Demos, Founders and Marketers

By Prabhakar Gopalan

This post is inspired by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s detailed product review of Windows 8.  Click here to see Paul Allen’s review.

If there’s one thing about founders that is hard to replace, it is the passion they have for their product.  I picked this specific example because I want to contrast Paul Allen’s excitement in his product review of Windows 8  over  a pretty flat experience I had last year at a conference where current Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer spoke.

At that conference where Balmer had a keynote slot,  he talked about new and upcoming features in Windows 8 Server.  Three times during his presentation, Balmer stepped off the stage to let a Microsoft employee do the product walk through.

Could you imagine Steve Jobs leaving the stage to let some helper walk through the features of his iGadget?

And therein lies the difference between a passionate product guy and a hired gun.  Balmer’s lack of passion for the product was on display.  He was going through the motions of a prepared speech, but failed to demonstrate his own belief in the product by not doing the demo himself.

Contrast that with Paul Allen, a Microsoft co-founder, even after all these years away  from the company, he took the the time to post a detailed product review for Windows 8.  Now that is passion for products.

Founders are the best marketers for their products.  They are marketers that come for free.  You don’t have to pay them for “marketing”.  There is a huge element of authenticity and passion inherent in a founder’s speech/blog/demo about his or her product.  So what can marketers who are not founders do?   The answer is simple:

  • Emulate the founders.
  • Own the product.
  • Fall in love with your product.

If you are not in love with your own product, how can you expect someone else to buy your product?

Prabhakar (@PGopalan)

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