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Infectious Enthusiasm

Company Blogs September 18, 2009 By Joshua Asbury Staff

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.


Threaded Replies Author Date
Hey Joshua... How to un-curb your enthusiasm...... Hennie de Villiers September 18, 2009 7:16 AM
Hahaha. =) Alice Cheng September 25, 2009 4:38 PM
The Apple Keynote style of enthusiasm isn't for... Jonathan Neal September 18, 2009 10:55 AM
Agreed. I think it also boils down to how good... Joshua Asbury September 18, 2009 10:57 AM

Hey Joshua... How to un-curb your enthusiasm... install a competitive product... then try to use it... then try to buy it... then try to support it... then give it up... then go and thank the Bry(i)ans & kie for Liferay... and your job... offer to work for food and shelter... then continue to enjoy Life(ray)...
Posted on 9/18/09 7:16 AM.
The Apple Keynote style of enthusiasm isn't for everybody. It's a benefit they've earned from their product and expected demeanor.

When the authenticity of the person and the perception of the product are in harmony, you can really build a fan base.

TechCrunch's slant is that this series of superlatives makes for good selling, and marketing majors goes crazy for this. "Oh! A pattern I can repeat!" Compile this same Youtube video for Microsoft event during the Vista era and you'll see something remarkably different, waves of critical feedback along the lines of: it's all talk and no walk. And that is definitely to say - I wouldn't judge Microsoft's success by Steve Balmer's enthusiasm (read: seizures) any day. Different audiences want to hear different things.

Throw out a double dozen superlatives in a talk and anger developers, but empower users. Throw out a double dozen features in a talk and scare users, but salivate developers.

It boils down to --- who is your audience?
Posted on 9/18/09 10:55 AM.
Agreed. I think it also boils down to how good is your product?
Posted on 9/18/09 10:57 AM in reply to Jonathan Neal.
Posted on 9/25/09 4:38 PM in reply to Hennie de Villiers.