People buy into your story before they buy into anything else because stories give a context and a sense of belonging. How easy or difficult is it for someone else to tell your story and thereby help you create relationships with people you’ve never even met?

William Kamkwamba

I can tell you the story of an illiterate 14 year old who could not attend school because his parents couldn’t afford it.  He decided to visit the local library and flipped through a science book with instructional pictures of how to make a windmill.  He didn’t have the parts described in the book, so he started scavenging at local scrapyards for parts that looked some-what the same.  After some time, he built the first source of electricity in his village.  People travelled long distances just to listen to radio at his home, among other things.  Today an irrigation system is built using his windmills; and many electrified schools exist because of his will.  This is the story of William Kamkwamba (born 1987).  What’s your story?

Charles Goodyear

I can also tell you the story of a man who was arrested 6 times for debt related reasons.  He sold his children’s school books just to buy material to continue experimenting with his life-long obsession.  He made a lot of money, but lost all of it because his products were not fully developed.  Having lost all credibility, by mistake, his concoction fell into a fire in the dead of winter while he was experimenting and that’s where vulcanized rubber comes from.  Unfortunately he died before he could reap the rewards of his life long struggle and 30 years later his brother in law honoured him by founding the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.  This is the story of Charles Goodyear (1800 – 1860).  

What’s your story?

Vusi Sindane