Denny’s Daily Zinger: A Powerful, Believable Personal Pitch


In the media player at right is the German-language version of a full-page ad that ran (in English) in The New York Times. The headline and lede:
Internet Security and Heartbleed

My name is Klaus Brandstätter.
I am a German engineer living in Germany.
I will turn 60 this year. I started to learn programming
in high school more than 40 years ago and have since developed myself more than one million lines of code.
I am also CEO of HOB. I have looked at the problematic source code of Heartbleed and I understand the problem.

Ledes don’t get any stronger than this.

The guy spent six figures for an ad in big, easy-to-read type.

He had important information about Heartbleed—a horrific data bug undetected for more than two years that has infected two-thirds of the Internet.

Above My Pay Grade, But So Powerful
The technology was beyond me. But Brandstätter said things that made absolute sense. For example:

Who is responsible
for this?
 OpenSSL is open-source software and is mostly developed
 without pay, as a hobby on the side. Such open-source 
developers are sometimes only 17 years old.

For years, I have assumed an Internet sabotaged by know-nothing careless kids and exploited by hackers who are wizards.

Were I a CEO, I would pass this on to my CIO with the following note: “FYI.”

Takeaways to Consider

  • I have never seen a more powerful, personal pitch, even though I didn’t understand much of it.
  • What is your take?

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Basia Christ writes, “I read the book in two days…I couldn’t put it down! It is fun reading filled with resources, anecdotes, and although I have an MBA in Marketing, I learned much more from your book than many of my classes.” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • John

    Mr. Klaus Brandstatter ran his ad full-page ad in the WSJ as well. Quite compelling. Though I don’t fully understand the information – or know why he ran the ad – you can bet I read the whole thing. And will remember this gentleman.

  • Meg Nugent Hodges

    I think it’s pretty powerful. It can be far to easy to assume that because something is in wide usage (especially tech), it must be ok. Surely someone that knows what they are doing has debugged everything? Far from it.

    The Heathcare web site was plagued with issues involving bad code, code copied from other places without knowledge of the programmer (just like you can recognize your own writing style and those of others you admire, coders know their own "children"). Because of issues similar to heartbleed that can and do create security risks with sensitive information, it has also put a spotlight on overconfidence issues with online security.

    If I were senior management I’d be taking a very hard look at online security practices.