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Startup Mentoring

Why I Mentor Startups

Big thinking is collaborative.

I would define graphic design as visual communications. It’s the art of communicating a message or idea in an easy-to-understand and attractive manner. I used to really enjoy both designing the visual and learning the technical side of graphic and website design.

As Metropolis grew, I had to let go of that side and focus on larger picture things like business development, brand building, marketing, creative problem solving, and of course — making money. I also learned that at its core, my business decisions needed to fall in line with what I believed in. I received advice from many people, and some of it fit with my beliefs. Other times, it just wasn’t for me. But the beauty of owning your own company is — it’s yours. And you can make those big decisions that will define your brand and reinforce those relationships you value.

I mentor startups because I love their passion and ideas. I can empathize with them, and share the same excitement and challenges that they face. And perhaps I can help someone avoid some costly mistakes, or just focus on a few key marketing decisions that can really help them out.

I have been participating in the MITX Up Hackathon program for the past three years. In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to some really cool ideas across industries, including software security, biotech, B2C, and government. Each time, I leave my card and offer to be a continued resource for them.

I’ve also met some amazing thinkers. I’m not just talking about the founders of these companies, but of the other mentors as well. These people look at the same issues that I do, but sometimes through very different lenses. It’s humbling to hear their different perspectives and approaches to solving a company’s challenges. And it’s exciting to think about the prospect of combining all of our ideas into one complete solution.

I’ve mentored at MassChallenge, TechStars, Google, Harvard Innovation Lab, and DogPatch Labs. Boston must truly be the innovation hub of the country. I don’t know if I’m more lucky or proud to be a part of it. But as long as I keep being asked back, I’ll continue mentoring startups with fingers crossed that “one of mine” will hit it big.

About the Author: Michael Flint

Michael founded Metropolis Creative in 1999. He is currently an instructor at Northeastern University and has also taught at Bentley College. Speaking engagements include The Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Mass Health Data Consortium, and The Enterprise Center. Michael holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology and has won numerous design awards. Michael actively supports the entrepreneurial and startup community by participating as a mentor with MITX-Up and is e member of OpenHub. He also runs the annual Extreme Website Makeover event which supports local startups and non-profit organizations. When not at work, Michael enjoys painting, brewing beer, and playing hockey.

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