Benefits of a successful mentoring relationship   


An interview with with AJ Grand-Scrutton, CEO of Dlala Studios (mentor) and Tim Ogunmakin, Founder, Triple Smash Studios (mentee).

Tim Ogunmakin

Found, Triple Smashed Studios.
Tentacle Zone Incubator Alumni 2021

 Aj Grand-Scrutton

CEO, Dlala Studios.
Tentacle Zone Incubator Mentor 2021 & 2022

Q1. Aj – What were the most useful things about the incubator for you?

 Tim – The number one thing was having mentorship and guidance. Having a one-to-one relationship with someone who has the experience to help you with your problems. 

Second thing was the weekly sessions with industry people from different disciplines. Hearing them give their opinions and share their experiences. As a small indie developer there are gaps in our knowledge so having people help us in these areas was super amazing.
Aj – From my perspective one of the great things about being a mentor was seeing your passion and hunger for doing your own thing. It’s put a fire under me because the stage you’re at, the beginning, the quality of what you’re doing is miles ahead of what I was doing when I first started. It’s showing me that I’ve got to keep going and making sure that my own company is pushing forward, it’s keeping me on my toes! 
The growth you’ve shown over the course of this, your natural growth, has been incredible. It’s something I wouldn’t have experienced without taking part in the incubator.

Q2. Aj – What advice would you give to anyone applying to the incubator this year? What should they expect?

Tim – One of the challenges I faced going through the programme was being able to manage my time effectively. We learn from the programme while we’re in the process of running a company and making a game so it’s important to get your time management solid. 

Number two is to not take on too many mentors. I took on three mentors which seemed like a great idea, soaking up all that knowledge, but it ended up taking up too much time. I figured out who I could learn the most from and decided to focus on them. I would advise choosing one or two mentors. 

Aj – I think that’s great advice. As a mentor, you were a dream for me because you knew exactly what you needed. You knew what you wanted to do and what you wanted to achieve and I was able to help you connect the dots. It’s not absolutely necessary for a mentee to have that but they should have a good idea of where they’re at. You don’t need to know where you’re going but you should know where you’re at. 


Q3. Aj – Are there any moments you can think of that were particularly helpful?

Tim – The biggest one was the session you did on pitch decks where you shared my pitch deck with your team for review. They had a lot of opinions to share with me that I hadn’t thought about before and they weren’t just useful for the pitch deck, they helped with the development of the game too. That was a great example of you as a mentor being able to share your resources with me and me take advantage of that. My pitch deck is now solid and I’m really confident in it. 

Aj – Fantastic, I’m glad that was useful! That was useful to me as well. Giving my staff the opportunity to help you, helped develop their skills so it definitely had benefits for my company as well. 


Q4. What are your plans for the future?

Tim – My plans are to keep developing my game. We’re working on getting our prototype up to a good level of quality so that anyone playing the game can see what the game is trying to achieve. Once I’m ready with that I’ll search for a publisher so that we can bring in investment which will enable me to work on the game full time. I’m hoping to work with you in the future too as well as this year’s mentees. 

Q5. Aj – How did we manage the mentor / mentee relationship?

Aj – I remember saying to you “whenever you need me let me know” and you did that. You came to me with specific problems and asked me to meet to discuss them. It was very focused and organised. I’m not saying everyone needs to do that because different people will come in with different experience but I think the reason I want to continue this mentorship is because you were very respectful of my time. You were very clear on what you wanted to achieve. The incubator was the start of our relationship and I’m looking forward to working with you and helping you with the pitching process. When you’re a big fancy billionaire you can chuck me a bit of work!

Q6. What kind of things did we talk about?

Aj – I think we covered everything to do with the running of a studio! Business development, organising, shareholders, staffing, everything! And as your business grows it’ll open up a whole other range of topics for us to discuss. 

Q7. Aj – How would you summarise your experience?


Aj – I had a great time on the programme. I feel very lucky that you were the person I had assigned, you’re an absolute dream to have as a mentee. And I’ll be here for as much or as little as you need me.  

Tim – I really appreciate that, Aj! I also feel incredibly lucky to have you as a mentor. I know a lot of people who are in my position and don’t have anyone to guide them and so I’m really fortunate to get into the Tentacle Zone incubator programme.

Aj – The incubator programme was great, I’m glad it connected us and that we both got benefits from it.