The Deep Tech revolution -- Part 4: Tutorials and demos

How do you explain something completely disruptive and possibly complex to someone? How do you make them understand that this new paradigm or groundbreaking technology that they have never heard of is going to be a game changer for them or their company? That's often something difficult to communicate, especially for Deep Tech companies looking to disrupt entire industries with their work. Introducing new and improved ways of doing something people have grown familiar with, might be even harder to achieve if you have to change people's beliefs and long established habits.

Technology lives on continuous development and innovation, but sometimes announcing big changes to the public, even the core technical audience one would expect with Deep Tech companies, requires an ‘educational’ approach. That's easy to say, much harder to achieve.

That's where demos and tutorials come into play. In this article, part of our series dedicated to promoting and sharing experts’ insights on significant activities usually within the remit of Deep Tech companies, we will explore how to maximize the effort in producing demos and tutorials to share the company’s know-how and gather benefit for the business.

Demonstrations are key to virtual window shopping for your tech

We can see three main reasons for a Deep Tech company to invest time and resources on creating and releasing demos.

The first one is showing, ideally in an interactive and visual way what you are talking about. Remember: the tech you are introducing is certainly complicated, and the user would want to know as quickly and as easily as possible what it does. Zama's image filter demo received excellent feedback, providing a clear step-by-step explanation visually explaining what Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) can do for the user.

Sharing your demo online where your (future) users are is even better: they are going to discover your tech and see its benefits. Instead of “What’s FHE?” or “FHE is just a theoretical cryptographic tool”, we can expect some “Oh yeah, FHE is what I’ve seen live in this demo”. Through practical demonstration, complex technologies become demystified and verifiable by the audience.

The second reason to have demos is convincing. For disruptive technos, there will be critics ready to point out that it’s not working, it’s too slow, too big, too something, or even to question the utility of the technology claiming that what already exists doesn’t need improvements (regardless of the limits of the current state) and so on. Creating a well constructed and working demo can be an effective way to address doubts and queries, proving that things are real and now.

The third and last reason, strictly related to the previous points, is selling. You’ll certainly have much more leads and positive answers if you can showcase your technos. It’s even possible that having free and online impressive demos will help you reach cold leads, who would then contact you instead of the opposite to know more about what has been presented.

Step by step tutorial, the developers’ approach

Now, what about tutorials?

A new technology isn’t always directly aimed at the end-user. It might be part of a user-facing product, with the tech used under the hood to provide an extra service. The goal then becomes to help developers, including from third party companies, to integrate the tech into what they are already doing.

Their leadership were convinced, possibly by the demos, and asked their technical teams to integrate it, but obviously it’s slower to do it than to say it. Tutorials are a way for developers to slightly get used to a new tech, and be accustomed to it quicker. To come back to the image filtering demo, we also gave sources and explanations about how it works under the hood, such that developers can create other demos themselves, and later, full products. That’s one of the reasons being open-source and explaining how things work can be beneficial to your company and its success.

One challenge is to make the tutorials at the right level of complexity: you’ll want to have easy tutorials, and slightly increase the level of complexity, to slowly help the developer to grow and be more mature. Be developer friendly, since developers are the one who are going to have you onboarded in the products. And give them all the support they need, would it be with a clean and extensive documentation or with support channels like discord or discourse.

The business of sharing

It’s easy to see how tutorials and demonstrations seem particularly well suited to tech companies and startups to promote their work with a knowledge-based approach. These two mediums allow the organization not only to effectively showcase their technology, but also to present itself as capable of using different channels and means of divulgation, keeping the audience at the center.

Whether through a live stream or a recording, creating an engaging demo or tutorial pushes the company to show creativity, gives its experts and representatives the opportunity to raise their profiles and helps engage with the wider community. For all these same reasons, any type of company looking to launch products to market would find many advantages in investing in this kind of activity. A knowledgeable consumer, informed and educated to a new way of doing things, will more easily keep going back to the business that spoke directly and clearly to them when it’s time to make a new purchase.

Invest in your demos and presentations as much as you invest in your technology, and you’ll see the long-term returns.

Image creditDizain777/Dreamstime.com

Benoit Chevallier-Mames is a security engineer and researcher and currently leads the Cloud and ML division at Zama, developing an FHE compiler and privacy-preserving ML libraries. He has spent more than 20 years between cryptographic research and secure implementations in a wide range of domains such as side-channel security, provable security, whitebox cryptography, fully homomorphic encryption and, more recently, machine learning.

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