What presales can learn from development and poets. Isibongo

A bit of an airport ramble…

Everyone who demos enterprise software day in day out would be advised to watch the SAP Tech Ed demo jam


For two reasons.

1. The obvious and fierce passion that the developers doing the demo have for their product.  Presales people are paid to present, yet most of them (myself included!) lack the stage presence of the Colgate Twins, who code for a living. Following a script is not the answer, but telling a story with commitment is.

2. The six minute deadline. Can you show the key messages in six minutes?

A few weeks ago I put a short powerpoint together to help me explain my views on presales and demos, nothing secret or profound, just common sense really. 

It may be a little cryptic, and I’ll expand more on the African storytelling theme. And if Craig Tarantino Cmehil has some time at teched we may try recording something. 

I’m by no means an expert, but Isibongo  is the Xhosa (and Zulu) tradition of the Praise Poet.

The Xhosa word “Isibongo” refers to what is usually translated as praise poems, although some of these are more critical than giving praise to the traditional chief of the tribe. The praise poet, an oral poet, has an important function in the context of traditional society, as its conscience and its memory.

Often this is done with music, called Maskanda. 


Another great example of the storytelling tradition in African music is Johnny Clegg. (here below a recent performance)



This was a huge hit in my youth.

And while I’m on the African story telling riff  I’d really like to learn a bit more about this company. (hattip Mike)

When you can tell a story that gets others telling your story, then you have really nailed it. Dan and Ed did that at teched in Vegas. if you have a look at Craig’s post here you’ll see some of the link love.

I’m looking forward to hearing  and seeing  more in Munich. 



One thought on “What presales can learn from development and poets. Isibongo”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s