Jules Schroeder interview recapped in the Forbes article How This 23-Year-Old College Drop Out Built A $41M Company with Walid Halty the 23 year-old founder of DVinci energy, lists his top ten habits and philosophies that helped him build his company.
Coming in at number 7 is mentoring:
7. Enlist Mentors. “I’m only 23,” Halty admits. “That’s why I have a team of advisors. I can say to them, hey, what would you do here or hey, I’m struggling with this, and they give me actionable information.” Acknowledge your weaknesses and seek feedback from those who have already walked your path.
Whether you are 23 or 63 as a founder you can benefit from mentoring. Whether you take advantage of mentoring through a seed funding company like Y-Combinator or TechStars, join an academic mentoring program, like MIT VMS, or access mentoring in your accelerator or incubator, mentors can provide great feedback, advice, guidance, and insight based on their experience and expertise.
I do suggest you read the full article as the other 9 topics are all good advice for founders. However, there is one in particular that resonated with me:
10. Minimize Your Decision-Making. Steve Jobs was famousfor wearing the same outfit everyday—a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and a pair of New Balance sneakers. Why? He knew that decision-making is a precious, limited resource. Halty’s philosophy is the same. “On Sundays I take the entire day to plan out the entire week so when I wake up I make as little decisions as possible because I already have to make a lot of decisions on a daily basis,” he says. Conserve your energy for the decisions that count.
I used to tell new hires at my startup that they may think they are joining a company but what they are really joining is a decision-making machine. The number of decisions that need to be made at a startup are at least two orders of magnitude beyond those of an established company. So anyway you can minimize decisions will leave you more time to make the ones you need to make. And while I’m on that topic, be sure to distinguish between the urgent and the important. With the many demands on founders from staff, partners, customers and others it’s too easy to become reactive and make the urgent-sounding decisions instead of uttering or thinking the three more important words in the English language, Wait a minute.
I’ve basically been wearing the same outfit since I was a child: jeans, T-shirt, button down shirt and boots and having a standard outfit saves time in the morning as Steve Jobs did. And morning minutes are always more precious to me as that’s time for preparing for meetings scheduled for first thing in the day.