• Be socratic.

  • Expect nothing in return (you’ll be delighted with what you do get back).

  • Be authentic / practice what you preach.

  • Be direct. Tell the truth, however hard.

  • Listen too.

  • The best mentor relationships eventually become two-way.

  • Be responsive.

  • Adopt at least one company every single year. Experience counts.

  • Clearly separate opinion from fact.

  • Hold information in confidence.

  • Clearly commit to mentor or do not. Either is fine.

  • Know what you don’t know. Say I don’t know when you don’t know. “I don’t know” is preferable to bravado.

  • Guide, don’t control. Teams must make their own decisions. Guide but never tell them what to do. Understand that it’s their company, not yours.

  • Accept and communicate with other mentors that get involved.

  • Be optimistic.

  • Provide specific actionable advice, don’t be vague.

  • Be challenging/robust but never destructive.

  • Have empathy. Remember that startups are hard.