When we caught wind of a tribe of startup CEOs and entrepreneurs setting up camp in the Sussex countryside, we needed to know more. With a well-packed programme of workshops, from Deathbed Meditation and canoeing to coding and Kung-Fu, this was set to be a weekend of physical and mental limbering-up, all aimed at those seeking a happier path to startup success.
We felt an instant kinship with the folks at Happy Startup School (event organisers), so we couldn’t have been happier to join them in Sussex delivering a very Stranger writing workshop.
The startup world is populated by people not content with the way things are. People who can envisage a different way, a better way, or even something totally new. And that’s exciting. If you have a conversation with someone in the midst of a startup venture, with almost no exceptions, their enthusiasm is infectious.
But beyond budgets and product development, when you’re starting your new venture sometimes the hardest thing is finding the right words to communicate your product, service and brand to your people. We knew this workshop needed to help the Happy Startups do just that.
Taking writing tips from history’s greatest – Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain – we built a session that would give each entrepreneur a new way of making sure their message was informative, but also colourful, human and engaging. The first part of the session encouraged the group to think specifics – the ‘must know’ info. The second offered the space to really explore stories and emotions. The words gathered from each exercise created a language bank balanced with form and function.
With this new string to their writing bow, each entrepreneur set about making their message sing. Tasked with communicating their offer in just six words, they had to really hone the nuts and bolts of their business, as well as capturing the most salient point – the thing that would grab their audiences’ attention.
We heard some brilliant responses to the task, and the workshop itself. Jake Dunham of Unknown Epic, an outdoor adventure startup, said, ‘it was like all the stumbling around in my head had become something meaningful.’ We couldn’t have asked for a better review.
We’ll be hosting another workshop at the Happy Startup Summercamp 2016. We can’t wait.
*All images courtesy of Happy Startup School