Friday, June 23, 2017

The Wall Street Journal Recognizes That Entrepreneurs Might Be Like Heroes From Mythology

An Entrepreneur’s Story Can Be the Perfect Marketing Tool But the startup’s tale has to grab customers. Here’s how. By Barbara Haislip of the WSJ. She spoke to Angela Randolph, assistant professor at Babson College. Excerpts:
"Effective business narratives tap into old archetypes of storytelling that go all the way back to the earliest tales of mythology. “Stories about founders and new innovations are often in the form of a myth and follow the hero’s journey,” says Dr. Randolph.

Like the heroes of classic tales, she says, the company founder is going about a normal life when they run into a problem that interrupts it. After this call to action, the founder undergoes trials that must be overcome—and along the way transforms into a leader and the idea turns into a product, service or revolutionary change. Then the founder returns to “normal” life as an entrepreneur with a product or service for society.

Founders should keep that structure in mind when coming up with their own narrative, she says, and then highlight important points.

“Strong emotions can be triggered during the hero’s call to action. For example, if the product is the result of a family member being injured or dying, the strong, sad emotions associated with the tragedy are the strong call to action that pulls the audience in,” she says. Also highlight “favorable characteristics that founder exhibited during the trial and/or the new characteristics that are the result of the trials.”"

But this all just says what I had said in my work back in 1992. I wrote a paper called "The Creative-Destroyers: Are Entrepreneurs Mythological Heroes?" It compares the entrepreneur in capitalism to the hero in mythology. I was never able to get it published in an academic journal. One referee even said the idea was dangerous. I doubt much harm would have befallen the U.S. economy had this paper been published. It is now online at

Creative Destroyers

A shorter version is at

Shorter Version

The shorter version is titled “The Calling” of the Entrepreneur (Published   in The   New   Leaders:   The   Business   Bulletin   for   Transformative   Leadership,  November/December 1992.)

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