Let's set the scene: you're in a dimly-lit room, with about 100 people in the crowd. It's a mix of developers, designers, entrepreneurs, angel investors, students and marketers, all there to talk tech and to offer their suggestions on how to create the next Facebook or DIgg. You've got a computer, a wifi connection, a microphone, and a projector. How will you impress the crowd?
Before You Get There:
- Bring Your "A" Game: Plan on showing the best features of your application. For example, show us what pain your product solves, or the killer features your customers just can't live without.
- Preparation: We've all seen how registration and logins work, so unless your registration flow is absolutely mind-blowing, we recommend that you have all your demo accounts created and ready to go.
- Plan B: In case your application/product blows up in the middle of the demo, be prepared to roll out your backup plan.
- Practice on your friends. Unless you've done this a million times before, practicing on a group of friends and family helps take away the jitters some people encounter in front of large crowds.
- Remember: DemoCamp rules state that you must show a working application/product - no slideshows are allowed. In addition to a ban on PowerPoint and Keynote, DemoCamp organizers will pull the plug on your demo if you are using static webpages as slides for your presentation.
At The Event:
- Talk to a DemoCamp organizer (Sarah, David, John, or Patrick), and get organized:
- obtain a wifi password, if necessary
- find out when you're presenting
- check to see that you have the right connection for the projector
- Your introduction will consist of a DemoCamp host asking you the following questions:
- What is your name? What do you do?
- What is the product you're showing today, and what does it do?
- How can the community help/What are you hoping to achieve with this demo?
From there, you've got a maximum of 5 minutes to impress the crowd. Remember, you're addressing a tech crowd, so unless you keep their interest, they're going to be reaching for their iPhones and blackberries. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Paint a picture - but make sure it's something that everyone can interpret. Assume that everyone in the audience knows about the top web applications. But if your product deals with a specific industry, you may want explain in very simple terms, why your product is important. For example, "In my industry, this problem results in the loss of over $50k per day. The product that I'm showing you today will eliminate those losses".
- Keep rolling - presenters often get stuck on one or two features, and dive deeper into the details than necessary. For a great example of a presentation that uses a ton of slides to stay interesting, check this out - while it is obviously a powerpoint presentation, the point is clear: don't dwell on any particular point.
- Keep it short - you have 10 minutes, but don't feel like you have use all of it. In fact, some of the best demos in the world only last 6 minutes (check out: the demogods on demo.com). Also, check out Guy Kasasaki's tips on how to be a Demo God.
- Have fun - while this may sound scary to first time presenters, the community is actually quite forgiving, friendly, and informal. The environment is casual, and nobody is there to criticize you for not having a "monetization strategy". Check out videos of past DemoCamps at BarCampCalgary.com, and you'll get a better feel for what happens at these events.
You'll have time for a few questions and answers after the presentation. The best Q&A sessions have a ton of crowd involvement, with lots of questions, and plenty of short answers. Here are some tips:
- If there isn't a microphone in audience, repeat the question you are about to answer.
- Resist the urge to spew out long, technical answers. It's an intelligent crowd, so someone might just ask a really good technical question. Your best answer is a short 30 second explanation, followed with "see me after for the details".
- Don't get defensive or critical - Sometimes, the audience will ask why you did things a certain way, or how you match up against the competition. Again, your best strategy is to respond with a quick explanation, without sounding negative or defensive.
Other things to keep in mind:
- The DemoCamp Calgary community is eager to help. So, show up prepared - for example, have beta and promo codes ready, and be prepared to talk code, marketing, and partnerships.
- Invite your friends, families, and colleagues - a cheering section is not only allowed, but encouraged!
- Be a social butterfly - DemoCamp's main goal is to develop a community of tech entrepreneurs - so introduce yourself to new people, and help introduce new and interesting tech people into the community.