Shel Israel pointed out this morning that the presenters so far this year have seemed far less prepared than in past events. I would add that they have seemed less inspired in their demos. It almost seems as if most companies are just going through the motions here.
Lots of reading from notecards in a monotone. Plenty of confusion. Too much flying through a presentation at the speed of light. Excessively awkward handoffs between company team members on the stage.
Put down the notecards and speak from the heart. Show the audience that you have a great product and you can demo it effectively. Demoing your product is a key skill for any startup — not just at a conference like this but to potential customers, investors, and employees. Capture your audience — be it one or many — in the first minute of the demo. Keep them engaged not by reciting a laundry list but by showing us what you can do with it. Tell me a story — your story. Open my mind to the possibilities.
Hopefully this is not a sign that Demo has reached that point of maturity where companies believe that simply by showing up they are achieving their goal. Complacency by vendors and attendees has killed other conferences, and I don’t want to see that happen to Demo.
I still believe that Demo is the most valuable conference of the year for me and plan to continue to make the cross country trek twice annually. But I do wish that the companies doing demos would put more heart, soul, and effort into the presentation.