Published in


Cow photo via Unsplash by livin4wheel

The Stinky Cow Principle: How to Tell Stories that Make People Trust You

Details—even the gory ones—make you more likable.

Max’s “Stinky Cow” revealed

Robert McKee, from Story

“I’ll tell you exactly when it was. I was working on a shoot for the Discovery Channel, and part of the set was this carcass of a dead cow. It smelled to high heaven. I was a lowly production assistant, so after the filming was over, it was my job to ride in a van with this stinky, rotting mass of flesh. Wasps filled the air, and I could barely breathe. That’s when I said to myself, ‘Maybe this is not going to work out.’”

The Stinky Cow Principle: Tell inciting incidents as scenes, not summaries

I was working at a printing shop where the owner never cared about doing quality work. One day this man comes in to complain about a shoddy job we had done, but my boss just argued with him and told him to take a hike. That had happened dozens of times, but this time was the straw that broke the camel’s back—the one where I realized that if I wanted to deliver quality work that made people happy, I would have to quit and open my own shop.

Apply the Stinky Cow Principle to all of your stories—business and personal



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin


Helping leaders tell strategic stories. Ex @skype @mashery @timeinc http://andyraskin.com