Startup Stories: How to tell a compelling story?

Roshni Mohandas
3 min readSep 28, 2022
Photo by quokkabottles on Unsplash

I have been intrigued with storytelling and how we as humans learned to start telling stories, some of the earliest evidence of stories comes from cave drawings. There are a few drawings even at Wayanad Caves in Kerala which is my home state. Some of these drawings appear to be visual stories which are very interesting evolution.

As we have stories to convey messages in every facet of human life, when you are trying to sell a product, you need a story there too. Since we at are also struggling a bit with it, I tried to go deeper and understand more about this. Also was lucky to attend a session with Massimo Martinotti and got the opportunity to discuss a few things with him as well. What amazing thoughts he has.

As startups, we need to understand how to tell stories and convey them. Following are a few things that I learned

Ingredients of a compelling story

  1. Always try to find negative emotion in order to get to positive emotion. For example. If customers fear something then try to understand it better and try to replace that with confidence by offering your services. Capture and illustrate how this will happen.
  2. Understand GO TO ACTION. If you take any Bollywood story, there is a hero in the beginning who has a normal life and before the interval, he faces many challenges and goes about solving them. Movies find real problems and emotions in audiences.
    Also, try to understand what we have to do to define go to action. To do this we need to do two things

Define Archetypes and Blocks: Archetype defines who you are and blocks define where you are going. Also important to define customers' emotions as well

  1. Archetypes: Archetypes convey meaning to your customers/employees/investors/stakeholders that will help them relate to your product/company as if it actually were alive in some way. Mostly when you google, there are 12 Archetypes. Massimo mentioned that there are 30 archetypes if you search in all of the stories across the world. Any hero of the story that you see can be mapped to one of these archetypes.
    As startups, we need to define what is our brand/company archetype/archetypes and stick to our own story.
  2. Blocks: Any story is just a defined sequence of events. Also, the climax comes at the end :). This we all know. As a startup think of your story and arrange it in the best sequence and win at the end or even at the beginning! Organize everything in reasonable coherence
  3. Emotions: Emotion will let the customer feel connected to the story. These feelings may prompt us to act or behave differently because emotion will connect us to the story. Nobody will like a story without any emotion in it. What is negative emotion when you speak to an investor? Find out and work on the other positive emotion that you can stimulate in these people. Tell a story to fight against negative emotions to evoke positive emotions. Also, don’t ask logical questions as it will evoke logical answers, you need emotional answers, To get emotional answers, find a way to make them tell stories. For example, ask questions like what’s your journey? Or ask anything else which can make them tell their stories and emotions

We startups need to find our own story. There is a strong tendency to use archetypes or categories from a competitor or another brand. If possible, pls don't do this. How do you find your essence and stand out? Please follow a framework as suggested above

Don’t change the archetype and plot unless something happens. Maintain for years the same story.

As startups, we need to find our own stories. When we moved out of Africa we bought our stories with us. This will continue through human existence.

Wishing you all success with storytelling! Having a startup is about more than just building a product but also about how we tell our company’s story!



Roshni Mohandas

Entrepreneur, Data Scientist , Startup , Hustler : 100% follow back