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Storytelling, Serendipity, and Creation: Michael Schein’s Influencers

In his interview on yesterday’s episode of Smashing the Plateau, Michael Schein described how he turned an everyday business problem – updating media content – into a model for success. His business, MicroFame Media, provides marketing services to companies by streamlining the process of reaching out to mass audiences, gaining attention and growing appeal. Initially, Michael never saw himself in the business world, but he has forged success from a passion for creativity and a drive to overcome, and to help others overcome, everyday obstacles. Through reading, forming personal connections, and writing about his experiences, Michael has become an authority in the field of content marketing. Some of his influencers include:

1. The Click Moment by Frans Johansson

“Frans is more-well known for The Medici Effect, but this is my favorite book of his and one of my favorite books in general. It explains how the world is a really random place and so it’s really difficult to predict what will be successful. As a result, you need a process for capturing serendipity. It has really influenced how I approach my business and life … from having a Creative Lab at our company to reading all kinds of diverse material to see what sparks an idea.”

“One part play, one part haunted house—all parts phenomenon. This production is hosted by the immersive theater company Punch Drunk, and it’s like anything I had ever seen. It’s a story but instead of watching it from beginning to end, you wander through it, creating your own version of the story as you go along. It’s completely immersive, very weird, and a gigantic hit.  It taught me once and for all that the way people digest stories in this era is totally different than in any other. It really influenced my approach to storytelling, which touches everything we do at MicroFame.”

3. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

“A whole new model of doing business…totally different than the command and control model I grew up thinking business was all about. Showed me I could create and run a business in a way that way aligned with who I was as a person.”

4. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

“One of the first to postulate that there’s a big difference between great writing and great storytelling. Makes a very compelling case that our human brains are wired to respond very strongly to certain story structures over others. Since MicroFame Media is all about helping companies create content in the most efficient way possible for the biggest business result, this book has become a bit of a Bible in regards for giving us the philosophy and tools to make that happen.”

5. Punk rock

“This was the kind of music that had me a mega-fan from 13 onward, and it’s aesthetic has influenced everything I’ve done since. The power of provocation. The attraction of off key humor. And how to build a diehard audience of your kind of people, and why that’s often better than having a lukewarm mass audience. It all has it’s roots here. Plus, moshing is so much fun.”


About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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