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Bill Gates & the Great Demo

The Great Demo

I saw a really great demo a few weeks back – it was by far the most useful product I had seen in several years. It was one of those demos where there were at least seven or eight things that completely blew me away. As we were watching it we asked every difficult question we could think of and the company had credible answers for each one. As it turns out there was just one little hidden flaw that makes the product have very little value for us.

Since we have an upcoming seminar on Delivering Great Demos  and we had this experience I thought it might be appropriate to share one of my favorite product marketing and product management jokes.

Bill Gates dies and goes to purgatory. He is met by Saint Peter and welcomed with open arms.  Saint Peter explains that Bill is going to go to heaven and that he will like it a lot there. Everyone is nice to each other, no one cheats or threatens to sue AND all is forgiven from your past.

Bill says, “That sounds pretty good – when do I go?”

Saint Peter says “well you have to wait at day or two. In the meantime you might want to consider taking a tour of hell. It is quite different than you might have been led to believe.” Having nothing to lose Bill says yes and they proceed.

When they start the tour to Hell Bill sees a place that looks almost exactly like Seattle years ago. Lush trees,  inexpensive workers, plenty of land for a corporate campus and plenty of opportunity. Saint Peter explains that in Hell you can compete like in the real world and have a lot of fun. You can become wealthy and powerful and, if you smart enough, win the game of business. He explains that college dropouts have virtually no chance of winning, and that it is too bad that Bill dropped out of Harvard. Bill is not amused – he tells Saint Peter that he could easily be the most powerful businessman and rule Hell.

They continue the tour and Hell offers Bill everything he could imagine. It is just a phenomenal place, and he can’t get over it.

The tour ends and they go back to purgatory. Saint Peter says “well, it looks like it is time to go to heaven”. Bill replies that he thinks he would be bored there and insists that he be sent to Hell instead. With a snap of his fingers Saint Peter sends Bill straight to Hell.

Bill is immediately thrust into a caldron of hot oil, his skin searing and all around him are evil people like Hitler and Ivan the Terrible. He can’t understand what has happened and he cries out to Saint Peter, saying “what is this place – you promised me hell and this is nothing like it.”

Saint Peter laughs and looks at Bill and simply says, “Oh yeah, sorry about that. It was just a demo.”

One Response to Bill Gates & the Great Demo

  1. Peter Cohan Aug 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Love it!

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