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Overcoming Obstacles through Storytelling

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Charles Eesley

on 24 February 2018

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Transcript of Overcoming Obstacles through Storytelling


XIAO-PING CHEN, University of Washington, XIN YAO, SURESH KOTHA

Academy of Management Journal 2009, Vol. 52, No. 1, 199–214.
Obstacle 1
Obstacle 2
Obstacle 3
The first crucial sign I’ve learned to look for is passion. -Jon P. Goodman, private investor and Founder of EC2
Good Stories

Which anecdotes and analogies are the most powerful and effective?
Overcoming Start-up Challenges
Through Storytelling!
There are many moments that are filled with despair and agony, when you have to fire people and cancel things and deal with very difficult situations . . . it’s so hard (to build a company) that if you don’t have a passion, you’ll give up.-Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.
Passion vs. Preparedness
Depends on Context
Hook – start with the problem

Suspense – not too much

Emotion – convey passion/enthusiasm

Paint a picture – appeal to the senses

Resolution - Call to action
Stories build strategy

cause/effect relationships / creation of new knowledge reduced when relying on trial-and-error learning,

performance decreases w/ attribution of negative outcomes to external factors (Weiner, 1985).

Bingham & Davis (2012)
Cultural entrepreneurship: stories, legitimacy, and the acquisition of resources
Michael Lounsbury, Mary Ann Glynn. Strategic Management Journal Volume 22, Issue 6-7, p. 545–564, June - July 2001
Who are stories important for?
Take into account the audience’s perspective

Opening and closing is important

Keep it simple - Clear, concise

It’s not a data-dump (avoid the assistant professor syndrome)
When are stories important?
Recruiting cofounders/early employees
equity splits
When things go wrong! (learning happens)
When successes happen (set the culture)
Pooja Sankar story
Be committed….
Hire a great Valley lawyer
Figure out what stage and sector you are
Identify 4-5 firms that focus on this stage
Identify which partner you think is most relevant
Get an introduction to that partner
Prepare a 1-2 page overview to send him/her
Prepare a 10-15 slide presentation to give in a 30-45 minute timeframe if they ask you to present
Only goal of the first meeting is to get a second meeting.
Suggested Playbook
The audience must know in first minute what you do
or they will tune out
Your Pitch: 10 Slides

What we do
Who we are
Market Analysis
Secret Sauce/Technology
Competitive Assessment
Go to Market
How we plan to make money
Business Model/Financials/Targeted Milestones/What we are asking for (how much money)
The audience must know in first minute what you do
or they will tune out
Your Pitch: 7 Slides

What we do
Who we are
Business Model/How we plan to make money
Secret Sauce/Technology
Market Analysis
Competitive Assessment
Go to Market/Targeted Milestones/What we are asking for (how much money)
Pat your head
Spec out 1.0 and focus on a customer need
Narrow the focus to broaden the appeal

Rub your tummy
Paint a picture and product roadmap that is a company not a feature
Pat your head and rub your tummy…Hard to Do!
Sun Dance Genetics
Lobby 10 Consulting
Chuck Eesley

Chuck Eesley
Stanford University
Management Science & Engineering (MS&E)
Thank you!
For example, while explaining the cause for his firm's poor outcomes in Japan, the CFO of Stahlberg stated,

"There has also been the problem that the Asian engineers are not as technically capable as the Finnish engineers."

Less reflection about causal relationships from use of trial-and-error alone increases the probability that assessments of unfavorable outcomes slip into a pattern of finger-pointing rather than occasions for learning.
Elevator Pitch 101

1. Convinces the “target person” to schedule a longer meeting with you

2. Enables the “target person” to convince others to become interested

3. Resonates; Demonstrates sincerity

4. Communicates a sense of value, empathy, and urgency.
Quantifies the value proposition clearly.
Combines thorough Sales and Market Research

Requires no more than 1-2 minutes
Clients will feel they have a relationship with you only when they feel that you understand their needs, their situation, their vision, their constraints, their corporate goals, and their career goals.
What could be worse? / What could be better?
Tell a story to convince a peer to join your team
Tell a personal story activity

>=30 pt. font
Not too much text

Watch the filler words
Full transcript