How to do a Demo at Dust or Magic

  • “Show before tell.”

    We hope that doing a demo at Dust or Magic will fun and valuable. Because it happens so fast, it helps to do a little homework.

    The Demo Board from DM 2012 Hurricane Edition

    The Demo Board from DM 2012 Hurricane Edition

    STEP 1: Sign up. There will be a signup sheet in the room. Demos are done in the order of the list.Anyone is welcome to show anything.

    STEP 2: Check your hardware. We’ll have projectors, Apple TV, a computer and a Wi-Fi. We’ll also have a document camera for close-up views of small screens or printed copy. If you are uncomfortable about the setup, please let us know.

    STEP 3: When you’re on-deck, get your product or presentation ready to go. Check sound levels and make sure the graphics are working correctly. There’s always a spare projector if you need one. The idea is that we switch over the sound and graphic input to you, and you’re ready. If you’re showing an MMO or web-dependent site, there’s always a chance for a delay. You may want to have an archived copy just in case.

    STEP 4: Tell us — Do you want to be videotaped? Do you want laser feedback?

    STEP 5: You’re on! We’ll start the timer for 5 minutes.
    Remember to show first, tell second. Show your headline features up front, to pull the group into what your product does. We use an app called Lightning Talk Timer to time your talk. After you let the group see your app, you can provide the back story and/or nuts and bolts of the product. Other points to keep in mind:

    • Don’t sell. This is a smart group; they’re less than impressed by sales figures.
    • Remember that everyone can see your desktop. It’s a nice time to show of photos of your children.
    • Relax. Nobody knows your product better than you do.


    SONY DSCSTEP 6: Choose your level of feedback. We’ll ask you if you want laser feedback.  You can choose:
    a) no feedback.
    b) general verbal feedback, with no ratings
    c) ratings, plus verbal feedback.
    To rate products, we give each participant a laser pointer. They aim the pointer at a large Likert scale to provide a general numerical rating. If you want to capture the rating, take a photo with your phone.

    We try our best to make sure this is a comfortable, constructive process for everyone. Some examples:


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  • Conference testimonials


    • laserpinters

      Sanj KharbandaVP Digital Strategy, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Unique, inspiring, eye-opening. I would recommend anyone involved in the interactive space for kids to attend at least one. Thank you to everyone for sharing and being an inspiration."

    • SONY DSC

      Roby JohnCEO, TapToLearn, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Thanks for a great first Dust or Magic. Made it totally worth flying all the way in from Mumbai."

    • dustormagic-peterspicture

      Valerie ConnellVP Product & Market Strategy, The Waterford Institute, Dust or Magic 2010

      "Top Notch conference with A-list attendees - a pleasure to be included with the best of the best!"

    • katewilson200

      Kate WilsonFounder & Managing Director, Nosy Crow, Dust or Magic 2011

      "Relevant, invigorating and mind expanding: a great event. Warren's energetic, warm and informal style of communication and facilitation is key."

    • SONY DSC

      Krista MarksDust or Magic 2011

      "The best part is the inspiration that comes from being with a group of like minded, passionate, talented humans."

    • Jens Peter de Pedro

      Jens Peter de PedroPlay Designer, Toca Boca, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "If you are in Children's Interactive Media it's like coming to Church. You got to go for spiritual reasons. And it's only once a year!"

    • Scott_Traylor_200x200

      Scott TraylorPresident, 360KID, DM '13 Institute

      "Dust or Magic Fall is a must attend event to help increase chances of making successful children's new media products."

    • charity 1

      Charity GerbrandtCreative Lead, Disney Club Penguin, DM Institute '13

      "So great to share with like-minded people in a low pressure, no drama environment. Great size, space and leadership."

    • Kimberley SorensonThe Waterford Institute, Dust or Magic Highlights Foundation 2015

      "A wonderful opportunity to get down and dirty with a lot of different voices in a protected space. Inspiring + energizing on all conceivable levels -- many many thanks."

    • JCC

      Jayne ClarePresident, Teachers With Apps, Dust or Magic Highlights 2015

      "Leaving with a wealth of new knowledge, friends, ideas and inspiration!"

    • Erin - bio pic

      Erin ReillyCreative Director, Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC, Dust or Magic eBook Retreat 2013

      "This was just the retreat I needed to learn and to be inspired by others." 

    • Scott_Traylor_200x200

      Scott TraylorPresident, 360KID, DM 2002-2010

      "Come for toys, stay for friendship; leave with knowledge."

    • jlodahl

      Jesper LodahlCEO, SmartTots, Dust or Magic Hurricane Edition

      "Great crowd, great minds, great learning experience."

    • Hans WagnerOwner, Computer Explorers, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Just soaked in all of it. Great environment!"

    • Megan SmithSenior Designer, Interactive Media, Highlights for Children, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Warren and Daren really made everyone feel relevant and comfortable. Perfect balance of healthy criticism and ideas for growth."

    • aleen

      Aleen SteinCEO, Organa, Dust or Magic 2014

      "Even though I'm not making apps right now, exciting and relevant to my life."

    • Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 4.03.01 PM

      Lorraine AkemannMoms With Apps

      While there is no shortage of conferences on kids and tech, Dust or Magic stands out in the crowd. This might be because attendees are required to leave their egos at home, or cast them into the ocean until the sessions are finished.