Let’s kick off 2017 and the launch of Freytag Frank with a send up to my silent partner: Gustav Freytag.
He’s an easy guy to overlook. And it’s exceptionally easy to repress the memory of him, because one typically learns of Freytag only fleetingly and during a time in one’s life when the pituitary gland has us focused on things other than 19th century German novelists.
(And let’s be clear from the outset: the guy is not without his flaws. But because time has made him my silent partner in this venture (as in: he’s long dead) I trust he’s answering for his errors elsewhere.)
What got Gustav into this mess – into Freytag Frank, that is – is his one particularly deft contribution to the study of narrative.
Freytag’s Triangle (sometimes Freytag’s Pyramid) represents the basic trajectory of narrative plots with remarkable economy.
You might remember it as something like this:
I’ve always liked the simplicity of Freytag’s Triangle. It doesn’t apply to every story all the time, sure, but you have to admit, it expertly sums up a lot with impressive brevity.
When I left grad school, where short stories were my thing, and entered the tech industry, my interest in startups was turned up a notch.
Some of our most interesting contemporary stories are those of startups or organizations where ambitious people are doing something new. Everyday people with a creative spark who see a simple problem before them, a wild through which no path has yet been cut, who say, “I’ll go there.” And off they go.
With Freytag Frank, I’m going somewhere I’ve longed to go for quite some time.
Good stories set great organizations above the rest. They bring smart people together, inspire growth, attract investors and partners and clients and colleagues.
With a little help from Gustav, data-driven storytelling, narrative flair, and a big commitment from me, I want to help craft the stories of startups and organizations cutting new paths into a future insistent on creativity.