Everything is a story. The human experience is a story, even our first hand impressions only exist as one of many possible perceptions. Then, only remain in memory as one of many possible stories of that perception. The power of stories is nearly infinite. And we can choose to make all our stories good ones.
What does that mean for software? That means every product is a story. It’s a story we tell ourselves and a story we might tell others. Every communication to customers, stakeholders, and teams is a story. It’s also about the stories people tell each other. The story could be of how they are badass or how they are incompetent. Which story are you telling and what story are the people you aim to serve retelling?
So what makes a great story?
Some qualities of great stories adapted from Seth Godin, great stories:
- capture the imagination of large or important audiences
- are true, because they are consistent and authentic.
- make a bold and audacious promise.
- are trusted, through earned the credibility.
- are subtle, they provide few details and allow people to draw their own conclusions.
- happen fast, first impressions are powerful.
- don’t need flash, either you are ready to listen or you aren’t.
- appeal to our senses, they don’t appeal to logic.
- are for us and others like us, they are rarely aimed at everyone.
- align all parts on the message, they don’t contradict themselves.
- most of all, great stories agree with our world view. The best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.