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How to sell Docker to non-technical people

Docker is the biggest improvement the tech community has seen. Both the company Docker has grown exponentially, but so has the supporting community around it, but every time I tried to explain my happiness about Docker to non-technical people I have previously ended up talking about containers with the result that the person in front of me now is more confused than before. So after trying it a lot of time pitching Docker, I finally figured out how to do it properly.

Don’t mention the word “Container”

We need to remember that the person you are talking to is a master in another subject, just not the technical, so they don’t really care about the technical terms (maybe later, but we will get to that) and even though we in the tech think “containers” is the best metaphor in the world, it does not relate to anything for them, so try with something else!

Mention the benefits instead!

Instead of talking about how it works (“it’s like containers, that.. eh.. gets moved eh..”), talk about which awesome benefits it has. Most importantly how you can release a website much faster with fewer errors. How new developers can get up and running in minutes instead of hours/days. How it is much easier to scale the website up to meet higher demands. How it enables developers to release more often because the quality of code goes up.

Remember to explain that docker does not solve everything!

If you mention all above things, it would be easy for the non-technical person to assume that Docker can solve every problem out there. Now it is that we can begin to use the container metaphor, however only if he/she is interested, if not end the conversation here. You did a good job!

However, if he/she is interested, you can talk about just like containers solved a lot of problems, it only solved a small but hard problem of a bigger challenge. Now you can explain that there still needs to be configured a lot around how “containers” are transported and kept “online”.

End the conversation with?

I tried this a lot, you have now talked about docker for two minutes and has now not yet confused the other person and you need to end the conversation, how do you do that in a good way? You can do it in two great ways, either talk about how exciting the future is about this technology and how rapid it is still evolving or talking how happy you are that you found a great solution to a difficult problem!

“It is really exciting how this are going to change how fast we can make websites with docker, it is something to look out for in the future!”

“I am really happy about docker, it really solved a problem that we (the company) had before and not I can focus on more important problems.”

Do you have success with other ways of explaining docker/containers?

Please tell me, either here in the comments or on twitter, email, etc.

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- Kevin Simper