[This post is part of a series on Mentors and Heroes]
Peter Kim is a senior partner at Dachis Corporation, and was previously an analyst at Forrester Research. His current startup, helping companies make social business design a reality, is funded by Austin Ventures. Follow him on Twitter @peterkim.
Peter Kim’s mentor is…
Jay Mulay, Owner of Alles Group
How long have you known each other and how did you first meet?
We first met in Summer 1995 on our first day of work at Coopers & Lybrand. It was my first job out of college; we had desks in the same office.
How would you describe how you relate to your mentor?
I was the apprentice. The prize for “winning” would be a shot at a top tier business school. I was working with grads from Harvard, Darden, Fuqua, and Wharton, so there was plenty of book-smart advice around; but at 21, I needed a good deal of street-smart learning to survive around the office.
How formal or structured is the mentorship? Does Jay know you consider him a mentor?
Totally informal – I was the youngest person on the team by at least ten years, so formal programs didn’t exist. Jay took it upon himself to help out; I’m the same age as his cousin, who was like a little brother to him.
What is one piece of advice your mentor gave you that has stuck with you the most?
Perception matters more than reality. I saw this play out along so many dimensions and it continues to hold true, seven jobs later. The second best piece of advice was, “año and ano don’t mean the same thing.” I was building a discounted cash flow model for a client in Mexico and was labeling the columns for a five-year projection. As you might guess, I don’t speak Spanish, whereas Jay is fluent
What else do you want the world to know about your mentor?
Jay’s someone who never craved the spotlight and was always willing to help. Rare in these times.
Thank you Peter for sharing your mentor with us!