Monday, February 20, 2012

Stunningly Awful Demos – As Epic Poems

Have you ever heard phrases such as, “Show them the demo…”,  “This is our demo…”, or “We’ll need 2 hours to do our demo…”?

These are phrases that suggest that the vendor has produced a single, all encompassing, one-size-fits-all demo designed to (try to) meet the needs of a broad range of customers and audience members.  They are like epic poems (e.g., the Odyssey, the Iliad, Beowulf, etc.) –  in many frightening ways.  Let’s explore…

An epic poem is “a lengthy narrative… containing the details of heroic deeds or events…”  Some attributes of epic poems include:

-          The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe
-          Contains long lists (epic catalogue).
-          Features long and formal speeches.

Sound like a few demos you’ve experienced?

Interestingly, storytellers learn and teach epic poems through constant repetition – they hear and tell them over and over (and over and over), in exactly the same order, with exactly the same words.  And, if interrupted, the storyteller has to return exactly to where he or she left off to continue…

Have you ever seen this happen with demos? 

Epic poems are terrific when told over (several) cold winter evenings to a willing and interested audience.  But presenting demos in epic poem format?  That’s the making of an epic failure!

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