Stories Sell. Features Don’t.

Stories Sell. Features Don’t.

Happy Friday everyone!

Today’s Startup Tip of the Day comes to you from my personal experience running my own startups over the past decade.



There is a distinctive difference between a company that symbolizes something greater than the sum of their parts, and a company that just sells parts to people for a buck. Call it a mission, a vision, a narrative, or even a North Star — some businesses craft meaning from day one, making it a priority from launch, while others stumble upon meaning later in life. The third group, simply never makes meaning at all, just relies on selling x to y based on market demand z.

Sure, you can be successful running just about any business, with or without a narrative, but to attract the most passionate people to your company as employees, customers and partners, I firmly believe you must make and convey deep meaning to the world.

Companies that set their compass on a powerful heading, not only reach their destination quicker, but also build unwavering support along the way.

Our corporate slogan for WorldMusicLink was Connecting the Music Industry. Our internal narrative was to “Eliminate the Struggling Artist, forever.” We felt the music business was, and still is actually, disconnected, fragmented, and only favors the few — leaving millions outside in the cold.

The model, which still exists today, is a pyramid, with millions of aspiring musicians at the bottom, and a handful of financially-backed celebrities at the top.

Our goal was to flip the pyramid of power, bridge the gap between the heard and un-heard, and lay the foundation for deep, career accelerating relationships that would spark careers, and bring a broken industry into the digital Millennium. Lofty? You bet.

Listen to the words that we used to define our narrative — eliminate the “Struggling Artist”, bridge the fragmented industry, flip the power paradigm — these are words with meaning, passion and purpose; all pointing towards creating a new standard.

Some companies start their business by pledging to donate a portion of proceeds to charity, while others aim their product or service at ameliorating the lives of those affected by a disease or the less fortunate. They both have a built-in mechanism that drives meaning that customers can identify with and bond over.

If you don’t have meaning beyond just being another coffee shop, another retail brand, another e-commerce site, you should stop and consider what your consumers might deeply care about. Often has more to do with the meaning behind the product for sale than you even realize.

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