Image from Startup Iceland 2019 mentoring sessions
I have been fortunate to have great mentors through out my career. My dad was my first true mentor. I have played the role of a mentor throughout my career as well, but what has always bothered me is that it is a non-scalable one-on-one solution. Any apprenticeship based learning is that way. I think that technology based mentoring is possible. We have scaled mentoring through books, blogs, vlogs, youtube, instagram and facebook, but we can do better because the technology to do this is getting exponentially better.
The above mentoring session between Yoda and Luke Skywalker always inspires me. Especially at the end when Luke says “I don’t believe this” and Yoda replies “That is why you fail”. I chose to interpret the dialogue in a way that Luke did not believe in himself to lift the X-fighter that is why he failed. Belief and faith are critical components in the mentoring exercise. I read somewhere that a good mentor see the great potential in you that even you don’t see in yourself. We all need people to show us to believe in ourselves and a mentoring relationship is foundational for that.
The current tools that I mentioned are one-way mentoring i.e. the aspirant needs to read, watch and follow what the mentor has done or recommends. The aspirant has to do and calibrate the result and learning. We humans don’t learn that way, that is why we have performance coaches, sports coaches and a number of people who contribute personally to us get better at anything we do. The mentor cannot give specific answers to questions that the aspirant has or suggest corrections to mistakes that we all make. We can solve this problem. Actually the team we invested in has solved this problem. I wrote about the A.I. Videobot technology company that we invested in called Expertrons. I signed up as a mentor and now my A.I. Avatar can answer a number of questions.
The future of work is changing, if the pandemic has shown something it is that the work as we used to do it has changed. With this change comes a number of jobs becoming obsolete and those who used to do those jobs are not going to get their old jobs back. How do we get them to re-tool? Learn how to learn new skills? I don’t know about you but I learn better talking to someone who has successfully transitioned from one job to another. In the connected world we live in it has become really noisy and cluttered. Good luck navigating LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever other social network that is out there. I think the advent of specialized networks for why people join social networks is going to be unpacked. I believe one of the valuable networks is going to be built on top of things like Expertrons.