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How and Why I Keep My Mentors Updated

us mail box

us mail box
Through my many years in tech I’ve meet hundreds, if not thousands of amazing people at conferences, meetups, through introductions, serendipity or social media. Normally the process afterwards is to connect on a social network which usually is LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or add the individual to your newsletter list, in many cases people can get lost in the networks and it’s difficult to keep a track on each contact. Unless you use a CRM system to keep track of every contact which at times can create just more work for you. I’m currently using Contactually . It works well but can take up a lot of time to go through your contacts over the years.

But what about your close mentors, advisors,friends key individuals you want to keep updated and they may or may not follow you on Facebook or Twitter? How do you keep them updated with what you’re working on and let them know you’re thinking about them too?

In 2013 I was at an event with a colleague I hadn’t seen or talked to in about a year. It was a key event he was organizing at Stanford. It was the first ever HBCU (Historically Black Colleges‎) summit where the presidents of HBCUs were visiting Silicon Valley. One of the first sentences out of his mouth was “Wayne, I don’t hear from you, what have you been working on?”. Honestly I was a little surprised being I’m very active on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn and he’s connected with me on all three. But he wanted more, he wanted an EMAIL and he didn’t want it to be another email newsletter. He wanted something personal and digestible and something to know I’m thinking about him too.

After that encounter at the end of 2013 I started making a mentors, key partners, investor, advisors and friends list in Evernote. The list started with around 180 people and now is over 300. I decided that I was going to email these key individuals in my network once a quarter. The email the format is as follows:

Hi, I hope you're doing well.
Short how I'm doing, any major projects or milestones or request.(No more than three lines or 4 lines.)

If there is anything I can do to help you let me know.

Quarterly updates in list format:
1. Projects.
2. Press Mentions
3. Articles I've written.
4. Speaking opportunities I've had
5. Mentoring/Giving Back
6. Personal Update(relationship,health,fitness, family, etc)
7. Link to previous recap

That’s it. I call it my “Mentors List”. After my first couple of “Mentor” emails went out, I immediately saw the fruits of my labor. People responded and most of the time the responses were not about any of the work I mentioned but about the personal updates which was just another reminder that at the end of the day we are all just people and relationships matter.

For 2015 I sent one half-year update and soon I’ll be emailing my second half of 2015 updates with 2016 goals. I’m going to get back to my quarterly updates too.

Is it a perfect system? No but for now it’s simple and it works.

I would love to hear any suggestions or how you keep your mentors, advisor updated?

Also read:
What should I include in my monthly investment update? via Jason Calacanis
Every seed stage founder should send monthly investor updates. via Brenden Mulligan

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