Building a post-pandemic business: Minimum Viable Video goes to Ecuador

What happens when you fly to Ecuador to deliver sessions in Spanish (!) and 900 people register for your sessions?

You get nervous, reframe those nerves as energy, and blow people’s minds.

That’s what happened when the US Embassy Quito Ecuador, Cámara de Comercio de Quito, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and UEM Benalcazar brought us down to teach entrepreneurs how to use video to pandemic-proof their businesses and reach global markets.

TL;DR: we taught these entrepreneurs a simple story format and they filmed Linkedin-ready videos to attract clients and customers. Like this:

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Create a story that scales

We focused on creating and filming something I call a simple founder story.

“What do you do?” is a question everyone gets a few times a month. If you have a product or a service, this question is more than a question. It’s an opportunity. The simple founder story is an answer to “what do you do?”

But this story is less concerned with providing a thorough rundown of your business operations and more focused on piquing interest from potential customers. And the secondary goal of this story is to equip the audience of the story to spread word-of-mouth to the right people.

The simple founder story pulls this off by being interesting, highlighting the value of your work, and keeping it short. The story has three aspects:

  1. a personal story from your own life…
  2. …that illustrates who your product or service helps…
  3. and is no longer than a minute.

A personal story means it’s authentic. Focusing on the customer—instead of you—makes it relatable and relevant. (Counterintuitive idea: even though this story is about you, it’s not about you.)

Finally, keeping it short means you have a better chance of holding attention and leaves more time for them to ask questions, which is an indicator of the quality of your story. More questions = more interest.

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We brainstormed these stories quickly and gave participants a chance to test these stories with each other.

You can do the same: rapid-brainstorm a story that fits this formula, and test it out with a friend or a colleague. Now you’re ready to go at any gathering, event, or when you’re stuck in an elevator with an investor.

(meta-aside: I’m not including an example of a simple founder in this explanation. Not including an example will make it easier for you to be original 🙂

But a story only takes you so far when it’s confined in a room.

By creating a video of this story, you have a story that scales. We went over how to upload this story and make it a “featured” post on Linkedin:

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Next, I gave a crash course on “walk-and-talk” production, i.e. how to get better audio and lighting when you’re filming outside.

Then we gave everyone in the amphitheater fifteen minutes to head outside and capture their stories.

How did it work out?

It was glorious. It makes my heart sing knowing these entrepreneurs captured their stories in a scalable, opportunity-creating format. And they had zero hesitation. It was a joy to see them jump right in and create an asset that drives awareness of their business.

This is what makes a great session. It’s not about ideas, insights, or soft, intangible “learnings” that you’ll apply later. What made these sessions magical was that the entrepreneurs left with an artifact: a digital asset that will help them grow their businesses.

If you want to know how we got 900 people to register for this program (spoiler alert: make a video featuring a cat), join my newsletter of actionable tips for video-minded entrepreneurs: