Virginia Military Institute — the BEST Mentoring System in the World

Mentoring is/was a fashionable topic amongst the venture capital and startup Illuminati for years. I have written about it for a long time. A good mentor can make a mediocre founder into a winner.

Full disclosure: I run a CEO coaching/mentoring business called The Wisdom of the Campfire and have for a dozen years. I take clients only by referral and personal introduction. I do zero marketing and do not even have a website.

Everybody in startup world had to have a celebrity CEO coach. This was caused by two specific conditions:

 1. Venture capitalists know next to nothing about actually running a business. More than 75% of their investments fail, so what does that tell you?

 2. Young startup founders/CEOs have had zero training in leadership the lingua franca of building even a lemonade stand. Continue reading


The Power of Organizational Mentoring

A Tactical Officer who had an influence on me when I was a cadet at Virginia Military Institute died back in March. I didn’t find out about it until the other day. This man had a profound impact on my life.

His passing made me think about what I call “organizational mentoring.” It is not an exact thing, but I think it is something worthy of discussion.

In our lives, we join organizations either voluntarily or involuntarily. They are places like schools, sports teams, churches, clubs, and other organizations that impart structure and discipline into our lives. There is something called MeetUp that exists to create a critical mass of folks with similar interests.

We long to be with people like ourselves.

Not every organization provides a platform for organizational mentoring. In my life, it was the church, work, school, the Army, and business. I am talking about a time after I was away from home and my parents.

I want to take a second and explore the power of mentoring and organization when I went off to college at Virginia Military Institute. I had never seen VMI when I arrived on the bus.

It looks like a prison.

That’s Stonewall Jackson and the Rockbridge Battery of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — combat veterans of the Mexican War and the Civil War.

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Mentoring – Austin Techstars

Today, we talk Austin Techstars mentoring.

Big Red Car here on a truly gorgeous Texas day. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all. Texas being Austin By God Texas.

It’s 45F headed to 65F. I love these crisp mornings and warm afternoons.

So, today we talk mentoring, in particular Austin Techstars mentoring.

The Boss has been a mentor with Austin Techstars for some time and has enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Risk — A Four Letter Word, CEO Shoptalk

Today, we talk RISK, y’all. It is a four letter word and it can be profane, if you let it.

Big Red Car here on a sunny, Texas day which will give rise to a 103F temperature during which the BRC will be hanging in the pool, floating.

OK, so today we talk about risk. Risk is what drives startups. When you overcome a risk, you wander into the Winner’s Circle and collect your winnings at the mythical PAYWINDOW.

But, what is risk? Risk is different to different people. If you are a green, first time founder/CEO, then everything is risky after you have tied your shoes (the reason why new CEOs should wear slip-ons).

If you are a fifth time, serial entrepreneur, then your view of risk is different.

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Mentoring — head fake or worthy endeavor — a case study (The Leadership Series)

Big Red Car here.

The other day we spoke about “developing talent” and mentioned that mentoring was a critical element in the development of talent.

Here is a real world story of mentoring.  Read it at your own risk.

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Developing Talent in the Small Business (The Leadership Series)

Big Red Car here.

The Boss is still in Steamboat Springs skiing and I am still in the driveway waiting for the old boy to get home.  I am wasting a lot talent just sitting here.

Which brings me to the subject of developing talent.

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