole life is blocked up as not for nerve, some people are also running a marathon. With that, you are the first entrepreneur I meet who runs ultra marathon ultralong distances. Plus is a special neat parents. How do you manage to get all of that aligned into let's say twenty four hours or less? So one thing I do is I drink a lot of coffee and I don't sleep that much, so that is actually a very good thing. I'm adhd, so that helps in a lot of capacities because I can multitask, but what I...

...do in terms of multitasking is how to maximize benefits. For example, kids need to do their homework, so I'll have them they're sitting during their homework while I'm also doing the dishes or preparing dinner, so they get a good meal. And am I losing any quality from making the meal now? But the kids know that food equals love, and so they're eating quality food and they unders stand how to cook, because those are skills that, as they're getting older and eventually when they go off to college into the real world, they're going to need it. So teaching them those useful skills while I'm providing a benefit and I'm they're making sure that they're getting their work done, is one way to be able to do things. And sometimes I'll even be listening to a podcast or an audiobook on one of the subjects I'm trying to improve on while I'm doing that, because making sure that they're finishing their homework is not a constant effort. Might seem it at times, but it's really okay, a minute here, minute there. It's just being in their presence for them so you can do things like that. You know, I went out from my run this morning I was listening to a podcast, as listening to James Ulshot. It's actually another option mar speaking to somebody and I got some good ideas from that that I can then import into other areas. So it's learning what you can multitask on and what takes deep focus so that you can hammer on it and get it done. And with most of the stuff in our world we have to remember that it does not have to be perfect. It's not like it was thirty years ago and my buddies worshipping games and they were on computer cartridges or disks. Had to be perfect when when out the door. Now, if your it is not perfect, you can literally patch...

...it two minutes later and through the arena and Joe, the APP stores and all that, it can be updated essentially instantly. So it allows us to be able to have a much shorter iteration loop and be able to improve much quicker than what we had to deal with fifteen years ago. You actually made me smile without knowing it. Today I did a relaunch of the website of my other podcast. That is my main business. Basically, I was also going for this approach because I was set back through my back when was out of business for a few days I had to spend in bed just not being able to finish the website the way I wanted it, and basically that's approach I'm taking right now. It's eighty percent done and I put a life because it replaces the old in unstable one, and basically I will be improving it constantly, and that it of process is something that in computer technology we've adapted, but actually in the writing world was basically the standard forever. I mean you'd write a first draft and it would suck, as ourn as timing way said, all first drafts are shit, and then you'd added it and improve and then you add it again, and eighty percent of the improvements come not from writing but through the editing process. And so with writing, depending on the type of book, very often it's like you can write a chapter and be editing that while you're writing the next one, and you have this continuous feedback loop, and that's one of the ways that I ended up doing my last book was that it has month by month type things that are semi independent, and so I had friends reviewing and editing January while I was writing February.

And by the time I got done writing the book it already gone through several hundred hours of editing along the way of various people, and so what I actually sent off as, technically my first draft was closer to a fourth or fifth draft because of the iterations that occurred along the way. And so this is one of the things that are grace talked about in the lean startup is shortening these feed atback loops and continuously getting out there and MVP and making it slightly better and better and better. And part of the way that the human mind works is it's okay if you give them something crappy initially as long as you are showing them that you're working to improve it. And so if you can make, you know, a whole bunch of tiny improvements that are noticeable to somebody over a couple of week period, they have no problem paying on a Beta that very quickly becomes viable and they actually feel good about being inside the purple rope and being one of the early doctors. Are Probably exclusive club early. And so if I was talked to a brand new, first time technical entrepreneur, if they were working in space, where that is a approach that makes sense. I would tell them get something and start getting feedback from it immediately and in iterate and get to the point where people are willing to pay you, even at discounted rate, so that you can bootstrap yourself with real paying customers. I see that makes sense, but I also do believe that it's something, as he said, that wasn't possible years ago. I actually remember those video games and cartridges, those discs, those floppy discs for the Amiga computers that I had. Basically, you can never get a hold of the most recent driver version and it was always you had like a...

...box full of floppy disks. They would drivers on it and then you exchange the news driver so that your computer somehow kept working. I really remember that and today, when I'm done with the BILMA stuff during they are at least everything I'm capable of during that day, I'll basically just started a little tool. It will update all my drivers and that's a snap of a finger. Sometimes it takes a little longer and you can be doing it while you're doing five other things on the computer, as opposed to when we add to like update our old word files and stuff. You'd put in the floppy desk. I would take thirty minutes, then you'd have to come back and do the next one and the next one and the next one. I would literally take all day to update programs. Oh Yeah, and you could not do it overnight because then you would have to set or, as I did, have to set the alarm clock and then get up at two am just switch floppy disks, this one out, the next one in, make sure it was the right one yet go back to sleep. Oh and if you put in the wrong desk, I haven't help you. I did that once. Was Updating stuff for my dad. Good Times, and so basically that's the time we both remember. Our audience likely also remembers that one. But this has changed quite a lot and you've been through a lot of that and my understanding is that you also now give your knowledge away as a mentor, mentoring other entrepreneurs. But we full get into your methodolity. Were you trying to teach them? I would be very curious about how he got into that. How did you start mentoring wizard like a formal program? Somebody proached it, or did it just happen by accident? It was informal in a lot of ways in that it just evolved with me mentoring people in technology. I mean some...

...of my friends were early stage starting companies when I was building my financial services career. So we had different knowledge bases that we were working with, but we were both building, and so that was in a lot of ways what James and Chaltz was talking about, the equals where we're playing similar but different games and we're trying to get better simultaneously. And some of these companies, one of them actually has been sold multiple times and Microsoft paid sixty seven billion dollars for these guys last year. So I remember when it was cartok and Guha programming out of their dorm room way back in the early mid s and seeing how they grew and we grew along together, and so when they were bringing in people within their organization that they were mentoring, I naturally was doing some of that. I was mentoring young people in finance, but a lot of the younger guys my fraternity or my taekwondo students ur Pi or people who I knew were starting businesses. So like Hey, you got background finance. What should we do? And that led to working with hundreds of small businesses and seeing some of the mistakes that they made, but also learning what questions to ask so that I could give them for sight, because when you see something play out once, it's surprising. When you seen it play out a thousand times, you you're like, oh, this is happening again, and here are some of the things to be concerned with, here's some of the things that I've seen have worked really well, and so you can start distilling down lessons over time. And this is part of the idea of the case studies that Hervard business school uses, some of the idea of role playing or running simulations. So there's a combination of real world and academic that have unified in this and so over time it just became more and more people were seeking...

...me out and I've had to become very focused in terms of the ones who I will give more than a couple of minutes too. So I serve on the board of three different companies right now. Tour in technology, one's actually a coffee company, and the time that I spend with those CEOS, I have weekly meetings with them, and the one CEO of Catapult Vr is like, all right, so you gave me when one good idea for the week. Thank you. And that's really what we focus on, is having one good idea or avoiding one landmine each week and continuously broadening his vision exposure as a CEO so that at twenty five he's got many more years of experience than his peers in the business because he has exposed himself to people with gray hair like myself have been there and learned to ask good questions, and time I'll da is working with him. It focuses me on being able to understand what I'm saying and why even better. So one of the things that I've seen over the decades is that mentors generally grow as much as the mentee, just in different ways. You have been talking about a company being so multiple different time snowfu multi billion. Yeah, as dollars can go a little bit more into detail we did there and how it all started up, because behind every leg a really big success, big idea, this is usually a very small and humble start. Yeah, so this was a couple of brothers who want to make video games, and so it's like the classic story. They actually had to have their parents sign the incorporation paperwork because they were too young to do it I've seen that situation happened dozens of times. So they start programming some very basic games. They found a couple of friends who could program and...

...they joined the company and those were some of their early technology people. In fact, some of those guys stayed with them for thirty plus years and they started doing very little things, totally bootstrapped, just like Bill Gates did with Microsoft and Paul Allen. So they went out and said Hey, we can program this for you, and so they got a couple of small contracts like that. Then they built some very basic math games, because there are all nerds. Then, know, from there they built something bigger. You know, they literally stole some space on campus in a closet in the incubator center, and then they got some investment. They hired a couple more people, they made some mistakes, they had some hits and they grew and over years they went from being two guys programming out of their door room to a hundred plus employees with ten plus thousand square feet. Then they got acquired than you know, they did even more significant stuff with a new company. Then they got acquired again, they did even more significant stuff and eventually they exited stage right and like many great entrepreneurs, they're like, Hey, you know, let's take our experience here and start all over again build something new, and that's what they did probably five years ago, and they're already reaching massive levels. Yet to get. You talked about here about the starts of activision blizzard. Yep. So their one company that they acquired vicar's visions. I've known Gujan Cartik and Chris and Chuck for literally decades. I see first simple statement, because I also realize also including a specially human podcast. If you want to make an argument, if you want to structures, some thoughts, if you want to make it not intuitively but a real argument, route to understand something, ready to teach something, really to get a sentence together to somebody...

...else understands with something you intuitively learn. That is something you have to do as a mentor, you have to do as a host, to podcast host, you also have to do as a teacher, and do believe that is what you referring to becoming better by being a mentor. Yes, and so one of the things that I've learned is that a lot of these things I learned organically in terms of making mistakes or being lucky or doing things. As Steve Jobs said, can only connect the dots looking back. So looking back at some of these things, what worked well? What didn't work so well? What are some of the themes and how can I put together questions and models around that so that if I bring these questions to somebody that I'm working with today WHO's at a relatively early stage and their career business, how can I ask them these questions represent these models so that they can, in one month, understand what it took me five or ten years to get. And that is the beauty of having a good mentor is that you get the lessons, you get a lot of the insight, you get the questions that you have to ask yourself to develop the meticognitive awareness, but you get it without wasting the time. It basically comes down to, first, avoiding problems your mentor hat and second lie in saving time right. And one of the big things that the mentor needs to know is that the world today is different and that person that you're mentoring is not you as somebody. Taekwondo Students, I remind them because I was reminded by my taekwondo master. You're not me. Okay, my two taekwondo instructors that I spent the most time with. One was six foot four and, you know, just a total Badass, and the other one is five foot five and, even in his late S,...

...can bench press five hundred pounds. I'm five foot ten and Scrawny, so I am not built like either of them, and so my training style, in my fighting style, is very different than either one of them. And so I make sure my students understand that you're not me, you're not going to train the way that I do. You're not going to necessarily have the endurance or the pain tolerance that I have, because I'm Irish, I can take all the pain in the world. So you need to develop your own way. But here's some of the things that I've learned that have helped me to understand my particular way quicker. And so if they can understand their body, if they can understand their training style, their fighting style, their management style when it comes to work, if they can shorten that curve, then they can get to the point where they are starting to truly grow and fly much quicker. With that the same amount of mistakes, if they can avoid a couple of pitfalls that I've fallen into over my life. That saves them a lot of trouble. Now they're going to make their own mistakes because that's part of growing up, whether it's as a kid or a martial artist or a professional or an entrepreneur. But if you can make different mistakes, that means that you can also get different and better results. That is quite an interesting thought. For everybody who is listening to this now and may also be an entrepreneur, an ultralong distance runner and doing some other stuff, if they also want to add to the workload and being mentor for other entrepreneurs, how would you recommend them to approach it? So there are incubator centers and Business Labs and entrepreneur organizations on college campuses all around the world. One Way to...

...do it is to join up with something like that. Another way is that there's probably like business plan competitions or organizations for entrepreneurs, or software alliance, was a group that I joined. These groups that are social but also have an educational business component to them. Start going to those, show up, have a beer, talk to people's see if you like the environment or not. Be Yourself. So like where I would go a software alliance than meetings. Twenty five years ago, there were a couple of other finance people who were wearing a tie too, but I'd show up and very quickly I'd take the tie off and I'd be talked with my buddies, and the other finance people who are showing up at these things would show up for three or four and then they're like, oh, there's no business here, while I was just there, not to do business but to learn and to interact with other people, and that's how I end up getting some great relationships that have lasted decades, because I was not there looking to get anything short term. I was not there looking for it to line my pockets. I was there to see what I could learn, who I could interact with and build relationships with over an extended period and see how I could add value to others. In so having a giving mindset as opposed to a taking mindset, looking to be interactive and constructive as opposed to extractive, allowed me to be in a position where more value was created ultimately. And Yeah, I'd got much smaller pieces of the Pie, but when the pie is tremendously huge, everybody still wins in the end. It's more fun to win as a group, where a team, because there's more celebrations and highs associated with I understand you've been also...

...when we talked before, talking about that. As far as you know, every successful entrepreneur had a mentor as well. Yes, I have yet to find anyone in there's going to be some exemptions as because there are always are, but I've never personally met anyone who has had great success in any endeavor without having some form of mentor that either helped them or was somebody that was trying to keep them down. And so the reaction against that was studying what that successful person who try and keep you down dead and learning from them to overcome them. So sometimes the mentor is the one pat you on the back and giving you guidance advice, and sometimes it is the example or you know, you can study and learn about somebody and say I'm not going to do it that way. That is just as valuable. Or always. When you look, therefore, for a mentee, if you want to be a mentor, would you recommend, as you said, to have somebody who thinks very much like you? Or is it your experience that you actually benefit more if this person thinks totally different than you do and therefore you have to completely rethink what you want to tell them. So actually I look at as some traits of them that go back to psychology. So there's four main traits that I look for. The first one is are they a good human being? Because if somebody's not a good human being, if they're, you know, trying to harm others, if they don't have a at least a partial service focus, if they're just completely self centered as opposed to other focused, I'm not going to work with them. So that's one of the big knockouts that I have. And I was talking with the manager of a big financial services firm...

...about the people who become most successful long range in their environment, and it's the people who have the service focus, the focus on others, knowing that if they do the right things, they're going to be taken care of no matter what. It's that I'll take a smaller piece of a much huger pie than I need to be the star of the show, and you know it's a not a very good show in that capacity. So that's one knockout criteria that I have. It took me a while to realize that because I worked with some not good people. Have a lot of financial lessons that I learned, as in a lot of money. I lost like prime million plus box because of it. But the other three at come from psychology. One, Carol D Wach, in her work showed that roughly forty percent of the people have a growth mindset as opposed to fix mindset. So this is critical. If somebody does not have a growth mindset, I'm not going to work with them simply because I can give them everything that I have in terms of my experience, my knowledge, my time, my Rolodex and all that, and they're not going to succeed because they don't have that belief system that they can improve through hard work and others can to. So that open mindset, that growth mindset, is critical. And then the other two components actually come from big five personality traits and it's openness and conscientiousness, which, if you listen to like Dr Joran Pierce and analyze or anybody else who has analyzed entrepreneurs and success, it's those two combination. Having openness, so willingness to try, willingness to fail, to experiment, to do new things. That's a hallmark of entrepreneurs in general. But somebody has to make I've seen some people who want to be entrepreneurs and their want to bes because they want to say they're an entrepreneur. They want the rewards. They don't want to do the work. They don't want to have the exploratory nature. They don't just have this...

...driving desire to learn new things and understand and so my experience, people who are not very high on the openness factor tend to not have the mindset creativity to be successful, and the other ones conscientiousness, which is related to work ethic. It's doing the right job. I know so many people who want to be successful but they're not ready to roll up their sleeves and do the work. I'm pushing fifty years old now and I still work as hard as I did at twenty four, when I out worked everybody that I knew, even my friends who are entrepreneurs who were working, you know, sixty, seventy hours a week. I was working as May or more hours per week that they wore. I still get up at thirty to five o'clock every morning and work out and study and train before I start my regular day. I write every morning I learned and when I come and I work, I work my butt off, as we used to say out in the farm. You know, if you don't work, you don't eat, and you keep working until the job is done, because once the rain comes, guess what, you can't go on out in the field and do the work anymore. So having that openness and conscientiousness combination is a critical component to be able to be mentored, because it means that you'll do the work and listen. So it means that you are coachable and are willing to put in the time in the gym, essentially to achieve overall and so those combinations, combined with the open mindset from dwack and the good human filter, that's what I look for in terms of people that I surround myself with, whether mentors, mentees, friends, business associates, clients. That's the main criteria that I utilize. That is quite already a good and to framework, I do believe, for being...

...a mentor and how you proach it. Of course, how long did it actually take you until you did the first thing and then you had the right fitting mentee and it started out really to be a ment to ship relationship between you and you meantee, how long did it take, like from the first contact to really being a mentor to get the year? Did it take longer? So it's not something you can start with the snap. No, I'm actually pretty good at triaging and cutting people out. So I'm also relatively blown at times. So if somebody is blown, smoke up my butt in the first meeting, they're like, well, I do, I'm going to do done in the past? You know, why do you say that? Yeah, and I have no problem telling somebody in that first met look, man, your mindsets wrong. You're just trying to make money or you're doing this. You need to go do x, Y and Z to be in a position to succeed here. You know, go do more market research. You know, if you're telling me you've got no competitors in the market, that means that you don't understand your market. You know, if you're saying that you're going to completely totally change the world, unless you've got a radical idea and theoretical physics or biology or something like that, it's all variations of other things. Yeah, might be innovative, but you're probably not going to change the world nor be a Unicorn in the next six months. So on all for enthusiast as. I mean I live on castle in the clouds in some ways, my friends say, but it's being able to say, okay, that castle is connected to the ground. How and so if you can give people enough push back at that and say here's, you know, some of the things that you're not considering, go figure this out, and if they come back like in a week and say hey, I, you know, did this and I worked on this and and it's like, okay, that's like the student sitting in front of the martial arts monastery and the master's ignore...

...them for two weeks and they stay there and they keep coming back, it's like all right, you can come on in now. So, in terms of determining if somebody is going to be a mentor or a mentee, I'm eliminate a lot really quickly and then they basically prove it out to me over a period of time that can vary from a few weeks to up to a year. As to yeah, all right, you've got the stick to it and if yes, you've got the creativity you accept guidance, you've got the right principles in your heart, you're doing what you say you're going to do your man or woman of your word, as opposed to just blow and smoke. I see we now talking already mooted thirty five minutes. I would like to thank you very much right here and now. For everybody you'd like to learn more, we link down in the show notes to this podcast you website, where everybody can learn more about what are you doing, about your website and much, much more. Thank you, Joe, and this has been an absolute wonderful conversation. One of the things that those of us who are in our own low world that where we're trying to build something and we might be like a solopener or small group. It's the opportunity to get outside of our normal bubble and interact with other people and have these grown up conversations with somebody with a different perspective that allows both of us to grow. So thank you for giving me this opportunity today so I show's all mine. Thank you very much and have a great day. And guys, as we said, go down here in the show notes and check out the links. Thank you very much Joe, be excellent and grow today I will.

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