One month and one lesson: Prague and startup storytelling

August 1, 2017

I’m on a year-long adventure around the world with Remote Year: 12 cities, 12 months, 53 people. This post is a glimpse into my month in Prague. 

Attachment-1.jpegPrague’s got a history, and it will remind you of it every corner you turn. From a 14th century bridge to a 15th century Astronomical Clock to the seemingly endless number of plaques remembering WWII victims to the disappeared statue of Stalin, you know there are stories to be told.

Yet, Prague is also a very modern city with one of the best transportation systems, numerous co-working spaces (at least 50 at this point!) and affordability for expats. Plus, it’s got a centralized European location. All of this makes it a notable haven for tech startups and young businesses.

I spent the month working out of K10, a gorgeous co-working space housed in an old Danish embassy, working alongside fellow travelers, Czech neighbors and global companies, such as iFlix. K10 hosts a variety of events for its members and the larger entrepreneurial and tech communities. There were bi-weekly networking breakfasts by Business Ethos, regular K10 Business Academy events and a weekend-long hackathon with a pretty stellar panel of judges. 

It was from June’s Business Academy panel that I share this lesson learned from Avocode’s CEO and founder, Vu Hoang Anh. 

How to make your company’s story memorable

Do you know what makes a story engaging and memorable? You need a hero – an interesting one at that – and you need a story arc or journey.

What does this have to do with explaining your company? Well, you’re one company out of many, and you need to fight to make people remember who you are and what you do. If you can share your story in a creative and engaging way, you’re much more likely to accomplish that.

Vu started telling Avocode’s history from before today’s Avocode was even a notion. It all started when the teenaged to-be founders entered a hackathon with an idea to build an alarm clock that charged the owner for every time they hit the snooze button. Fast-forward to a booze-filled hackathon weekend, and they quickly tossed that idea out the window.

Instead, they landed on an idea to create a Photoshop plug-in – a new concept at the time – which ended up being immensely popular. Fast forward again through more wins, more development and more revelations, and you’ll eventually learn how Avocode became the company it is today.

This presentation could have started off with a dry telling of what Avocode does, the year it was founded and an idea of its growth. But all startup stories start to sound alike. Instead, Vu crafted a more creative story that takes the audience from beginning to end and works in anecdotes, a bit of comedy and some photos (real photos, of actual people and times – not stock imagery) and leaves the audience with a full understanding of the company’s history, purpose and personality. Not bad for a 15-minute presentation.

Remember, too, that stories can take different formats from live presentations to video to written word to art. Avocode retells this story through a comic in this blog, as well as in its employee handbook.

So how will you tell your company’s story? 

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