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What makes a great demo at AI Tinkerers?

May 16, 2024

If you’re tinkering on something, you could probably crank up the font size on VS code, fire up a terminal, hook your laptop up to a projector and wing a good demo at AI Tinkerers as long as you have something creative and technically interesting to share. For those of you who are looking for more guidance, we created this guide. And for cities with more demo applicants than available spots, it might help your proposal stand out.

AI Tinkerers meetups are all about showcasing the cutting-edge work being done in the field of AI, particularly with LLMs and generative AI. Demos are a core part of the experience, offering a chance to share your project, get feedback, and inspire others. These are not pitches. Skip the market overview and jump right to the code. If your company name appears during your presentation, then it’s probably in a stack trace. AI Tinkerers is like “The Homebrew Computer Club of AI”, and not like YC demo day.

✨ AI Insights ✨

We asked AI to analyze hundreds of AI Tinkerers demos based on attendee feedback surveys:

A great demo is one that is clear, engaging, and provides practical insights into innovative applications of AI. Presenters should focus on hands-on demonstrations, get to the main point quickly, and maintain a casual and friendly presentation style. Avoiding theoretical overviews in favor of practical examples and ensuring good audio quality are also important. Following these guidelines will help create a compelling and well-received demo.

For instance, Lucas Meijer from Amsterdam presented ‘speedrun blooper reel of a year of ai app development,’ which was praised for being ‘very entertaining and insightful.’ Another high-rated demo was by Byron Salty from Chicago with ‘Teleprompt - The image generation game,’ which attendees found to be ‘perfectly on pitch for a group like this.’ Additionally, Ultravox from Seattle was highlighted for its impressive and engaging demo of an open-source speech language model.

🔮 Guidance

Focus on Live Demonstrations: Show, don’t tell: Prioritize showing your project in action over static slides or lengthy explanations. Let the audience see the magic happen!

Show the Code: Your demo should focus on the technical aspects of your project and the code behind it.

Highlight Uniqueness and Relevance: What makes your project special? how does it aligns with or challenge current trends in AI? What were the hard-earned surprising lessons you learned by doing the project?

Prioritize Clarity and Engagement: Guide the audience through your demo with a clear and logical flow, explain clearly and concisely and define any technical jargon that most people wouldn’t know.

Technical Considerations: Get ready before you’re called on stage. Use a large font size and clear visuals for easy viewing. Speak clearly and loudly so everyone can hear you.

Avoid the Pitfalls: This is not a platform for promoting your startup or services. No slides: okay, maybe a single slide if absolutely necessary (e.g., to display data visualizations). No videos: show the thing running, not the video of the thing running.

🤖 AI Tinkerers Demo Vibes

🤖 Demo FAQ

Q: How long should my demo be?

A: Aim for a concise 5-minute presentation. Depending on the event and how many presentations there are, there may be room for a couple of quick questions from the audience at the end of your presentation. Check with your host.

Q: Can I use slides?

A: We encourage a “no slides” rule. If you absolutely need a slide (e.g., for data visualization), keep it to a single slide for example.

Q: What if my project is still in development?

A: That’s perfectly fine! We’re interested in seeing work in progress and learning about the challenges you’re facing.

Q: Should I focus on a specific aspect of my project?

A: Yes, highlighting a particular technical challenge and your solution will make your demo more focused and engaging than trying to show the entire project. Think: for an audience of folks who are quite deep into all the latest things, what is the particular aspect of your project that would be most novel and where you’ve likely gone further than others?

Alternatively, what is some spect that is particularly creative, bold or even silly? Even if something isn’t technically the most innovative thing, something creative and new can easily make for a fantastic and useful demo.

Q: Can I talk about my company or product?

A: The focus should be on the technical aspects of your project, not on promoting your company or product.

Q: What if my demo doesn’t work perfectly?

A: Don’t worry! We’re all tinkerers here, and we understand that things don’t always go as planned. Embrace the imperfections and share your learnings.

Q: What makes a demo stand out at AI Tinkerers?

A: Demos that showcase novel solutions, highlight technical challenges, and offer insights into the development process are always appreciated. As are creative and non-obvious applications of AI that are fresh and haven’t been seen before. And hearing from the protagonists of popular or innovative new open source projects are always exciting!

Q: Can I present on a research paper?

A: Absolutely. While AI Tinkerers primarily focuses on demos of working projects, if you’ve published something profound and interesting, it can be valuable for the community to hear directly from the author, especially if you can connect it to practical applications or potential future developments. Consider incorporating interactive elements to make your presentation more engaging.

Q: Any tips for visual aids?

A: Absolutely! Use a large font size (at least 24pt) for any text on your slides or visuals. Ensure your visuals are clear, concise, and easy to understand from a distance.

Q: How can I ensure my presentation is engaging?

A: Speak clearly and enthusiastically, maintaining a good pace and varying your tone. Make eye contact with the audience and encourage questions. Practice your presentation beforehand to ensure a smooth delivery. Run the presentation through whisper piped to GTP-4 using a prompt similar to https://gist.github.com/jheitzeb/528f5d7634ecc7b7c4155d07e4fd6d2a (replace PRESENTATION_TRANSCRIPT with your transcript)

Q: How do you choose which projects are selected?

A: Based on the criteria above. Please provide lots of information about your project when you submit it. If you haven’t submitted much information, the organizers are likely to pass over your project because it’s just not possible to determine how interesting it could. Also, fill out your networking profile and add your social links – all of that information is available to organizers when they decide on projects.

We’re excited to see your demo come to life! Thanks for sharing your work with the AI Tinkerers community.

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