News & Updates
January 19, 2024

ADPList Celebrates 100 Million Minutes of Mentorship

ADPList Celebrates 100 Million Minutes of Mentorship

ADPList has reached 100,000,000 Minutes of Mentorship Sessions. That’s not a sentence I expected to write. Had you asked me in 2021, I would have told you it’s not something I’d imagine writing or celebrating since it was still a Google Spreadsheet. So I’ve collected my 5 hard-earned lessons, and I hope you find them useful.

To our ADPList Mentors, Members, Partners, and team, or even those who just shared this platform with a colleague — from the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to do the most meaningful work of my life. 💙🙏

Lessons learned

1. Be a contrarian

People told us, “Who would want this if I can already get it in my office or on LinkedIn?”

Startups bring something new to the world, but you can’t do anything new if you’re only relying on what Twitter (X) or TechCrunch is saying. “You need to do something weird.”- Garry Tan People will think you’re stupid, but all great ideas seem stupid initially.

It’s hard to get into these “offices” or harder to ask on LinkedIn. We believe the power today is still held in the hands of the elites.

It’s time to break that status quo.

2. Make 1,000 people love you

YC calls this “doing things that don’t scale.”

At ADPList, I still reply to every single member’s email that comes into my inbox, take on Intercom duties on weekends, and continue to talk to our ADPList Mentor in our Slack workspace. This isn’t sustainable (but) it merely takes an hour each week to reply to messages and be active.

It gets me close to our community, and when decisions are made, I can be confident that it benefits not just the company, but our community first.

Always, act like you’re small.

3. Great design is saying “no”

I sit in and continue to be heavily involved in our product design and product marketing processes (we don’t have a PM function). Every single thing that we’ve done — most of it, I always question:

  • Do people really need this?
  • Do they really need this now (on this page, etc)?
  • Why is this important for them?
  • How does this being here benefit them?

Great design; they are all intentional. It’s almost like the right things falling into the right place at the right time.

4. Take risks and make bigger bets

It is painful to be wrong. It is excruciating to be wrong publicly, on the record, in front of thousands. But if you are to create change, you must make wrongness your friend.

No one has done what ADPList has done, or at least, at this scale. So we’re charting the course in the dark. This means we need to take bold risks to change what the future could be.

In the three years of running ADPList, I’ve come to appreciate the different levels of wrong that a founder can experience. Here’s my framework:

Is it a reversible decision even if you’re wrong? If yes, do it very fast. If not, sleep on it, and if you’re still convinced, then do it fast anyway.

Making peace with all of them is part of the job. We’re guaranteed to make mistakes, but we are also guaranteed a worthwhile adventure.

5. Small is beautiful; small is powerful.

Growing up in a working-class family, I’ve always been a frugal person. This doesn’t mean cheap; it simply means understanding the value beyond a price tag/material side of things.

I believe that the “smallest” people in the world today, whose voices are not heard and whose faces are not seen… can change our world — if we enable them. That’s really everything we do at ADPList.

We’re a 10-person team running this organization. We’re small, and we’re powerfully loud.

Thank you for being a part of this journey, community, and mission.

Final note

ADPList is different. It was when it was founded, and it is today. And it’s what people share here that amazes and inspires me every day.

The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.

Now it is time to take everything we’ve learned and help build the next chapter.


Letter to ADPList Mentor (Present and Future)

Earlier last week, ADPList Co-Founder and CEO Felix Lee sent the following note to ADPList Mentors.

Dear ADPList Mentors,

If you have a dream, you deserve an opportunity.

Growing up, I watched my working-class parents toil day in and out; their struggles inspired my curiosity about how we can create access to better opportunities for all. We believe everyone is someone.

I’m writing this today, to tell you what this reveals who we are.

Today, ADPList crossed 100 Million Minutes of Mentorship Sessions.

ADPList is where we fulfill every person’s potential.

First, I want to thank you for your commitment to ADPList as a Mentor. When we first started, everyone told us, “This would never work.” Since then, we’ve grown to 20,000 Mentors in 140 countries, creating a way for the world to learn from each other — led by you.

It’s about spending time with the people and topics that matter to us.

Bringing Belonging in Q4 2023

This Fall, it’s about belonging. In October, ADPList Mentors are hosting Meetups in Chicago, Berlin (Germany), Boston, Salt Lake City, Hyderabad, Bangalore, London, and Singapore. Don’t see your city? DM Katherine on Slack or fill out this form to host one.

I’m hosting an exclusive leadership fireside panel (Mentor-only) — with a star guest, Ole Lütjens, VP of Design at Udemy (who designed the first Disney+).

All the magic is about creating a community where we can all belong.

Who We Are: Knowledge for Everyone

We are at the beginning of the next chapter of democratizing access to the world’s knowledge, and it’s the next chapter for this community too. This chapter will not be created by one company. It will be built by Mentors sharing knowledge that will unlock a massively larger potential of what everyone can dream of becoming.

It’s what we’re dreaming up, to create new formats of exchange.

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and I’m excited about what comes next — as we move beyond what’s possible today, beyond the constraints of sessions, and towards a future where everyone can grow through this platform’s collective knowledge.

ADPList is different. It was when it was founded, and it is today. And it’s what people share here that amazes and inspires me every day.

The future is going to be beyond anything we can imagine.

Now it is time to take everything we’ve learned and help build the next chapter.