Storytelling: The way people remember

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was howling and rain was coming down in sheets out my home office window. Dressed in sweats with the furnace on as temperatures dipped into the 40’s, I sat before the glow of my flat panel display and read articles that were coming through in my RSS aggregator, content to be indoors absorbing new material and exploring new business models on the internet. What I didn’t know was that this activity — which pleased me since it fits perfectly my strengths of gathering input and learning — was going to present me with a surprise…one that may make you sit straight up in your chair as you realize the same thing I did.

OK….that one paragraph told you a story. You learned what I did last evening, what two of my top five strengths are, and that I learned something surprising on the internet. It also left you (hopefully) with a cliffhanger incentive to continue reading this post.

No one is certain when language first appeared or when human knowledge truly began capturing that knowledge through writing, but one thing is certain: humans have developed a profound capacity for learning, storing and retrieving stories.

I came to the surprise (that a company had built a business model around storytelling and is delivering it via the ‘net) through Australia-based Anecdote. The company, 50 Lessons, is based in the UK and they’ve coupled storytelling with Internet video and created an offering that captures lessons from top business leaders:

Experience is the best teacher — people have learned through stories for centuries.

Fifty Lessons is the world’s leading digital video business library. Using the power of storytelling, our mission is to equip next-generation leaders with the experience and wisdom of the most respected and influential business leaders in the world.

We serve corporations, government agencies, academic institutions, small to medium-sized businesses and individual professionals, to help them suceed in an increasingly complex business landscape.

To date, over one hundred and fifty of the world’s foremost business leaders have participated. Their contributions are housed in a fully indexed digital library of over five hundred short videos.

This content is published in multiple languages in both digital and traditional formats, including internet, print, broadcast, and audio and can be experienced on devices such as PCs, Mobile Telephones, iPods and Handhelds.

Fifty Lessons content is distributed globally by our partners, who include Harvard Business School Publishing, Vangent and Sun 3C Media in China.

This is big company, enterprise stuff and they sell access to these top global leaders geared to organization-wide access. What about small-to-midsize businesses or individuals?

UPDATE: Bummer. This site shows nothing but previews and you have to buy the videos. No “here’s “X” number for free” you have to buy even one video.

50 Lessons also has a small business and individual offering called Cwerty (ooh…NOT a good name) that is “wisdom on demand” and appears to be a “YouTube for wisdom” though they create and deliver the content…not you.

You can buy a video for $.99 and share it with up to 10 people. Impressive that they’ve monetized this content and are allowing it to be propagated.

If you’d like to see their entire value proposition one one page, peek at it here.

Two other things:

1) The video production values are outstanding. They’ve clearly captured these stories with experienced crews since the lighting, audio and even editing is first rate.

2) While viewing some of the videos on these two sites I came away impressed by how incredibly fast they loaded (I have an 8MB down/768kbps up connection at home) and dug around a bit. They use Fileburst for both of these sites and they scream!

If you are trying to get your message across and wondering why people are sleeping through your Powerpoint presentations, not reading your press releases or tuning out your marketing messages, re-do and re-package them as stories. People will remember your stories.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.