Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

This is a good 19:16 worth a storytellers time:

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

These are the notes I took:

  • Make me care
  • It fundamentally makes a promise. It makes a promise that this story will lead somewhere that is worth your time.
  • The audience wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that.
  • Your job as a storyteller is that you’re making them work for their meal
  • Story is the well-organized absence of information that draws us in
  • The unifying theory of 2+2. Don’t give them 4.
  • Stories are inevitable but not predictable
  • If things stay static, stories die. Because life is never static
  • “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty”
  • Have you made me want to know what will happen next?
  • Have you made me want to know how it will conclude in the long term?
  • Have you created honest conflicts?
  • Storytelling has guidelines, not hard fast rules
  • A strong theme is running through a well-told story
  • “Wonder” is the secret sauce. The best stories infuse wonder
  • “And that’s the first story lesson I ever learned. Use what you know, draw from it. Doesn’t always mean plot or fact. It means capturing a truth from what you’re experiencing. Expressing values you personally feel deep down in your core.”

Thank you, Andrew!

Business Wisdom Told Here

I’m a sucker for a well-told story. Add in how a successful business navigates the treacherous waters to survive and actually, ok, tell the story. That’s stuff worth passing along to others. The folks at Basecamp created them:

Basecamp spent three years telling the stories of people who run businesses that endured 25 years or more. Have a listen — they’re an inspiration for anyone looking to build a business that goes the distance.

Wailin Wong is the reporter that guides you through these stories. She is well researched, thoughtful, and a colorful storyteller. She brings the goods.Image result for waylan wong the distance

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Rainbow Connection

Going to the Mattresses

Grateful Heads

Always Glad You Came

Make It Rain

Auto Transmission

World’s Largest Laundromat





Reagan on Creativity

My wife and I are reading Peggy Noonan’s “When Character Was King”, for the second time. It’s as cozy as hot chocolate in a thunderstorm. The world literally washes away when we open it up at night. On page 246 this excerpt of Ronald Reagan on creativity is certainly worth sharing:

Reagan thought people were smart. He thought they were creative. He thought this in part because in Hollywood he had seen the greatest creativity everyday, and not only from actors and directors but from cinematographers, editors, stuntmen, writers and the producers who made artistic advances possible.

Reagan thought the genius of America was that it was the place where genius was allowed. You could be your weirdly uniquely creative self and be celebrated for it and make a lot of money at it and go on to do creative things with your money or responsible things or silly things, waste it at the track, it’s up to you, that’s what freedom is in part, the freedom to be silly and irresponsible.

And to be creative.
And to imagine.

And so he never saw history as static, as sitting there like a dry and dusty plain. He saw it as something you could change.

Did you hear the thunder crack?

Nick Saban: Sympathy for the Devil

Most big-time head coaches leave camp duty to assistants—the daylong photo session with every last camper is considered ertion enough—but in Saban’s mind that wouldn’t be right. He has a saying: Right is never wrong. It means, in essence, there is only one way to do things: the correct way. A Nick Saban Football Camp without a great deal of Nick Saban would be something short of entirely right and is therefore, to Saban, unthinkable.

“Nick Saban: Sympathy for the Devil” by Warren St. John

Prepare for none of it to work

The Obstacle Is The Way

In Nick Saban fashion, Ryan Holiday speaks to the verdict of our plans working out…or should I say “The Process”:

“Problems, as Duke Ellington once said, are a chance for us to do our best.

Just our best, that’s it. Not the impossible.

We must be willing to roll the dice and lose. Prepare, at the end of the day, for none of it to work.

Anyone in pursuit of a goal comes face-to-face with this time and time again. Sometimes, no amount of planning, no amount of thinking-no matter how hard we try or patiently we persist-will change the fact that some things just aren’t going to work.

The world could use fewer martyrs.

We have it within us to be the type of people who try to get things done, try with everything we’ve got and, whatever verdict comes in, are ready to except it instantly and move on to whatever is next.

Is that you? Because it can be”.

“For My Whole Family”

Outside looking in, Harvard just seems massive. I mean…MASSIVE! So in all this massiveness, how does a university giant like Harvard open it’s doors and show people the human side of who they are? Two words…Lucerito Ortiz.

In a delicately crafted and told story, Lucerito takes us on her journey of acceptance to one of the premier universities on the planet…Harvard. What’s surprising about this story is that it’s not laced with grandiose awards from over achievers. Come on, if you get accepted to Harvard we already know you’ve got a tad more upstairs than the average high school senior. This story brings authenticity and power from a far greater place. A place that Lucerito knows much more intimately than her beloved classroom. It’s her family.

Lucerito understands her accomplishments were not achieved alone. Mom and Dad sacrificed and paved the way through her whole life. And not just for her, but for all her brothers and sisters as well. So, fast forward to “Accepted to Harvard”. How long do you think it took for mom and dad’s cheers to be replaced with wide eyes of shock? Shock of the financial commitment. Harvard. Gulp.

So the stage is set. Can the Ortiz family shoulder this financial commitment to one of the most prestigious universities in the world? Or will they just live with the memory and a framed acceptance letter in their hallway. Behind tear filled eyes, the freshman from North Hills California stares down the massiveness of Harvard and introduces them to the human side of who they are. I’ll let her tell the story.

Bravo Lucerito. Bravo Mr. and Mrs. Ortiz. Bravo Harvard