It’s all about the people

I’m mentoring a bright young woman through MentorNet.com, a great match-making website for women and minorities in the sciences to receive mentoring from accomplished individuals, mostly through email contact (think pen pals). My first post on this blog had some advice I offered her about her career. She followed it up with a few questions, the answers to which I think might be helpful to other young scientists and budding entrepreneurs:

Excerpt:
Q: How did you find a supportive partner that fit all the necessary qualifications?
A: Luck (though they say you make your own luck). My spouse and I met. We had mutual respect; core values that were shared. But no one can predict it, I believe. You have to start being in a relationship in order to extrapolate how they’ll be as a life-long partner. The way obstacles/attitude/trust/respect/support are tackled early in one’s relationship predict how obstacles that be handled later in life when the stakes are high with kids, startups, money issues, et al.

Q: When you have a chance, could you give me some insight on the initial stages of your start-up…
A: Find the BEST team possible. People you 1) like, 2) trust, 3) respect as my former close colleague and former business partner says. That is job one.

Q: … and how you were able to make it a successful venture?
A: Haven’t seen it yet in dollar terms. The business model was all wrong… I know that now. But, I’ve been rich with experiences and I know what not to do in my next venture.

(since this Q&A, there’s been another correspondence … one with richer personal detail on ‘why the entrepreneurial path’ … I will pace myself and post it later in the week)

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