The “modern world” demo…

As anyone who has spent any time as a demo jockey can tell you, the best demos paint a picture for your audience of a future using your tools/products which is both exciting and believable. If your demo and your product was really good your audience would leave enthused with the possibilities now achievable, and can’t wait to try themselves.

On rare occasions you might get an opportunity to demonstrate something a little more radical, something that is really just out of the labs but which has the potential to really change the industry, I think about the first time I saw MapGuide in late 1995 and of course Google Earth ten years later, both products which have had a major impact on the Geospatial industry directly or indirectly.

40 years ago however a demo was given that truly radical, so audacious in terms of its content to many who saw it, it seemed so different from the current technology that it appeared to be science fiction rather than IT. Yet the demo given by Doug Engelbart and his colleagues from the Stanford Augmentation Research Centre, was so influential it has become known as the mother of all demos, it’s pretty much a demonstration of the computer you are sitting in-front of today, with mouse , web like hypertext documents delivered via a wide area network which allowed real time collaboration with remote colleagues, there is even an example of structuring data using location !

Now thanks to the modern version of that technology you too can watch the complete demo on youTube. While watching this, don’t forget that the primary mechanism to interact with a computer was the punch card.

Oh and by the way, iPhone product mangers take note – there is a great demo of copy and paste in part 2 of 10 if you need some inspiration..

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

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