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A one-liner is the phrase you repeat in one line about the benefit and value proposition of the startup you are building.
A one-liner is the most important message to nail when building a startup. Founders have trouble pinning themselves to one message, one line, one concept when the whole world needs to be solved for, but the best founders figure out how to nail this.
Why is it important?
The one-liner seems trivial. It’s a short line that over simplifies what you do to the customer/investors/parents/humans. However, it’s also the one-line that you will need to repeat over and over in every conversation from the beginning of your journey until the end. If you do it well, other people will be able to “re-pitch” you to their friends and family, which triggers a network effect of communication. If you aren’t consistent enough or too broad, people will become less interested, and not care to remember.
Here’s a Framework that can help:
The goal of a one-liner is to distill the benefit of your product to the customer or human you are speaking with. I find it to be most useful to separate your mission (your grand vision of what you are attempting to accomplish) away from what your product actually does today.
The first time I met Brian Armstrong the founder of Coinbase, he said “The world is going to be on one financial infrastructure.” In that statement he is providing a peak into his mission. However, their product one-liner for 6 years was “Easiest way to buy Bitcoin”
Mission: One financial infrastructure for the world
Product: Easiest way to buy Bitcoin
If you are a startup founder, take the time and think about this. It will help you in conversations with different people. It will help them understand what you do, and then also what you are trying to accomplish.
And if you are lucky, your mom might actually be able to accurately tell friends what you do.