Words Do Matter! Start Your Startup With A Story
By Shlomo Maital
Three on-line courses are currently ‘live’ on Coursera, that I and my Technion colleagues created, on startup entrepreneurship. I’m greatly enjoying the discussion forums. My student Antoni Baszczeski has drawn my attention to a framework by Chris Plachy, offered on Coursera:
The discussion hinges on the importance of words. Antoni quoted G B Shaw, a great writer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, for his “idealism and humanity, his stimulating satire…” I noted to Antoni that Shaw was a great creator, but in the end created just words. Antoni responded that words come between feelings and action, and perhaps spur action. And I certainly agreed.
I’m currently developing a startup entrepreneurship module based on ‘narrative entrepreneurship’. The idea is simple. Entrepreneur: Build your story! Shape your story (events, timeline, conflict, people, characters, things, challenges, ups and downs), built around your startup, and how you create it…tell your story in past tense, even though it unfolds in the future. Use your story to inspire others, and yourself, to aspire to greatness, and as a roadmap. Use all the powerful techniques of great fiction to shape it…and then make it come true.
This, by the way, has strong foundations in cognitive psychology, developed by the late Jerome Bruner (see my blog on his narrative approach). We understand reality through stories. Perhaps, then, we can SHAPE reality by creating stories…and then living them. The better the story, the closer you get to effective successful action!
Perhaps, as Antoni notes, words are indeed a powerful bridge between feelings (the passion that drives startups) and the deeds and actions that make them happen.