Lessons from the Antiques Road Show About How Entrepreneurs Should Tell Stories

Last week I had a wonderful conversation with colleagues at SC ETV about how to tell stories of innovators and entrepreneurs in South Carolina. They said Antiques Roadshow is by far the most-watched PBS series. Inspired to search for why the show is so successful, I found, What I've Learned On Antiques Roadshow.

Seven year host and Florence, SC native Mark Walberg says, "My Roadshow experience is filled with priceless personalities, not Rembrandts or Civil war muskets." The most successful innovators and entrepreneurs I work with are definitely strong, interesting personalities. People are attracted to their passion and enthusiasm for their visions of what's possible, as much as they are to the visions themselves.

Walberg says there are four things that dictate value in the collectible market: Authenticity, Rarity, Condition and Provenance. Those four things make the best stories of innovators and entrepreneurs interesting too.

Innovators and entrepreneurs are authentic and true to themselves. They tenaciously and passionately pursue a vision of what can be in the face of naysayers, doubters, carpers, and crudgemuggins telling them they are wrong.

They are rare. Not many people find the magic elixir that makes them phenomenally successful.

The condition innovators and entrepreneurs end up in is key. People love stories of big winners or big losers. The scrappy, tenacious, Swamp Fox Francis Marion, who prevails against all odds to help secure American independence, versus the aristocratic Lord Charles Cornwallis, who with the best trained and equipped military on the planet snatches defeat from the hands of victory to lose the American colonies.

And provenance makes for an interesting entrepreneurial story. The middle school art teacher Virgnia Uldrick, who creates in the Governors School for the Arts to be one of the best public high schools in the country or perhaps the world. Or Jim Anthony, who climbs down from being a lineman for the phone company to design golf courses with Tiger Woods.

Authenticity, Rarity, Condition and Provenance are elements that make for great stores, whether you are talking about antiques or entrepreneurs.

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