Fremont Startup Grind Digest: The Story on Storyhacking and Startup Lessons from Tile

Mar 21, 2017

Shilpi Sharma

Startup Grind Fremont Chapter Director

Our March 1st Startup Grind Fremont speaker, Ritika Puri, has been telling stories since she was eleven years old. Now, she is in the business of helping others tell their stories − from IBM to Shopify to accelerators to security teams – as co-founder of Storyhackers, a content studio, media brand, and education company hybrid.

Ritika insists that everyone has a story − especially in Silicon Valley − and that the trick is figuring out what differentiates yours from the rest. Hint: People are invariably interested in unique paths to entrepreneurship.

Putting a story on paper is difficult for many people, so Puri suggests taking a video of your answers and then transcribing them. She encourages her clients to see their story through the eyes of others. One way of doing that is by conducting customer conversations which can help refine content. “Keep talking to people until you see patterns emerge,” said Puri, in reference to both current and potential customers.

Puri also notes that the “conversion funnel” for customers is not a linear path. There are nodes or moments when the timing is ripe to connect. Startups should map out customer interactions, focusing on identifying points of friction and then addressing each one in turn.

Keeping the founders of a small company all on the same page is important. Puri suggests keeping a central repository of FAQs and standard content that includes many new forms such as podcast interviews, e-books, and blog posts.

Doing a one-minute video pitch for startup investor Y Combinator? Puri recommends viewing other successful pitches first, and then make sure to edit, edit, edit. In general, here are a few of her video tips:

  • Shorter is better
  • Separate your content into multiple points
  • Use a captioning service
  • Use video snippets for Facebook ads

Another way to enhance your storytelling prowess is to keep a journal as an ideation repository. Resources include Declara, Rocketbook, and Medium.

Looking to enter the blogosphere? Puri strongly recommends that you have a unified brand voice. Collaborators need to collectively decide on a style, voice, and word choice. Team members can compare notes on content and then iterate until the team is in alignment. As for blog post publication frequency, Puri notes that rich content is usually a function of resources. She says, “Don’t sacrifice quality. People will not get tired of good content.”

Lastly, addressing whether early stage founders should assume storytelling duties, her answer is, “it depends”. While some founders find writing a nice respite, others, not so much. Either way, the most important thing is to tap into empathy as a primary storytelling tool.

At the next Startup Grind event, we’ll hear from Mike Farley, founder of Tile. As the world’s largest lost-and-found network, Tile’s global community spans over 200 countries and territories and helps people locate more than one million items every day. The Tile Smart Location Platform makes it possible for companies to embed location into their own products. Mike is a software and applications engineer by education and has worked for several software companies.

Join us on March 30 at EFI (6700 Dumbarton Circle, Fremont). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Get your tickets online here. Stay informed on future events by visiting www.startupgrind.com/fremont or by following us on Twitter @FremontGrind and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StartupGrindFremont/.


If you have any question or suggestions for guest speakers, send an email to Shilpi Sharma, Co-founder & CEO of Kvantum, and Chapter Director for Startupgrind Fremont.



Category: Startups

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Welcome to our blog – Takes from Silicon Valley East! Our view is slightly different here on the east side of the bay – from the Mission Peak backdrop to the advanced manufacturing companies that dot our boulevards. As we become more urban and strive to interpret the business issues affecting our innovation economy, we want to share with you our observations, insights, photos, arguments, agreements, inspirations and CEO interviews – and here on our blog is exactly where we plan to do this.

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