We are bigSTORY

bigSTORY accounts for how stories are created, live in networks, and influence behaviors. Ours is the only process of its kind in the world. We put our theory of storytelling into practice with the goal of helping our clients create more meaningful connections with their employees, partners and customers.

What is your bigSTORY?

Subscribe to bigSTORY's email newsletter and take your organizational storytelling to the next level.

The bigSTORY Journal

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Our Flipboard journal is committed to identifying thought leadership focused on how stories are created, live in networks, and influence behavior.

Meta Cowboys

By Mike Bonifer 2 years ago
Home  /  Marketability  /  Meta Cowboys
Cowboy Bob at 16

Cowboy Bob at 16

Our friend, Lee, who’s a researcher at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda MD, visited us in L.A. last week while she was in town on business. We were socializing one evening when I mentioned that my father was a farmer from Indiana who dreamed of being a cowboy movie star. And Lee said, “My father WAS a cowboy star. He was a singing cowboy in Milwaukee when he was a boy. Jackie Kid Moore was his stage name.


Jackie Kid Moore

Lee comes from a family of musical prodigies. When he was a boy, her father would perform in bars in Milwaukee. He was so good, and got so locally famous, that the family loaded all their belongings in a carrying wagon with ‘Jackie Kid Moore’ emblazoned across the back, and drove to Hollywood, to make the Kid a movie star.  He owned a famous Martin guitar, and gave guitar lessons to Gene Autry. Then his voice changed. The Kid was a kid no more. And that was that. The end of his showbiz career.

My father, known locally in southern Indiana as ‘Cowboy Bob,’ collected unwanted and broken down horses. We rehabilitated them, and turned our family’s farm into a theme park centered around those cantankerous animals. Clover Leaf Park and Riding Stable, five miles southwest of Ireland, Indiana “Turn left on Highway Sixty Four a mile west of Ireland and follow the signs!” directed the announcer on our WITZ radio spots. It was like a movie in real life.

Lee and I bonded like brother and sister on this one fact–that our fathers were both make-believe cowboys. Jackie Kid Moore and Cowboy Bob were kindred spirits. It gave us a whole new level of rapport. Of common ground.

A fast connection like this comes about through what we call Meta language. Meta language connects one story to many. Having made our connection, via the Meta language of ‘cowboy dads,’ Lee and I instantly had a thousand new directions to take the conversation. (We chose to talk mainly about cowboy guitars.)

What does this mean to your organization’s story? It means that using Meta language can instantly give you and your customers lots to talk about. A carefully crafted metaphor, analogy or symbol makes economical use of language, and gives you a thousand new ways to begin customer conversations, participate in their stories, and transact with them financially.

  Marketability, Opportunity, Social Customers
this post was shared 0 times

 Mike Bonifer

  (57 articles)

Mike Bonifer is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer for bigSTORY, a company of strategists & practitioners who are first in the world to utilize quantum storytelling, an emerging organizational science that accounts for how stories are created, live in networks, and influence behaviors. Throughout his professional life, Bonifer has been in the forefront of emerging storytelling practices and technologies. As the publicist on Tron, the author of The Art of Tron, and the writer and producer of Computers are People, Too, he explained computer-generated imagery to the analog world. As a founding producer of The Disney Channel, he pioneered the Walt Disney Company’s entrance into cable television with the legendary documentary series, Disney Family Album. As the producer of the award-winning website for Toy Story, he introduced movie fans around the world to Pixar’s extraordinary storytelling. He co-founded Network LIVE, which lives on as Control Room, producer of some of the biggest online music events in the world, including 2007’s Live Earth concerts for the environment, for which he served as Chief Storyteller. In 2007, he wrote and published GameChangers – Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, and, with Dr. Virginia Kuhn of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, co-founded GameChangers, a learning company that applied improvisation to business communication. His work with GameChangers dramatically improved the performances in units of companies such as Skype, Gap Inc. The Walt Disney Company, United Airlines Media, Gawker Media, NetApp and GE. He has conducted university workshops in Public Health, Entrepreneurship, Engineering, Sociology and Cinema; collaborated with Alan Alda on a workshop for the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC; explained quantum storytelling to physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; coached Ron “The Gangster Gardener” Finley on his famous TED Talk on urban gardening; and returned to his old hometown in Indiana, to tell stories about the legendary smalltown Hoosier baskeball team, his childhood heroes,The Ireland Spuds. He was the featured storyteller at the 2014 San Miguel International Storytelling Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He and his son, Alex, perform a two-person improv act called BonBon, the only father-son comedy improv act in the world (that they know of). In 2015, he will tour Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua on behalf of the Notre Dame Executive Education program. With bigSTORY, Bonifer and Jeremi Karnell have created a home for one of the most remarkable advances in storytelling of our lifetimes. A way of seeing the world through the lens of the stories we create together. A theory that accounts for the brilliant possibilities that await us when your story and my story become our story.