Evan is the CEO and co-founder of Abnormal Security. In this class, Evan breaks down what a functional and effective culture of leadership means at enterprise startups, and the best ways to foster that culture. Prior to Abnormal, Evan most recently led product and machine learning teams at Twitter after co-founding successful companies including Bloomspot, acquired by JPMorgan Chase, and AdStack, acquired by TellApart.
I think that the right mentors for you both depend on you and also what stage of the journey you're in. So I think that,it's good to have a full portfolio of different types of mentors, but for me, what I found most useful is finding mentors that are experts in things that I'm not, I don't know a lot about.
My background's in software engineering and product management, so I've gotten a lot more value from, great marketing leaders, great sales leaders. And I think the best mentors are people that, they're not like 10 years ahead of you in terms of their experience, obviously they're there, they're probably world-class if that's the case, but I think the best mentors have stage relevant feedback.
Evan: So for me, what I've found is that people that are like one or two years ahead that can look back on their recent past. Hey when I was there a year ago or two years ago. Here's some things that worked out really well for me. And here's the things that didn't work out for me. So I think that's really important for, I think, functional mentors that can really give you some specific advice about, here are the best practices, here's things that are maybe [00:49:00] unsurprising here's things I wish I did earlier.
That were kind of disproportionately impactful. I think that's really important for, I think, functional mentors. I think the second category of mentors is,I think it's more like investors and board members, people that really understand like where's the company to get to and what is required for you to do that.
So what are some things that are maybe unintuitive for you as an early stage entrepreneur that you really want to be thinking about now to tee you up for the future? Maybe quick example there,a great board member will be telling you it really. Hey, when you want an IPL in five years, here's what some of the properties that have to be true about the company, right?
Evan: Maybe your margins have to be in this zone,your net revenue retention needs to be in a certain zone. Not necessarily that you need to like be there today, but it helps you build a roadmap for okay, for those things to be true. What do I have to be doing, now later to get to that gets that final point.
And I think the kind of third category of mentors is, is more of a, a coach of sorts, right? That could be a professional executive coach. It could be a therapist. It could be [00:50:00] even like a co-founder I think finding someone that can help really inspect your thinking, Help identify,maybe some of the, some of the flaws and how you're making decisions, help you understand how you really trying to show up, how are you representing what's really important for you to be spending your time on?
I think I'm getting some, getting a good coach that can really help. And to up your game and some of the, decision-making some of the kind of,cultural, cultural ways, how you can be, how you can play that role for the rest of your team. So those are three categories, right?
I think like functional mentors that have, stage relevant, Regent stage relevant experience, kind of business mentors that can give you a sense of where you need to go. And then some sort of, coach that can help you really up your game in the moment to make sure you're growing, learning as an executive.