Harvard Business Review, Your Companys History as a Leadership Tool,by John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith"A sophisticated understanding of the past isone of the most powerful tools we have forshaping the future."
Your company’s story is compellingto all stakeholders.Customers EmployeesInvestors Partners/Vendors/SuppliersCommunity
A corporate history is a way todocument, preserve and share your story.
We create beautiful corporate histories,and we make them engagingthrough interactive, multimedia content.Narrative TextPhoto GalleriesInteractive PhotosInteractive TimelinesAudio ClipsVideoEmbedded Presentations
Culture Preservation“At Zappos, our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the otherstuff — like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, orpassionate employees and customers — will happen naturally on its own.”Zappos Blog, Your Culture isYour Brand, by Tony Hsieh
Leadership“History is a rich explanatory tool with which executives can make a case forchange and motivate people to overcome challenges. Taken to a higher level,it also serves as a potent problem-solving tool, one that offers pragmaticinsights, valid generalizations, and meaningful perspectives.”Harvard Business Review, Your Companys History as a LeadershipTool, by John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith
Sales, Marketing and Fundraising“Evolution has wired our brains for storytelling... We know that we canactivate our brains better if we listen to stories.”LifeHacker The Science of Storytelling:WhyTelling a Story is the Most PowerfulWay to Activate Our Brains by Leo Widrich
Human Resources Onboarding and Training“Many groups use what sociologists call sense-making, the building of a narrative thatexplains what the group is about. Jim Collins, a management expert and author of Goodto Great, told me that successful human enterprises of any kind, from companies tocountries, go out of their way to capture their core identity. In Mr. Collins’s terms, they‘preserve core, while stimulating progress.’”The NewYork Times, The StoriesThat Bind Us, by Bruce Feiler
Our Story Personal History Beginnings The story of our company begins at an assisted living facility, where our co-founder, Lauryn Sargent, wasvisiting her husband’s 100-year-old grandmother. Lauryn was trying to figure out a fun activity to do with Grandma, who was mentally sharp but physically disabled. Laurynrealized that interviewing Grandma about her life story and then documenting that story in the form of a book would be just the thing! The activity would be fun,therapeutic and a good mental exercise for Grandma. Not only that, but Grandma’s story would be preserved for generations to come! The bell went off in Lauryn’s headthat many families might like this service for their loved ones, and that there might be a business opportunity in creating personal histories. She learned quickly that she wasonto something: her entry into a business plan competition at George Washington University was the winner! At the time, Lauryn managed recruiting for a publicly-tradedcompany in Washington, DC. Lauryn loved the world of corporate recruiting—and she had excelled at it for the previous eight years—but winning the business plancompetition convinced her to leave her job to work on her new company, Stories Inherited, full-time. Her new company’s first personal history project was a hardcoverbook documenting the life of Helen, a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in Virginia. Stories Inherited was officially in business. Technology BecomesPart of the Company DNA Shortly after completing Helen’s story, Lauryn attended a Foster.ly networking event, where she found herself talking to a local entrepreneur.The local entrepreneur was intrigued by Lauryn’s business and suggested that Lauryn look into publishing her personal histories as interactive books to be viewed on theiPad. Lauryn quickly realized the potential that this technology offered; it meant that Stories Inherited personal histories could include audio and video clips and photogalleries in line with the text that Lauryn would write. Lauryn learned the software necessary to create an iBook and published an interactive personal history documentingthe life of her grandmother, Maida. The interactive history featured text along with audio clips with Maida’s voice and even a video tour of the house in which Maida grew up.The Company Doubles in Head Count In the summer of 2012, Lauryn was browsing Foster.ly’s website when a new member’s profile popped up on the page. The newmember’s name (Scott Thompson) and face looked familiar to Lauryn. Sure enough, Lauryn remembered that she had interviewed Scott about two and a half years earlier,when Scott had applied for a position at LSI, the company where Lauryn worked at the time. Though LSI did not offer Scott the job, Lauryn remembered being impressedby him. In fact, three months after their March 2010 interview, Lauryn had reached out to Scott with another job opening, only to find that he had already landed a positionat NASDAQ OMX and was no longer on the job hunt. Lauryn decided to reach out to Scott in the summer of 2012, thinking that he may be a good fit to join StoriesInherited. The two discussed Stories Inherited at a DC Starbucks. Scott was immediately impressed by the quality of the products Lauryn had created, and he loved theidea of combining his love of entrepreneurship with his love of history (he had majored in history in his undergraduate studies at Tulane University before receiving hisMBA). When Lauryn invited Scott to join Stories Inherited as a partner—pending completion of a six-month trial period—Scott excitedly agreed, as he had been seeking newopportunities that summer. Going Corporate At around the time that Lauryn was bringing Scott onboard, she landed a meeting with Elisabeth, the Executive Director ofan assisted living facility in Hyattsville, Maryland. Lauryn was hoping that Elisabeth could introduce her to some residents who might be interested in Stories Inherited’sservices. Impressed by the interactive personal history that Lauryn showed as a sample, Elisabeth asked Lauryn if Stories Inherited could create an interactive history of theassisted living facility to be displayed in the lobby as a marketing tool. Lauryn loved the idea of doing a corporate history and excitedly agreed. In September 2012, StoriesInherited’s first corporate contract was signed. The resulting product was truly innovative, boasting features like video footage of activities at the facility, audio testimonialsfrom residents, interactive photo tours of the property, and an interactive glossary. Despite its rich features, the first corporate history was still modest compared to whatwas to come. In thinking further about the prospects for creating corporate histories and speaking to many business owners about the idea, Lauryn and Scott realized thatthey could provide serious value to companies by documenting corporate histories. They pledged to spend at least an equal amount of their time developing corporatecustomers as they would personal customers. Expanding Scope In November 2012, Lauryn attended an internship career fair at the University of Maryland. During herattempt to meet internship candidates, she met Ghermay, the founder and CEO of a DC-based technology company called New Light Technologies—also there to meetinternship candidates. Ghermay, always willing to mentor startup companies in the DC area, engaged Stories Inherited in December 2012 to complete a corporate historyof NLT. The robust interactive book pulled from 30 video-recorded interviews—featuring Ghermay, current and former NLT employees, industry colleagues, and evencompetitors—that Stories Inherited conducted. Stories Inherited created 25 original one-to-two-minute videos to intersperse through the narrative history of the 12-year-old business. Building on the features from Stories Inherited’s first corporate history project, Lauryn and Scott added multimedia organizational charts, interactivetimelines, and embedded slide presentations. A New Brand In January 2013, Lauryn and Scott decided to accommodate corporate history customers under a sister brand,Stories Incorporated, and focusing the Stories Inherited brand on personal histories. The Stories Incorporated website launched that month.