Monday, December 22, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Deadendedness

Deadendedness – Death by Cul-de-Sac

Symptoms: Presenter pursues non-productive pathways, perusing pointless possibilities and dead-ends. Elongates a demo segment from what could have been accomplished in 5 mouse-clicks to 24 minutes of detailed explanation, covering all possible options and settings. Presenter may also suffer delusions that the audience is earnestly interested in seeing all of this.

Examples: “And another way to do this is to ....”

“…But for this example we won’t do that and instead we’ll go back to where we were a moment ago…”

[Customer] “Oh my friggin’ God! – Will he never stop?”

Cure: Guide the afflicted presenter to choose the highest probability pathway for the customer at hand and execute that pathway with the fewest number of steps needed to complete the task. Apply Occam’s Razor, topically (“entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

‘Twas the Night Before The Big Demo

‘Twas the Night Before The Big Demo
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night ‘fore the demo and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept my SC and his mouse;
I’d proposed a big licensing deal with great care
In hopes a big order soon would be there;

Management was restless and not in their beds
As visions of bonuses danced in their heads;
And my VP with his forecast and me with my own,
Had just started a long EOQ roam,

When out from my mobile there came a great ring-tone,
I sprang from my chair to answer my phone,
What could it be? Was it good news or no?
A last-minute order? A contract? PO?

Greetings, said my assistant, who spoke on the line,
It was someone to see me, offering help at this time!
Who could it be at this late eleventh-hour,
To make the deal sweet and avoid something sour?

Away to the door I flew in a flash,
And swept it open in my quest for fast cash,
When who to my wondering eyes should appear,
The DemoGuru! And standing so near!

He came in my office and, while dusting off snow,
Said, “I have some news that you’ll want to know.”
He drew up a chair and asked for some tea,
And said to my VP, SC and to me:

“Your deal is in trouble and I’ll tell you now,
Your demo’s confusing, complex and lacks ‘Wow!’
It’s riddled with features and functions and more,
And too many cool things, mouse clicks galore,

Don’t flog them with features and other neat stuff,
Stick with the substance, stay away from the fluff,
The more that you show is not always nice,
Customers may say, ‘Please lower the price!’

The Buzzword-Compliant Vocabulary list,
Are words, I’m afraid, that are better-off missed,
Not Flexible, nor Powerful, nor Easy-to-Use,
Not Robust, nor Seamlessly Integrated abuse,

And no corporate overview, please don’t do that,
After ten minutes they’re grabbing their hats,
Present as a team, so if things get hairy,
Sales folks aren’t lost in the back with Blackberry.

Your customer’s queued and ready to go,
They love the vision you’ve built with them so
They want Technical Proof in the demo you’ve planned,
Just the key capabilities, everything else banned.”

“But how can we do this?” I heard myself cry,
“We’re victims of momentum, we’re nervous to try,
Another approach, a new way to go,
We have to admit we’re just a bit slow!”

“Do the Last Thing First!” he said with a smile,
“Then peel back the layers, and Do It with style,
Peel it back in accord with their interest,
Stay focused and execute, and you’ll find it best,

Your customer’s Situation is a great way to intro,
Their Reasons and needs, from CBI flow,
Review these and check – is this still the case?
Are we aligned or are we off-base?

Start with the end, that big pay-off piece,
Illustrate and describe, those are the keys!
Capture their interest, compel their attention,
Make sure it aligns with their mode of consumption.

When it clicks and they’re hooked, they’ll then ask for more,
There’s absolutely no way that they’ll head for the door,
They’ll say, “Please show us, prove that it’s so,
Show us the rest, please do demo.”

Then Do It, just Do It, with no extra clicks,
To return to that Illustrative image that sticks,
Make it simple, make it fast, make it easy and clear,
Then they will realize they’ve nothing to fear,

Encourage their questions, most are not new,
Good ones and Great ones and Stupid ones too,
Treat Hostiles with courtesy, use your Not Now List so
Those mean, nasty folks can’t damage your flow,

Peel back the layers, Do It Again,
Show only what’s needed, put nothing else in,
Let them drive the demo, let them think they’re in charge,
While their Vision Solution you work to enlarge!

Summarize, summarize, tell them again,
‘Cause adults do learn by repetition,
And when you show a key take-away screen,
Leave it up, let it linger, so they’ll know what they’ve seen!

“I get it – I’ll do it!” exclaimed my SC,
“This is all so obvious, it’s way clear to me!”
And he sprang into action, his mouse flew like lightening,
(Frankly, his speed was a little bit frightening!)

And with that the DemoGuru smiled and he said,
“Your way is now clear, put that baby to bed,
Your deal’s now on track, your order secure,
You’ll make your numbers at the end of the year,
Then he strode from my office in a blink of a pun,
Turned ‘round and he said, “My job here is done,”
Ere he drove out of sight, I did hear him say,
“Great Demo! to all and to all a Great Day!”

Copyright © 2005-2007 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Acronymophilia


Symptoms: Fits of sentences filled with vendor-specific acronyms, used both as nouns and verbs. Assumption that audience has already been exposed to these dozens of acronyms and has a comfortable, working understanding of them. Looks of confusion in the audience, followed by doodling and furtive glances at wristwatches.

Examples: “So, the ABT triggers each PTD, resulting in as many SHRP’s as needed.”

“Next, every SHRP will be JY’ed in accordance with the specific WVM settings, which is then picked-up by the TMT module and FRP’ed. Questions?”

Cure: A prescription of Acro-rid™ is recommended for mild and moderate cases; have the afflicted take two pills before presenting to help loosen and remove acronyms. Encourage patient to either verbalize the full word-sets or replace with customer-meaningful phrases. In severe cases, a radical acronectomy may be necessary to remove all untreated acronyms.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Demo! Example: Digital Camera Packaging and Instructions

We recently purchased a “point-and-shoot” digital camera – and I was struck by how well the camera packaging and instructions map to Great Demo! ideas…

- The box and instructions had multiple images as examples of what kinds of photos could be taken using the camera. These are wonderful (and effective!) Illustrations, as they included “normal” views, a “telephoto” example, a “macro” view, and even a “smile-finding” sample.

- Next, I was struck by how my better-half proceeded to learn how to use the camera. She didn’t dive into the detailed instructions but, instead, found the “Quick Guide” to follow the direct pathway to get the camera set up and to take her first few pictures. This is a wonderful example of a “Do It” pathway.

- Later on, after she had experimented with the camera at a family event, she was curious about how to access and operate certain features (low lighting; flash “on”/flash “off”, “Movie Mode”, etc.). She looked these items up in the detailed instruction book, going directly to the pages of interest (and not looking for other features…). This is a terrific example of “Peeling Back the Layers” – exploring only those capabilities of interest. Later on, I expect she may revisit the instruction book as she wants to learn about other camera modes and functions.

What a wonderful, real-life example of method mimicking life…!