Wednesday, April 27, 2016

“Let Me Show You What’s Going On ‘Behind the Scenes’…” More Demo Ineptitude

How many times have you heard someone say, in a demo, “Let me explain what is happening behind the scenes…”?  As an audience member, do you typically care about these details?  (Nope).  Do high-ranking managers typically want to see or learn these details?  Nope.

And yet, the more technical the offering, and the more technical the presenter, the more often we hear these frightening words spoken.

Contemplate the following two examples:

You are considering purchasing a hybrid car.  What is the most important thing you care about, with respect to that car?  The answers are typically “gas mileage” or “the environment”.  For those of you who have considered a hybrid, have you looked at the batteries?  (Possibly).  Did you care that “the battery pack of the second generation Toyota Prius consists of 28 Panasonic prismatic nickel metal hydride modules—each containing six 1.2 volt cells—connected in series to produce a nominal voltage of 201.6 volts. The total number of cells is 168, compared with 228 cells packaged in 38 modules in the first generation Prius….”  (  (Nope).  Similarly, did you care how the car decides when to change from full electric to gas engine?  (Nope).

Have you ever purchased a book on Amazon using the “Buy now with 1-Click” button?  Do you care what happens “behind the scenes” when you click that button?  (Nope).  All you really care about is getting your copy of your book delivered to your tablet or mailbox.  (You are welcome to run this experiment yourself by purchasing a copy of “Great Demo!”).  Do you care how many separate vendors and steps are involved (Amazon, credit card company, merchant bank, database tracking your history, printer, packager, shipper, etc. etc. etc.)?  Nope.

Yes, there are certainly some people who are interested in “what goes on behind the scenes”, but they are fewer in number –and are typically lower-ranking.


Before you (or your team) dives into a detailed show-and-tell of “what’s happening behind the scenes” ask yourself is this important (to the customer) or necessary to learn?  Or, at least, ask the customer if he/she/they would like to know these details before plunging in…!

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