Michael Margolis is the CEO and founder of Storied, a strategic messaging firm specializing in the story of innovation and disruption. He’s a trusted advisor to clients across 34 industries and 15 countries, including Facebook, Google, Uber, Hulu, and NASA. Michael helps executives demystify the complex and deliver on the promise of transformation.
Story 10x (pronounced “ten ex”) is the first book on storytelling for disruption. Written for heads of product, design, and anyone leading tech-driven transformation. Go beyond the storytelling hype, and learn story frameworks and tools to 10x the future.
Interview Topics & Questions
Below are just some of the topics and questions you can explore in your interview with Michael—there’s a lot of territory you could cover together. Of course, feel free to ask any questions that serve your audience!
Storytelling in the Age of Disruption
- Why is innovation like “stealing fire from the gods” and a heretical act?
- What’s different about storytelling today vs over the last 30,000 years?
- How do you tell the story of disruption without putting people on the defensive?
- Why do we have to rethink the Hero’s Journey in the context of biz transformation?
- What is the new narrative structure for tech disruption and innovation?
- Why is the story dead on arrival when you start with the data?
Your Brain on Story in the Digital Age
- The neuroscience of storytelling — unexpected insights that change everything
- The roles of cortisol (fight/flight/freeze) and oxytocin (belonging molecule)
- Why problem/solution makes for crappy story (and what to do instead)
- Why it creates unnecessary conflict when you frame things as right/wrong
- How our culture is evolving, and how to meet our new communications reality
The Chief Storytellers: New Roles & Functions
- What can we learn from Silicon Valley about how the future gets built?
- Understanding the critical role of product managers, designers, and marketers
- Why product roadmaps are a hidden lever for company-wide transformation
- Who are the best storytellers inside big Fortune 500s and social institutions?
Undeniable Story & Why We Need One
- What is an Undeniable Story and what are the 3 steps? (Context, Emotion, Evidence)
- How do you move a company-wide narrative from an old story to a new story?
- Who needs to be involved in crafting a new narrative?
The Blind Spot of Innovation
- Understanding the #1 blind spot of the disruptor
- Why change agents self-sabotage their own message
- How to shift your identity from “outsider” to “insider” — and why this matters
The Chocolate Secret
- Why Michael is obsessed with craft chocolate movement
- Michael’s launch of Choco Libre, a secret society for the world’s best chocolate
- Chocolate as a metaphor for experiential storytelling and community building
- Michael’s top chocolate recommendations
Storytelling: Authenticity vs Manipulation
- Aren’t stories make believe? Shouldn’t we be suspicious?
- When is storytelling an abuse of power? Isn’t it dangerous to teach this stuff?
- How do you define authenticity when it comes to storytelling?
- How to use storytelling with integrity
The Power of Personal Story
- How to talk about yourself without sounding like a wanker
- The role of your own personal story in connecting with your audience
- What to include in your about page/LinkedIn profile/social media bio
- Superhero origins as a quick and powerful exercise
What’s Right With Big Tech
- Many have lost confidence in big tech–what’s the bigger story we are missing?
- How do you speak to the fundamental role and value of a product in peoples’ lives?
- How can tech leaders meaningfully address the existential issues?
- How do you strengthen trust in your core constituents and customers?
- Why must leaders demonstrate faith in the future?
How to Tell The Data Story
- Why do we confuse data as the truth — and why does this get us into big trouble?
- When and how to use data in your presentation — it’s not what we’ve been taught
- Why do we confuse OKRs/metrics for vision/strategy, and how do we fill the gap?
- Facebook: biggest storytelling platform in world: belonging, identity, self-expression
- Dolby: what Instagram filters did for photography, Dolby wants to do for audio/video
- Silicon Valley giant: a $2B dollar investment in corporate campus and future of work
- Highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare
- Public libraries: the enduring role and value of public libraries in the digital age
- Recruiting velocity: for in-demand talent and roles — the role of storytelling
Personal Bio Tidbits
- Why moving from Switzerland to LA at the age of 9 forever defined his life
- Father is an inventor/mad scientist, mother is an artist/teacher/toy designer
- His youth as a nerd, chubby, misfit, who didn’t fit in or belong anywhere
- Trained as a cultural anthropologist, fascinated with the culture of the future
- Started career as a social entrepreneur, working on poverty, race, the digital divide
- In 2015/2016, sold 90% of everything, went nomad for 500 days around the world
- How dharmic truth informs his work with the biggest companies of our time
- How Michael’s life fell apart when he pressed send on his latest book manuscript