What They Dont Teach You At Stanford Business School

Stuff you can't learn in B-school: LARRY CHIANG

7 Street Smart Ways to Get a Mentor

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Getting a mentor is at the heart of succeeding after college. Wrangling a mentor is a major career boosting event. By wrangling, I mean to conjure up images or wrestling with a persons Gcal in order to get time, attention and energy. My wish is to boil down my curation of best mentorship and expose some counterintuitive dynamics into this listicle, “7 Street Smart Ways to Get a Mentor”.

Mentorship is such an emotionally charged topic. Some common questions I will attempt to solve
How do I get on the calendar of a person who has a super packed schedule
How do you initially meet your mentor?
What role does my non-existent social media presence play in reaching out to someone very influential?

-1- Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

We still use paper letters, paper notes, phones, emails, fax and business cards. Yes, fax! [Evvia does not use Doordash but accepts fax orders] Your potential mentor will have a preferred way to speaking with you. Let me stress that all the modes of transportation help get you to your next mentor and your next-next mentor. What I’d like to stress is that your mentor might have the preference to use old fashion smoke signals and we as mentees are going to have to hook up a facsimile machine.

For example, I met my mentor via snail mail. I wrote out a handwritten letter and put it in a #10 envelope.

For example, another mentor Ted Rhingold liked you to like his Twitter likes. And like the tweets that you would like to network with him about. So instead of setting a premeeting agenda via email, you signal an ability to search within a social media feed. You also signal your
– goals for a potential mentor
– signal your effort to search past writings your mentor has already said
– signal future direction. Q

This answers How do you initially meet your mentor? and also leads to my next point…

-2- Signaling, Execution.

Your potential mentor wants to meet rising stars. Your mentor will fit time in their schedule when you signal execution. Here is the process
– I, the potential mentee, read what you (the mentor) previously wrote.
– I took this very specific and very small action based on a change you stimulated me to take and make.
– This is my documentation via smoke signals, a medium post or Facebook Instagram story.
– This is me emailing you the documentation.
– Now, request time over the telephone for a coffee.

This answers the question of, “How do I get on the calendar of a person who has a super packed schedule”

-3- Be the mentee to a cohort mentor.

So your cohorts are a great source of peer mentorship. But because of pride, hubris or/and shyness, we do not thank our lowly cohort mentors publicly.

There are four types of mentors:
– superstar mentor
– cohort mentor
– junior mentor
– default mentor.

People overly stress a superstar mentor which I define as a brand named, industry leader. But a cohort mentor (think peer learning) is a great “hack” to prime the mentor pump. Briefly, a junior mentor is when your mentor learns from you where you’re the junior. Default mentor is a person who is near you that mentors you by default: Think family, an assigned work associate or someone in close proximity that by default fills your head with their opinion(s).

4- Be the mentee to their mentor.

You should guess at who is your potential mentor’s, mentor. They have risen to superstar mentor levels because of a mentor. Very often your potential mentor thanks and re-thanks their mentor. Thanking a mentor by mentioning them by name in a press interview is a “Mentor Mention Per Press Interview” (MMPPI). Think of running protocol #MMPPI as citing and sourcing

pg-railsconf_normal.jpg Paul Graham (@paulg)
founders lose by making unforced errors.


Think about thanking your mentor like it’s a Venmo payment to your cohorts. You’re letting the world know you pay your friends. “Pay” your mentor by thanking your mentor.

5- Priming the mentor pump by getting a faux mentor.

Yes, fake getting a mentor by thanking a mentor. This charlattan maneuver is socially engineered to become real by going through these steps. Let me stress, you’re going from imposter to really-suitable-for-a-poster:

– Read a book.
– Apply the book’s knowledge.
– Thank the mentor.
– Rethank the mentor. Your potential mentor did mentor you via their book! Your potential mentor ALREADY did mentor you via their Medium (it’s like a WORDPRESS blog post but with less functionality)
For example, my potential mentor already did mentor me via a very specific CS183b Lec 5 video. Peter Thiel is speaking in lecture 5; CS 183b “competition is for losers” and that video is free on YouTube.

(6) Loyalty and Thankfulness

ZN0VKUOa_normal.jpg Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
9/27/17, 9:25 AM
Be Public about how you thank a mentor. #ch5 twitter.com/asse9/status/9… pic.twitter.com/qQdqnu2V3n

Written by Larry Chiang

November 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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