Startupfest 2013 Theme Revealed: Startup Stories
Startupfest 2013 Manifesto by: Alistair Croll
Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve shared stories. Tales are how we inspire, how we warn, how we learn. Stories are a proxy for wisdom, helping the young to see patterns and avoid pitfalls. From Wall Street to Main Street, from the big screen to the one in your pocket, Founders are today’s heroes. They face down the unknown, taking chances, staring down detractors, and pouring their souls into unlikely dreams.
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces
Once, stories were scratched on cave walls and whispered around campfires. They were wrapped in song and rhyme, all the better to hand them on to the next generation. Today, startup stories are handed down over hipster cocktails in SOMA; or in the comment threads of tell-all blog; or in YouTube clips. But while the format may have changed, the purpose hasn’t:
Stories make us who we are.
For our third year of Startupfest, we’re focusing on stories. Every great company has one, from the Homeric epic of IBM to the Haiku of Instagram. But so does every great trainwreck—and frequently, stories of failure are more informative. After all, the victor writes the history. But the loser has a tale to tell, too.
The underdog’s story is often more illustrative, reminding us of what not to do—or at least, just how much of success comes from seizing the moment, from unfair advantages, and from being in the right place at the right time. Victors know the legends; losers know the truth. There are two sides to everything.
We want to put tomorrow’s victors face-to-face with those on whose shoulders they stand. We want to turn anecdotes into conversations. We want to share the collective wisdom of starting and growing a new business. We want to unearth the great stories of the startup world, and tell them in a new light. Ultimately, we want Startupfest 2013 to be the campfire around which yesterday’s stories are told—and tomorrow’s epics are launched.