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.

Andy Raskin
Apr 27, 2017 · 5 min read

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


The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

Andy Raskin

Written by

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

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org