Dan Roam is a creative director, visual storyteller and bestselling author who helps businesses tell their best stories, solve complex problems, and navigate change through visual storytelling. We discuss the power of visual storytelling, how to clarify your own thinking, and ways to tell a story with ten emotional turns.
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Clarify Your Own Thinking with Dan Roam
Our guest is Dan Roam, who is the creative director, visual storyteller and bestselling author of six books, most recently, The Pop-Up Pitch. Dan, welcome to the show.
Steve, Thank you so much. It’s my pleasure to be here.
It’s awesome to have you and to talk about what is very near and dear to my heart as well, which is visual storytelling. So, tell me, Dan, how did you become a visual storytelling entrepreneur, if I can call you that? What’s been your journey? You started in corporate America, as I understand, and you now created this niche industry for where you are kind of a thought leader. Please tell us a little bit about that.
Steve, I’d be delighted. And, you know, I am a storyteller, so I’m gonna go way back in time, way, way, way before moving into corporate America. No, Steve, the fact is I got started being a visual storyteller like every single person on this podcast when I was a kid because what I mean by that is when we’re young the first way we have to communicate and share our ideas in any kind of written form is through drawing. Long before we know how to read and write letters and words, we still knew how to draw and as little kids, for those of you who have kids or if any of you ever were a kid, at one time you remember when you were three or four years old. Before you could really read and write, you drew. That’s what we did. And a sad thing happens in most education is about the time that a kid reaches the age of seven or eight or nine, sadly, most of us are encouraged to give up that drawing part. We may have been in first grade or second grade in school and we drew a picture of a dog and the teacher came along and said, or our friend said, “That’s the worst dog I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t look anything like a dog.” And we were crushed and we stopped drawing. I however the person who never stopped drawing. So I just kept drawing because I found it to be a very very powerful way for me to understand the world around me connect with that world and then be able to convey back to other people what it is that I had seen and so as to your point I did move into corporate America. I worked in a series of very prestigious consulting companies, both internationally and then in New York.First way we have to communicate and share our ideas in any kind of written form is through drawing. Click To Tweet
And I realized at these consulting companies where we had some of the smartest, truly professional, deep thinking, consultative sales consultants, many of whom were ex-McKinsey, ex-Booz Allen, Bain, you name it. And they would bring me along into their sales calls for one reason, because I was the person who would draw. And there would be some point in every consultative sales meeting, when we were in a conference room that had a whiteboard, when one of the head consultative salespeople would sort of kick me under the table, which was the sign that said, “Dan, go to the whiteboard and start doing that drawing weird thing that you do because we can sense that in the conversation, now is the time that we need some kind of visual framework that maps out what everybody’s talking about so that we can actually see it.” And Steve, that’s what I did. I ended up writing a book about it. That book changed my career. The book, the original one was called “‘The Back of the Napkin.” This is now way back in 2008, so we’re looking at what, 14 years ago almost. And that enabled me, frankly, to leave the consulting company and go off on my own and spend the next decade and a half really diving deeply into how can I help entrepreneurs, how can I help innovators, how can I help, frankly, anyone in the business space be more effective at clarifying their own idea and then communicating that idea to someone else by using the power of our visual mind. That’s my story, Steve. How does that sound to you?
That resonates so much and this is actually how we met because Francis Pedraza, who’s gonna be also my my upcoming podcast guest and we talked with him and I talked to him about my new book and how I’m creating these drawings and he said, oh you have to meet Dan because he is the father of this whole movement. I totally get it. What happened to me, I was working on this book which is behind me and I actually didn’t want to write this book. I just wanted to create drawings to explain what this whole pinnacle process is for myself. I wanted to do it on a whiteboard. I didn’t want to do it on a PowerPoint. I don’t like PowerPoints. I started drawing things out and that really helped me clarify the concepts to my own understanding. Now I’m writing a new book, which is going to come out later this year. And there were some really challenging concepts I had to grapple with around strategy. And I didn’t really understand it, and I had to put my finger into “What is it really hard, what does it really look like?” And I could only explain it to myself by being able to draw it, and then I saw that something wrong with it. I could tweak it. I could modify it. And then I realized this is really powerful, because there are certain things that we cannot express in words, but we somehow, we have a conception of it and if we can put it on the page, then we can look at it and think about it more clearly and then shape it and come up with something that other people can then understand.I started drawing things out and that really helped me clarify the concepts to my own understanding. Click To Tweet
Absolutely. Yeah, that’s exactly right.
So that is an amazing discovery and I definitely want to talk about it with you. So what is it that allows you to tell a story better with the visual rather than the narrative?
So as you can imagine, your story not so dissimilar from my own, I find myself now most of the time in my business in rooms where I’m working with, well, now they’re virtual, but back in the old days when we would be in the room with someone, typically someone who is a leader, an innovator, an entrepreneur almost invariably, or the leader of an organization, large or small, who’s seeking, as we are talking about, to clarify their thinking. And the moment they hear that I want to encourage them to draw, most people panic because most people think, especially in the business world, “I can’t draw.” And Steve, I want to share with you the point of what we are talking about here, visual storytelling and visual communication.
The mechanism by which we record our visual thoughts is drawing, but the quality of your drawing doesn’t matter. Nobody cares how beautiful your stick figure is. It doesn’t make any difference and we’ll prove that a little bit as we go through the rest of this call. What matters is the clarity of your thinking and drawing out what you’re thinking is far and away the best way to clarify for yourself what is actually going on in your brain. Now part of the reason this idea of visual storytelling, and Steve, in a moment I’ll walk you through some of the frameworks that I bring to it, but I want to give a little bit of the scientific backbone of why this approach actually works. I’m just going to draw here for a second, and I’ve got some things already prepared, but I’m just going to add another one. If I were to draw a circle, and I was to say that this circle represents the entire human brain, this is the 100 billion neurons that you have in your brain.What matters is the clarity of your thinking and drawing out what you're thinking is far and away the best way to clarify for yourself what is actually going on in your brain. Click To Tweet
The cognitive scientists, neurobiologists are really starting to focus in on how does the brain work? We know that. But one of the things that’s really interesting in terms of sheer processing horsepower, it is estimated that about one third of all of the neurons that are in your brain are doing nothing but helping you process vision. More of the human brain is dedicated to processing vision than any other thing that we do by orders of magnitude. About one third of your brain is processing vision. Another third is processing all of your other sensory inputs. So touch, smell, hearing, taste, sense of balance, which leaves about one third of your brain to do all of this stuff that we call thinking. So language, memory, logic, math, strategic thinking, all of that is taking place in about one third of the total neuronal capacity that we have, which the reason why I love this is most of the time, we live in our business meetings entirely in this part of our brain. All I’m trying to do is say, let’s engage all of this.
And the best way to do that is activating our visuals. All you need to do, as I’ve just done right there, if you want to activate someone else’s brain is simply draw something. And you might say, “This is me and this is you and you’re not happy because you don’t get the idea, but if I show you the idea it comes into your mind and now all of the sudden you become happy too.” What I just did there in 12 seconds is exactly what our visual mind is doing in one third of our brain a thousand times a second. We are looking at the world and the reason why we have so much of our brain horsepower dedicated to processing vision is it’s a lot of work because there’s a lot to look at and to make sense of. And our brain knowing that it wants to keep us alive never wants to fall behind on what is in front of us in this visual field. Our brain, our body, our entity understands that our very survival is dependent on navigating what is in front of me right now. And that’s why we’ve evolved to have this incredible visual engine.
So, what I’m trying to do is say, “What would happen if we turned some of that incredible processing horsepower away from sort of survival and into more strategic thinking. And how might we do that?” Well, it becomes a question of drawing. And then the next question someone would say is, “Okay, I can draw a smiley face, I can draw a circle. I’m with you, Dan, I can draw an arrow, that’s fine. But what picture would I actually draw to help explain this part of my strategic idea?” And Steve, I’m gonna pause for a moment and turn it back to you because that question, what picture would I draw, is exactly what I have sought out to answer and to give a framework for in every book that I’ve written. And it starts simple with you might draw a stick figure and then it takes us all the way up through to answer your original question. to tell a very comprehensive story, which is what really captivates someone else’s mind. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it absolutely does. Basically, you are showing a movie in real time to the other person. So in addition to the narrative piece, you give them the visual piece, and now you engage, I don’t know, two-thirds of their brain or the whole hundred percent.
The whole thing. Absolutely.
If they draw that, probably it’s even more than the two third, because then they are part of the they actually the sensory is also activated.
So that’s that is very powerful.
Steve, I want to comment. May I could I comment on something you just said? Because you brought up the idea of you’re telling the story almost as if it’s a movie. And this is, may I share this just for a moment? That is exactly the idea that my newest book, The Pop-Up Pitch is about. It’s like this, how many people in the world do you know who would pay to go see a PowerPoint presentation? None. How many people would pay to go see Avatar Way of Water or go see Top Gun or go see Harry Potter, everybody. What’s the difference? One is a visual story and one is a frigging awful data dense presentation. Now, why wouldn’t we, when we want to positively persuade our audience to give us time to share our idea and follow along, why wouldn’t we do it in the form of a movie? And that’s all we’re talking about. You said it very well.
I have to make a note of that. I’ll do it while you’re talking. So what is the exact process of doing that? So it’s nice, I’m compelled, this is fantastic, I wanna do this, but how do I even get started? I know I have to read your books, but if someone is just listening to this podcast and watching this podcast in real time, how do they think about it in a simple way and how do you empower them to believe that they can do this? What is the process?
Okay, so for those of you who might be watching this on YouTube or able to see the screen, I’ve got something on my whiteboard I’m going to draw. For those that are just listening, I’m going to walk you through it. Steve, it’s a really excellent question. Someone says, Dan, I like this idea of using pictures to help communicate my thinking and to share it on a whiteboard, but what would I draw? So I have my fundamental framework. The first one is something that I call the visual decoder. That’s just the name that I’ve given this framework. And as you were telling me, a lot of the people who are viewing your podcast or listening are very interested in business frameworks. The good news is the visual decoder is a simple four panel framework.
If you have an idea, whatever it might be, it’s your new product, it’s your new service, it’s your new strategic direction, it’s your new vision statement, by definition, when you are first exploring your idea, it is a little bit milky, it’s a little bit cloudy, and it’s a little bit uncertain. You might have a lot of different ideas and you need to capture them in some way so that this notion starts to become very coherent. The visual decoder is a way to use your visual mind to force your brain into visual organization so that you begin to see what are the essential pieces of your story right away. The visual decoder exercise, if you choose to do it as a formal exercise, which I do all the time, takes 12 minutes. And the reason is because you’ve got to come up with, “If I were to call my idea something, what might I call it?” You come up with a rough title.The visual decoder is a way to use your visual mind to force your brain into visual organization so that you begin to see what are the essential pieces of your story right away. Click To Tweet
The first thing you do is you take a sheet of paper, you fold it into quadrants, and in the first quadrant, you literally draw a picture of who is your idea about or who is it for, and what is some physical attribute of your idea that seems important. So that sounds a little bit of an abstract, but let’s say I’m coming up with a new strategy. I might say, “My strategy is for financial services customers who are looking to improve their return on investment.” Okay, so I’ve identified it a who and a what. Then I move and I take two minutes to do that. I time myself and I say. “Two minutes,” And I draw as fast as I can, stick figures. I label them, words are great if you’re just labels, as many as you can. “Oh, well, financial services customers, that means they’re gonna relate to financial advisors.” So I’ll include those too. And what about bankers? Well, they’re there too. And what about investment bankers? And what about VCs? So the idea is in this little panel, draw as many people as you can who you think are involved in your idea. And then after two minutes you stop and you say, “Okay, now I’m going to switch my visual mind to sort of geography mode. I’ve identified who and what is involved.
Now I’m going to, in my second quadrant, answer where are they? And I’m going to draw a map.” And that could be quite conceptual. It’s meant to be, I know who the players are, now map out what is their relation to each other in my idea? Is everybody in the same place? Or in this silly analogy that I’m making up now, could it be that the VCs are way over there and the customers are way over here and what I wanna do is try to bring them together. So what I need to do in this map is create a simple, back of the napkin style, very quick, two minute sketch of roughly what is a map of where all these people are or these things that I want to involve. You with me so far, Steve? Yes. And so far, you’ve taken about five minutes. One to name it, two minutes for who and what, two minutes to draw your map, and now you switch down here. And for two more minutes, you then change how your visual mind thinks and you fill in a quadrant called how many and this is where you bring quantification into the mix. You say, “I’ve identified these different types of people and I’ve identified their sort of conceptual relation to each other” Now I need to quantify how many of these people are there actually out there or how much money do they have available to them or how many of this instances of service are actually available to me. You need to quantify.
And the reason we need this slide, this third drawing, and again, it’s only in two minutes, is because Steve, you know this, every time you go in to make a pitch to anybody in the business world, they will love your concept. And about three minutes in, they’re gonna ask you, “Okay, so how much is that worth? What is the TAM? What is the total addressable market? What is the investment that’s needed? What is going to be my return on investment?” They want numbers and it makes sense because our brain also is reassured by things that can be quantified. But on a sub note, typically in 95% of all business storytelling, the only picture we ever show is the chart. We show “Here’s the growth rate, here’s the sales curve,” with not ever addressing anything else. And so of course we obsess on this, which is why as we see the market doing it’s weird ups and downs, part of the reason is because everybody’s just looking at the numbers. We also need to look at what’s going on in the who’s and the what’s, what’s going on in the location of these people.
And then the last drawing for the last two minutes is now you turn it into a story and you draw a little bit of what I call the when picture, which is a simple timeline that says, “Okay, if I look at who and what, in what positions moving in these directions, in these quantities, what is the series of steps that I see taking place to make this work?” Or “What is the series of steps that my idea brings to moving these things around in order to change these numbers in a way that I think is beneficial.” And I say, the first thing that needs to happen is we need to align our customers with our investors. The second thing that needs to happen is we need to fine tune our product and make sure that it has good product market fit. And the third thing that we need to do is then successfully launch that product. So the idea is in simply four pictures, each of which I drew in two, eight minutes plus one minute for a title. I wrap the whole thing up after I’ve unleashed my visual mind with all these little sketches. And I say, “What are the one to two most important lessons that I need someone to remember from this whole story?” Now, Steve, does that make sense? I said a lot right there, but I want to ask you, are you able to follow along and can you see how that might be useful?
Yeah, I love this because I already started thinking about a new website I’m planning to launch and what are the, you know, the who and what and where and the numbers and the sequences. It’s a very powerful and simple approach. It’s, you know, you can do it on a napkin. Yeah. which is big enough to have four folds and do it in 12 minutes. I love that. So that’s the process and there are many, many other processes. So one of your books that recently came up is the Pop-Up Pitch. So what does that book do and what do you explain in that book?
Thank you so much, Steve, for asking. What I’ve shared with you so far, this idea of the visual decoder, is if I were to summarize, as you had mentioned, I’ve done six books. The first five of them really discovered and unpacked this idea of using these simple pictures to clarify your own idea so that you can explain it to yourself and then explain it to someone else. The last book, the pop-up pitch, is pitch is the idea that, “How do I now convert the simple drawings that I have into a sales story?” Exactly where you and I began this conversation by saying, “Well, nobody wants to go see a PowerPoint but everyone wants to go see a movie.” Well, why is that? Because a movie has a story behind it. And we know this, the notion of storytelling is so overused in business concepts and innovation now, but it’s overused for a good reason.
It’s the hero’s journey, right?
The hero’s journey is one of the most classic stories. So in the pop-up pitch, what I’ve done is I’ve said, look, the reason I called the book the pop-up pitch is this. I have participated in or seen probably two or 3000 new business venture presentations that I’ve been involved in over the last 15 years. Some have been successful, some have not been successful, but I’ve learned a lot of lessons. And one of the most critical lessons is that if you are sharing with someone your idea in the hope that they will join you, and that means either give you money, join your team as an employee or a partner, join your company as a customer, sign up for it. In all cases, every time we are doing a pitch. And the idea of a pitch is also a little bit overused. The essential idea is, “Hey, Steve, I’ve got an idea and I think it’s going to be a value to you. May I share it with you so that you can see the value?” That’s the fundamental idea of a pitch. And what I realized is most pitches are awful. They are negative. They are about the presenter rather than the person who’s being presented to, and they don’t have a coherent story that takes me through or the audience through. “Here’s who and what I’m talking about. Here’s the map of where they’re located.
Here’s how the numbers are going to be impacted, and here’s how the whole thing plays out.” So to your point, the hero’s journey, I said, “If we’re going to convert these pictures we’ve drawn into a story, why don’t we just follow the most successful classic story arc of all time, which is for people who are familiar with it, this storyline which is called the hero’s journey.” For those of you who might not be familiar with the hero’s journey, Steve, do you mind if I just give a 15 second history of where this came from? So there was a guy named Joseph Campbell, who last century lived most of the 20th century, a really interesting character. He was American, but he ended up traveling the world. He spent time in Indian ashrams. He spent time in Africa. He spent time in Southeast Asia. He spent a lot of time in Japan. And what Joseph Campbell became very, very interested in was what are the most classic mythological stories that all cultures have around the world. Every culture has its own series of stories and myths that it uses to convey the rules or the meaning of that culture from one generation to the next.
And Joseph Campbell really, from a very academic perspective really dive deep into all of the underlying bases of all these different myths from all over the world and realized. He didn’t discover it but he kind of uncovered the idea that almost all of these myths shared essentially the same storyline a reluctant hero. on an amazing quest and doesn’t want to go, but for reasons that occur in the story, is compelled to go on this amazing adventure. And in that amazing adventure, the hero goes into a new world, a world that’s never been explored before or is unknown to the hero. And in that world, the hero has a mentor who guides him or her through it and meets a whole lot of adversity in that other world has to fight dragons has to fight the minotaur has to fight the devil whatever it is goes through a whole series of awful events and almost gives up in the last battle almost gives up but then at that critical moment when this reluctant hero who’s in this awful situation is right on the verge of giving up and saying, “I’m done. I can’t handle life anymore. I give up.” Some kernel of a thought launches back in the hero’s mind. A trigger. It could come from a memory. It could come from a word from above. It could come from a memory of your parents or a word from the mentor says, “Wait a minute, there actually is a way out of this horrible situation. I just have to think a little bit differently. I have in me the power to solve this awful problem. All I need to do is do this little change.” It is in that darkest moment when that tiny little light turns on that the hero says, “Wait a minute, I’m not going to die today. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.” And it’s that making the decision to not give up that starts the hero on a series of increasingly successful wins that move them back up out of this pit of despair.
And so by the time you reach the end of the story, the classic hero’s journey, not only has the hero beaten the dragon, killed Darth Vader, saved the universe. After all of that, the hero comes back to the old world from which they began, now with this wisdom of having been through this awful time, and with the ability to share that wisdom with everyone else in the culture who hadn’t yet had that experience. And that is the hero’s journey. So what I did in the pop-up pitch, and look, if the story sounds familiar, it’s because it is. If you think about George Lucas when he created the very first Star Wars, which has created the most successful movie franchise in history, George Lucas had read Joseph Campbell’s book, which was called The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and literally mapped the original screenplay of the first Star Wars movie line by line to Exactly Joseph Campbell’s illumination of the hero’s journey Luke Skywalker is the reluctant hero you have Obi-wan Kenobi is the mentor who comes in the force becomes the magic that is used to save the you know to save the universe then we see it in the Harry Potter series it’s exactly the same. J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings is telling the same story. If you remember Suzanne Collins who wrote Hunger Games, it’s exactly the same story. So what I did in the pop-up pitch, and I know I go on but I just want to bring you to connecting how did this come together.
Steve, I can’t tell you the power there is when I share with an entrepreneur, stop trying to sell me the fricking numbers. The numbers come later, but tell me the story about how your product or service makes me your prospect, the hero. How is your product going to help me in my time of despair make the decision that I’m gonna come back out of it? And that is what the pop-up pitch does. I’ll go through it in a little bit more detail in a moment if you’d like, but the idea is, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to pitch anything, you have one classic storyline that there are many, there are many ways you can make a pitch, but one that is essentially guaranteed to work is to follow the hero’s journey. And what I’ve done is I’ve just mapped it out in 10 simple turns, 10 pages, you can tell your story. I’ll stop there, Steve, and say, how does that land with you?
That is fascinating, this approach. And what I’m wondering is, so if I want to, let’s say I’m a consultant and I want to, I have a product, I have a service, and I want to sell this, I make my prospect the hero, then who am I? Am I the mentor in this relation or am I the, I don’t know, who am I? Am I the villain? Hopefully not.
No, you’re not the villain at all. No, in fact, you are really the magician. You are Merlin. You are Obi Wan. You are Gandalf. You are Dumbledore, if you know all of these these stories. And what’s really critical, Steve, it’s very, very important that we keep this in mind. I’m actually going to show you on the map here. Here is what I’m calling the 10-page pitch, otherwise known as the hero’s journey deconstructed for the purposes of business people. And what it really is, is you are telling your story with 10 emotional turns. Now I didn’t make this up. What I’ve done is I’ve, you know, stood on the proverbial shoulders of giants. This is the work of so many of the most successful movie writers and novelists and storytellers. All I’ve done is turn it into a formula. And the first thing that you wanna do, these are the 10 emotions, I’ll run through them really quickly, is from the beginning, you start here, and you establish clarity. This is what we’re here to do.
Then you establish trust, and then you drive fear. You pull the bottom out from underneath the person you’re talking to. Then after fear, you kind of go, “What? Well, it’s gonna get worse? What are you talking about?” Then you say, “Oh no, but at the end of this, there is great hope.” And that was number four. Number five though, is that a huge drop. You thought what I scared you before, oh no, no, no, no. I’m now gonna drop you to the complete bottom. This is the point of utter despair. Sobering reality, Steve, is that, for example, sadly, I know that you want to achieve success X, but guess what? I know this, the way that you, in this hypothetical situation, are doing it. Not only is it not gonna work, you’re gonna lose all your money, and it’s gonna be an utter and complete disaster. However, and this right here is the inflection point right down here.You establish trust, and then you drive fear. Click To Tweet
This is that magic moment when Steve, we introduce our product or our service. Now I want you to notice something. I’m halfway through the 10 page pitch and I haven’t even mentioned my product yet. I’ve spent this entire time making sure that my prospect is seeing where they fit in the world that I’m describing. It’s about you, it’s not about me. And then we realized, but you know what, Steve, isn’t it true that if you just keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing all along this time, and it’s never worked before, it’s not gonna work this time either. But guess what? This, use the force. If you use the force, you will find that it starts to work. So this is the point where we introduce our product and not by me saying “I’m Dan and I’m a genius,” but by me saying, “Hey Steve, I know what’s going to change your reality for you is storytelling. I happen to have a story that I can share with you and if you want to use it, I can guarantee that it will turn this awful sobering reality into enough energy for you to start moving up, which will then generate the courage that you need, then you can make a commitment to continuing, then you will get your initial reward, which will drive you up to your ultimate success.”
And so what I’ve done is I’ve spent half the story time laying out the scene and making sure that we agree that this is the scene, and then in the middle at this this critical moment is when I say, “Okay, guess what’s now going to fix it?” This is where the iPhone comes in. That’s actually a good example. I get excited. If you go back and watch Steve Jobs 2007 introduction to the iPhone, one of the greatest keynote presentations of all time, to this little magic device that has now arguably changed the world more than any other piece of technology in history if you really think about what this thing has enabled us to do. When Steve Jobs introduced it, there is still a video you can watch on YouTube. It’s been watched tens of millions of times. Listen to what he says. He says exactly this thing. He says the problem that what we’ve always wanted to do is be able to communicate with other people and Yet our technology has not enabled us to do it. So many companies have come up with all kinds of mobile technology, that’s really awesome. But they all suck. They all are terrible. They have too many keys They don’t intersect well with they don’t bring things together but and then he says “I have one for you” and then he shows this and then the rest of the time is he’s so totally captured us this awful world of what we wanted to do and could never do and Nokia and My gosh 3com and all the companies that were so successful in making mobile devices still didn’t manage to do what we wanted But now we can’t and boom. That’s where it comes back. So this storyline works and it does. Part of the reason why it works, Steve, to what you said, is it removes the story from being about me and it makes it about what you want. It makes you in combination with whatever my product or service is. The the the hero.
Okay, well, I can’t wait to get off that call to map out my hero journey. I just had a great idea. I have to write the introduction for my new book and it’s going to be along the hero’s journey. Beautiful. That’s a great idea. It’s a great concept and it’s a great way to illustrate it because now you made it all visual. You had me see the movie in real time. I read Joseph Campbell, very, very dry. Obviously, Star Wars is exciting, but you focus on the storyline rather than the underlying structure. You go, you give us the structure and make it super, super, super simple. So, Dan, if someone would like to learn about these concepts, would like to apply it, what’s the best thing to do? Is it to read your books? Is it to watch your videos? Where should they go? What should they do?
Okay, thank you, Steve, for asking. So item number one would simply be to go visit my website, which is danroam.com. If you want to reach me, it’s dan at danrohm.com, but the website is simply danroam.com. Let me make sure that that shows up, D-A-N-R-O-A-M.com. The second thing would be to go ahead and if you’re really interested, the book that I would recommend is the newest book. It’s the one called The Pop-Up Pitch. The Pop-Up Pitch really is a more detailed explanation of these two frameworks that we’ve just talked about. The Pop-Up Pitch itself as a book is broken up into the two frameworks and the whole idea is it’s a two-hour self-guided workshop. workshop, the entire book is, where the first hour you create a visual decoder to draw the pictures of your idea and then in the second hour you put them into this 10-page story.
So in two hours, which it takes to go through the book, you will have created your own first draft, sort of a minimum viable pitch, pop-up pitch. And I have an online training program, it’s called Napkin Academy, all one word, napkinacademy.com. And at napkinacademy.com, what I’ve done, it’s been online for over 10 years now. I’ve had tens of thousands of people who are subscribers. I want to be clear, it is a paid subscription site that enables you to take a series of all of my courses that I’ve recorded over the last couple of years. Each one of the courses maps to one of my books. They’re going in essentially in order of three critical lessons. I call them in my own language, red belt, yellow belt, and black belt visual storytelling. Red belt is the beginning lesson. Yellow belt is the middle lesson. And black belt is the advanced lesson. You can take each of those.
Each of those courses is about three to four hours long. But more interestingly, Steve, is every month live, we get together, myself and all of the Napkin Academy associates, we get together live for an hour, and I present the next step of the next framework and tool. We do homework, we discuss it, and very often I’ll bring on a guest star. I’ve had some really interesting people who’ve joined us over the years. Simon Sinek has joined us for an hour. Dan Fink who’s the author of so many best-selling books has joined us. Austin Kleon if anybody knows of Austin who is the the author of Steel Like an Artist and several other bestsellers has joined us. I’ve had a lot of really fascinating people who join us for an hour and so all of that is available on napkinacademy.com. So that’s far and away the best way in an active way to engage and stay engaged.
Fantastic. I’m gonna check this out right now. Dan, fantastic. Thank you for explaining the Pop-Up page, the 10 steps, 10 emotional steps to lead our prospects through the hero’s journey and how to decode visually your own ideas, those fantastic frameworks, and definitely check out Dan’s books, check out his napkinacademy.com, and thank you for coming and sharing your wisdom, and those of you listening, stay tuned because I’m getting these exciting entrepreneurs every week on the show, and you cannot miss an episode anymore. Thank you for listening.
- Pinnacle: Five Principles that Take Your Business to the Top of the Mountain
- Dan’s LinkedIn
- The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
- The Pop-up Pitch: The Two-Hour Creative Sprint to the Most Persuasive Presentation of Your Life