StoryHow_box_and_cardsAfter a long year of development, The StoryHow™ PitchDeck is finally done! Had I written another book, I would have written acknowledgments. However, since a deck of cards doesn’t have the appropriate real estate, I’m writing this post instead.

Ann Handley is the first person that I shared my original concept with. She saw the potential immediately and encouraged me to create a product rather than a YAMB–yet another marketing book. You’ll find her fingerprints all over The StoryHow™ PitchDeck…including the decision to mark the “Starter Hand” with different colored backs.

Tamsen Webster‘s superpower is the ability to listen to someone’s sloppy ideas and rephrase them into a coherent stream. While it’s impressive to watch her do it to someone else, it’s humbling when it happens to you. And here’s a piece of trivia that you can use to win a bet in a bar someday. Tamsen named The StoryHow™ PitchDeck!

Without Michael Joe’s help, the SHPD would have been…umm…fugly. Mike graciously accepted my clumsily-assembled Microsoft Publisher file (yeah, I know), asked a few questions, and then wove them masterfully into the beautiful Adobe InDesign file that we sent to the printer. They say that great designers are worth their weight in gold. I disagree. Mike needs to binge on Twinkies for a year before approaching his value to this project.

Mike Kilroy was the project’s biggest champion. Our many conversations over pints (and pints) of Guinness have cold-filtered their way into this deck. His passion for story, cleantech, and a slightly disturbing obsession with the JFK assassination influenced this project long before it was actually conceived.

Thanks to Pat Harriman for who joined Mike and me for a few of these Guinness-inspired discussions. Pat’s experience and dedication to clear corporate communications kept me focussed on the core audience.

Brand Journalist Jennifer St James joined Mike and Pat in accepting (a.k.a. didn’t have a choice) the thankless job of copy-editing the deck. Their work not only tightened up the language, but it also saved me from embarrassing blunders.

Fran Shea is my storytelling soul sister (and my only friend with an Emmy). We met through a mutual respect for the power of story. Her advice and enthusiasm proved to be a much-needed catalyst for this project.

Thanks to all who volunteered (a.k.a. were drafted) to be my alpha, beta, and prototype guinea pigs: Ann Handley, Tamsen Webster, Mike Kilroy, Pat Harriman, Fran Shea, Jonathan Gordon , John Wall, C.C. Chapman, Rob Shore, Desiree Joe, Layton Freitas, and my brother Dan Ploof. Without all of your frank (and sometimes brutal) feedback, the SHPD would likely resemble the floor after playing the children’s game of “52 Pickup.”

Thanks to Katie Wagner for offering her social media agency to test the prototype deck. Creators can only imagine how their products will be used in the wild, and hearing how her team used the SHPD to help develop client stories boosted my confidence.

Thanks to Bruce Cooper who introduced me to the dizzying world of Import/Export. Without his advice and contacts, these cards would be in the bowels of boat that’s scheduled to arrive in September, or October, or…

No worthwhile endeavor can occur without the support of those who love you. Thanks to my wife Tara for supporting the countless hours required to complete a project of this magnitude. Being married to a fanatical storyteller can’t be easy. And thanks to Bryan and Stephanie for the gift of your vibrant, youthful perspective.

Lastly, I want to thank the woman who inspired me to address business storytelling through a deck of cards. Although we never met, her century-old postcards helped me understand that atoms still win the longevity battle over bits. Thank you, Mrs. Lizzie Milligan.