Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I love a framework called ‘idea-sex’. I am probably over-simplifying it, but in a nutshell this theory suggests that success doesn’t result from applying one specific skill but rather what is born from merging a few, complementary abilities.
In my case, I wanted to focus on three complementary areas I am extremely passionate about: entrepreneurship, teaching and mental models. Mentoring seemed like the perfect way to bring those passions to life.
How did you get your career start?
I have been lucky to have had an extremely diverse professional career - the first half working for big multinational companies in Europe and China, and the last 10 years focusing on all types of startups, both as a co-founder, executive and mentor, with a strong focus in Asia.
These experiences caught the eye of some of the biggest startup acceleration programs in the World, and in 2019 I was invited to start mentoring for them. I liked it so much that a year ago I decided to go all-in and make mentoring my full time activity.
What role did mentorship play in your past?
My mentors were some of my first bosses. These people had the patience to teach me, encourage me to learn from my mistakes, help me think clearly and show me some tough love when necessary.
These days I use Youtube and podcasts to find ‘mentors’. I believe we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. You have something you want to learn or become better at? Find five great people online who are experts at what they do and are great at teaching it and consume as much of their content as possible. You’ll become better than 80% of people in no time. It’ll change your life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Einstein famously said ‘Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it’. The best way to achieve anything in life is to develop the necessary discipline to carry out a good habit in a consistent, regular manner. Doing 10 pushups a day does more for your fitness levels than 100 pushups once in a while. The same can be said for building a business, raising money, learning anything. This is the ultimate super power.
How do you usually set up mentorships?
I do not believe in silver bullets. I know first hand how tough and time-consuming building a business can be, so as much as possible I want the relationships with my mentees to be not a one-off engagement, but rather a medium-long term process, developed over time. My sessions tend to be extremely practical and always guided by well researched frameworks, the kind of knowledge and insights you won’t be able to get just by reading blog posts or watching youtube videos.
What change have you been able to make happen for your mentees?
In my view, the most underrated skill in startup life is clarity. Entrepreneurs are known for being creative people, coming up with wild ideas all the time and constantly changing their minds.
Building a business is extremely difficult. But it becomes even harder when you’re not clear about where you stand, where you want to go and how to get there. This is my ultimate goal - help my mentees distinguish what’s signal and what’s noise, ask the right questions and drive an insane level of clarity so that they can come up with the relevant answers.
What are you getting out of being a mentor?
Mentoring is the best way for me to focus on the type of work I really enjoy doing, while allowing me to work in a very flexible manner, something I value a lot. This has had a dramatic impact on my well-being.
Also - it’s good to be recognized. In 2021 I was selected to be part of the exclusive group of nine 500 Startups’ mentors who received a perfect 5 out of 5 score. The last 18 months of full-time mentoring have taught me that creating unicorns and becoming one of the most successful accelerators on the planet doesn’t happen without mentoring, very solid fundamentals and an experimentation mindset. Mentoring with MentorCruise allows me to bake all those important elements into my sessions and provide more entrepreneurs with the same world-class frameworks, templates and models that the best accelerators in the World are using to turn ideas into legendary unicorns.