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Big Omaha Backstage Pass – Shervin Pishevar: Mentorship is a gift

This summer, you heard their speeches in our Big Omaha Video Series. Now, in partnership with our photography and moving images partner Malone & Company, we’re giving you exclusive access to backstage interviews with the entrepreneurs and innovators who presented at our Big Omaha event in May.

For one week only, the Big Omaha Backstage Pass will feature 10 of our Big Omaha speakers in 15 previously unreleased video interviews. We hope these interviews, with topics ranging from the importance of mentoring to the quest to change the world, will engage, encourage, enlighten and excite you to follow your passion, a message at the core of Big Omaha.

Our 10th and final backstage interview is with Shervin Pishevar, managing partner of Menlo Ventures.

Mentorship is a gift


One, I think mentorship is a gift in and of itself. By mentoring you’re already giving something to the mentor, right, as the mentee. So the value of it is just being in that relationship as a mentor and a mentee. And so if you go about it with that attitude it, as a mentor, is very different.

And the other thing I would say is, you know, you’d be surprised, there’s so many people that are afraid to ask that almost no one asks. For me, my relationships with my mentors have been incredibly valuable to kind of figure out things and think about them. Because there’s nothing more lonely than trying to make decisions around the biggest things in your life and not having the counsel of people who have been there and done it before.

You know, there are incredible people all around us, and we’re not engaging with teach other. And by engaging, you learn so much from people you’d be surprised how much you’re going to learn from. So I think there’s mentors from all walks of life, for all walks of life and situations, and so I think go into it with that attitude.

Embrace your child’s idea


If your child has an idea, really embrace it. And going back to the quote about life is about experiences, not materials, give them experiences that will become fertile ground for them to learn from.

So the way my daughter’s idea happened is I was traveling and I bought one of those audio recorders — she liked to hear the stories in my own voice — so I was recording her favorite stories in my own voice, and she would listen to it when I was away, you know, when she was going to sleep. And so one day I’m driving her to school and she says, “Daddy, I want a pillow that tells me stories.” And it was brilliant. I was like, “Darya, that’s an amazing idea.” And I think I could’ve reacted with, “Darya, that’s a really amazing idea,” and then moved on to like, you know, “Don’t’ forget your backpack,” right? Instead, it was like, ‘That’s an amazing idea, let’s do something about it,” to use that as a case of showing her that her idea was being taken seriously and that she could take her idea and actually bring it to life.

So she actually presented in front of a group of women called Girls in Tech. And she was super nervous, got dressed up and, you know, as we walked in — and I was speaking on a panel before — and as we walked in she’s like “Daddy, I can’t do it. I’m too nervous. There’s no way I can do this.” And I remember, I made the right decision, instead of adding pressure I was like, ‘That’s absolutely fine. Whatever you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to speak. If you’re afraid, it’s OK,” because I knew she was going to watch me speak. And I spoke for 45 minutes about women in technology and the importance of getting more women in technology. So the hope was she would be inspired. And exactly, it worked. She basically listened to the talk, and she got rid of her fear and she raised her hand and got up and spoke in front of 50 women. And then she was, you know, surrounded by women. Like, it was the most beautiful thing.

To watch Pishevar’s Big Omaha presentation, see our post: “Big Omaha Video Series: Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures.”

About Big Omaha and Thinc Iowa, our two premier events:

Big Omaha, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, is held each May to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs, especially those with an interest in the tech industry. Visit BigOmaha.com to learn more.

Thinc Iowa, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, will take place for the first time October 20-21 in Des Moines, Iowa. Its mission: Provide a common ground for startups and corporations to explore partnerships, examine innovation and share lessons learned. Visit ThincIowa.com to learn more (tickets still available).

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