Saturday, December 3, 2016


When it came time for me to fulfill my yearly library training requirements I had to choose from a long list of tech and business oriented online videos to watch. Scrabbling for something I could spend an hour watching and that might be remotely relevant to my work, I chose a class on the power of storytelling. I tried not to hate it and...

I succeeded! 

Only just, though.

This is mostly to my credit, but being of a magnanimous nature I am willing to share a small slice of the credit, really more of a taste of it, with the presenter. Also some credit, certainly more than that thin slice to the presenter, goes towards my almost preternatural ability to watch TV in a mesmerized, 8 year old like state. It hardly even matters what I'm watching. It's frightening!

In setting forth on his thesis that storytelling is old and powerful our presenter told us, appropriately, a story:

A man, a writer, walked by another man sitting on a city sidewalk. The sitting man was holding a sign that said "I am blind. Please help." He had a bowl without much money in it. The writer was curious. "How are things going?" He asked the blind man. 

The blind man said sadly "Times must be hard. People pass by all day long, but very few put any money in my bowl."
"I am poor." Said the writer. "But I am a writer. Maybe I could write a new sign for you that would help?"

"Sure. Go to it."

So the writer flipped the sign around, wrote on the back, and set up the blind man with his new sign.

The next day he walked by the blind man and his bowl was brimming with money. "How's it going now?" The writer asked the blind man.

"Oh. It's you! Thank you so much. My bowl has filled three times. People are so generous now! But please, you did not tell me. What does my sign say?"

"It's going to be a beautiful Spring. But I won't see it."

That is a very nice story. But it's not really about stories, it's about marketing. And so was the video.

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