Issue 8. Great Artists (and Storytellers) Steal


For companies — large and small — each day is spent telling your story over and over again to all of your key stakeholders. Hiring, selling, raising capital…the storytelling doesn’t stop, it simply changes contexts. Each week, we curate the best thoughts from around the business world to help you keep everyone that matters to your business engaged in your business. You can check out previous versions here or, if you like what you’re reading, we’d love to have you share this with your favorite entrepreneur or executive.


Great Artists (and Storytellers) Steal

How to Steal the Right Growth Metrics for Your Startup

We just published part 4 in our series on Data Distribution, this time helping you leverage some of the best existing metric frameworks — put out by people like David Skok of Matrix Partners and Angela Tran Kingyens of Version One VC — to quickly build out a professional process for understanding how all of your internal teams and activities are performing.

Here is a quick example from Dave McClure of 500Startups:

We’ve also been pulling together our favorite posts, presentations and insights around metrics, stakeholder communication and different storytelling strategies here on the Visible Reading List.

Building the Narrative

“You can have a great product, but a compelling story puts the company into motion. If you don’t have a great story it’s hard to get people motivated to join you, to work on the product, and to get people to invest in the product.” — Ben Horowitz, a16z

As we noted in our Q2 Sentiment Index survey, Seed investment is up considerably in recent periods compared to funding at other stages — that’s not news to anyone even tangentially keeping tabs on the market. Mattermark recently pulled the data and noted, and as you would expect, that mismatch has led to a decreased Seed to Series A “graduation rate.”

So what do companies looking to get their Series A diploma as they walk across the Sand Hill Road stage need to do to compete? According to investor Semil Shah, “clearly articulating a long-term vision is actually a differentiator.” Attracting capital (or talented team members, for that matter) becomes next to impossible without ability to lay out a powerful and compelling story.

Need some help getting your story in order? Following Elon Musk’s example is usually a good place to start. Andy Raskin breaks down the Musk storytelling recipe that you can start using in your next pitch meeting, customer call, or interview.

We pulled our own thoughts together on the issue of Startup Storytelling here in this Medium post and focused on using all of the data being created within your company to tell a relevant story to all of your most important stakeholders — employees, customers, investors and anyone who could eventually fall under one of those three categories. Here is our recommended process:

  1. Accept the responsibility that comes with taking investment, employing people, and creating products that impact the lives of your customers.
  2. Understand stakeholder personas so that as you are telling your story each and every day, you are tailoring most effectively to the people you are communicating with.
  3. Build your “Data Distribution” system, professionalizing the way that key information flows within your organization to empower everyone that matters to your business to do their job most effectively.

If you are looking to tell your company’s story in a new way, shoot us an email or check out what we are doing with our Analyst in Residence program.


That is all for this week. If you liked this issues of the Visible Foreword, please consider forwarding it to a friend. You can sign up for the Foreword Newsletter here.