Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

March 1, 2012

Mentor or Molester?

You can’t be both at the same time. You can’t hurt and heal at the same time.  The two don’t go together.

You start being a molester when you stop caring and start thinking about satisfying your needs first.

  • Your need for recognition you didn’t earn.
  • Your need for money you don’t deserve.

The line can be gray; but once you cross over, it no longer matters how amazing you used to be.  You’re now that person who takes advantage of those who couldn’t know better.

You’ve become a predator.

  • You’re slimy,
  • You’re ugly.
  • You’re perverted.

You’re all the worst and disgusting things we hate in humans.

It might be the guy sitting in your lobby right now.

Recently, it’s come in vogue for consultants to start asking for a percentage of a startup’s equity in exchange for being mentored.

Sounds somewhat reasonable until you think about it for a few minutes.

But let’s get really clear about this: Anybody asking for a piece of your business in exchange for “advice” is nothing more than a business molester.

And you’re the one getting taken advantage of.  What do you get?  Ideas?  Connections?

Success has never been about ideas.  It’s not even about connections.

Ideas are worthless unless you execute.  Connections are worthless unless you have a story to tell.

It’s the ultimate in ridiculous selfishness.

And shameful that not more leaders are decrying the behavior.

Let’s be fair.  There are amazing incubators like 500 Startups, TechStars, and Y Combinator trading equity for an intense bootcamp approach and seed funding.  They do it right.

The rules are clear before you are allowed in.  A small percentage of the companies who apply actually make it through the front door.  And oh, by the way, you get room-and-board free of charge and a thousands of dollars in seed funding.  Not ideas.  Money.

Just because a dude with a list of names and a track record is charming doesn’t mean that he deserves a piece of your destiny.

  • Equity is traded for money.
  • Equity is traded for closed deals.
  • Equity is traded  for performance.

Not ideas.  Not mentoring.  Not advice.  Not “know how”.  Not connections.  Not PR.

Would you give an employee part of your company to give you their advice?  How about a friend?  Your spouse?

No.  You wouldn’t.

Don’t let yourself get hurt.

Stop those around you who might be making the wrong decision.

And if you want to mentor, do that.

Don’t pretend you’re not a molester.

That’s just ugly.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.