There is a lot more that goes into choosing a vendor than just seeing if the product works or the vendor can provide a compelling presentation or demo.\u00a0\u00a0\nYou need to be able to trust the vendor and that means it not only needs to have a reputation for being honest, it has to have a commitment to sticking with the offering once it convinces you to invest on deploying it and\/or developing on it.\u00a0\u00a0\nIf the vendor can\u2019t showcase what it does, do what it says or it has the attention span of a 4-year-old on sugar, that vendor should be avoided. This was driven home this week at Demo 2014.\nGoogle Glass As Killer App\nDemo always brings a number of compelling demonstrations. However, what struck me the hardest was one by a small medical company called Healium. It was showcasing a critical app that would be used in emergency room situations where a large number of decisions regarding medicine, equipment and procedures have to be made quickly with zero tolerance for error. The solution could define whether the patent would live or die.\u00a0\u00a0\nThe product was an app that ran on Google Glass with a voice interface for questions and provided check lists, assuring the medical professional wouldn\u2019t make a mistake. At Demo, you get one shot to show your product. As the presenter started, Google Glass crashed and refused to reboot. Imagine this happening as you were fighting for life with a healthcare provider, relying on this device to do the right thing, now panicked and trying to make critical decisions without the information they\u2019ve grown to depend on. You\u2019d be dead.\nThe presenter then explained that they had become concerned with Google Glass because its future was uncertain and Google had appeared to have lost interest in it. One of the judges, to make the presenter feel better, said, \u201cDon\u2019t worry I\u2019ve seen a lot of Google Glass demos, if yours would have worked it would have been the first.\u201d\nA lot of folks made big bets on Google Glass and it does appear clear that Google has all but lost interest in it. This happens a lot, but a vendor that doesn\u2019t commit creates massive risk problems for you and your efforts -- and this risk could kill you.\nHow to Determine Commitment\nYears ago when I was working for a huge IT company, I became aware that our firm was, in order to keep the French Government from buying a competing offering, representing that we would soon have a product in market that would meet that government\u2019s needs.\nWe did this weeks after pulling the budget for that product and our representation was total BS.\u00a0 With IBM last decade, I had an ongoing argument with the head of their PC unit on whether IBM was going to keep the unit or spin it out. He argued he was friends with the IBM CEO who was committed to the unit and that I just wasn\u2019t closely connected enough to understand that IBM would never get out of the PC business. This went on until I got an \u201coh crap\u201d email from him and the unit was sold to Lenovo. He wasn\u2019t lying to me, because the decision had been made above him, but it clearly was more obvious to me than it was to him.\nThere are three key ways to determine commitment:\n\nIs this is a core area for the company or is it an \u201cexpansion\u201d offering?\nIs the CEO a builder\/founder or is the product more driven by activist investors and optimizing quarterly returns?\nIs this a profitable area for the company and is the investment growing in it commensurately?\u00a0\u00a0\n\nWhen Cisco tried consumer products it was an area outside of its expertise and it was likely to and did pull back after they made the anticipated mistakes.\u00a0\u00a0\nHP\u2019s CEO is has been solidly focused on quarterly returns and came out of Bane Capital, suggesting she would be more interested in cutting and downsizing, so commitments from her would have limited value.\u00a0\u00a0\nFinally, Google has the attention span of a 4-year-old and loses focus quickly, suggesting anything beyond search is unlikely to be continued unless it accidentally becomes massively successful. In the case of Google Glass, it looks like the cost is exceeding the benefit for Google.\u00a0\u00a0\nPeek Beneath the Covers\nIf you don\u2019t want to be blindsided by a vendor pulling support from a critical product or commitment, look underneath the covers. If the effort looks more like a hobby, if the CEO can\u2019t be trusted because he is driven by external factors (or is clearly out of touch), or if the effort is in the red, there is a high likelihood you\u2019ll be left by the vendor holding its now unwanted child.\u00a0\u00a0 Look beyond the sales force, who is likely the last to know, and make sure a vendor\u2019s unwanted child doesn\u2019t unexpectedly become your problem.