Victus Spiritus


Founders are Stage Magicians

29 Jul 2010

Cascading Effects of Evoking Emotional Response

As a first time founder with an engineering background, preoccuppation with building the sonic screwdriver of social information tools has been my primary concern. One thing I haven't spent much time worrying about is sales, and its been a big mistake.

A recent development has lead me to focus on audience reaction far more than I ever have previously, and it has drastically changed my take on product ideas. The event is the Web 2.0 expo happening in Manhattan in late September. They're hosting 30 startup demos followed by the top 3 products being shown on stage with Tim O'Reilly, Fred Wilson, and one audience favorite. Thinking about products as 2-3 minute interactive demonstrations with Q&A has shown me how boring some of my earlier ideas have been, without a thought given to provoking an emotional response.

Founders Live for Inception

The important selling moment is made in the split second when an aesthetically appealing package opens the visitors mind to the beauty of your prototype. Whatever I submit to the application process and package by September has to evoke raw emotions to have any hope of opening up a visitor's mind for a few seconds, let alone a few minute demo.

The primary emotions I'd like to target are curiosity, surprise, excitement, wonder, and awe in about that order. I may discover there's only enough time to effectively evoke one. It dawned on me in the past day how important the prototype story is, and how I'd like it to flow. I'll be the guide leading a new visitor through these emotions as a designed experience. Should I take it slower building up curiosity or skip directly to the exciting part of the demo? I have to be ready to improvise based on the visitor, their experiences, and mood.