Insights and Opinions

The Hook, Part 2

Aaron Fyke, previously a clean technology venture capitalist, and now an energy entrepreneur, gave us permission to repost this piece--a followup to "The Hook" posted yesterday--originally posted on his blog.

So, I'd like to finish off with the second of the two important items of any pitch - the hook. Last time I talked about being prepared for the questions that people will ask to quickly discount or discredit you. This is time-saving behavior on their part because if you are worthy of being discredited it is better to find out quickly.

The hook, however, takes this the next step. Once it is established that you are no longer an obvious negative, you now need to quickly establish a positive. As I mentioned last time, although the temptation is great to dump everything you have ever done in front of someone to prove how great you are, the show-biz adage has never been more true: "Always leave them wanting more.". The purpose of the hook is to drive your audience's interest in your pitch and to make *them* want to find out more about you, and ideally make *them* want to drive the process (sale, funding, whatever you are pitching) to a successful close. While GGGR may say that ABC is "Always Be Closing", you'll be miles ahead if the other party is the one pushing for a close.

To give an example of how this works, there was an early stage company called Velkess at the ESA conference. They had a really cool video that demonstrated their flexible flywheel. Part-way through the video, just as the flywheel was about to spinup, the video crashed. He couldn't get it started, and there was an actual groan from the audience, who wanted to see how it worked. So, he quickly described it, "well, what happens next is that I shake it and it remains perfectly stable". This just served to pique everyone's interest and he was mobbed for the rest of the evening as he sat at the reception showing the video again and again on his laptop to people. IronIcally, nothing creates demand like limited supply.

Although what happened wasn't the hook, per se, it is like that. It is important to communicate a simple, easily memorable set of facts that people can quickly use to justify their further interest in your business. Communicate the excitement around this simple idea, be able to defend against quick discrediting attacks, and you will find yourself pushed to further meetings and due diligence to close the deal.

Which is exactly what you want.

Aaron Fyke runs his blog at He has worked in technical and management roles within the cleantech industry for 14 years, most recently as a partner in Australia's largest VC firm, investing into early stage companies in the Australiasian market. He has helped start companies in the fields of ocean power, concentrating solar PV, hybrid electric vehicles, and others. When not on an airplane, he considers Pasadena home.