A better way to demo your product

From Why Most Demos Confuse by VC Roy Bahat:

Demoing a product by starting with the home page (or, actually, starting anywhere on the website or in the app) is like a realtor showing you a house starting in the living room… Consider, instead, walking through the front door — having come from somewhere, paid attention to the neighborhood, the cars on the street, the front porch.

Start with the first moment a user might learn of your product — maybe it’s an email invite, or a text from a friend, or a notification of a forced install from their IT department, or they heard about the app from someone. Then show what that first-user experience looks like.

If you think about the demo this way, you’ll gradually open the eyes of your audience so that when you do arrive at the actual service, they’ll be more likely to have that ah! moment.

And this goes beyond just the demo: most of us think of the entire product as what’s really only the “interior” of the house — the features, look, and flow of your site or app. We might be better served thinking of the product as including the “exterior” of how users will encounter it in the course of their day…

3 thoughts on “A better way to demo your product

  1. Not sure I follow you. If I am looking to buy a house, I am interested in seeing the neighborhood, the cars on the street, the front porch. Not so interested in what that first-user experience looks like unless I need the context to understand your product.

    • Hi Saul, I posted this because it resonated so much after a personal experience I had with a VC. Perhaps describing that experience will shed more light.

      I was meeting with VCs because we were thinking of raising expansion capital for Seeking Alpha. I met with one VC in New York, who told me at the beginning of the meeting that he didn’t want to see any slides. Instead, he pulled up SeekingAlpha.com on the screen, and started trying to use the site. He peppered me with questions, most of which were largely irrelevant to our business and the SA user experience. I left the meeting frustrated. We frequently receive feedback from users saying they *love* Seeking Alpha, but I’d failed to communicate what people love about SA to this VC.

      Roy Bahat’s post clarified much of what had gone wrong in that meeting. First, the VC never invested in the public markets, and had no interest in stocks, so he wasn’t our target user. Second, most people who use Seeking Alpha don’t encounter us for the first time via our home page — they arrive on an article about a stock they care about, because it has been forwarded to them, it came up in search, or they clicked on a headline on a quote page on a partner site. And third, when people become Seeking Alpha users, they choose to have articles and news summaries on their stocks delivered to them via email alert or app notification. So again, their primary experience is not to encounter us via our website home page.

      If I’d followed Roy’s advice, I would have done the demo this way: “Imagine you’re an investor in publicly traded stocks. This is what you need and care about. This is what you’re not getting from anywhere else. This is how you’d first encounter us. This is how you’d become more engaged. This is why you’d be so delighted.”

  2. Pingback: How to answer questions after pitching your product or startup | A Founder's Notebook

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