You've built a cool product. Great! Now, you need to show it off to people. Usually, this is a demo: a quick, 5 minute tour around the product.
Giving a demo is a lot better than trying to explain what your product does in words. It lets people see exactly how things work, and is the fastest way to help them understand your product. There's also an important set of people that will be particularly interested in your demo: investors. When raising money, a good demo to investors can make-or-break the decision process. So how do you give a good demo?
When raising money for Weebly, our demo was pretty simple. We'd spend about an hour ahead of the meeting looking up the investor's website, downloading the pictures and text, and importing the template into Weebly. Then, we'd spend a few minutes to practice creating the site quickly. The end result: we'd recreate an investor's site "from scratch" in front of them in 3-4 minutes. It definitely had the intended "wow" effect.
How do you put together a good demo? Here are a few tips:
- It has to be short. It should take 5 minutes or less in person. An online video should be no more than one and a half minutes long.
- It has to look really, really cool. The demo is a visual tour, and your audience will be concentrating on what they can see. Your goal is to get them to say "Wow!" Fades and animations get annoying in the final product, but they can look really cool for a demo.
- Adapt your demo for the audience. In our case, we would tailor the presentation to the investor we were presenting to. The person you're presenting to should be able to relate perfectly to the need for your product.
- Use real data. Don't ever type in "asdfasdf" for a form field. It's so much easier to understand what an application does when you can simulate a real user. Junk data makes it much more difficult to understand the use cases. Make sure to pre-populate your application with real data that highlights the story you're telling.
- Don't demo all of your features. Just demo the ones that best show off your product and give the maximum "wow" impact.
- Follow one general topic. If you're going to switch themes, make that very, very clear. It's like driving a car: if you want to change directions, you have to stop the car first.
- Have an offline or backup version ready. The worst thing is having to fiddle with the wifi connection for 10 minutes, or something going wrong with your host/colo while you're presenting. You might only have one chance -- make sure to have an EVDO card in case wifi doesn't work, or a local version.
- Show your product in the best light. You can be realistic about the shortcomings later, if/when asked. Make sure to always show off your product, and don't ever purposely demonstrate any shortcoming.
Finally, be confident and excited! You've built something really cool, and you should be conveying that message to the audience. If you're not excited about your product, why should they be?