A chance meeting with Kinkos founder Paul Orfalea changed the trajectory of Raad Mobrem’s life. He met the legendary founder on the street, recognized him and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. “During the 15 minutes we had, I asked him about entrepreneurship and he shared some key lessons that inspired me to start my own company—which I eventually did,” says Mobrem. “Years later, the same company would be acquired by Intuit and became the basis for the new QuickBooks Online. In 15 minutes, my life changed completely because I had access to a person who is considered one of the best business experts of our time.”
Mobrem’s experience reflects what many successful founders say has been the key to their success – learning from those who have gone before them. “I’ve noticed that the most successful and well-rounded people in this world are constantly learning and asking others who have achieved different goals how they did it,” says Mobrem. “Why learn the hard way when you can ask others, who are considered the best, how they did it?”
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In addition to Orfalea, Mobrem learned from many other mentors as his career progressed, which he realizes was an incredible privilege. He wanted to find a way to democratize this access to mentorship, so last year he launched Intro, a service that lets users book one-on-one conversations with experts, including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and designer and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe. “With Intro, we want to recreate this kind of experience for people all over the world and reduce the barriers that prevent this kind of access,” says Mobrem.
Related: 3 Steps to a Mentoring Program That Works
How does it work?
Users looking to test out the product can browse Intro’s list of experts on the website, whose expertise ranges from business and interior design to nutrition and fashion. The experts are available to book calls from 15 minutes to an hour. A 15-minute session with a high-profile expert like Ohanian or Zoe costs $776 or $1,000, respectively, although there are experts available for a range of prices.
Want to see if Kinkos founder Orfalea can give you advice as good as what he gave Mobrem? He is available for 30-minute calls. Like many experts on the platform, Orfalea donates the $550 he earns for that call to charity, in this case his Audacious Foundation.
The service is certainly not cheap, but the price pales in comparison to hiring a world-class interior designer or bidding on lunch with a legendary founder at a charity auction, for example.
So far, most experts have joined the platform after hearing about it in their networks. – The criteria are different for each category, but we tend to look for those who are respected and recognized in their own industry, who believe in the mission of giving access to more people with their knowledge and expertise, says Mobrem.
Intro’s business and interior design categories have proven to be the most popular so far, but it is constantly adding new categories of experts. Mobrem’s goal is to continue to expand into new categories, add new experts and ensure that the platform works as seamlessly as possible. “We’ve learned that if we stick to that formula, growth follows,” he says.
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