Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
Ev Williams

Vonnegut’s Shapes for Founders

In my Storytelling for Founders class at General Assembly, I’ve been borrowing Vonnegut’s axes from this video — and a rough version of his shapes — to help entrepreneurs more compellingly convey what their companies do.

For example, his Cinderella shape is a nice template for the Uber story: You’re sitting around tormented by taxis (evil step-relatives), until one day smartphones and GPS show up (the ball), creating the possibility, however remote, of a happily-ever-after Promised Land (married to royalty), that you can finally reach thanks to Uber (fairy godmother), who removes obstacles along the way by letting you summon rides with a few taps, rate drivers, and store payment (turning a pumpkin into a chariot, rags into gown and glass slippers, etc.).