I AM CEO PODCAST

IAM464- Co-founder Connects Entrepreneurs to Build Sustainable Relationships

Podcast Interview with Kasra Khalili

Kasra is the CEO and Co-founder of Mintor, a platform connecting entrepreneurs, matching them based on experiences, needs, and personality, to build sustainable relationships. Kasra shares his experiences of networking in his upcoming book, “Askholes: How to Give First and Network Later to Create Lifelong, Valuable Relationships”. Additionally, Kasra is the Baton Rouge Chapter Director of Startup Grind. He excels in the areas of operations, customer success, and strategy development and execution.

  • CEO Hack: Meditation and prioritization
  • CEO Defined: Catalyst is not the source of the company's success

Website: https://mintor.co/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kasra-khalili/
linkedin.com/company/mintor-co/

Twitter: twitter.com/kasrakhalili
twitter.com/mintor_co


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Transcription

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello, hello hello, this is Gresh for me I AM CEO podcast I have a very special guest on the show today. I've Kasra Khalili of Mintor. Kasra, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Kasra Khalili 0:36

Hey, Gresh, happy to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:37

Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Kasra, so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Kasra is the CEO and co-founder of Mintor, a platform connecting entrepreneurs, matching them based on experiences, needs, and personalities to build sustainable relationships.

Kasra shares his experiences of networking in this upcoming book Askholes: How to Give First and Network Later to Create Lifelong, Valuable Relationships. Additionally, Kasra is the Baton Rouge chapter, Director of Startup Grind, and excels in the areas of operation, customer success and strategy development, and of course, execution. Kasra, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

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Kasra Khalili 0:38

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 0:42

All right, let's do it. So I wanted to kick everything off, I hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story, what led you to get started in your business?

Kasra Khalili 1:18

Sure so my story is an interesting one, it really starts when my family immigrated here from Iran. So during that upbringing, I was exposed to a number of businesses that my parents had started, operated, and maybe had sold. So I always like to say that they do me from entrepreneurship and by that, I mean, the sheer experience of growing became the norm in which I looked at businesses operating, I saw how quickly they made decisions, and they tested new ideas.

When I went into my career role, which ultimately took a turn for Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment, I was a very successful sales professional. I love that role. However, day by day, when you really realize you can't, one decision has to go through 10 people, especially an old school company, started with me. But really, my parents hustled, for better or worse, to get to where they were. For me, I really wanted to take a different route.

Within the first six months of leaving college, I began starting to reach out to business owners, and people in the tech community trying to get connected. It was when I hit barrier after barrier that Mintor came up and my barrier. I mean, I searched LinkedIn, I went through Hilda searches, I hit the connect button hundreds of times, I probably went over 1000 messages, I went to events, I went to meetups, I went to the local SCORE chapter, which gives you access to mentors. But what that really means is, they give you a very, very old retired guy who gives you a scripted business plan. And he says, fill this out. Don't get me wrong. So a lot of those things were okay.

But I guess I got to a point where I thought, why does it have to be this hard? I ultimately found my quote-unquote mentor and this guy was in California, who really helped me turn my life around like 180, in terms of the way I looked at the business and what I saw in myself. It was on a flight home when I just thought this, this has to be a better way to do this, like there, and after searching, and searching, and not finding anything that I thought was up to par.

I approached my now co-founder and CTO Scott Knight with the idea of Mintor, a platform for entrepreneurs to connect based on matching. So that's where we are today. We've been at it for three years now, building for one, a couple of tests later, we have our app coming out here at the end of the month. So we're excited to get there.

Gresham Harkless 3:41

Nice. That's super exciting to hear. And I think that you're absolutely right. And it's funny that you say that because I think a lot of times people haven't started a business. So sometimes, they don't necessarily know what I guess the normal of it is, but you haven't had your parents, and seeing them work and see them hustle as you said, you kind of know exactly what that experience is like.

And not only that, but it seems like you're also helping out so many other people because I think at the heart of it as entrepreneurs, you usually see that there's a problem. So you see if there's an issue and rather than just, complain about it, you actually decide, hey, I'm gonna build this app on and build this platform or do whatever it is that I felt like I was missing throughout my process.

Kasra Khalili 4:11

Yeah, absolutely. And I hope that the really at the heart of the man in I was made even more selfish, I met with people who said they had the experience, and they didn't. I met with other people who said they had all this experience and had it and then wanted to sell me a service in the first 30 minutes.

And also a point where I don't share, there's a lot of people here, maybe that, that I've met that didn't share the same values as I had, they didn't have the same upbringing or background. I came here I was five but still being an immigrant, I feel a different way. I see things in a different way. And the same road isn't just not there for everyone.

So, the hope of it is, is people can be a little selfish, too. They don't just have to take advice from anyone and they don't have to give to anyone either. I think we really just want to open the door for people to connect with clarity. How many times have you sent a connection request on LinkedIn, and, hopefully, message back then every hook message back? How do I say this in a way where I'm not trying to sell? I'm just trying to be nice. Even if you do that the chance of success is, is really up in the air. There's no knowing what the other person is thinking.

Gresham Harkless 5:14

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I love that phrase connects with clarity, because I think you're absolutely right. And I think that a lot of times, we feel like sometimes, especially when we're getting started, I think, when you get somebody's success, or get somebody's advice, you think you have to take it, but you're absolutely right, where it's not necessarily maybe the best advice for one what you're doing or two where you want to take your business or your venture. And being able to kind of siphoned through that, and that feels kind of bad about being selfish because I think a lot of times, you have to do that in order to be successful.

Kasra Khalili 5:42

Absolutely, and building relationships isn't that true, too. It's taken advice from 10 people is like, reading 10 different blogs, it's a one-time thing, just saying this to you, they're none of the people that connect with that early stage before I met, the guy there in California wanted to have another conversation with me. like, in the beginning.

I didn't say how all these problems helped me said, Hey, this is what I'm doing this for, I'm interested in, and he would do the same. Let's see how we can help each other. Clearly, he knows where I need help, but identify where I could give him value. Long-term like that has been one of the most successful relationships I've ever had, and I will never let it go.

Gresham Harkless 6:17

Yeah, that makes perfect sense, you have to definitely cherish those relationships because that's what success ends up being, the people with you are able to build those sustainable and strong relationships. So I know you've touched on it a little bit, I wanted to hear a little bit more about Mintor, of course, about your book as well. So you can take me through both of those things.

Kasra Khalili 6:32

Absolutely. So Mintor is a match-based platform for entrepreneurs to network with each other. They're matched based on their experience needs and personality. The goal behind Mintor's is to take away the search times, take away the messages, try to phrase them in different ways, and get people to meet as quickly as possible in order to build successful relationships.

For us, for someone who gets into Mintor, it's entrepreneur-focused at the moment. So the topics of connection around there are marketing and sales, design, development, things of that nature. When you get on, what the platform does for you is take you to a narrow view of people who not only meet the experience that you're looking for but also what we've made it both ways, where I will also be able to see what I can give to you.

Based on the experiences I've identified for myself, more times than not there. There's this image around mentorship or giving that you just have this really experienced person who has all this knowledge. And whoever you are, you got to be really, really grateful, they're willing to give you five minutes. And for me, I'm like, okay, that five minutes, I can listen to them online or their next talking like, you have to be able to build some relationships, what we've realized, in developing mentors that we used to have these labels, we just have mentor-mentee labels.

During our first test, we had four times as many mentors and mentees. We were like we could not understand what was going on. So what we found out was mentors wanted mentors, mentees wanted mentees, and people wanted to connect for a variety of reasons. And it's not just these people who have a bunch of experience and these people that are grateful, and we're giving them the opportunity to learn like, no, no, both of those people can intersect their experiences and needs.

And as we talked about networking and connecting with clarity and intention. So the book yeah, you mentioned the book. So the book is almost, a spin-off of Mintor for me, I guess, being in the space. Now three years, I've got to the point where I really amassed so much knowledge in the networking space, in the gift first mentality of providing value and just giving and giving. And that comes back tenfold. That's really where the foundation of it is. It's based on stories of successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and creatives that have networks through getting versus that go to events and have a strategy, that are so targeted in the way that they've built the network around them, and the way that they let people in.

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Those are the kinds of stories that I tell, and I've tried to help people get over the hump of, showing up to an event and not knowing what to do and hoping they meet the right person. Or really, the whole LinkedIn dilemma of adding people and adding people and what does it really lead to? So yeah, as calls are really about that it's about opening up. It's about networking in different ways. And I'm excited that it really comes out that comes out in April 2020 Is the publish date. So we're excited to get that out.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

Yeah, and like I told you offline, that's an awesome name. And I love obviously an awesome, purpose and behind everything that you're doing, because I think you bring up a very valid point that kind of like there's an old school mentality of having somebody with all this experience and expertise. And then you have somebody that is not as experienced, and they ask them to be, questions as a mentor, or to be a mentor so that they can learn things from them.

But it kind of doesn't take into account that a lot of times how you build those truly strong relationships is giving from both aspects and one having a certain level of expertise and may be given to a person in a different way and understanding that it's kind of like a two-way street. And I think that what you're building on what you guys have with Mintor is definitely awesome that you guys are doing,

Kasra Khalili 9:33

I appreciate it. And on that note, I met someone here, and interestingly enough, sometimes it's values you don't really know or understand. I met someone here in New Orleans who is mentoring and has joined the advisory board of a local startup, simply to learn about the hotel space. he goes, I'll give you all of my knowledge. But heaps that I've never worked with anyone in the hotel space, a startup associated with hotels, none of that the only thing I do is book hotels.

So just out of his own curiosity, he was willing to give back now, how many people know that about him? I don't know. but so many of these people are willing to give for more reasons than we would think.

Gresham Harkless 10:37

Exactly. Yeah. And sometimes you have to have like those questions that you guys have to help uncover exactly why a person is, looking for a mentor or mentee and what exactly, they're hoping to get out of it. So I think that helps out a ton.

Kasra Khalili 10:48

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 10:50

And I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and it can be for you personally, or for your organization. But why do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Kasra Khalili 10:56

Oh, me? Well, me personally resiliency, someone if anyone saw the things that I and I know a lot of entrepreneurs who go through, who would think you must be crazy, like, why are you still doing this? Why haven't you given up yet?

So resiliency, for me, man, we're on us I'd like to call the third pivot. Every day, something is changing, and we're just adapting like hell, and that has helped us a lot. So the secret sauce of the platform Mintor, it's the matching.

Gresham Harkless 11:24

Yeah, definitely excited to see it as well, too. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack, so this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have for what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Kasra Khalili 11:35

So I'll habits I think I'll start with their habits are two things, meditation and prioritization. And I credit the meditation to my coach, anyone? I am a CEO, and I like to think of myself as smart, and intelligent, really, I know it all, but I just don't. So I have a coach that I work with weekly. Meditation is really just, it sets me in the right mood daily, and it's become a non-negotiable thing.

Gresham Harkless 12:01

So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question Kasra this is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different QuickBooks CEOs on the show. So Kasra what has been CEO mean to you?

Kasra Khalili 12:10

It means that I'm the catalyst, not the source of the company's success, and I ensure the alignment of the values and vision, maybe now I make a lot of decisions, and maybe now I come up with ideas. But as you grow, I've seen it in businesses, and I've seen hidden ones that I helped run as well as the people around, you are going to be the source of it, you need to be the catalyst that helps all of those great things come out.

And the second part, you ensure that the alignment of the values and vision is because it's easy to get off center, it's easy to start, find ways, and cut corners that don't align with the line with who you say you are, or who you, how you make your company perceived to be who your company is perceived to be. So really those things for me, among everything else.

Gresham Harkless 12:56

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And kind of touches on that idea of, especially being a leader. And a lot of times, being a leader is not necessarily doing everything. And I think, going back to kind of like the E Myth, where you get stuck in that technician, you're doing all those things. Instead, you're supposed to be the person that kind of empowers the people that are on your team to be successful. And rather than, being that source, you are the catalysts, as you said, and you're actually sparking the greatness that's within the people that are on your team.

Kasra Khalili 13:20

Yeah. And you talk about ripple, how they, we always talk about failure and being okay with failure, right? Well, it can be easy for, people around, you come up with one or two ideas, that'd be like, one thing to set is like, it's let them know, Hey, you got to bring me 50. And I'm gonna knock them all down before one gets put up.

Especially in a startup mentality, everyone around you needs to be okay with failure just as much as you because what's gonna happen is for someone to sit in there at their desk with an amazing idea. And because of that, you came off the wrong way, or you hadn't set up a system, which those ideas are coming up, that idea will never see the light of day, and that in the one, six months down the line, that person is sitting that meeting where it's being brought up and goes.

Oh, I thought about that one. And maybe that's something but they never will. But it's Yeah, I mean, that same mentality has been rolled down.

Gresham Harkless 14:06

Yeah, absolutely. It goes back to kind of like that culture that you have to create. And I think I'm really big into, setting expectations. So you set that expectation, just like you said, you say, hey team, we're just gonna come up with as many ideas as possible, understand that we're not going to do everything.

But I want you to just generate as many ideas as possible when you set that expectation. I think it helps if you go to, the CEOs, or you go to whoever's in charge of their office and say- Hey, this is an idea and he said – No, that's not the best fit. They're not like, Okay, well, I'm never gonna give you an idea ever again, they understand that it's part of the process.

Kasra Khalili 14:33

Yeah, it's, Hey, that's the thing I am the most excited about. And the most fearful is the culture of the company that we're building. And I say I'm excited, obviously, because you get to build it in your eyes. But I'm fearful because it there's, it's so fragile, it's like a product, so might give you feedback really quick and you just change the button to blue, use the green. It's not like that,

So it's something we think about a lot and, just a vulnerability mode from a CEO is that. That's something we fear. I fear personally that if I'm unable to do that I won't be successful. It's not really everything else can can be adjusted, and then I'm okay with those. But it's definitely one of the toughest parts of the company.

Gresham Harkless 15:11

Yeah, absolutely. I think anytime that, like I used to say you peel back the onion of a business, you realize it's made up of people, and that people are like you said, it can be very fragile in the sense that you can do something or not do something, and it can affect, the overall culture as a whole. So you kind of have to understand, it's a great responsibility, to be a CEO to have the opportunity to lead people. And I think we all have to be kind of aware of that.

So I appreciate that definition, Kasra, that perspective, I appreciate your time, even more, what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. And then of course, how best they can get a copy of the book when it comes out. And of course, download an app and a platform.

Kasra Khalili 15:43

Of course, hey thank you for having me on, I'll leave with, the fact that Mintoris coming out of here at the end of the month, what they can do is you can reach out to me personally at kkhalili@mintor.co. You can also visit our site mintor.co if you want to leave your information and we'll be in touch for the upcoming launch. It's coming out this fall. So really excited. Good advice hands. So that's about it, the book itself, follow me on LinkedIn, you'll get some information there.

Gresham Harkless 16:12

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We will have those links in the show notes just so that you can download the app and also get a copy of the book and follow up with you as well. So thank you so much again, my friend and I hope you have a phenomenal rest today.

Outro 16:21

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is I am CEO podcast

Hello, hello hello, this is Gresh for me I am CEO podcast I have a very special guest on the show today. I've Kasra Khalili of Mintor. Kasra, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Kasra Khalili 0:36

Hey, Gresh, happy to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:37

Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Kasra, so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Kasra is the CEO and co founder of Mintor, a platform connecting entrepreneurs, matching them based on experiences, needs and personalities to build sustainable relationships. Kasra shares his experiences of network in this upcoming book Askholes: How to Give First and Network Later to Create Lifelong, Valuable Relationships. Additionally, Kasra is the Baton Rouge chapter, Director of Startup Grind, excels in the areas of operation, customer success and strategy development and of course, execution. Kasra, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

Kasra Khalili 0:38

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 0:42

All right, let's do it. So I wanted to kick everything off, I hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story, what led you get started your business?

Kasra Khalili 1:18

Sure. Um, so my story is an interesting one, it really starts when my family immigrated here from Iran. So during that upgreat, bringing my I was exposed to a number of businesses that my parents had started, operated, and maybe you've had sold. So I always like to say that they do me wrong entrepreneurship. And by that, I mean, the sheer experience of growing became the norm in which I looked at businesses operating, I saw how quickly they made decisions, and they tested, new ideas. And when I went into my career role, which ultimately took a turn for Occupational Safety, Health and Environment, I was a very successful sales professional. I love that role. However, day by day, when you really realize you can't, one decision has to go through 10 people, especially an old school company, started with me. But really, my parents hustled, for better or worse, to get to where they were. For me, I really wanted to take a different route. And within the first six months of leaving college, I began starting to reach out to business owners, people in the tech community trying to get connected. It was when it was when I hit barrier after barrier with that that mentor came up and my barrier. I mean, I searched LinkedIn, I went through, Hilda searches, I hit the connect button hundreds of times, I probably well over 1000 messages, I went to events, I went to meetups, I went to the local SCORE chapter, which gives you access to mentors. But what that really means is, they give you a very, very old retired guy who gives you a scripted business plan. And he says, fill this out. Don't get me wrong. So a lot of those things were okay. But I guess I got to a point where I thought, why does it have to be this hard. I ultimately found my quote, unquote mentor and this guy was in California, who really helped me turn my life around like 180, in terms of the way I looked at business and what I saw on myself. It was on a flight home where I just thought this, this has to be a better way to do this, like there, and after searching, and searching, and not finding anything that I thought it was up to par, I approached my now co founder and CTO Scott knight with the idea of Mintor, a platform for entrepreneurs to connect on based on matching. So that's where we are today. We've been at it for three years now, building for one, a couple of tests later, we have our app coming out here at the end of the month. So we're excited to get there.

Gresham Harkless 3:41

Nice. That's super exciting to hear. And I think that you're absolutely right. And it's funny that you say that, because I think a lot of times people haven't started a business. So sometimes, they don't necessarily know what I guess the normal of it is, but you haven't had your parents and seeing them work and see them hustle as you said, you kind of know exactly what that experience is like. And not only that, but it seems like you're also helping out so many other people because I think at the heart of it as entrepreneurs, you usually see that there's a problem. So you see if there's an issue and rather than just, complain about it, you actually decide, hey, I'm gonna build this app on and build this platform or do whatever it is that I felt like I was missing throughout my process.

Kasra Khalili 4:11

Yeah, absolutely. And I hope that the really at the heart of the man in I was made even selfish, I met with people who said they had the experience, and they didn't, I met with other people that said they had all this experience and had it and then wanted to sell me a service in the first 30 minutes. And also a point where, where I don't share, there's a lot of people here, maybe that, that I've met that didn't share the same values as I had, they didn't have the same upbringing or background. I came here I was five but still being an immigrant, I feel a different way.I see things in a different way. And the same road isn't just not there for everyone. So, the hope of it is, is people can be a little selfish, too. They don't just have to take advice from anyone and they don't have to give to anyone either.I think we really just want to open the door for people to connect with clarity. how many times you You send a connection request on LinkedIn, and, hopefully message back then every hook message back. How do I say this in a way where I'm not trying to sell? I'm just trying to be nice. Even if you do that the chance of success is, is really up in the air. There's no no knowing what the other person is thinking.

Gresham Harkless 5:14

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I love that phrase connect with clarity, because I think you're absolutely right. And I think that a lot of times, we feel like sometimes, especially when we're getting started, I think, when you get somebody's success, or get somebody's advice, you think you have to take it, but you're absolutely right, where it's not necessarily maybe the best advice for one what you're doing or two where you want to take your business or your venture. And being able to kind of siphoned through that, and that feel kind of bad about being selfish, because I think a lot of times, you have to do that in order to be successful.

Kasra Khalili 5:42

Absolutely. And building relationships isn't that true, too. And, it's taken advice from 10 people is like, reading 10 different blogs, it's a one time thing, just saying this to you, they're none of the people that connect with that early stage, before I met, the guy there in California wanted to have another conversation with me. like, in the beginning, I didn't say how all these problems helped me said, Hey, this is what I'm doing this for, I'm interested in, he would do the same. Let's see what we can help each other. And clearly, he knows where I need help, but identify where I could give him value. Long term like that has been one of most successful relationships I've ever had, and I will never let it go.

Gresham Harkless 6:17

Yeah, that makes perfect sense, you have to definitely cherish those relationships, because that's what success ends up being, the people that you are able to build those sustainable and strong relationships with. So I know you've touched on it a little bit, I wanted to hear a little bit more about Mintor, of course, about your book as well. So you can take me through those both of those things.

Kasra Khalili 6:32

Absolutely. So what Mintor is a match based platform for entrepreneurs to network with each other. And they're matched based on their experience needs and personality, the goal behind mentors is to take away the search times, take away the messages in, trying to phrase it in different ways, and get people to meet as quickly as possible in order to build, successful relationships. For us, for someone that gets into Mintor, it's entrepreneur focused at the moment. So the topics of connection around there are marketing and sales, design, development, things of that nature. When you get on, what the platform does for you is takes you to a narrow view of people who not only meet your experience that you're looking for, but also what we've done is made it both ways, where I will also be able to see what I can give to you, based on the experiences I've identified for myself, more times than not there. There's this image around mentorship or giving that you just have this really experienced person who has all this knowledge. And whoever you are, you got to be really, really grateful. And they're willing to give you five minutes. And for me, I'm like, okay, that five minutes, I can listen to them online or their next talking like, you have to be able to build some relationships, what we've realized, in developing mentors that we used to have these labels, we just have mentor mentee labels. During our first test, we have four times as many mentors and mentees. We were like what we could not understand what was going on. So what we found out was mentors wanted mentors, mentees wanted mentees, people want to connect for a variety of reasons. And it's not just these people have a bunch of experience and these people that are grateful, and we're giving them the opportunity to learn like, no, no, both of those people can intersect their experiences and needs. And really, like we talked about network and connect with clarity and intention. So the book Yeah, you mentioned the book. So the book is almost a, a spin off of Mintor for me, I guess, being in the space. Now three years, I've got to the point where I really amassed so much knowledge in the networking space, in the gift first mentality of providing value and just giving and giving. And that comes back tenfold. That's really where the foundation of it is. It's based on stories of successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, creatives that have network through getting versus that go to events and have a strategy, that are so targeted in the way that they've built the network around them, and the way that they let people in. Those are the kinds of stories that I tell, and I've tried to help people get over the hump of, showing up to an event and not knowing what to do and hoping they meet the right person. Or really, the whole LinkedIn dilemma of adding people and adding people and what does it really lead to? So yeah, as calls is really about that it's about opening up. It's about networking, different way. And I'm excited that it really comes out that comes out in April 2020 Is the publish date. So we're excited to get that out.

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Gresham Harkless 0:38

Yeah, and like I told you offline, that's an that's an awesome name. And I love obviously an awesome, purpose and behind everything that you're doing, because I think you bring up a very valid point that kind of like there's an old school mentality of having somebody with all this experience and expertise. And then you have somebody that is not as experienced, and they ask them to be, questions as a mentor, or to be a mentor so that they can learn things from them. But it kind of doesn't take into account that a lot of times how you build those truly strong relationships is giving from both aspects and one having a certain level of expertise and may be given to a person in a different way and understanding that it's kind of like a two way street. And I think that what you're building on what you guys have with Mintor is definitely awesome that you guys are doing,

Kasra Khalili 9:33

I appreciate it. And And on that note as I met someone here and interestingly enough, sometimes its values you don't really know or understand. I met someone here in New Orleans who is mentoring and has joined the advisory board of a local startup, simply to learn about the hotel space. he goes, I'll give you all of my knowledge, but heaps that I've never worked with any anyone in the hotel space, a startup associated with hotels, none of that the only thing I do is book hotel. So just out of his own curiosity, he was willing to give back now, how many people know that about him? I don't know. but so many of these people are willing to give for more reasons than we would think.

Gresham Harkless 10:37

Exactly. Yeah. And sometimes you have to have like those questions that you guys have to help uncover exactly what why a person is, looking for a mentor or mentee and what exactly, they're hoping to get out of it. So I think that helps out a ton.

Kasra Khalili 10:48

Yeah, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 10:50

And I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce, and it can be for you personally, or for your organization. But why do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Kasra Khalili 10:56

Oh, me? Well, me personally resiliency, someone if anyone saw the things that me and I know a lot of entrepreneurs who go through you would think are you must be crazy, like, why are you still doing this? Why haven't you given up yet? so resiliency, for me, man, we're on our I'd like to call third pivot.every day, we're, something is changing, and we're just adapting like hell, and that has helped us a lot. So the secret sauce of the platform mentor, it's the matching.

Gresham Harkless 11:24

Yeah, definitely excited to see as well, too. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack, so this could be like an apple book, or a habit that you have for what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Kasra Khalili 11:35

So I'll habits I think I'll start with their habits for me are two things, meditation and prioritization. And I credit the meditation to my coach, anyone? I am a CEO, I like to think of myself as smart, intelligent, really, I know it all, but I just don't. So I have a coach that I work with weekly. Meditation is really just, it sets me in the right mood daily, it's become a non negotiable thing.

Gresham Harkless 12:01

So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question Kasra this is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different QuickBooks CEOs on the show. So Kasra what has been CEO mean to you?

Kasra Khalili 12:10

It means that I'm the catalyst, not the source of the company's success, and I ensure the alignment of the values and vision, maybe now I make a lot of decisions, and maybe now I come up with ideas. But as you grow, I've seen it in businesses, and I've seen hidden ones that I helped run as well as the people around, you are going to be the source of it, you need to be the catalyst that helps all of those great things come out. And the second part, you ensure that the alignment of the values and vision is because it's easy to get off center, it's easy to start, finding ways, cut corners that don't align with line with who you say you are, or who you who you, how you make your company perceived to be who your company is perceived to be. So really those things for me, among everything else.

Gresham Harkless 12:56

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And kind of touches on that idea of, especially being a leader. And a lot of times, being a leader is not necessarily doing everything. And I think, going back to kind of like the E Myth, where you get stuck in that technician, you're doing all those things. Instead, you're supposed to be the person that kind of empowers the people that are on your team to be successful. And rather than, being that, that source, you are the catalysts, as you said, and you're actually sparking the greatness that's within the people that are on your team.

Kasra Khalili 13:20

Yeah. And you talk about ripple, how they, we always talk about failure and being okay with failure, right? Well, it can be easy for, people around, you come up with one or two ideas, that'd be like, one thing to set is like, it's let them know, Hey, you got to bring me 50. And I'm gonna knock them all down before one gets put up. Because especially in a startup mentality, everyone around you need to be okay with failure just as much as you because what's gonna happen is someone to sit in there at their desk with an amazing idea. And because of that, you came off the wrong way, or you hadn't set up a system, which those ideas are coming up, that idea will never see the light of day, and that in the one, six months down the line, that person is sitting that meeting where it's being brought up and goes. Oh, I thought about that one. And maybe that's something but they never will. But it's Yeah, I mean, that same mentality has been rolled down.

Gresham Harkless 14:06

Yeah, absolutely. It goes back to kind of like that culture that you have to create. And I think I'm really big into, setting expectations. So you set that expectation, just like you said, you say, hey, team, hey, we're just gonna come up with as many ideas as possible, understand that we're not going to do everything, but I want you to just generate as many ideas as possible when you set that expectation. I think it helps if you go to, the CEOs, or you go to whoever's in charge their office and say, Hey, this is idea. And he said, No, that's not the best fit. They're not like, Okay, well, I'm never gonna give you an idea ever again, they understand that it's part of the process.

Kasra Khalili 14:33

Yeah, it's, Hey, that's the thing I am the most excited about. And the most fearful is the culture of the company that we're building. And I say, I'm excited, obviously, because you get to build it in your eyes. But I'm fearful because it there's, it's so fragile, it's like a product, so might give you feedback really quick and you just change the button to blue, use the green. It's not like that, So it's something we think about a lot and, just a vulnerability mode from a CEO is that That's something we fear. I fear personally that if I'm unable to do that I won't be successful. It's not really everything else can can be adjusted, and then I'm okay with those. But it's definitely tough. Yeah, one of the toughest parts of the company.

Gresham Harkless 15:11

Yeah, absolutely. I think anytime that, like I used to say you peel back the onion of a business, you realize it's made up of people, and that people are like you said, it can be very fragile in the sense that you can do something or not do something, and it can affect, the overall culture as a whole. So you kind of have to be understand, it's a great responsibility, to be a CEO to have the opportunity to lead people. And I think we all have to be kind of aware of that. So I appreciate that definition, Kasra, that perspective, I appreciate your time, even more, what I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. And then of course, how best they can get a copy of the book when it comes out. And of course, download an app and a platform.

Kasra Khalili 15:43

Of course, hey thank you for having me on, I'll leave with, the fact that Mintoris coming out of here at the end of the month, what they can do is you can reach out to me personally at kkhalili@mintor.co. And you can also visit our site mintor.co If you want to leave your information and we'll be in touch for the upcoming launch. It's coming out this fall. So really excited. Good advice hands. So that's about it, the book itself, follow me on LinkedIn, you'll get some information there.

Gresham Harkless 16:12

Awesome, awesome. Awesome. We will have those links in the show notes just so that you can download the app and also get a copy of the book and follow up with you as well. So thank you so much again, my friend and I hope you have a phenomenal rest today.

Outro 16:21

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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