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The Two Letter Word

That’s Killing Your Product Demo


And keeping Biz Markie up at night.


If you’ve read Just F*ing Demo!, you know that many people’s greatest strength - a love and in depth knowledge of their product - can quickly tank their ability to give a concise, audience-focused demo.


Killer products are supposed to be empowering. They're supposed to turn little Mario into Giant Mario Tossing Fireballs:

Unfortunately, the ability to convey how awesome the user's life will be with your product can be subtly undermined when the strength / weakness paradox of product knowledge manifests itself in one two-letter word: “WE.”

Here’s an example, based on a recent product demo I’ve heard:

  • We can take the data, and display it in X ways.
  • Then, we can update the data in real-time and output it to Y system.

Demos with a lot of “WE’s” often result in a lot of “meh” from the audience. “I get it, it looks really cool, but it seems like a lot for us to take on.”

Now, take the example above, swap we for you, and use the bucket concept detailed in Just F*ing Demo!:

  • I’m going to walk you through the reporting capabilities of our system.
  • You can analyze the data in these X ways in our system, which will allow you to gauge success without switching platforms.
  • Alternatively, the data updates in real-time, and can be sent to Y system, so you can analyze it there.
  • As a result, you’ll have the flexibility get a quick look when you want it, but also dive much deeper in your legacy systems when you need to.

It’s a very simple change, but I’ve found it helps dramatically.

If people seem to be responding to your demos with concerns around usability, have a spotter listen in on your demo, and note every time the word “WE” is used when talking about your product. Go back, and replace with YOU, and note the results.

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