Ravishankar Iyer

#SOTD 77: Show, don't just tell (Sajith Pai article)

Published about 2 years ago • 2 min read

This week we are covering storytelling techniques in an article by VC investor Sajith Pai, where he profiles the work done by a startup called Smartstaff. Yesterday we had looked at how you can start with a human story.

Today's theme: Show, don't just tell.

Consider the following statement, where Sajith continues with Samim's story:

Samim joined as a tailor in Richa Global’s Jigani factory. The sprawling factory is one of the few apparel manufacturers in that area.

You read sprawling, you read factory and you might struggle to create an accurate mental image. But you don't have to. Here's the factory:

And here's one more:

Sajith then describes one of the most pressing problems companies face to hire migrant workers - how to help them manage the higher costs of rent and travel in a big city (as compared to their villages/hometowns).

Smartstaff has the solution:

These gigworkers, who previously found last-mile delivery a lucrative profession are seeing their savings dip due to inflation and the cost of fuel. They thus prefer to work in their hometowns where despite lower wages, the living costs are low, resulting in a similar if not better savings rate and quality of life. Over time though we will see a correction in wages settling in higher to attract workers.
In the meantime, Smartstaff has attempted to solve for some of this by providing residential facilities for the workers it sources. The benefits are dual – it helps workers settle in faster, as they lose less time looking for a place, and the accommodation is also cheaper as Smartstaff aggregates this across all the workers it sources into that location. It also provides busing facility so that they don’t lose money on transport, or waste time.

Again, if you are wondering how the acco looks like, you get a sense:

Sajith also gets into details of how the workers mark their attendance - using technology:

The Smarstaff Scanner (essentially an Android smartphone with the proprietary software, in a case installed on the wall).
Scanning underway at the end of the day to mark attendance.

And then he shows three pictures that demonstrate how scanning is done using QR codes instead of facial recognition

Due to social distancing norms, another set of workers queue outside. In their case instead of facial recognition, QR codes are used.
QR code is scanned.

The attendance for the day is marked and the worker can leave.

You can see how much fight Sajith has put in during his visit to Smartstaff... He's recognised the special work being done by them and ensured that he captured it all in pictures. Pictures that can add a ton of value to the story he wants to tell.

A story that he wants to show, not just tell.

#SOTD 77


PS: Here is the context for #SOTD and the 'Ultimate Guide to Storytelling Techniques' framework I use - in case you joined this series late! Here is the archive of previous posts. Click here to subscribe.

Ravishankar Iyer

A Storytelling Coach More details here:

Read more from Ravishankar Iyer

I'm pleased to present a new podcast episode with co-authors of the Indus Valley Annual Report, Anurag Pagaria and Nachammai Savithri. “I think the biggest takeaway for me has to be about the storytelling bit... and how important it is to tell a story. And I think I will not even take the credit for it. I will give most of the credit to Sajith because of driving the whole process, right? If you look at him, he has done it three times. So the driving of the story, how do you tell a story? What...

1 day ago • 2 min read

Welcome to the sixty-seventh edition of '3-2-1 by Story Rules'. A newsletter recommending good examples of storytelling across: 3 tweets 2 articles, and 1 long-form content piece Let's dive in. 𝕏 3 Tweets of the week Source: X Impressive growth by China on car exports. Wonder which countries are the key importers... Source: X A thoughtful and nuanced opinion on perhaps the most accomplished yet polarising leaders of our time. Source: X Seriously, how could you say just 'time'? :) 📄 2 Articles...

6 days ago • 8 min read

Welcome to the sixty-fifth edition of '3-2-1 by Story Rules'. A newsletter recommending good examples of storytelling across: 3 tweets 2 articles, and 1 long-form content piece Let's dive in. 𝕏 3 Tweets of the week Source: X Such an interesting chart. Amazing to see how Windows dominance is now a thing of the past. What next? Some new OS by Open AI? Source: X No sense of obligation sir! Source: X A great tweet in case you work for a startup/small firm and need some inspiration. What arresting...

13 days ago • 6 min read
Share this post