Virtual and anonymous mentoring

thirty2give

I’m always on the lookout for articles about virtual mentoring, as I believe that is the only way to scale mentoring. Given that probably the hardest admin task at MIT Venture Mentoring Service is scheduling meetings, new scheduling tools like Qipo, used by VMS are always of interest as well.

The article New Virtual Mentoring App, thirty2give, Anonymously Matches Mentors and Mentees Worldwide on OpenPR is about thirty2give LLC. Yes, I do read press releases, they are a vestige of pre-Internet days, but they still can contain useful information.

Here’s the first paragraph that spells our what the thirty2give virtual mentoring program is about.

Recently, thirty2give LLC (www.thirty2give.com) launched a ground-breaking mobile application that enables anyone with a smartphone to find or become a mentor anywhere in the world. The new app—called thirty2give—creates a global framework for transferring knowledge by bringing virtual mentors and mentees together in public and private chat rooms for the sole purpose of sharing their expertise.

There are actually two important concepts: one is that mentors and mentees are anonymous, the other is that mentoring is done virtually, at a distance. The concept and value of anonymity has raged even before the Web became a communications vehicle, not just for scientists as originally envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee, but for the world.

Pros:

  • Eliminates potential bias of the mentor, and of the mentee.
  • Protects celebrities and others who do not wish to disclose their identity
  • Focuses the encounter on helping the mentee, undistracted by appearance, dress, racial identity, etc.

Cons:

  • I believe that in virtually all cases founders want to vet their service provider, whether they be an investor, a lawyer, bookkeeper, candidate for employment, or vendor. Obviously that can’t be done without access to the provider’s identity.
  • Knowing a lot about the mentee helps the mentor be more effective. Mentoring sessions are short: 60 to 90 minutes. The more the mentor knows going in to the session the better. A good example is understanding the mentees work history and his or her intent around being mentored. Thirty2give is asking the mentor to fly blind.
  • One function of mentoring is to provide contacts: potential customers, channel partners, professional service providers like lawyers and bookkeepers. It’s virtually impossible to make an effective referral for an anonymous client.

 “Think about it: If you had a curtain between you and a mentor where you could not be influenced or biased by appearances, gender, or race, imagine the questions you’d ask,” said Chief Marketing Officer Al Robinson. “Imagine the knowledge you’d gain with an invaluable experience as the end result.”

When reviewing any content, whether on the Web or in print the first thing I do is vet the author(s). I’m looking for credibility, experience, and expertise.

Thirty2give LLC was founded by five professional executives who represent four different industries and each have more than 20 years of mentoring experience. The company, which is based in Philadelphia, Penn., was originated from the concept of “make the world better”. Its overriding goal is to support a disruptive virtual mentoring approach that contributes to the success of people all around the globe.

I’ll be tracking Thirty2give to evaluate their success in their two disruptive dimensions: anonymity and virtual mentoring. As anyone familiar with the scientific method knows, your experiment should be testing one variable, not two or more. Otherwise it’s impossible to identify correlation, let alone causation. Their app is available on both iTunes and Google Play. I’ll be downloading the Apple version today. Holidays are always great times to get work done for me – few distractions.

 

 

 

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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