You get the idea. In my experience thus far, the quiet ones tend to be the gold mines.
IMOP there are generally three types of mentors in the startup world -
1. The ones that aren’t qualified to be mentors (spin around with a blindfold on, now throw a dart at random – you probably just hit one)
2. The ones that are very qualified to be mentors but prefer to stay out of the limelight or don’t have/have much less time to engage proactively.
3. The ones who are smart, can help, but are more of a knowledge cog than a mentor.
Knowledge cogs can be just as important as mentors, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on the first two.
Lets start with the wanna-be’s (#1). These are the people in life who readily want to share (or sometimes impose) their thoughts and opinions. They’re the same people who are always wandering through incubators, startup events etc., looking to “chat” or catchup with you. They are the first to offer help or mentorship, and readily take meetings with you at the drop of a hat (but not to be confused with community organizers/enablers).
Have a few people in mind? I’m not going to flat out say these people suck, because that would be a generalization, but from what I’ve experienced to-date, the valuable mentors, advisors, and generally awesome people who know what they’re talking about are the quiet ones who you have to go out of your way to have a conversation with.
Who should you spend your time with? The second group. The quiet ones. These guys and gals are the ones who tend to be too busy to be mentors. The ones who are out of town when you want to get a meeting with them. Even the ones who don’t like what you’re working on. Truth be told, they may very well be right.
So seek the quiet ones, ask for their help, listen to them, listen to yourself, tell them they’re wrong when you think they are, and be willing to admit when they’re right. Sometimes your biggest critics turn out to be your biggest supporters.