The growing importance of storytelling

I've had a growing interest in story-telling over the past few months - for a few reasons:

  • Company Building: While building and growing Stairway, it was clear that story-telling is a valuable skill for a CEO - you need to be able to tell good stories when convincing early employees to join your mission, to sell your product to prospective customers and potential investors. Some of the CEOs I admire most are incredible at painting a vision with their words. Being able to do so makes sales, fundraising and hiring easier, which can make or break a company.
  • Musical Theatre + entertainment: Increasingly I've been attending smaller-scale musicals, to identify what the key ingredients are for a musical that has the lasting impact of some of the greats of past decades. Without exception, the clearest observation is that for the shows that did not resonate with me/the broader audience, the biggest issue was the lack of a compelling story. This extends beyond theatre to other forms of entertainment like television and film, too.
  • The impacts of generative AI: With the rapid acceleration of generative AI, I've been thinking about the implications that this has on creative industries over the next years and decades. If much of the software-specific skill of 3D animators is abstracted by the use of generative AI models, what is the moat for a company like Pixar? In my mind, the answer is imagination and the ability to tell compelling stories (this itself isn't immune from being something that AI is capable of, but I feel it'll be much slower).

With these thoughts, I decided to read a series of books about the topic of storytelling. I'll be sharing notes on these books in the coming weeks.

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