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James Buckhouse, founder of the Sequoia Creative Lab and a self-described “storyteller”, will be the first to tell you that that the word “storytelling” is a total buzzword.

“There’s no faster way to make people actively ignore you and hate you for no good reason than to tell them you’re a storyteller,” he says. “The story is what motivates us. The story is what helps us find meaning in not just our momentary actions, but in our long-term actions.”

At Intercom, we’ve written at length about designing products through a Jobs-to-be-Done lens, where you start by identifying the jobs your…


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From left to right: Pieces by Kelsey Wroten, Hallie Bateman, Henrique j. Tramontina and Laura Bohill, commissioned for the Inside Intercom blog.

When we revamped the Inside Intercom blog, we wanted to provide readers with a truly editorial experience — something you would get from reading a high quality editorial publication, and not a run of the mill corporate blog.

Key to that was working with a wide array of talented illustrators and artists from around the world to help bring our posts to life. Regular readers have come to love these pieces, and how they creatively interpret blog posts on topics as varied as how to track the right company metrics to tips on providing great customer support.

We asked Stewart Scott-Curran, head honcho at the Intercom Brand Studio to take us behind the scenes on the process.


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“I sometimes laugh because here I am, sitting, looking at Excel spreadsheets and talking and worrying about margins. How have I become that person?”

Like many creatives, Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka Swiss Miss, didn’t think sales spreadsheets would become part of her day-to-day.

But the New York-based entrepreneur and blogger has managed to turn not one but five side projects into successful, profitable businesses. First, there’s her popular design blog, Swiss Miss, which averages a million unique monthly visitors and cemented Tina as a beloved tastemaker. Then there’s Tattly, her design-led temporary tattoo company; her breakfast lecture series Creative Mornings, which now has more than 160 chapters around the world and Friends, a collaborative co-working space.

Each of these business evolved organically out of…


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Building a successful product means getting good at saying no. But exactly how do you say it? What if you’re on the front line, representing your company’s product decisions, how do you deliver that news successfully?

Working as part of the Customer Support team at Intercom, I’ve experienced first hand just how tricky this can be. Ultimately, the information that you’re about to share is not going to be what the customer wants to hear. However, there are a few key things that can help you make that “no” a bit more palatable for your customers.


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A fact of startup life is that no matter what team you work on, you’re guaranteed to run into problems you get stuck on.

The challenge is deciding how much time to spend on each problem. Should I try to debug a problem until it’s solved, or should I ask for help when I’m stuck?


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Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a brave and handsome prince. He passed all his prince school exams, expertly avoided any encounters with dragons, and lived happily ever after.

Not much of a story, right? Where is the adventure, the struggle? The allies, the enemies, the ordeals and the rewards?

Yet this is exactly the kind of story countless startups are telling: All the shiny, happy, good stuff, none of the guts and gore that make for a compelling read. …


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Words in a product evolve. They start with the people who first invent the product and name its parts.

They change when new teammates bring in fresh influences. And they change again when they need to communicate to a new audience. All that change happens incrementally, word by word.

It reminds me of the Ship of Theseus, a 2,500-year-old thought experiment about the nature of identity. If you change every plank in a ship while it’s on its journey, is it still the same ship when it returns?

For products made of words and pixels, words are at least 50 percent of the ship.

Words also guide what we build. We invent words to describe new features, and those…


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The road to being a keynote speaker at a multi-thousand seater event is paved with many a dingy hotel conference room.

Des Traynor, Intercom’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, spent much of 2016 speaking at major tech conferences around the globe from Mind the Product in San Francisco to Web Summit in Lisbon, clocking up over 100,000 air miles in the process. He shares 4 tips for getting started on the speaker circuit.


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Cultivating design leadership is hard when you don’t fully understand what design can do for a business. Ask an entrepreneur what they think of when they think of “design” and you might find they get a bit uncomfortable. Is it branding? The look and feel of their product? Or perhaps it’s the UX and UI?

Daniel Burka did just that. A design partner a GV, the investment arm of Alphabet (formerly Google Ventures), he helps a portfolio of more than 300 companies solve their design challenges. Prior to that, Daniel spent over a decade helping technology companies with product design…


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Illustration by Eric R. Mortensen for Inside Intercom.

No matter how good your support team is, it’s an inescapable fact that some customers simply don’t want to talk to them.

But great support doesn’t always involve a conversation with a support team. Perhaps the issue they are trying to resolve feels so simple they just want to be quickly pointed in the right direction. Maybe they’ve had bad support experiences in the past (with other companies, naturally) and don’t fancy hanging around for a response.

And then there are some people who just prefer to learn things for themselves rather than have the answer spoon-fed to them.

Whatever the reason there’s an expectation on behalf of customers that they should be able to easily find useful and relevant documentation to…

Intercom

We make customer communication simple and personal | www.intercom.com

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