What Does Storytelling Mean to You? | Storytelling MOOC | Creative Assignment #1

StorytellingFor me storytelling is about using the world around you to create emotion and take a viewer, reader or listening on a journey. It might be a story about a particular event, a work of fiction or it could be a business message. Doesn’t matter what the story, it’s what is conveyed and in a way, how it is shared. Is it written? Is it painted? Is it a video? Is it a photograph? …

So, where does this idea of story come from? Well, I tell stories for a living as a practitioner of public relations and marketing. I tell stories. They might not be great works of fiction, but I do. Right now most of my stories are about the service my company provides to real estate agents. It’s fun to find a way to talk about rules and regulations so someone will read and understand.

Oh, and I’m taking a massive open online course (MOOC) titled “The Future of Storytelling.” It’s hosted by the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam in Germany. The course if being taught by a team of 4 along with several guest lecturers who are authors, advertising executives and more. Over the next eight weeks I’ll be posting my assignments here.

First Assignment:
Summarize your favorite story and share why it is so special that you remember it.

Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World

Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World

My Choice:
There are many stories that stand out for me. The most recent of which is actually a radio commercial. It starts with some mild music and through the 30-second spot it builds and builds. It’s one in a series and this one has a Halloween theme. It starts by telling us about a man who can do amazing things like grow candy corn, bob for apples and get a three pound lobster, and that he can scare the pants back ON you. The music reaches a crescendo and that’s when it tells you he is the most interesting man in the world. And the commercial ends with The Most Interesting Man in the World coming on and saying, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

Why It Stuck With Me:
It’s so out of the ordinary and it makes me laugh every time I hear it. When I hear the opening strains of the music, I actually turn up the volume on the radio for a commercial. Yes, I said it, for a commercial. So, thank you, Dos Equis for keeping me entertained this Halloween. What’s so great is that it’s a whole story in just 30 seconds. And, they have been doing it for years.

What’s your favorite story and why? 

Dreike Family Reunion – Day 3: Mont Tremblant

Last night we made it to Mont Tremblant to meet up with the entire family, cousins, greats and all. Many of us went to the top of Mont Tremblant. It’s been a bit rainy and overcast, so the view from the top was only as far as the fog would let us see. We did however get a pretty spectacular view from the gondolas on the way up.

A view of Lac Tremblant from the gondola going up (or down) the mountain.

My 90 year old Grandpa made the trip to Mont Tremblant for the reunion. He went to the top of the mountain today too. Here’s a good one of him, my Dad and my cousin Anna Lai.

From left to right: Anna Lai, Dad, Grandpa

After the gondola ride, I went back to the hotel and finally had a shower. Afterward, I sat with my Grandpa, a couple of cousins and  my Great Aunt and Uncle and listened to stories about when they were small. And, we looked at photos of the family and tried to put together a few new limbs on the family tree. While I was having a calm afternoon, the rest of the gang went on a ropes course slash zip line tour. Here’s a photo before they got started.

Here’s most of the family reunion gang ready to go zip lining.

Dreike Family Reunion – Day 2: Montreal

This week brings me to Canada for another family reunion. My Dad’s side has cousins and Great Aunts and Great Uncles in the Eastern part of Canada. My Mom and Dad and I spent our first day exploring Montreal. So much to see and it’s a new place. None of of have been there before.

I arrived late on Thursday night to Montreal and then on Friday Mom, Dad and I wandered (literally wandered) around Montreal.

We saw the Old City of Montreal and found the Old Port. It was an overcast day and we were able to walk around (probably 3-4 miles) before the rain came. It was a beautiful day. Here’s the highlights in pictures.

The top of the statue dedicated to the Canadians who fell during war time.

Flowers in one of the many squares we walked through.

A view of Montreal from the Old Port.

Looking out from the boardwalk at the Old Port.

Dreike Family Reunion – Day 1: Traveling to Montreal

The day started at the airport in San Francisco, where I discovered that each gate has art by local artists. The International Gate A1 displayed this beautiful work by Joyce Hsu titled Namoo House. It’s metal work hung on the wall and references the hustle and bustle of the airport. Here’s some photos.

Close up of artwork at Gate A1 at SFO International Terminal.


The full artwork of Namoo House at SFO International Terminal Gate A1.

Oh, and I love to take photos out of the airplane window when I can. A few of my favorites.

Clouds and ground from up on high.

Above the clouds.

Lists Everywhere …

I’ve become not a maker of lists, but a collector of them. There’s one on my refrigerator from the Santa Clara Water District with things to do in my area. And today, I took several lists from the Silicon Valley Business Journal:

  • Top 25 Museums by 2011 attendance
  • Top 25 Performing Arts Organizations by 2011 operating budget
  • Top 25 Wineries by cases produced.

Now to start checking some fun off the lists.

Changing Your World

Change, it’s inevitable.

For me the last few months have been full of nothing but change. I moved, started a new job, began changing everything at work, and then the icing on the cake … My fiance cheated on me and we broke up after 4.5 years together.

Now, I’m single in a new place and reevaluating what is important to me.

What was the last change you made that totally and completely rocked your world?

Gymnastics Live and In-Person ROCKS!

Last night, I went with 17,000 of my closest friends to see the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team be chosen. The women worked hard and performed amazing feats of gymnastic ability, and in the end only five of them are going on to the big show in London.

The experience of seeing the meet in person was fantastic. I would totally do it again. My seat was on the upper level directly by the balance beam. I mean it was so close I could hear the slap of feet on the beam after jumps and flips. The only thing I missed was the expert commentary by the NBC television team.

Here’s a few pictures from last night:

The team was named, and there’s confetti EVERYWHERE!


No flash photography. Yep, that’s my outline.

It’s Been One Month …

And, I love my job, I miss my friends and family, and I have started to explore my new home. Oh, and I can get a few places without the assistance of GPS.

Today, I participated in a MeetUp group loosely affiliated with the Santa Clara Open Space Authority. We explored a recently purchased property for the Authority in Coyote Valley. It was a beautiful sunny day with just the right about of wind to keep us cool while we walked.

I learned a few things today:

  1. The official California state rock is serpentine.
  2. There are Juniper’s growing in the hills here that doesn’t really belong.
  3. Cow pies really smell!
  4. Cows don’t have blue eyes, contrary to David’s belief.
  5. Coyote Valley has some of the country’s oldest oak trees.

Here’s a few of my favorite photos from today. You can see them all in my Flickr stream.

A view up the valley


A look through the top of the Oak tree.

A Grand Adventure

If you had asked me three months ago where I would be, I would have said the following:

“In a new job somewhere in Orange County, Calif. Somewhere that I can use my skills in marketing communications.”

No where in that statement does it say, living in Northern California. Yes, it’s true. I made a move and now live and work in the San Jose area. My new job is with a fantastic company that is interested in utilizing my full skill set and values my thoughts and opinions.

So aside from a few new things in my vernacular, what do I need to know about Northern California? Here’s what I do know …

  1. Traffic is AMAZING, especially when you can take side streets to work.
  2. People here don’t put “the” in front of the freeway number.
  3. It’s much colder than down south. My twos have never been so froze.
  4. Just about everything is 20 minutes away.

Busier Than Ever

How is it possible to be busier than ever and not have a job? I recently – a little over one month ago – was let go from my job. Yes, it was the four month old one. Turns out it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I now am getting ready to embark on a new adventure, in a new city. It means a move to Northern California and the adventures begin next week.

So, what have I been up to since I was let go? Well, I hit up my network quickly and had several interviews schedule within days. There really wasn’t time to feel sorry for myself, which is a good thing in my opinion. It meant that I opened my mind up to more possibilities than ever before. Here’s my quick list of activities:

  1. IABC/OC Second Tuesday Luncheon attendance (2)
  2. IABC/OC Executive Board Meeting attendance (2)
  3. IABC/OC Education Liaison activities with the California State University, Fullerton IABC students (4)
  4. Guest lecturer at CSUF for my good friend Dr. Cindy King
  5. Interviews (4)
  6. Looking for a job (countless resumes sent out)

And that’s just to name a few, and doesn’t include all the errands and chores I was able to accomplish. My house has never been so clean, and my fiance has never eaten so many home cooked meals in a row. All the IABC/OC activities have definitely paid off over the years. Every job I have worked at was the direct result of the wonderful people I have met along the way in my extensive networking.

What have you been up to in the last month or so, and how has it lead to where you are now?