Alejandro Barrera: 5 Most Common Storytelling Mistakes Startups Make

In what was one of the most capturing lectures on RockPaperStartups, Alejandro Barrera from Spain gave the audience in insight into the most common mistakes startups make while presenting their project - during the pitch or online in general. Storytelling has became the new black - everybody thinks they know how to do it but there is a lot of bad stuff out there he added.

Alejandro Barrera (Photo: Marina Filipovic Marinshe)

In what was one of the most capturing lectures on RockPaperStartups, Alejandro Barrera CEO of Press42 gave the audience an insight into the most common mistakes startups make while presenting their project, during the pitch or online in general. Storytelling has became the new black – everybody thinks they know how to do it but there is a lot of bad stuff out there he added.

More than often people want to be Steve Jobs, but you are not him. You are a startup guy, a geek, a nerd. You just don’t have that gene and you have to realize that.

You’re not Steve Jobs!

This however doesn’t mean that you can’t be as good as late Steve Jobs Barrera continues. Here are the five most common mistakes startups make while storytelling. Avoid them and you will be on the right path:

  1. Facts are not a story – most startups list facts on their pitches as well as numbers, however they are not a story! People don’t emotionally connect with numbers.
  2. What are you talking about? – audience has to connect with the story at the very beginning. There has to be a reason for telling a story and it has to be related to your product.
  3. Context is the king – people tend to tell the story without any background to it. Without context, you couldn’t differentiate an ass cheeks from an elbow (which he graphically showed on one of his slides).
  4. Find a protagonist – there has to be a human element in every story in order for people to relate to it. It is important to understand that product or a brand is not a protagonist on it’s own, but a person who tells the story about them is.
  5. Don’t golumnize the story – keep it out there, nobody is going to steal it away from you. Tell it to others as that is the only way to get feedback.

Telling stories takes time Barrera adds. It is not so simple as listing words in a sentence. Finding a good story is the hard part, writing in on a piece of paper is the easy bit.


  1. Kerri


    3. 6. 2014. in 6:53 pm Reply

    Such good advice here – especially creating a protagonist. Those are the kind of stories we want to hear. Even better if your protagonist is the customer!

    On my blog we write about personal storytelling, which can be useful for startups and anyone looking to not bore their audience to death!

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