Demo organizer makes nice with accused plagiarist Jason Calacanis

Shortly after we ran the item about the writer who accused Jason Calacanis of plagiarizing from his TechCrunch50 conference's main competitor, we got this email from Chris Shipley, who has run the Demo conference for years. Short version: The text from which writer Deb McAlister-Holland claims Calacanis copied exactly 1,893 words may have been in a newsletter sent out prior to 1996. McAlister-Holland claimed her piece "was on the Demo website for three years," but no one's turned up either a copy or McAlister-Holland yet. Long version: Demo's current guide to presenters, below.

————— Forwarded message —————
From: Chris Shipley
Date: Aug 11, 2008 5:06 PM
Subject: RE: Deb McAlister-Holland

Hey, Owen,

I am unable to find the original article, which again would have been in PC Letter pre 1996.

This is one of the advice pieces we provide to our demonstrators; I certainly wouldn't accuse Jason of plagiarizing this.

—-—-——

As you begin to develop your script, it is important to reiterate a few thoughts about what the DEMO audience expects from your presentation.

A LIVE DEMO

First and foremost, the DEMO audience expects to see a LIVE DEMO OF YOUR PRODUCT. If you are intending to do anything other than a LIVE DEMO you MUST discuss this with Chris immediately. The DEMO crowd will forgive the glitches that sometimes occur when you are giving a live demonstration; they are rather unforgiving when they discover that a company has "faked it." Don't risk your credibility to slight-of-hand attempts to deliver a canned demo as a live one.

POWERPOINT, VIDEOS, FLASH, ETC.

Second, the DEMO audience is very familiar with the "no PowerPoint" rule of the DEMO stage. No slides, no videos, no Flash animations, no clever screen savers or wall paper. You have been invited on the DEMO stage to show your product, not your graphic design skills. That said, in specific instances where the use of a visual aid enhances the audience's understanding of the product or its market, we will make exceptions to this rule.

If you are seeking an exception, keep in mind:

1. The visual must be limited to the bare minimum to communicate a key point.

2. They should always exclude extraneous marketing hype.

3. They should never take more than a minute of your on-stage time.

Remember, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE may you include visuals without prior approval, and then you are only permitted to show that which is approved. Clever ploys to circumvent this approval will be met with profound disappointment.

TIMING

Third, please remember that your time on stage is strictly limited. At the end of your time, we will bring up music to escort you off stage. Don't let your final comments be lost because you've gone over your time limit.

Some of our direction and advice may sound a little harsh and maybe even foils some of your grand plans. But trust us: Over the years, we've seen some big ideas fail miserably . . . and we've seen simple, direct demos succeed beautifully. So, finally, remember that we are here to help. If you have questions about what will or won't work on the DEMO stage, direct them to Karyn Williams as soon as possible (kkw@k2events.com). We'll gladly get back to you with the sound advice that will make your presentation a success.

SUGGESTED FORMAT TIPS FOR DEMO

* The introduction sets the context for your product demonstration.

* Use only 5% or less of your stage time on the introduction.

* Describe the market issue or user problem your product/technology solves.

* Give a brief summary of the history of the product/technology.

* Start your product demonstration within 30 seconds of taking the stage.

* The product demonstration should show the product/technology and

demonstrate its core value.

* 85% of your stage time should be used for demonstration.

* It's best to make only three key points. Remember you can delve deeper in

the Pavilion.

* Demonstrate only features and functions that support these points.

* The conclusion should be used to re-emphasize the benefits of the

product/technology.

* The conclusion should take up no more than 10% of stage time.

* Stress benefits to intended user.

* Stress benefits to industry.