This key insight from the creator of the Showtime Rotisserie could fix most software marketing problems

Malcolm Gladwell commenting on master pitchman Ron Popeil, creator of the Showtime Rotisserie:

In every respect the design of the product must support the transparency and effectiveness of its performance during a demonstration – the better it looks onstage, the easier it is for the pitchman to go into the turn and ask for the money. If Ron had been the one to introduce the VCR, in other words, he would not simply have sold it in an informercial. He would also have changed the VCR itself, so that it make sense in an informercial. The clock, for example, wouldn’t be digital. (The haplessly blinking unset clock has, of course, become a symbol of frustration.) The tape wouldn’t be inserted behind a hidden door – it would be out in plain view, just like the chicken in the rotisserie, so that if it was recording you could see the spools turn. The controls wouldn’t be discreet button; they would be large, and they would make a reassuring click as they were pushed up and down, and each step of the taping process would be identified with a big, obvious numeral so that you could set it and forget it. And would it be a slender black, low-profile box? Of course not. Ours is a culture in which the term “black box” is synonymous with incomprehensibility. Ron’s VCR would be in red-and-white plastic, both opaque and translucent swirl, or maybe 364 Alcoa aluminum, painted in some bold primary color, and it would sit on top of the television, not below it, so that when your neighbor or your friend came over he would spot it immediately and say, “Wow, you have one of those Ronco Tape-O-Matics!”

Why don’t software companies think this way about what they are creating? Instead of coding horribly convoluted applications, try to make something that feels approachable and transparent. Start with the demo experience you want to deliver before you write a line of code.

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