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Dan Bricklin's Log
The life of Dan Bricklin as Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Trellix Corporation, PC industry old-timer, and amateur photographer

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Monday, February 14, 2000
Funny demos
I've written up two of the Demo 2000 "Demo god" award presentations, Handspring and Trellix. Both of them were for showing a lot of product in a very short time. Handspring showed three totally different new modules for their PDA, and for Trellix, Don and I created a very personal, multipage web site in 2 minutes. (You can read my script or watch the video, if you'd like.)

Two of the other award winners, though, got their awards for using a time-honored way to woo the audience: Sight gags. I've seen this at other conferences, and it can be very effective if pulled off well. These people did.

The first was TeleVend Limited. They "...focus on the development of value-added mCommerce [mobile commerce] applications and solutions that interface with existing technologies..." Their demo mainly consisted of calling a soft drink vending machine on stage and ordering a can of soda by pushing buttons on a cell phone:

Man holding cell phone next to vending machineMan holding can of soda
Calling the phone number on the machine to get a Coke
To add humor, they had a display on the front of the machine. They showed us "how it really works inside" by doing the demo again, this time with a video image of a woman inside, all huddled up, answering the phone and dropping the cans while shivering:

Woman with knit hat standing in front of cans of soda trying to talk on phone
Woman "in" the vending machine
It was very funny thanks to her acting. The "Demo god" award really went to her.

Another sight gag was done by the people from DoDots, Inc. They "...provide technology that enables online companies to package and instantly distribute Internet applications and media..."

To demonstrate the value of packaging stuff you can get in other ways (what their company does), they relied on two tried and true sight gags. First, their CEO and CTOs, George and John Kembel, are twins. Second, they used a messy food demo -- that type of demo is always appreciated from what I've seen. They showed how caesar salad became easier to buy when all the ingredients came in one package:

Twins, one holding a head of lettuce, the other the box with the stuff to be shownOne of the guys holds the lettuce and pre-packaged salad
Salad before and after packaging
Then they showed how shortening (lard) used to be packaged, and is currently packaged. The guy on the right stuck his hand into the box and came out with a big glop of dripping white stuff ("before packaging"). Then his brother took out a nice clean container of Crisco. Before they could continue and actually do the demo, there was a bit of hand-wiping...

Two guys, one with a messy hand, showing shorteningAnother view of the two, this one shot of the TV screen in the hall
The advantages of packaging to shortening
When it comes to engaging an audience, messiness counts.

Finally, uTOK Inc. got an award for pure enthusiasm. They had such drive and belief in their product it just made you smile:

Young man and woman on stageWoman on TV monitor doing standup presentation
uTOK's cofounders
Their product lets "...users post and read notes on any Web site, turning sites into thriving global bulletin boards."

Previous log entries...
 

Topics
This log covers my thoughts on making web sites, the computer industry, digital photography, PC history, conferences I attend, and people I know or run into.
New readers may want to see my "Best of this log" page.

 
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Some Links Mentioned in the Last Few Days
Script for Demo 2000 Presentation
The Option Value of Open Connectivity
WebPhotojournals
Reactions to my discussion of the use of bold
Don Rose's web site
My Good Documents web site
Reactions to my researching links entry
High school MLK Day paper
Judging Mr./Miss Tall Boston
Washington Post Gates article
Andersen report on shopping
IP and government
William Coakley Sound Design
Digital Photography Review
Telecom Rush article
CompuDudes radio show
CIO Magazine interview
Norman Rockwell
Celtics, Bill Russell, parquet floor
PC evolution essay
Y2K preparation silliness
HypertextNow: Beyond the Portal
Writing for the radio
Cell Towers
Dan Gillmor column
SmarterKids.com
Homework questions
Build your own log
Goofster.com
Living with the Stowaway Keyboard
Entrepreneurship book
Stowaway Keyboard essay
Washington Post quote
"Austin Gates" WAV
Silicon Spin
NPR on Gates at Comdex
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