5 Keys To Effective Entrepreneurial Team Mentoring

Richard Branson photo via en.wikipedia.org

Richard Branson photo via en.wikipedia.org

I’ve always wondered why every executive meeting has to be one hour in length, or longer. That’s probably a tenth of your day spent on one issue. It better be a critical one, because you have a hundred others waiting. I believe you can be much more productive, as well as a more effective leader, if you approach most meetings as mentoring opportunities, and limit them to five minutes.

In a traditional meeting, another person presents you with multiple options, and you make the decision. With the five-minute mentoring approach, the mentee asks for your support in their decision, or asks for your insight on the considerations for them making a future decision. Which approach do you think is more fulfilling for them, and best for your company in the long run? Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
January 26th, 2014

Which angel investing journals are the most useful, either online or in print?

There are actually no angel investing ‘journals’ per se, because there simply are not enough active, professional angel investors to make a market :-).  There are, however, quite a few blog posts on the subject, although most are written for an entrepreneurial audience, rather than angels themselves. And there is one really excellent weekly podcast to keep you up to speed. Read more

What are some ways you can keep track of startups you are evaluating/diligencing/investing in?

This is obviously a softball question that I’ve been Asked to Answer, as I’m the Founder/CEO of Gust. The answer, of course, is Gust—because that’s exactly the purpose behind the platform!

Gust is the infrastructure that underlies much of the professional world of early stage finance. It is used by hundreds of thousands of companies in 195 countries to organize all of their investor relations material; it is used by over a thousand angel investor networks, venture capital funds and startup accelerators to manage their deal flow and collaboration; and it is used by over 50,000 individual accredited angel investors in 75 countries to collaborate with their investor peers and keep track of the startups they are evaluating/ diligencing/ investing in. Read more

Managers: You Can’t Get Rid of the Bad Apples Fast Enough

Academic snobs such as myself often place a lot of value on hard skills when hiring. No news here. Of course, we also look for great attitude and fit, given that so much – if not all – one conquers at the workplace nowadays is the result of collaboration and teamwork.

While most people in managerial positions agree with this approach at a hiring moment, there are often different perspectives when it comes to a potential firing moment.

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Entrepreneurs Relish The Challenge More Than Money

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. On the average, the entrepreneurs I know are living on Ramen noodles. But one thing they all seem to have in common is a love for learning and change. They rush in with a passion to better the world, and money is just an indication of their progress.

The successful ones then invest their time and money in furthering their knowledge base. I’m not talking about academic classes, because at best these only teach you how to learn. In these days of rapid change, most experts believe that the facts college students learn as a sophomore are obsolete before they exit their senior year.

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Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
January 19th, 2014

What is a good site or Gmail extension for an angel investor to manage their startup deals?

Boy, do I wish there was a magical Gmail extension to let me manage my startup deals! Unfortunately, there isn’t (and since Google hasn’t fixed Gmail yet, if you’re actually a paying customer for Google Apps, instead of a free customer, you have strictly limited Gmail mail storage, and are not allowed to purchase more, at any price!) But I digress [harumph].

When I started my angel investing over a decade ago, there was no such thing as a site to handle the surprisingly-challenging process of keeping track of all the information regarding all the companies with which I was working. So I had to create one! Read more