Following our interviews with Avatech mentors, this week we talked to Vahid Jozi, one of our great mentors who has helped our teams on their way since Cycle 1. Vahid is the founder of Kimlik – Intelligent Audience Management.
Avatech: Tell us about the field you’re working at and your background.
Vahid: Education-wise I’m a computer engineer but I had my first company when I was 16 and had many many since. Currently I’m active in ad tech, data tech (data science) and fin tech.
Avatech: What has been your biggest achievement and what are you most proud of?
Vahid: My largest achievement on my resume is selling my a-little-over-a-year-old company for over a million dollars when I was 19. However, I count my biggest achievement having had the opportunity to work with some of the smartest and the most fascinating tech people and companies in the world.
Avatech: Have you had a mentor? If yes who was the most important and how was the experience with this mentor?
Vahid: Absolutely. I’ve had a number of mentors in my life and have always had them since I remember. The most effective mentor I had was a highly successful gentlemen, much older than my father who taught me three main things:
- People almost always know the right answer, they just haven’t found it in their thoughts yet
- Always take the time to take a step back and look at the larger picture. That’s when you can assess if you are working towards your goal or just spinning your wheels.
- You don’t need to care about everything nor you should make every decision. Focus on the few that matter and ignore the many that make no difference.
Avatech: What has been your biggest challenge and what have you learned?
Vahid: Getting tunnel vision and not realizing it. When folks are heavily involved with something, they fail to look around and get a clear picture of their surrounding. This causes them to not see the grand vision and prevents them from working efficiently. I’m still struggling with this.
Avatech: What is your favorite productivity tool?
Vahid: Google Calendar + Evernote
Avatech: What is your favorite startup book?
Vahid: There are two
- Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
- Venture Deals by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson
Avatech: What did you choose entrepreneurship as a career?
Vahid: It was sheer luck and circumstance. There was never a tradeoff analysis or a clear decision for me.
Avatech: Besides mentors what helped you through entrepreneur journey?
Vahid: My support structure that includes other entrepreneurs, friends, family, non-work-related hobbies, reading and music.
Which startup do you admire most?
Vahid: SpaceX and Google X (though they’re not startups by many standards)
Avatech: Who has influenced you most?
Vahid: My grandmother. Her rollercoaster of a life combined with her strength and kindness has always been guide to me.
Avatech: How do you spend most of your time?
Vahid: Trying my hardest to create value and that’s often not in a monetary form.
Avatech: What should a team prepare for a mentorship session?
Vahid: Research your mentor first. There isn’t a bigger waste of time than the team asking questions the mentor can’t or isn’t qualified to answer.
Avatech: How can teams define which mentors are good for them?
Vahid: I’d consider 3 criteria
- Gut feeling. Was there a spark?
- Knowledge or experience in the industry
- How would an hour of this person a week change your business?
Avatech: What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?
Vahid: Think less, do more. Failure, embarrassments and stress are stepping stones towards your eventual success.