At Microsoft Create, a tech demo reborn as a sitcom

Disclosure: Microsoft is really a client of the writer.

I used to look forwards to Microsoft events due to the fun videos the business did when Costs Gates and Steve Ballmer ran the display. When Gates left, therefore did a lot of the humor and fun within events. But as of this week’s Build occasion, Scott Hanselman , Microsoft companion program manager, cut back some of the enjoyable with a non-keynote keynote that performed just like a sitcom.

It was probably the most compelling demos I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen some very nice ones through the years.

I think Hanselman’s method, which looks simple but isn’t, is really a best practice now. So let’s discuss making demos fascinating and much more informative.

The issue with demos: they’re usually dull


Demos are problematic from events such as Build because the majority of the target audience doesn’t care about everything you are usually showcasing at any moment. People’s needs, skills, and job responsibilities have become different most importantly events often, which means demos on the primary stage don’t interest the majority of those in what’s usually a diverse viewers. So even, many audience members nevertheless have to know about the character of these equipment and how they could connect to other tools, platforms, and future jobs or tasks.

Disinterested folks attending these demos may escape to email or social media marketing rather than give consideration instead. And when you’re going to a remote occasion, the distractions are a whole lot worse – making it an easy task to tune out even though you must understand something.

Holding audience attention could be problematic. You should cover the materials in a manner that is fascinating to a broader market while holding the eye of users who’ll be thinking about wat you’re saying. Attractive to both combined groups appears to be impossible, but Hanselman demonstrated that’s definitely not so.

The Hanselman fix


Hanselman’s starting keynote this 7 days at Construct wasn’t the keynote, it had been a demo (as opposed to any I’ve seen). Background take note: Microsoft is among the few companies that maintains a movie production studio. This ability allows it to create content that appears like it was designed for a Television show with very good quality.

Using that capacity, the business created what played such as a sitcom where in fact the audience will be taken by way of a collaborative coding hard work using various Microsoft equipment and a diverse group of platforms (such as Linux) to produce a product.

While this is loosely scripted and done in scenes (the transitions were a tad ugly), it found as natural and has been entertaining surprisingly. More for Microsoft importantly, it showcased what sort of variety of things such as Microsoft Groups and the top Hub – in conjunction with their coding equipment – could possibly be used to rapidly develop a complete offering, through the 30-minute plan, including debugging.

(They didn’t create advertising material, though, or discuss distribution.)

The specific coders (it’s been years since i have was a coder) were engaged and worked up about what these were seeing. It had been also very clear that non-coders or previous coders like me had been furthermore watching and learning rather than losing curiosity and disengaging.

For Microsoft, mission accomplished.



What event managers often appear to forget may be the goal of a meeting: to teach, inform, drive interest, and deliver sales and generate usage of the merchandise they’re showcasing eventually. Often, the team gaining an event is concerned with filling period and giving presence to a person with a title. This practice results in a whole large amount of wasted cost and time for both event managers and attendees.

While resource-intensive (I’m a large believer in doing items well or never), Hanselman’s approach led to a long-form demo that entertained, educated, and showcased what sort of wide selection of his company’s equipment and how they may be found in a collaborative atmosphere to create a high-quality item.

In a worldwide world more likely to favor, for the near future, streamed events over their in-person alternatives, this process to creating integrated demonstrations which are entertaining and fun while still being   informative ought to be a practice best.  At Microsoft Develop, Hanselman and his group showed how it’s completed.

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