2016 / 3 March

Who do you want as a mentor?

“Who do you want as a mentor?”

That’s the one question that truly stood out today.

We kicked off with our business advisory team today. Eight hours of questions, conversations, challenges and planning. The first time when someone outside of our team has truly sat down and started to scrutinise what we’ve done to date, what it all means and what the future could look like.

A million questions were thrown at me about vision, intentions, investments, our team, pricing, market size and growth, product roadmap, development, marketing and more. I think I was able to answer all of them to the best of my abilities, or at least know where I could seek that information. None of the questions truly stumped me except that one.

“Who do you want as a mentor?”

No one has ever asked me that before.

It may come from the fact that I’ve never had a mentor before — I simply don’t know what to look for. What are the characteristics of a great mentor? Or maybe it is because I’m so happy learning from the people around me, that I try to absorb information from so many sources. I seem to work best when I take a little from column A, a little from columns B through Z, shake it all up and hope something new comes to light.

That’s not to say I haven’t been inspired along the way. I’ve found inspiration from so many sources in my life. I’ve been inspired listening to people like Richard Seymour talk about the true value of good design. I’ve been inspired working alongside people like Justine Bloome who taught me what it meant to have integrity and class at work (and what Mastery looks like). I’ve been inspired discussing how the medical world can be improved through health tech with people like Prof. Leon Piterman. I’ve been inspired to see what finding one’s passion in the innovation world looks like (whilst still remaining truly humble) by people like Mark Heffernan. It is inspiring to be in the presence of people like Prof Rob Moodie who are simply amazing, passionate teachers. The list goes on.

But how does one change the dynamic from an inspiring conversation or interaction to a more structured engagement seeking long term advice? How would I even go about broaching the subject? What’s interesting enough about me and what I’m doing to warrant someone giving up their precious time?

Perhaps it’s hard to identify who I would want as a mentor because there is not one single person I want to be like. I never had a childhood hero, so I’ve never developed a sense of who to model myself against. I want to be like all of the people mentioned above but in my own way. Unique like everyone else. It’s an interesting concept to ponder.

Now that the ball is well and truly rolling, we have work to do with IP, trademarks, R&D, governance and structure, product development, media and marketing and investor preparation. It’s my job to be on top of all of that and make sure things are progressing. It’s overwhelming but it’s also so much fun. There are a million questions still left to answer. But there is only one that I know will keep me awake tonight.

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