Why I joined Startup Storytellers

By Wolf Starr


When I got the exciting news that my son was on the way, I knew I had to refine my many extra community commitments. I needed to focus on my family and my business. I stayed with a few of the boards where I could be the most impactful, cut the rest, and turned down most every new non-business related opportunity. Then, a few months ago, Startup Storytellers came knocking.

In 2015, after hearing about a new event, Startup Storytellers, from several unassociated sources, I rearranged my schedule to attend. I wasn’t sorry. The mix of people in the room was incredible, the energy was infectious and the program was unique. So when the founder of CivicHacks (which created Startup Storytellers), David All, asked me to serve as chairman for this year’s event, it became one of the new projects I decided to take on.

David is one of the weirdest dudes I have ever met. He and I are very, very different people. We are on the far opposite sides of the political aisle. He by nature creates very large teams; I prefer very lean teams. His passion is very pronounced and mine is far more reserved. We are different in almost every way… and that is what excites me.

I usually work with people that have similar styles, ideas and systems. But a chance to work with someone so different was quite attractive, especially because, what we do share is a common vision to grow our community through entrepreneurship.

David, in partnership with Christine Bunker Deye (who we call ‘Gravity’ because she keeps our wild ideas in check) has built an incredible team around Startup Storytellers. We have a dozen people on a half-dozen committees coming together weekly to discuss marketing, volunteers, speaker experience and so much more. Oddly, I often find myself to be the pessimist within this group, but it’s because their attitudes are so unwavering with excitement and positivity.

I can’t say enough good about the speakers that have agreed to join us. It is a great honor to share the stage with so many of my friends and heroes. From familiar names like Joe, Jeni and Nancy to new names like Walter, Yogi, Wes and Alex, this will really be a special night.

New this year, through a partnership with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, we have created a special award for young entrepreneurs, Spark Awards. We’ve also created a young adult program where over 250 young people will join this event for free.

The cost is $75 ($65 if you answer a few questions). This is more than I have ever charged for an event, but it’s with good reason. We are hosting you in the most amazing venue in Columbus, the new Michael Bongiorno! wing of the Columbus Museum of Art. The ticket price is also part of how we are able to offer the event free to the youth. Yet, I know that still doesn’t make it affordable for everyone. It is a lot of money for start up entrepreneurs. If you want to attend, but the cost is a problem, please let me know. I’ll find a way to make it work. It might be through volunteering, a discount or some kind of in kind partnership. The energy in the room is the most important part of why this event is what it is, so we want you there.

Please join us.

Timothy Wolf Starr is the Chairman of Startup Storytellers. He is the founder of the Small Business Beanstalk and a partner at Atlas Community Partners.

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