Show The Product, You Cowards

Paul Stansik
3 min readDec 29, 2023

If you did a study of software companies out there, I would bet that ~80% of them don’t show their product anywhere online.

That’s wild to me. Especially when you consider the price tag involved.

We’re talking about a product category that routinely costs 5, 6, or even 7-figures here. And you’re asking me to book time with some salesperson before I even get to SEE the thing?

Imagine trying to sell a car by rattling off its features. Or a house without putting pictures on the listing. Or a hooded sweatshirt without providing multiple professional photographs of the garment on a website for the consumer to peruse.

For almost every other category out there (regardless of price-point), showcasing the product visually — and allowing buyers to explore it for themselves — is table-stakes. Why should software be any different?

Last year, I started using the acronym “S.T.P.Y.C.” in discussions with a few of our portfolio companies.

STPYC stands for “Show The Product, You Cowards.”

The tweet from that inspired my new favorite acronym

The acronym is meant to be a bit funny, but the idea behind it is deadly-serious. I think STPYC is one of the biggest marketing unlocks out there — especially for companies who are struggling with what to talk about and how to differentiate themselves in the digital domain.

When you break your product into chunks and commit to making a few short videos on what you built, why you built it, and what people can do with it, you remind them that you exist, prove to the market that you’re creating cool stuff, and prime potential buyers to want to give it a test-drive.

(You know, all the stuff marketing teams get paid to do.)

If you’re a CRO, CMO, or just someone thinking about how to find your next couple customers, and you haven’t tried this yet, I’m here to tell you you’re officially out of excuses.

▪ The scripts for these “snackable demos” aren’t that hard to write.

▪ Video editing is easier and cheaper than ever before.

▪ Your competitors probably aren’t doing it.

▪ Your UI isn’t as bad as you think it is.

▪ Your team will help you if you ask.

If you want examples and frameworks to steal from, just check out 37signals and Jason Fried on Linkedin and Youtube.

Jason just posted a great snackable demo this week on a new calendar feature for their HEY email product. The video is 5-minutes long, focuses on a single part of the product, and touches on not only how the feature works, but also the choices that Jason and his team made and the inspiration + thinking that drove them to build it. Perfect.

CEO of 37 Signals, in a recently-published video, showcasing a soon-to-be-released feature of their HEY email product

Jason and his team do an amazing job of breaking their products into logical chunks and sharing the story behind each one. And as a result, they’ve accumulated a serious pile of self-serve evidence that explains why what they’re building makes so much sense for someone like you to buy.

Evidence that’s hard to argue with.

Evidence that prospects stumble onto all the time. (No salesperson required.)

What would your business look like if you started doing the same?

Well — show the product, you coward.

And watch what happens next.

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Paul Stansik

Partner at ParkerGale Capital. Lives in Chicago. Writes about sales, marketing, growth, and how to be a better leader. Views my own. Not investment advice.