Thursday, February 17, 2005

Lessons from DEMO@15

Reuben, Joe and I returned yesterday from the DEMO@15 conference in Scottsdale, where we presented JotSpot.  There was a ton of energy there (enhanced by my over-caffeinated state), and a really wide array of really super exciting presenting companies (eg. check out  This was my first time at DEMO, and I definitely want to go back.  Reflecting a bit, once again I can't help but feel lucky to have experienced the true satisfaction of working hard as a team to pull something off.  It ranks among the simple pleasures in life in my book.

Among the swirl of thoughts still in my head, a couple of thoughts have been whizzing into the mental spotlight repeatedly, and the feel like "lessons learned".  Actually, they're lessons re-learned.  I feel like I continually re-learn these lessons, brought to me in slightly different package each time.  In this case, the form of a conference.  These ain't new, but why do I feel like they're so new upon each re-discovery?  I won't worry about that -- just happy to continue to move them to the front brain.

  1. It's about people.  In this case, it's the folks you meet in the hallway and  have a 5 minute conversation with.  It's a new connection and perspective, even if you don't see that person again for another year, or ever.

  2. It's about people.  In this case, it's getting the chance to give rapid-fire demos to people every 5-10 minutes, and get their rapid-fire reaction and feedback.  Can't be done over a web demo, can't be done by getting an email from a customer or a forum posting.  There's no substitute for looking at someones face or body language.  Watch where the brow starts to scrunch up... what's missing?  what's getting confusing?  where is the demo, and thus the product, going wrong in their mind?  What's their world view RE: what's being shown on the screen.  I love to ask what people don't like (I use the "hate" word) about what they just saw after a demo.

  3. KISAP.  Keep It Simple And Pretty.  (or KISP?)  Slight variant on KISS, but I think they go together like two peas in a pod.  I don't like to use software that I can't figure out in say 2 minutes.  Maybe I'm ADD but I put that kind of bar up for new software that comes into my normal work flow.  If it's simple and pretty, I'll get going.  If it's simple and pretty and then has a bunch of advanced features that don't get in the way of simple and pretty, I'm all the more motivated.

  4. Don't try to change people's habits.  Enough said there.


Jonathan Nolen said...

Congratulations on a successful DEMO! I looked around for movie of JotSpot's presentation, but couldn't find it. Is it up on the web anywhere?

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