Setup, confrontation and resolution


Around the time that I started Internet video company TurnHere, I saw a film shoot for a television commercial that blocked off an area between 5th and 6th avenues on 44th Street in New York City. I counted 75-plus people, a catering truck, off-duty policemen and two big rigs — all to produce a 30-second commercial that we would someday TiVo out.

For years, the details of this scene anchored my story about "Why TurnHere?" I contrasted the extravagant scene on 44th Street to the TurnHere production model — that company has produced 22,000 video ads at a very low cost, each with a one- or two-filmmaker crew and minimal equipment — no caterers, no booms, no off-duty cops and no big rigs.

When changing an industry, such comparisons and contrasts are central to the entrepreneur’s story. Examples help people relate to and understand what startups are trying to do. Spreadsheets, business theories and metrics are a necessary part of the story, but they do not engender enthusiasm to build support for a new business idea.