Joe Stump on How to Successfully Blend Mentoring and Friendship

In Chapter 14 of 16 of his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview, Digg colleagues Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose support Joe Stump with friendship, life lessons, encouragement, mentoring, and entrepreneurial guidance. From a post-surgery hospital pick-up through a decision to accept a leap into starting a company, the constant support provides Stump reassurance when making big life and career choices.


Erik:  How did your friends from Digg, Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose, inspire you to take steps and be an entrepreneur?

Joe Stump: What Jay has taught me is that you can be a good human being and be a good businessman at the same time.  Jay is one of my favorite people.  I think one of the best things about Jay, one of the best stories I can use to convey Jay’s personality is: I had back surgery a couple years ago and Jay and Kevin picked me up from the hospital.  Jay came up to my room and was like “well, you ready to go?” and I was like “yeah.”  The nurse was in there.  I introduced him: “this is my boss, Jay.” And he was “I’m not your boss today.  Just a friend picking you up.”

Kevin has influenced me and mentored me.  Basically, he made me accept the fact I was an entrepreneur and that I had to do this.  He also helps me a lot with product and stuff.  Kevin is really good with product. 

Jay did the same thing, where he was “You have to do this.  I have always known you were an entrepreneur. It’s just a matter of you accepting it.”  He has also mentored me a lot on the business side.  Raising venture capital is an extremely – it’s an interesting game to say the very least – and having someone like Jay, who at this point, he has taken a company public, he’s raised probably a couple hundred million dollars over multiple rounds of financing, he knows everybody.  Having a guy like that you can call up and say  -“I have this term sheet, can you talk about it” - it’s invaluable.  You cannot put a price on it.  There are other entrepreneurs out there that would give their pinky to have that