The pitch as the hero’s journey. Case Study.

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Storytelling works as Uri Hasson and other scientists managed to prove. It is the most effective tool to engage and to persuade. I’m going to tell you it’s worth packing your pitch with a story that will also say a lot about you. And your business-oriented-mind. It’s a pitch as the hero’s journey intro lesson you might use next time you pitch. 

To show that you’re an expert and a credible entrepreneur with a curious mind and a fighting spirit, you do not have to brag. To work on your Ethos you need another technique – telling things between the lines of your story crafted as a hero’s journey. Just like Miha from Krip.to did when we worked at ABC accelerator on his Demo Day pitch. He is a curious mind and I’ve asked him to convince me that his solution works. It was not easy since I have been kind of sceptic towards crypto currencies like bitcoin. Mainly due to a zero understanding of it. Miha not only managed to clarify this for me, but succeeded in creating the story that says a lot about himself, and not only about the solution. Here’s how it went:

Hello everyone my name is Miha Pulko and I’m a CEO and founder of KRIPTO. KRIPTO is the safest way to start trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But before I explain how it works  let me first  tell you  how it all started.

This seems like a typical opening line of the pitch, except from the Pixar-kind-of-pitch sentence: before I explain, let me tell you how it all started. It is a genius trick, used by many… filmmakers. And God they know about storytelling. In Sunset Boulevard opening sequence the (already dead) protagonists says: But before you read about it. Before it gets distorted by those Hollywood piranhas. If you wanna know the real facts. You’ve come to the right party. Let me take you back six months… Precisely that is what you should do! When you want to tell a story. Tell it like a tale! Miha continues after this opening:

As i’m a very much a technical person who has been exploring and developing information technologies for whole my life. I was very fascinated when  first heard about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin. A decentralized digital money that works without banks and can be freely used by anyone from anywhere. Wow!

The CEO of Krip.to continues with a story about a guy who has been curious all his life and all the sudden he discovered something incredibly interesting and fascinating. It’s like finding a treasure. He goes on to show another virtue – curiosity and skepticism.

But at the same time I was very sceptical how is this possible. It goes against everything I knew about money and currencies. So I wanted to know more: I’ve volunteered as a developer at at that time largest bitcoin mining pools –  where I was able to understand how bitcoin really works.

There you have it. The story of a guy fascinated by bitcoins goes on. It’s almost like the story of the main protagonist of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. The mind obsessed with one though: discover on his own.

The more i’ve understood it – the more I realized that this is a revolutionary idea which will change the way we perceive money and the economy in the future. I began to dig deeper. How does Bitcoin have a value, What defines this value?

The more the hero understood the more he wanted to know. Not only is that in sync with all the rules of good storytelling, but also tells us a lot about the business-oriented mind of Miha. Now he offers a bit of explanation.

Well Bitcoin can be exchanged in an online exchanges – because it is decentralized these exchanges are located all over the world and because they have different fees, regulations and number of users. They all have different prices. Also these prices change very often and are hard to predict. So you have this beautiful idea of an open currency that poses as an alternative to banks.

After taking some time to explain what the hero (I mean CEO) has learned, he shares his concerns. And that is good because a good story is based on contrasting ideas and themes. There goes a BUT.

But is too volatile and unpredictable. I mean if you buy 10 Bitcoins the value of it could be halfed by the next day. I began exploring ways to invest safely in to Bitcoin. I needed a predictable  way to invest in to unpredictable currency.

The „but part” is an obstacle. One necessary element of the hero’s journey. A dragon, troll, evil spirit, mischievous witch or… competition on the market that do not play by the rule. But the hero does not give up in the face of the challenge. He persists saying, I needed a predictable  way to invest in to unpredictable currency. Then he goes into the Eureka mode by saying:

I’ve remembered arbitrage. The idea was simple: Lets buy one Bitcoin on one market and go sell it at a market with slightly bigger price. The difference is profit. No speculation just math. Perfect.

The struggle continues. Because Miha is never satisfied. That says a lot about him, too. He has what Angela Duckworth calls The Grit. He wanted things to be better even when they were pretty ok. So he goes:

As an IT person of course I would not do this by hand I wanted it to be automated. It took me 3 months to complete the first working prototype. I’ve put some money in and It worked.

After this it is time to introduce the ‚helpers’ or ‚supernatural aid’ as they are the necessary element of each story. In Miha’s story it is the first investor.

I showed the prototype to the owner of the mining pool I was volunteering and this is where something interesting happened – the owner invested 100 Bitcoins in to the idea. That was arround 2 years ago. We used the investment to further develop and test  the algorithm. In one year we were ready to bring in our first client.

He concludes with the final thought:

At that time conditions at Bitcoin market were even more chaotic price changes were even wilder – But it was no problem for us because we’ve build the solution that was built to embraces these rapid changes and allows our clients to profit from it.

Of course that was just an intro to an 8 minute pitch. But it contained a lot of highly important elements. It proved Miha is credible. He managed to show data, market and the possibilities and (what’s important for me) he finally managed to convince me that bitcoins are worth my attention. He did it all with one story that fits perfectly the scheme of mono-myth I write about here.