Demo Day

FifthTry has a tradition of weekly demo day on Friday. We follow a demo-day-driven-development, where everyone who works at FifthTry has to try to demo the things they have done this week to everyone.

We are an open source company, we are building open source product, we want to do our decision making in public as well, so the event is a public event. You can find the past demo days listed on our events page.

Why We Do This?

We are now fully remote company. Demo days are an important part of our, how to do remote right initiative. Since we do not sit in the same office it is hard for us to see what everyone is working on. The demo day announcement and the demo day helps us know what everyone is working on.

Also the demo day presentation lets us hear and talk to everyone in the company, understand what they are passionate about etc.

We also want to become better speakers, presenters, writers (we will eventually start demo day writeup also), and marketer. If you have built it, showing it off.

Finally, we will someday start performance appraisals, and we will look at the past demo days to see what everyone delivered.

Demo Day Announcement

Everyone does an announcement of what they are trying to show on the upcoming demo day. This list is not binding, this is an aspirational list. This also helps us plan and course correct, so say if someone announces they are going to try to show so and so on the upcoming demo day, someone can intervene and say maybe we should not do so and so for this and that reason.

A Typical Demo Day

At the beginning of each week we create a planning document for the upcoming demo day where we list what we hope to demo. Planning document for 11th demo day.

We announce the demo day details on social media platforms, Twitter, LinkedIn, Discord etc a few days before the demo day. We send another follow up right before the start of the demo as well.

The demo days are recorded using Zoom. The zoom link is shared with our social media platforms.

A typical demo day starts with the AmitU talking about any highlights he wants to mention, and followed by individual presenters giving their demo. Presenters are made host so they can share their screen. Post the presentation there is a quick question answer session, and we move on to next.

In the end we conclude the demos and stop recording. Since everyone is present we often do an informal discussion about random things.

Post demo, AmitU downloads the recording and uploads it on YouTube, and adds an entry in the events section of this site summarizing what was covered in the demo.

Video Based Demos

Starting 18th Apr 2023, we are trying to do demos in a new format. Why are we changing it? We have been doing demo day quite successfully, all the original goals are met, we are showing off what we have done, people are more informed what everyone is doing, and we are running remote without any issues.

After this success we are trying to be more ambitous and trying to do even better by creating pre-recorded demos.

Why? All the demo day videos are recorded and recordings are available, many on youtube, rest on AmitU’s laptop. Problem is each video is 1.5-2hr long video and no one wants to see the whole video again.

We are also reaching a stage in the company that we are starting to get a following, and we need quality content to share with our community. What gets built every week is a good content worth sharing. But the content is getting locked in our 2 hr long demo day recording videos.

We can edit things out, cut the video into smaller sections, but even then the quality of those individual videos is not great to act as a standalone videos. The way we speak is also very impromptu, there is often very litttle preperation, and the internet audiance is fickle. The videos should be short, crisp, to the point etc. Maybe they should also have music, and some editing.

Pre Demo Videos

So what we are proposing is now on we pre-create videos and upload them on YouTube etc. And during the demo we use Zoom’s share pre-recorded video feature to play each video.

Each person who has anything to demo will share the YouTube link with AmitU by 5PM, and AmitU will download the video and upload them to FifthTry’s YouTube channel. AmitU will also keep the video around, and share the mp4s during the demo day.

General Advice For Presenters And Attendees

Since the demo days are recorded, and are meant for general audiance, beyond just FifthTry employees, it would be helpful if we try to keep demos light and breezy.

The audiance of the demo can be our investors (current or future), our customers, future employees, etc. We have to try to channel our inner Steve Jobs.

Demo day is not to show off details, do deep dive on what you have built or why.

The purpose of demo day is to keep everyone upto date, and get high level feedback. The purpose is try to excite others about what you are doing.

Tech questions about how something is implemented, or if discussion about edge cases should be avoided. Exception would be if the tech implementation or the edge cases was a crucial part. Presenters should only bring up edge cases etc, if they feel this is worth talking about. But audiance should focus only on high level.

Tips For Demo Day Presenters

No need to do extensive reharsal and presentation. Do not spend more than 5-10 mins on demo preperation. The idea is for the event to be light weight and fun for the participents, but it is ideal to be prepared for demo before hand so it is most enjoyable to the audiance as well.

Since you will be presenting your screen it is advisable to close unrelated windows and tabs. If you are going to use browser for demo, it is best to create a new browser window, and not have dozens of your existing tabs visible, as they distract, and sometimes you can get lost and have to search for the right tab, wasting screen time and is a bit boring to watch.

Regarding Browser, you should assume that during the demo your internet is down your code has suddently stopped compiling etc, and do the demo without relying on running programs or opening new tabs. If possible keep all tabs open before hand. Maybe not even click on links, and just show the next tab. If you have a series of tabs in pre-configured states it becomes very easy to go back as well.

Also you should consider switching off notifications since the event will be recorded and we do not want to do post processing to cut things out.

Since a lot of people will be watching the videos later, lower the screen resolution to the lowest possible setting you can work with. Increase the font size as much.

Also do not ask if your screen is visible. Every demo starting with “is my screen visible” and waiting for someone unmuting themselves and saying, “yeah, yeah, go ahead” is annoying. If your screen is not visible, people will inform you, do not worry.

Another common mistake to avoid is to try to prove things when answering questions, like if someone asks “can X do this Y?”, an answer of “Yes it can”, or “no it can not but in future will”, or “it is not designed to do y” is suffecient. No need to show, see it can really do y. Often this is followed by out of script setup, you have to go to some other URL, or sometimes people write or edit code. Avoid that, just answer and move on.

Editing code deserves its own para. Avoid writing code. Keep things in notes, or clipboard like I recently say Abrar do, before the presentation he had copied the code he wanted, and during presentation he showed the before code, and then pasted, and magically code appeared.

Prefer giving demo against published URLs. A demo with does not have the same impact as one against for example. If the URL is public, we can link to it from the demo day summary page after the demo, so audiance can click and explore the URLs. It also tells people that you have finished everything, pushed your code, gotten it reviewed and merged, created new release etc. It is lot more impressive to see demos with proper URLs instead of output of local code, which may or may not be comitted yet (you may even lose the change if you forget to commit, or do more changes and get in a state that it is no longer working).

Of course if you do not have any of these, still give a demo, these are not requirements, but just guidelines. We should never not give demo because we are not prepared. If the feature is working, please demo it!