Stories are often told the people who started the company.These may include stories from before they founded the company, including formative tales from their childhood or former employers.
They may give an indication of the values of the founders and what they found important. They may also effectively model ways of behaving and thinking that others should follow.
The man who built one of the largest restaurant franchises in the world is not named McDonald. Ray Kroc, who transformed a small burger joint into a global fast-food giant, is already a household name for many Big Mac fans, but The Founder tells the story behind the origins of McDonald’s and how Kroc rewrote history to call himself the founder of the company. Or, rather, it tells one version of the story. Complete story here.
Similarities with Starbucks? Starbucks was founded in 1971 by three friends who met at the University of San Francisco, and the first location, in Seattle, only sold whole roasted coffee beans, not brewed coffee. The company grew in popularity over the next several years, introducing brewed coffee and espresso, and by the time former employee Howard Schultz bought it in 1987 there were six locations.
Founders have a unique position something akin to the parent who 'gives life' to a child. They thus stand in the parent or grandparent position and command particular respect. Understanding the personality of founders helps to understand the culture of the present company, much of which may still reflect the founding values and style.
Founders often help the process of understanding them by writing autobiographies, from which particular stories may be spread longer-term through the company.