Friday, May 31, 2019

How effectively do you exist with your product ?

In one of the Innovation demos i was a part of a particular idea team started their pitch. Roughly speaking their idea was about enabling the remote access across various networked Mac software (there were more nitti-gritties that spelled uniqueness of this invention which can't be shared due to Intellectual Property reasons).

They started their pitch with a PPT with an usual agenda slide. The last item in the agenda slide was 'Demo'. The presenter (say John) did a great job to complete the pitch on time and now it was the time for demo. John paused for a bit and said- 'There's no separate demo. The presentation you saw was the live demo'.
What he meant was that the presentation he was showcasing for last 5 minutes, was actually running on a remote system with John having keyboard-mouse control.

This was one of the outstanding things i heard while going through a demo pitch. It sent a clear and crisp message to judges that the team wasn't selling a concept that 'will' be used at some point by a certain segment of users. It was actually in-use by the founding team and working like a charm.

In my experience in attending many innovation demos, i have often noticed a certain disconnection of demos with real-life. Demos are often seen as a representation of future, a reality that hasn't been stitched yet in it's entirety. Another cause is the non-existence of users in early stages of the Innovation projects. Innovators, I believe, should try and be seen as 'existing' with their products as John (in previous example) managed to do.

I was also reading interesting Forbes piece on CEO Eric S Yuan. A part that caught my attention (in the context of this post) was that Eric made just 8 work trips in five years as a CEO. Why ? Because he made it a priority to conduct his business via his product, a video conferencing software. This is what i meant when i said 'existing with your product'. More seamless our connection with the product is, more clearer the message around value proposition is.

Sharing the cited part from Forbes article:
As the founder of Zoom, which provides video conferencing software over the internet, Yuan practices what he preaches. After Yuan hired hundreds of engineers in his native China, he went three years between in-person visits. When he raised money from top venture capital investors, he showed up just once, to make sure every investor in the room had downloaded the Zoom app. For his IPO road show, Yuan deigned to make the 50-mile trek from his San Jose headquarters to San Francisco for a single investor lunch—and then bolted back to work. Everyone else, money manager big or small, met with him virtually, over Zoom. When Yuan flew to New York for the IPO, it was just his eighth work trip in five years.
“Customers have always said, ‘Eric, we’ll become your very important customer, you’ve got to visit us,’” says Yuan. “I say, ‘Fine, I’m going to visit you, but let’s have a Zoom call first.’” That’s usually enough.

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