Will Little Subscribe

Leadership via storytelling in DAOs and traditional organizations :: with Jesse Bryan

In this episode of Ventures, my guest Jesse Bryan (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessebryan/) and I discuss the power of storytelling when leading an organization of people. This conversation dives into not only how a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) can reinforce vision and mission with story, but also how traditional corporations can (and should) conduct themselves when interacting with customers. We talk about how a Commodity + Story = Product, how to keep the main thing the main thing, how stories + status are the two pedals of moving an organization forward cohesively, and how/why to tell stories in conversational language as a business.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts (search for “Ventures”).


1:51 - Jesse quick intro / background

2:43 - Why is it so hard for companies to tell the truth (about what they believe) and prove it with their marketing?

4:55 - An underlying optimism that companies have a magic (that they may or may not be aware of). How would Jesse summarize his learnings the past decade working with CEOs to help them communicate their brand and messaging?

8:54 - Promise of DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) to unlock corporate energy and passion. Ikigai - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai - Future of work.  Fairness & transparency.

10:47 - What can DAOs learn from storytelling in cohesion (the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing)? Lessons from how organizations fail.

14:14 - How does a DAO keep the main thing the main thing? (lesson from Johnson and Johnson)

18:34 - Advice for entrepreneurs that start out with one vision, then a pivot happens, then lots of opportunity happens….how do you navigate storytelling/leadership/messaging here? (How you do something matters as much as what you do)

25:20 - Commodity + Story = Product

27:50 - Harai’s thesis in Sapiens (book) - AND, people tell stories to move data around. Stories make the world move.

30:39 - The two pedals aren’t product and marketing, It’s story and maintenance w/ status. People use fancy words to overcomplicate things they don’t understand. Ways to maintain tribes and societies (gossip to status).

33:10 - How can this “status and story” play out in “sense and respond” DAOs? First act sets up a good ending. The story needs to be reinforced / recommunicated every 90 days.

37:13 - DAOs have an opportunity to look at history - extract the best from history and tell stories to reinforce the narrative.

40:08 - The power of story doesn’t need to be reinforced via command and control. It can be done via sense and response. “People like us, do things like this”. Learning from how you “normally talk to people” and then building your storytelling around that.

43:03 - Short-term vs. long-term thinking when building brands.

47:27 - How can people continue the conversation w/ Jesse? Twitter is best: https://twitter.com/JesseBryan