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How My Creative Writing Background Prepared Me to Run a Startup

by Max

Q: What’s the difference between an English major and a large pizza?

A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.

I heard this joke all the time when I was in college. And it only got worse when I revealed that my concentration was creative writing. As if being an English major wasn’t enough, I had to spend all my time doing… well, what is it exactly that creative writing students actually do?

If your family is anything like mine, you actually need more than one large pizza to feed them.

I didn’t become a creative writing major with the intention of getting a creative writing job (whatever that is) after college. My school wasn’t very career-focused, and I figured I’d spend my college years doing whatever I enjoyed doing, then figure out the rest later1.

And for a the first couple years, I did just that. I had a few opportunities to use my English chops writing marketing copy and press releases at my first job, but there weren’t any moments that made me say “Thank God I’m an English major.”

perks of being an english major
A classic from For Lack of a Better Comic

Then I started Castle.

As CEO, I spend most of my day doing exactly what I practiced during all those late writing nights: storytelling. My job is to communicate the story of Castle to customers, to investors, and to the team. In fact, almost everything I do involves storytelling:

You could even argue that our financial projections are a form of storytelling2. Yes, they’re a bunch of numbers, but those numbers tell our story for the next year: how much business we plan to do, how many people we plan to hire, and how much we plan to spend on yachts.

Just kidding.

So while I’m not going to get a business card reading “Chief Storyteller” anytime soon, those trusty old writing skills have served me very well with Castle so far. My English degree may not be feeding a family of four anytime soon—but it’s done a pretty good job feeding a founding team of three.

  1. Apparently my attitude isn’t very common: English, like the rest of the humanities, has been steadily declining as a major for several decades.
  2. Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that they’re definitely fiction.

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  1. justlittlembthings reblogged this from entercastle
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