Mike Villar wants to put the romance back into advertising

By Lace Nguyen
A battle-hardened marketing veteran, Villar wants you to practice constraint. 
“Relationships escalate one step at a time. Selling without a story is like asking someone to marry you on a first date,” he told the dozen startup employees at Saola, an accelerator program run by 500 Startups. 
The entrepreneurs come from a handful of early-stage companies; their biographies are combinations of data scientist, Silicon Valley veteran, Ivy League graduate, programmer, competitive gamer, mathematical physicist, computational biologist, 3x founder, and defecting corporate lifer. To some of them, ‘sales’ is a dirty word, an oil slick contaminating the purity of science. 
That’s why 500 summoned Villar: a storyteller who’s obsessed with “putting narrative to data.” Villar said f– you to sales (as we know it) a long time ago. He levitates above the content scrap yard. He’s seen the matrix of advertising and he doesn’t want you to flush that precious venture capital down the toilet by buying tone-deaf Facebook ads.