With the 2010 Winter Olympics approaching, there has been some talk recently about those sports that Americans talk about once every 4 years. One of them is figure skating.
Now, I’m not much of a figure skating fan myself, but my mother-in-law is. And all this talk reminded me of the time we took her to an ice skating show at the LA Forum. It was not just any old show … it was Scott Hamilton’s return to figure skating after a fight with testicular cancer. Scott was as close to a superstar as there was in men’s figure skating, having invented the back-flip and won the Gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. So seeing him back on the ice was a feel good story.
The show featured a lot of other well known figure skaters, including Dorothy Hamill and Katerina Witt, but the climax was towards the end when Scott Hamilton took the ice. Cheers went through the crowd as he performed move after move, if not flawlessly, at least without major error. Then came the moment of truth. Scott would now perform his famous back-flip.
The lights dimmed. A lone spotlight. A drum roll. Scott Hamilton took a deep breath, began his run, turned backwards, took off ……. and fell
Obviously, it was disappointing. This show was being recorded and going to be shown a week later on Network TV, so unfortunately it would not be as great a moment as we’d anticipated.
When the show ended we started to gather our things when an announcement came over the PA that went something like this: “we’d like to do some extra takes of certain parts of the show. If you would like to stay, please come over to the west side of the forum and fill in the seats over there.”
What happened next I should have anticipated, but for some reason I was naive. The show producers proceeded to repeat parts of the performance where skaters had fallen or stumbled. And of course, that included Scott Hamilton’s back-flip. Time after time the lights dimmed, the spotlight fell, and Scott skated and tried his back-flip. Finally, I think it was after 4 or 5 tries, Scott Hamilton nailed it and a roar went through the crowd.
I made a point of watching the performance when it aired on TV a week or so later. And sure enough, nobody fell or even slipped up. And of course, Scott Hamilton successfully executed his back-flip on his first try, to the cheers of a huge crowd.
Having been in the EDA business for many years, I know that a lot of EDA tool demos are a lot like Scott Hamilton’s return performance. If features don’t quite work, the demo avoids those features. Or if the feature is critical, then that is the one that gets fixed while other not-so-critical features may be left broken. It’s part of the smoke and mirrors that is the least well kept secret of EDA tool demos. The customer knows that the EDA company is avoiding the holes in its product.
But what if you don’t have big holes in your product? What if your tool really can nail that back-flip on the first pass? What if your tool really is a “game changer”? Won’t they believe you if you show them? After all, seeing is believing!
Unfortunately, customers have become so cynical and jaded about EDA tools and EDA salespeople that they hardly ever believe what they see anymore. I know. I’m also one of those customers. Read ESNUG or any one of the many EDA forums and you’ll know that I’m right.
But what if they could try the tool out themselves? No strings attached. That’s what we are trying to do with the Xuropa labs. To give your jaded, non-trusting, cynical customer a chance to try your fabulous tools himself.
“Seeing is believing” is no longer good enough. “Doing is believing” is the new reality.
If you’d like to see what a Xuropa Online Lab is like, you can try it out here. We’ve got some tools loaded and you can play with them as long as you like. No strings attached.
Oh, and to be fair to Scott Hamilton, here’s a video of him nailing that same back-flip just a few weeks ago. In this case, seeing is believing.
This post was written by harrygries on January 17, 2010