Are you setting the “visions, values and agenda for an entire generation that is to come”?
I grew up in rural Africa with a rich culture of storytelling and Steve’s words in the quote above resonate deeply with me.
A good storyteller will have a vast tapestry of anecdotes to draw from in order to weave a powerful narrative that will open the hearts and minds and change behaviours of their listeners, incrementally shaping the future with every story.
In my youth, the storytellers would roam from village to village, observing activity, collecting anecdotes and retelling tales in order to help the village elders achieve the behaviours and outcomes they desired. Tales of tragedy would be used as a warning of the dire consequences associated with a certain path of action while stories of hope and prosperity achieved by other villages would motivate new behaviours and actions in an attempt to imitate the same.
I am the current day incarnation of the storytellers of my youth.
I scan the world for TIPS – Technologies, Innovations, Patents and Start-ups and I contemplate the consequences and implications that these will have on the future of society, industry and the individuals within.
But my villages where I harvest the anecdotes from are vastly dispersed and while I do my best to visit as many as I can in person by attending conferences and exhibitions across the world and speaking to academics and thought leaders and participating in discussions and panels, there is no way I could find and keep track of the stories and snippets from which to weave my narratives without a little help.
OK – without a LOT of help.
I have previously made use of a plethora of tools, folders, ad-ins, widgets and whatnots in an attempt to curate order from chaos but was frequently overwhelming and required far too much overhead to sustain.
And then – in May 2016 I overheard a brief snippet of a pitch being delivered to a potential customer browsing an exhibition stand at The Next Web (TNW). It was something about “content curation” and the fact that they were using my language stopped me in my tracks – I had to investigate further!
The diminutive stand belonged to Cronycle – a platform I’d not yet heard of which was surprising to me as I thought I had tried them all. I moved in closer, steeling myself for the inevitable disappointment associated with much of the “vapourware” I was used to coming across at events like this. I could hardly contain my excitement as the exhibitor stepped me through the capabilities of the fledgling app. It was already a more capable tool than the combination of three or four of the tools I was using, all put together! Of course, in such situations, the correct response is always to act cool and probe for more – you wouldn’t want a start-up to think they had nailed it one now do you?
I eventually left the stand with a casual “I’ll give it a try” and walked off.
At first, I did simply “give it a try”. You must understand that I had already invested hundreds (more like thousands) of hours building up a repository of information from which to create my stories that I tell across the globe to audiences of all sizes. There was a LOT at stake here – my reputation being the most important factor taken into consideration!
The first shock came when I was almost instantly contacted by the COO, Jeremy. He wanted to know if I would be willing to come into their offices in London to explain how I did what I do and how Cronycle could play more of a role in helping me achieve my goals. Then came the second shock – this wasn’t just a customer platitude! Jeremy genuinely listened to what I said and he shared with me his vision of where they were headed.
He had a great story – I bought into it completely!
Over the next couple of months the feature drops and enhancements came at a pace I’ve rarely seen in any start-up – and I’ve mentored my fair share of them over the last couple of years.
My days now start with a journey through my digital villages to catch up with the latest happenings – content feeds curated around major topics by Cronycle themselves and those that I have created using a combination of my own sources and a myriad of previously unknown sources surfaced via the Cronycle interface. If I am researching a brand new industry or topic I know I will have relevant content pouring into my feeds within seconds. Cronycle is now my primary discovery tool that I consult before tapping into any other source.
Discovery – showing Wired article on board
But discovery is only part of what I do. Curation is arguably of greater importance to me and for the first time ever, this is effortlessly achieved in a single interface. I can “pin” articles, documents and images to “boards” and even upload my own, tagging them for cross-referencing using my own taxonomy. If I worked in a larger organisation as opposed to on my own, I could invite others to comment and discuss and add their views and opinions to enrich the information snippet (yes, I do use this to argue with myself on occasion but we will gloss over that for now).
I later use these boards when I’m invited by a company or event to stand up and tell stories to an audience – drawing from a vast tapestry of anecdotes in order to weave a powerful narrative that will open the hearts and minds and change behaviours of their listeners, incrementally shaping the future with every story I deliver.
Delivery – showing Wired article on screen at Customer Experience event
These guys are on a mission to change the way relevant content is uncovered, socialised, curated and repurposed and they are now woven inextricably in my own work from discovery all the way through to delivery.
Go on – give them a try – and see for yourself how you can set the “visions, values and agenda for an entire generation that is to come”.