TMBA 318: Mentors - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

TMBA318: Mentors – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly post image

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On today’s show Dan and Ian explore the (arguably) most creative, powerful – but also potentially toxic – relationship in entrepreneurship: that between a mentor and a mentee.

We’re doing so by speaking with Tim Conley, a Dynamite Circle member who has quite a bit of experience in these types of relationships. We talk to him about how to find a mentor, what makes a good one and how these relationships evolve over time.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why anyone who would make a good mentor will say no when you approach them. (3:40)
  • Tim’s definition of what a mentor is. (4:34)
  • The different types of characters that pop up when fostering these kinds of relationships. (9:24)
  • Tips to keep in mind when searching for a mentor. (22:53)
  • Why successful people usually have more responsibility and not less. (27:00)

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Dan & Ian

Published on 01.07.16
  • I agree with Jane, I think it’s really interesting when you use the TMBA/LBP angle as more of a lens into something bigger as opposed to an end in itself. Sort of like Michael Lewis is a “business” author. He’s not really a business author, he’s always talking about something deeper – trust, the intersection human nature and technology, love, etc. and just using a business angle to come at it.

    My sense is this is part of why Startup was so popular. All their episodes use startups as a lens to look at something deeper – partnerships, diversity, making money.

    On a more tactical note, I’ve been thinking about the “Indian dinner” approach to mentorship. I don’t know anyone that wants to mentor me, but I know a lot of people who I could learn a ton from that would like to grab dinner at the cool, new Indian spot with other cool people.

  • Really enjoyed this one and have to agree with the nature of mentorships happening more organically then just reaching out to someone and directly asking.

    Reminds me of the section in SmartCuts where he is discussing mentorships and cites the study by Underhill that looked at 25 years of mentorship research and found that while formal mentorships did improve achievement, it was the informal mentorships that were also a personal relationship where the true success came from.

    I think this relates to Taylor’s idea of getting near people. While you could find a mentor via social media and emailing back and forth, it is 100x easier when you can actually sit down with the person and develop a relationship.

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    This one was valuable to me, not just because of the subject matter, but also the timing for my own life. Right now I set a goal two weeks ago to find a mentor that has a business which I want to create the same in 1 month (already 2 weeks passed). After listening to this episode I really started to reevaluate the nature of mentorship and what kind of mentor I can get in a short amount of time and if it’s really worth to push it.
    I really liked the example of the KungFu master and student relationship. Myself being a practitioner of this art, I can really say that its definitely true for being accepted as a student, but for some strange reason I thought that it might be different for finding a quality mentor and one (or two) cold email can just do it.
    On a personal note, I started going the route of boss man Bob couple of weeks ago (even I didn’t considered this to be a real aka ideal mentorship in my mind up until now!), and surprisingly it did start opening the doors to platform Paul, who is sort of behind the scenes mastermind of current company I’m in. This is all thanks to this podcast and you’re ideas.
    Thanks guys!

  • Samuel Okoro

    I consider you guys my mentors. You, Jordan Harbinger, Tim Conley. You’re all done it (Been where I’m going) and now you’re broadcasting it.

    A lot of my friends are surprised at how much I know about business. Hell my parent are surprised when I give then advice on their own businesses that work.

    Who says you ever need to meet your mentors?
    Thanks for the podcast guys

  • Thanks for the episode!

    I’ve had trouble finding a mentor in the past; there are very few accountants doing something I want to do. They all failed my “corner office test” abysmally!

    I ended up modelling bits and pieces of other people, which is something that I still enjoy doing.

    On another note, Ian was wondering where the mentees all get together: in masterminds! :)

  • thanks TPain, Ian and I got to talking here way more than we thought we would I guess the concepts interested us on a deeper level… I think with some structure we could probably talk for hours about this topic.

    Ha Indian Dinner let’s see if that sticks :)

  • :D you got it Ben our pressure. Corner office test super hard to pass.

  • you got it Samuel very much appreciate that.

  • hey awesome! yeah one of the benefits of knowing about the concept (in all it’s glorious mess!) is that you’ll start looking for it everywhere and I think you can find it in so many places… the Kung Fu master example is telling because the value there isn’t in the advice it’s in going through the motions, many (not all) of the motions bossman puts you through have the potential to teach you things you might not know you’re learning

  • 100x sounds about right to me! this strategy has always resonated with me

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    The thing is only a really smart master/mentor can teach you in such a way that you don’t even notice that are learning until you reach a certain point. Which tests your patience and ability to absorb the knowledge – a good way to filtering out the weeds! On the other note the greatest pleasure of mastering something for me personally is that it comes naturally without even thinking once you reach that level. As the neural pathways get reinforced so much through repetition and brain rewires in such a way which allows to process specific information very efficiently.
    I like one quote related to the topic: “a true master is the one that brings up another master”

  • Doppler

    Hei, changed something on the RSS feed?
    Can’t get any updates through PodKicker (Android) since this episode

  • thanks Doppler yeah there’s something wrong with it we’re working on it today, appreciate the heads up

  • lion

    Since listening to this I’ve tried the advice of basically giving some free work to find a mentor. While I may have tried to ‘cash out’ a little too soon, I can definitely see he’s the type to take advantage – which caused a rift that we’re just mending. As of earlier today, as he put it, ‘the ball is in my court’

    Not sure I want it

  • yeah generally speaking when these relationships are good we’re thinking in terms of years so if you are already having trouble might make sense to think of them more like a client (sounds like you already have) and cash out/move on

  • lion

    it definitely is what it is

    if you’ve viewed any of Martin Shkreli’s livestreams, they’re the same personality type lmao..

  • lion

    the line between a ‘mentor’ teaching you through unconventional lessons and you teaching yourself may be a blurry one. not many people are so cognizant

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