Demo Days

David makes a really good point about the value of the demo. I love demos as well, mostly because I have serious ADD and I’m a visual person so watching a demo tells me far more about the potential and vision of a concept than the spoken word would. David is also correct that a poorly prepared or ill-behaved demo can cause more damage than not having one at all, and I am continually surprised at how bad so many demos really are, here’s my top 3 demo sins (in no particular order because they are all equally grievous):

1) Feature/Function Poker: Don’t walk through every menu item and button like it means something, demos have to tell a story about how the target user is going to look like a rockstar by using it. I only care about the menu items, drop downs, dialog boxes, and buttons in the context of how the use scenario works, and even then I’m more interested in the elegance of the user experience than whether or not you used sweet rounded boxes in your UI.

2) The Flub: Every demo has the potential to go bad, the difference between the pros and the rookies is that the pro anticipates it and bunts for a base hit. In other words, if something goes bad, skip over it and move on and for God’s sake don’t draw attention to it. If your demo is a live over-the-air deal you should have a plan for dealing with network issues because blaming the network for your demo failing only serves to highlight one of the vulnerabilities that your potential investor is bound to highlight in their risks section.

3) Timing is Everything: The key to a great demo is that the duration is just right, leave them wanting more instead of looking for an excuse to call a “hard stop”. Run through your demo script until you can predict exactly how long it will take you to cover all of it with Q&A, the only thing worse than getting cutoff from completing your pitch is disrespecting your audience’s time.

I thought about including a 4th bullet for demo data because good demos feature well thought out demo data and demo scenarios. I decided against calling this out because it’s integral to the first point about telling a good story. Don’t be afraid to drop a few easter eggs in the demo data, it will help keep the attention of your audience.

And while we are on demos, the Duet team has a pretty good online demo that walks through the applications.

Genuine VC: The Value of the Demo:

Rather than expending mental energy on translating a concept into how it could manifest itself, a demo (even if not fully baked) allows me to apply those mental resources on what it really means to have a full working product (whether that’s now or in the future). From there, I can more clearly see the potential of a business and the steps required to make it a reality.

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Open source urged to remain European

“I think Europe needs to reassert itself as the business center for Europe.” Okay, but where else would the business center for Europe be, somewhere not in Europe?

The entire premise underlying this article is a bunch of crap, I mean who really cares where a company is located. I think it’s a little disingenuous to suggest that European companies are relocating to the U.S. at the insistence of “greedy capitalist investors” when in fact the companies feature U.S. investors because that is primarily who is funding these deals. Spend some time in London, Munich, or Paris and try to find a early stage investor for a open source enterprise software deal and you will know what I am referring to.

With over half of the global IT economy located in North America, of course it’s natural for companies to setup HQ here, and combined with the tax issues around equity for founders and employees it makes fiscal sense as well. Matt is right that Europe has a unique opportunity to leverage open source technology development to regain prominence in the global IT economy, but to suggest that a company has to be based in Europe to realize that is anti-thetical to the “world is flat” promise that open source is founded upon.

Open source urged to remain European – Computer Business Review:

“I think Europe needs to reassert itself as the business center for Europe,” he said, noting that enterprise open source software vendors are in a position to do so, but only if they stop moving to North America. “They need to stop moving to Silicon Valley,” he said. “There are no customers in Silicon Valley, only vendors.”

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Read more on European Union, Open Source at Wikinvest

Social Bookmarking on Your Intranet

Read the attached post, Seth is really understating the neglect that intranets are suffering from. When is the last time you made a point of visiting your intranet? The big problem is that the groups that manage intranets still think of themselves as in the business of publishing and content management as opposed to community building… not that they are exclusive of one another. My point is that intranets are managed and predictable, therefore largely uninteresting.

Enter Content Here: Social Bookmarking on Your Intranet:

At the Enterprise Search Summit, several speakers made the point that intranets suffer from neglect – especially compared to external websites which are actively managed by people who know their audience and have a huge incentive to improve the utility and user experience of the website.

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Quiet Period – Ugh!

I wrote a terrific post (at least I thought so) about Oracle’s recent claims of 585 wins against SAP in the last year (their fiscal year). I named names and deal specifics about where their wins were actually losses, where we actually did lose to them, and the number and specifics of deals we have taken from them, including Safe Passage specifics. So I’m feeling good about it and thinking “damn this is a first, revealing the inner workings of competitive win/loss specifics,” and then I remembered we are in quiet period. Fuck. As soon as I am in the clear I will post it.

UPDATE: While I may be gagged, Jason Corsello is not.

Oracle says they are taking share in the applications market from SAP. SAP says they are stealing Oracle customers and increasing market share over Oracle.

Click fraud a huge problem

yeah it’s a big problem, but one we don’t hear very much about from Google/Yahoo!/AOL/Microsoft. I’m curious to know how big a commitment in resources these companies are making to combat fraud in their network, and how it affects their product roadmaps. Obviously, Ebay has had to deal with fraud more-or-less from their inception, however gaming the reputation system, bogus bidding, and fraud from sellers has remained a persistent problem.

Click fraud a huge problem / Study finds practice widespread; many cut back online ads:

In today’s report, advertisers say that 14.6 percent of all clicks are bogus. Moreover, three-quarters of advertisers said they had been victims at least once.

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