Q and A with a Story Guru: Paul Smith: It’s Time We Start Databasing Our Stories!

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See a photo of Paul, his bio, Part 1 of this Q&A, Part 2, and Part 3.

Q&A with Paul Smith, Question 4

Q: What future aspiration do you have for your own story work?

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A: I’d love to help businesses figure out how to efficiently find, capture, and leverage their stories — something most aren’t doing today.

Modern businesses database everything from sales and purchases, to personnel information, market shares, and production schedules. Just about anything that can be measured is saved in a computer somewhere. Everything, that is, except for the richest source of wisdom in any company — its stories. Those are left to the frailties of human memory and the inevitability of attrition. It’s time we start databasing our stories!

Imagine if a company had all its stories written down, or recorded, in a searchable database. Anyone that needed a good story about getting the client to pay their bills on time, or getting your boss to approve your new product idea, can just run a quick query of the company story database. Better still, imagine if there was a database housed on the Internet that anyone could both contribute to or retrieve stories from. [*See editor’s note below.]

It irks me that it’s easier to find out what Kim Kardashian is wearing tonight than it is to find a useful story. I want to change that.

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[*Editor’s note: Zahmoo may be something like the database Paul seeks. Readers, do you know of other publicly accessible story databases that could be tapped for business?]