Meet Behind-The-Scenes Mentors Of 15 Top Tech Executives

Dennis Ken Allard

Photo: Dennis Crowley via Teendrama

Every great visionary has had a mentor, including Steve Jobs and Jack Dorsey.A mentor isn’t just someone who gives advice occasionally, it’s someone who is a trusted confidante for business and personal matters.

Here’s who top tech people have turned to throughout their careers.

Square's Jack Dorsey is mentored by philanthropist Ray Chambers

Mentor: Ray Chambers

How the mentor and mentee met: Through a mutual connection in New York City

About their relationship: Month after month, Chambers has consistently met with and mentored Dorsey. Chambers cofounded a PE firm in 1981, Wesray Capital Corp, and he's now a philanthropist.

Dorsey has learned to think bigger and better from Chambers. 'At the core of his being, he really wants to make the world a better place,

Dennis Crowley of Foursquare is mentored by his first boss Ken Allard and investors Ben Horowitz

Mentors: Ben Horowitz and Ken Allard

How the mentors and mentee met: Ken Allard was Crowley's first boss out of college. Horowitz financed Crowley's startup

About their relationship: Ben Horowitz has both financed and mentored Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley. As Crowley states in a Forbes article, Horowitz's experience was a deciding factor when choosing a VC firm. 'We had our pick of the litter. Ben and Marc, they've gone through this a number of times, and they see it as their duty to educate us,' Crowley said.

Allard was Crowley's first boss at Jupiter Communications. He's been with Crowley through the ups and downs of his career, from selling Dodgeball to Google to founding Foursquare.

Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi of Dropbox are mentored by the Partovi Brothers

Mentors: Ali and Hadi Partovi, serial entrepreneurs in tech

How the mentors and mentees met: n/a

About their relationship: Ali and Hadi Parvoti were not only entrepreneurs themselves (founded iLike, which was acquired by MySpace) but they also invested in Dropbox.

Houston and Ferdowsi told CNN Money that they took advice from the Partovis and others who had seen many failures.

'There are a lot of companies that got off to a great start and then blew it, so we try to look at that too,' they said.

Kevin Systrom of Instagram turned to Adam D'Angelo of Quora

Mentor: Adam D'Angelo

How the mentor and mentee met: During a frat party at Stanford University

About their relationship: Systrom turned to D'Angelo when his Instagram app crashed after only a few hours of being live, according to The New York Times. D'Angelo spent a half hour with Systrom on the phone and saved the day. D'Angelo was also an early investor in Instagram.

In a blog post, Systrom stated: 'Adam's thoughtful approach to new technologies and scaling problems will be an asset to the Instagram team.'

Marissa Mayer of Google has been mentored by Google executives including Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt

Mentors: Google executives Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, as well as her Standford computer science professor, Eric Roberts

How the mentors and mentee met: At Google and Stanford, respectively

About their relationship: Marissa Mayer has a few mentors. The early Google employee lists founders Sergey Brin and Larry page as professional advisors, as well as former CEO Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, who was Google's product chief. They each helped her advance through Google and in the tech industry.

Mayer has also turned to her former computer science professor, Eric Roberts, for advice.

Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn turns to Mark Zuckerberg and a slew of other people for advice

Mentors: Mark Zuckerberg, John Lilly, Greg Tsent, Johann Schleier-Smith and Aneel Bhusri

How the mentors and mentee met: Varies

About their relationship: Reid doesn't have just one mentor but believes people should turn to many mentors who are experts in various areas. He looks to Mark Zuckerberg for scaling and understanding the whole CEO gig.

Hoffman believes no one does software development better than former CEO of Mozilla, John Lilly. Other mentors Reid turns to include Greg Tseng, Johann Schleier-Smith and Aneel Bhusri.

In a Forbes interview, Reid concluded by saying, 'So it's not one mentor. It's a constellation, a network of mentors who really amplify my abilities and knowledge in particular vectors.'

Larry Page of Google admires NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and took advice from Apple founder Steve Jobs

Mentors: Michael Bloomberg and Steve Jobs

How the mentors and mentee met: n/a

About their relationship: In an interview with Businessweek, Page stated he looked up to Bloomberg for his use of bullpens, or large open areas with no walls of separation in the office, at City Hall. Page believes open communication and teamwork makes businesses more efficient.

Page also said while Jobs was sick, the two met to chat about business. 'Jobse had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed,' Page recalled.

Jobs encouraged Page to get rid of everything in Google that wasn't working, and focus on the things that make Google great, like search.

Marc Benioff of Salesforce was mentored by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs

Bill Hewlett and David Packard turned to a Stanford Professor, Frederick Terman, for advice.

Mentor: Frederick Terman, the 'Father of Silicon Valley.'

How the mentor and mentee met: Stanford

About their relationship: Terman was a professor at Stanford who mentored Hewlett and Packard during a fellowship. During this time, the team formed Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto garage.

To repay the professor, Hewlett and Packard donated a new wing to Stanford, which provided an electronic research lab.

Michael Dell of Dell Computers confided in VC, Lee Walker

Mentor: Lee Walker

How the mentor and mentee met: n/a

About their relationship: Even the youngest CEO to head a Fortune 500 company has a mentor. In 1986, Dell brought venture capitalist Lee Walker on board. Walker played a pivotal role in building up Dell's confidence.

McGraw-Hill Irwin states: 'Under Walker's tutelage, Michael Dell became intimately familiar with all parts of the business, overcame his shyness, learned the ins and outs of managing a fast-growing enterprise, and turned into a charismatic executive with an instinct for motivating people and winning their loyalty and respect.'

Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft were mentored by PC inventor Ed Roberts

Mentor: Ed Roberts, is known for being the inventor of the first PC.

How the mentor and mentees met: Roberts hired Gates and Allen to work for him

About their relationship: In some regards, Roberts was responsible for bringing Microsoft to light.

Gates and Allen were inspired to create Microsoft after Roberts' personal computer, the Altair 8800. was published in Popular Electronics in 1975. After the passing of Roberts, Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen published a statement:

'We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and early mentor, Ed Roberts, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family...Ed was willing to take a chance on us -- two young guys interested in computers long before they were commonplace -- and we have always been grateful to him. The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things.'

Warren Buffet also mentored Bill Gates.

Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs, Sean Parker and The Washington Post's Don Graham

Name: Don Graham, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Sean Parker

How the mentors and mentee met: Don Graham met Zuckerberg through his daughter, who attended Harvard.

Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg developed a relationship in the early days of Facebook; The New York Times reported them often taking walks in Palo Alto.

Sean Parker contacted Zuckerberg after seeing TheFacebook on a computer screen at Stanford. Shortly after the two met, Parker became the president of the five-month-old company.

About their relationship: After being introduced in 2005, Graham and Zuckerberg took it upon themselves to mentor each other. As the CEO of The Washington Post, Graham may have needed a bit of help with the whole social media wave while Zuckerberg got coached on how to best run a company.

Zuckerberg thanked another mentor, Steve Jobs, for advising him on building a management team. On Charlie Rose, Zuckerberg repeated Jobs' advice: 'Focus on building as high quality and good things as you are.'

When Jobs passed, Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook page, ' Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.'

Sean Parker, one of Facebook's early employees and president, taught Zuckerberg the importance of maintaining control of his company. After making a mistake at his own startup, Plaxo, by allowing VCs to have too much control, Parker made sure Zuckerberg had two board seats so he'd never lose his shares. Parker also played an important role in early hiring and financing at Facebook.

Zuckerberg's other mentors include Peter Thiel and Warren Buffett.

Steve Jobs of Apple was mentored by a college friend, Robert Friedland and considered Apple designer Jonathan Ive to be his other creative half.

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