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How To Demo Snowflake

By December 1, 2023March 19th, 2024No Comments
Here, at Nimbus Intelligence, we use Snowflake everyday — whether it be on its own or in tandem with other products, such as dbt or Fivetran. You might say we live and breathe Snowflake. And, by now, it has become second nature to us. Which is why, when I was asked whether I’d like to demo Snowflake for a bunch of potential clients, the prospect seemed both exhilarating and daunting. In a way, it was like asking a fish to explain water, or so it seemed to me. Turns out, it’s more like asking a fish to swim, just very slowly, and doing some neat tricks near the end. Not necessarily easy, but definitely manageable.
What is a demo?
A demo (short for product demonstration) is a way of showing potential customers how a product works and how they might benefit from using it. A good demo will take into consideration the audience: Who are they? What do they need? How does the product help? Asking these questions will help you tell a focused, effective story, instead of meandering through a series features that may or may not be of interest to the audience. Your demo should be clear and relatable. In a word – or three: keep it short, interesting and value-focused.
Know your audience:
In the case of a product as rich and complex as Snowflake, you cannot count on the audience following along every step of the way. Each step might be far from self-explanatory. Here is where knowing your audience’s skill level becomes crucial: Do they know SQL? Are they familiar with other data warehousing platforms? Is it more important to show them that their data can be stored securely or that it can be processed quickly? The answers to these questions will heavily determine the content of your demo.
Structure your demo:
You don’t want to lose the audience. This means that you’ll have to hold the audience’s hand every step of the way. To ensure that everyone makes it to the finish-line, it is useful to present a road-map and have a clear structure. Having an idea of what you’d like to show before developing your demo can also ensure that it is focused. If the concepts are too disparate among each other, or unrelated to the audience, then your demo might start to look more like an enumeration of what a product can do, rather than a demonstration of how it can help the audience, which is much less engaging.
Record yourself — as many times as it takes:
Twenty minutes might seem like an eternity when you know that you will be the centre of attention. They’re not. You will be amazed at how time accelerates when there is a limited amount of it. Recording yourself practicing will help you ensure that you can fit all the content within the time-limit, while going through the motions will actually make you successively faster. There are two other possible pitfalls that recording yourself can help you with: clarity and nerves. As I mentioned earlier, Snowflake is second nature to many of us. But it is not to the audience. Recording yourself can help you identify those steps that you take for granted but the audience might not. Finally, seeing yourself doing a great job and feeling prepared will give you confidence. This confidence will make you a better speaker when it’s show time.
Do not live-code:
As analytics engineers, we spend 80% of our time troubleshooting. I mean, what else are we going to do? Setting up something is easy; fixing an error is devilishly hard. And yet, most of the time, we can’t help but feel embarrassed when someone else sees us do it. I suppose this is just a quirk of our trade. To ensure that you don’t get an error, lose time fixing it, get thrown off your flow and become a nervous mess, have everything ready beforehand. During the demo, you should just have to click on things and execute code. And run it multiple times beforehand, on different days, maybe even from different accounts, to make sure that it works under all possible circumstances.
Ask for feedback:
What worked? What didn’t work? What would you like to have seen? Where, if anywhere, did I lose you? Us fish need an land dweller’s perspective to know how well we explained water. Make sure you get it, for the next time.
Further Reading:


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