I’m going to go out on a limb here. I guarantee that good startup mentors exist everywhere, even in your neck of the woods. Without any more evidence than my personal experience—working alongside hundreds of mentors and entrepreneurs around the globe, including such...
Mentoring is also a more significant part of the economy today than since, perhaps, apprentorship in the craftsman age. Why? The rise of entrepreneurship and the freelance economy is similar to the craftsman age since as the very structure of the economy undergoes massive transformation, workers are increasingly required to find their own means of making a living.
During the Industrial age, most labor was focused on optimizing repeatable tasks. Repeatable tasks are taught. Mentoring was more focused on developing leadership qualities, responsible for corporate management. See Blank’s Sloan vs Durant. Today’s mentoring must teach leadership, too, but additionally, the nature of entrepreneurship.
With Brad Feld coming to town this week, I think it’s a good time to evaluate the state of San Diego’s Startup Community. If you don’t know Brad, you should take a few minutes to learn more about him. He is an entrepreneur turned investor, a co-founder of the TechStars accelerator program, a prolific author and a community builder. Last year he published Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, which explores the ingredients necessary to have a thriving startup scene. The challenges Brad discusses are spot on and I highly recommend the book.
I first met Brad in the Fall of 2010, when he and TechStars co-founder David Cohen came to San Diego as part of their Do More Faster book tour. San Diego didn’t represent; it was a pitiful showing. Brad told the audience San Diego was 10 years away from having a solid startup ecosystem and he challenged, “who in the audience is committed to leading the effort for 10 years?” A few hands raised up, some by those merely seeking affirmation and the chance to pitch Brad on their failing startup. (When Andrew Beinbrink and I pressed those after the meeting to join us in building San Diego Tech Founders, they evaporated faster than dollars in a freemium business model.)