Earlier this week, I did a demonstration of Liferay for a potential customer. I think it went well, and for the most part, I was able to show them all of the capabilities of the product in which they were interested. I showed them how good we are with things like private communities, user management, integration, permissions, themes and the dragging/dropping of portlets. As a long time user of Liferay, I know this stuff pretty well, and I think my knowledge came through in the demo.
Walking out of the demo, I asked my co-worker, Meesa, for feedback. Her only criticism was that I should have been more excited during the presentation. I had plenty of time to think about this on the flight home. I really love Liferay. In my opinion, it is a game-changing product with potential to do immeasurable good for customers, open source software and technology as a whole. As a community member, I pushed to make the product better, and I tried to spread the word about Liferay as much as possible. This enthusiasm for the product and the company a major contributing factor to why I get to work at what is the closest thing to a dream job that I can imagine.
One of the contributing factors to Liferay's success is the enthusiasm of the employees. If you ever visit the office, you feel it in the air. The development team believes in what they are building and are excited to be doing it. The leaders know that Liferay is the best product and are making strategic decisions to make it even better. Marketing and Sales aren't trying to sell the product as much as we are trying to let you know that it really is the best thing out there.
So, why didn't my enthusiasm come across during the demo? I'm not sure. Maybe I didn't want to seem disingenuous. Maybe I didn't want the audience to feel like they were being "sold to." Maybe I thought that by simply showing the really cool features of Liferay that they would get it. Regardless, I need to do a better job of showing the real enthusiasm that I have for what we do.
It's funny how timely information can cross your desk. I came across this article on TechCrunch which talks about why enthusiasm for your product is so important. Steve Jobs is the master of this (see attached). Steve Jobs is genuinely passionate about what Apple is doing, and that passion translates to Apple's employees and customers. You feel it, see it and know it. Entire subindustries are built on this passion (see MacWorld, MacRumors, OSXDaily). The Apple Fanboy phenomenon wouldn't exist if Apple didn't genuinely believe in what it was doing and subsequently communicate that to their customers.
The lesson from all of this? I'm going to start expressing how I really feel when I do demonstrations. When I show someone how you can drag and drop portlets on a page, I will use the phrase "really cool." When I show how we handle communities and virtual hosting and permissions and on and on and on, I will use the words "great", "amazing" and "beautiful."
Why? Because it is. And people need to know it.