Oscar Santolalla: Create and Deliver a Killer Product Demo

Oscar Santolallas book Create and Deliver a Killer Product Demo contains many examples of successful product demonstrations and advice on how you can also do a „killer“ product presentation.

Content and Structure

Santolalla starts his book by giving a short historical account of product demonstrations beginning with Douglas Engelbart’s so called “Mother of all Demos” and continuing with notable presenters like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk up to the present day.

The second chapter Killer Product Demos contains a typology of twelve product demonstrations (e.g public demonstrations, product launches, SaaS demonstrations etc.). Interestingly the Scrum Sprint Review is also described as a distinct situation where a product is demoed. This underlines the fact, that presenting a product is not limited to salespeople, CEO’s and other “public figures” of a company but is potentially relevant for every technical employee.

The third chapter How to Craft Your Demo describes the structure of a product demonstration. This consists of three stages. First the presenter is optionally introduced (not mandatory for a well-known person) as part of the pre-demo. In the main part, the demo, the product is presented (the author recommends a detailed script for this part). The demo has to contain a so-called WOW moment, i.e. “the snapshot of your demo that everybody must remember“ (p. 19). The demo is followed by the wrap-up which repeats the message and can contain a call to action. For exemplification the author creates a product demonstration for the fictive company “Voicetoblog,” which offers a service to create blog articles out of speech.

Sanotalalla underlines in the second chapter, as he does throughout the book, that preparation is paramount (p. 11): “There is no magic or mystery. It takes a lot of effort to create great product demos.”

The fourth chapter Unique Demo Structures and Timelines discusses in more detail four of the presentation types the author considers most common: product launches, presales, SaaS and API demonstrations. At the end of the chapter their structures are compared with each other.

The book continues with the analysis of the WOW moment (fifth chapter Create a WOW Moment). The chapter starts with a recipe for creating a WOW moment and continues with the analysis of the WOW moment of the Tesla Model X product demonstration. By further identifying the typology of WOW moments and the description of these moments in several renowned product presentations, the task of creating an own climactic moment is further simplified.

Chapter six Dissection of Amazing Product Demos analyses famous product demonstrations by using the “tools” introduced so far: the structure presented in the third chapter and the WOW moment discussed in the fifth one.

The following three chapters Preparation, How to Avoid Common Glitches and Weapons for Delivering Effective Technical Presentations contain recommendations for a good presentation with the special focus on technical ones (especially ninth chapter). Santolalla stresses again and again the importance of preparation for a successful presentation and recommends planning for the worst case and be prepared for it (pp. 57-58).

Change is ubiquitous. So does the ways product demos can be delivered adapt and evolve. Santolalla presents in the tenth chapter Trends in Technology three trends: remote product demonstrations, usage of augmented reality and automation of demonstrations.

The book finishes with an inspirational message “Demo your product. Sell a dream.” (p. 82).

The three appendices Structure of a Product Demo Template, 5 Steps to Create a WOW Moment Template and Product Demo Success Checklist contain helpful templates and checklists.


Most people in technical positions have to do a product (or a feature) presentation from time to time. In most cases, the future of that product does not depend on that presentation, but a good demonstration can really make a difference. Oscar Santolallas short book on creating and delivering product demonstrations offers a pleasant reading experience. The great number of successful presentations discussed throughout the book are interesting and can be helpful as inspiration when preparing for a new presentation.

The strong emphasis on the importance of preparation makes the book suitable for all those who have to do product presentations without possessing Steve Jobs’ incredible talent for showmanship. In the same time the book shows that even an acclaimed “Magician in Product Demos” as Santolalla calls Steve Jobs had to invest a lot of time in planning and rehearsing a product demo.

You surely won’t become a master presenter just by reading this book – or any other book for that matter – but it might give you some useful hints.

Bibliographical Information

Oscar Santolalla
Create and Deliver a Killer Product Demo: Tips and Tricks to Wow Your Customers

2019, pp. XII, 91, PDF
ISBN: 978-1-4842-3954-4

More information in the catalogue of the German National Library.

About the Author

Oscar Santolalla lives in Helsinki, Finland and works currently as a Sales Engineer at Ubisecure.

Source: The information about the author is taken from the authors LinkedIn profile – retireval date 02.06.2020.

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Petre Sora

Petre Soras Interessen sind vielfältig und befinden sich an der Schnittstelle zwischen Mensch und Informationstechnologie. Nachdem er sein Bachelorstudium im Fach Psychologie abschloss, orientierte er sich neu und studierte Software Engineering an der Hochschule Heilbronn, ebenfalls mit einem Bachelor abgeschlossen. Anschließend war er knappe sechs Jahre als Java-Entwickler in mehreren Unternehmen tätig. Aktuell ist er mit dem Masterstudium der Praktischen Informatik und der Rezensionsplattform für IT-Fachbücher nososo.de beschäftigt.

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