Persuasion Through Stories
Our Investment in Tome
Persuasion is the centerpiece of work. Customers must be convinced to buy your product, teams must be inspired to come along with a strategic plan, partners need to be swayed to sign the deal.
Effective storytelling is at the very foundation of persuasion. Rhetoric and data, woven into the right story, can change minds. Storytelling is central to the way we work together – how we share ideas, collaborate on projects, and ultimately, move business decisions forward.
But most people struggle to communicate their ideas, let alone persuade. Effective storytelling is hard, and the new world order of hybrid-first offices and distributed teams has only exacerbated this problem.
Until today, the tools we’ve had to help us present and collaborate on our ideas simply haven’t kept up. We can organize data – but it’s rare that people are inspired from looking at a spreadsheet. We can master the perfect pitch deck – but it’s often too time consuming for the rhythm of modern work. We can create a detailed spec doc and message each other constantly, but critically important creative and intellectual work – synthesizing and communicating ideas – is harder than ever.
That’s why we are thrilled to announce our investment in Tome, a storytelling tool for work and ideas, and that both of us have joined the board.
Using Tome feels like magic. It is an advanced platform that makes presenting complex ideas as simple as posting to social media.
Initially developed with product managers and designers in mind, Tome works equally well on both mobile and desktop, and its clean, flexible layout allows people to effortlessly bring ideas to life.
Take a look:
Tome, which was incubated at Greylock, has the ideal team to bring us the storytelling tool we’ve all been missing. Co-Founders Keith Peiris and Henri Liriani are former Instagram and Messenger product leads, and have built consumer products that deliver intuitive and effortless visual storytelling experiences at scale. They’ve combined their background in consumer tech with their firsthand frustrations over the limitations of existing presentation tools to deliver us Tome.
With dynamic pages and foolproof formatting, Tome adapts to what you want to say – not the other way around – allowing users to skip time-intensive slide design and get straight to the story. Anything on the internet can be easily embedded in a Tome, including Figma prototypes, Airtable spreadsheets, YouTube videos, Tweets, and Gifs. Users can play with 3D models and interact with live data tables that update automatically. And it’s highly collaborative: users can edit, comment, and annotate each other’s work from anywhere.
Unsurprisingly, far more categories of users are finding Tome to be a critical part of their workflow, from sales and marketing, to personal side projects requiring visual cues. In fact, we’ve been using Tome at Greylock and it’s been a significant unlock for us as we collaborate, debate, and discuss new investment opportunities.
It has been a privilege to watch Keith, Henri, and the rest of the Tome team create a tool that has quickly become essential. We invite you to join the Tome community: try making a Tome here, follow Tome on Twitter, and join their Slack. And, of course, they’re always hiring.
Reid spoke with Keith and Henri in depth about Tome on the latest episode of Greymatter, which you can listen to on the link below, on our YouTube channel, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Greymatter, the podcast from Greylock where we share stories from company builders and business leaders. I’m Reid Hoffman, a general partner at Greylock.
My guests today are Keith Peiris and Henri Liriani, who are the co-founders of Tome. Keith is also an entrepreneur in residence here at Greylock.
Keith and Henri have built the storytelling platform we’ve all been waiting for. We’re living in a truly remarkable era of technology with access to numerous sophisticated tools, yet effectively sharing ideas is so often hindered by the presentation products we have available to us.
Today’s professionals need to tell compelling stories, supported by a lot of information that’s housed in a lot of different formats such as video, design work, 3D prototypes, and live data. And they need to be able to do it while collaborating with local and remote teams in real time and asynchronously. Enter Tome.
We’ve been privileged at Greylock to watch Keith and Henri build Tome. They brought their experience of building seamless and stunning consumer products as product leads at Instagram and Facebook into developing an intuitive, simple, and really beautiful storytelling platform, Tome.
Keith and Henri, thanks for joining us today.
Reid, thanks for having us.
Thanks for having us, Reid.
First of all, congratulations. Today is an exciting day. Tome is officially out of stealth and has raised $32 million from investors, including Greylock, Coatue, and several notable angels, including the CEO and co-founders of Zoom, the CEO of Airtable, and the CPO of Adobe.
I love the experience of using Tome. While I encourage all listeners to check out their website and to play around with the product as soon as they can, let’s hear how it works from the founders. So tell me a little bit about the genesis, the origin story of Tome; the thought that you had to go on this entrepreneurial journey
We’re all storytellers. Storytelling is how we’ve passed knowledge on from generation to generation. It started with hieroglyphics, drawings in caves, and it’s also how we passed knowledge from tribe to tribe. And storytelling in the past couple of decades has really changed because of computers.
In the ’80s and ’90s, we told stories at work on desktop computers using PowerPoint, and a decade later with the internet, we started to tell stories on the cloud with products like Google Slides. But we found in our personal lives, storytelling and information sharing just became so much easier with mobile and camera technology – think Instagram and TikTok. And we just don’t think that there’s a comparable experience for storytelling and effective communication at work.
So we came together and we really wanted to create a storytelling tool that’s as easy and as engaging as posting a story on social media. And what that means is that you can quickly pull together something without worrying about the formatting or design. You can instantly pull work in from any other cloud application – think a Figma prototype or an Airtable base – and then use video and sound to convey emotion. At the end, your story should look great, whether it’s opened on a desktop, a tablet, or a phone, it’s just not something you should ever have to worry about.
Yep. So I think many professionals don’t realize how central storytelling is to their work, to the way that they articulate what decisions to be made or what the pattern, the kinds of work that they’re doing, and how storytelling helps them bring their team and the company together.
Definitely. When I think about storytelling, I think about it as a means to build alignment and shared understanding. And alignment and shared understanding is how we cooperate. It’s how we all decide to work together on something and make things happen.
And we do storytelling in the smallest of ways. We tell stories over Slack and messages. We tell stories by the water cooler. And then we also tell these big structured stories over Slides and over proposals to decide what businesses we should build, how to recruit the people, and where to take our roadmaps.