Hackernoon logoHow was I funneled into Alexa Development? by@piprads

How was I funneled into Alexa Development?

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@pipradsradhesh gupta

I am a Computer Engineer by training and an Engineering Manager by profession. While my current area of focus is Backend Systems, Data Analytics, I have developed multiple Alexa Skills in last one year.

In retrospect, I wonder — how did I get hooked into it? It feels this process was so analogous to an e-commerce product funnel:

Awareness -> Interest -> Desire -> Action

I never realized that I was a part of this conversion optimization funnel put together by Amazon Alexa team and I ended up becoming a repeat customer. Here is my effort to draw that comparison in parallel:

Looking one level deeper, here are 8 specific steps which contribute to attract and convert right people into Alexa development and build its largest community.

1. Personalized marketing:

Publish Alexa Skill ad for US developers
Publish Alexa Skill ad for University Students

2. Freebies for everyone

Publish Alexa Skill and everyone get’s a T-Shit

3. New creative swags every month

Sock + Echo swag
Echo Spot and bottle swag

4. Spot on CTA’s (Develop an Alexa Skill in under 5 minutes)

CAT — Build a Skill in 5 mins

5. Kick ass documentation

When I first developed it, I referred to a step by step documentation to template skill. It had all a newbie could ask for:

  • Step by step guide
  • Screenshots
  • Documentation links
  • Github sources
  • Customize with minimal changes

Docs: link

Documentation screenshot

These documentations are even better currently.

6. All Infrastructure is Free

  • Free AWS account:
Alexa skills hosting free on AWS
  • Test Simulator Beta (No device needed)

Initially, I thought there would be a need of owning an Echo device to test and deploy the skill I build. Ecosystem provides a test simulator which replaces that need. Just input via voice or text, and you can validate Alexa’s understanding and see how the skill responds.


7. Great customer service with prompt feedback:

Customer feedback e-mail

And my first skill was Live:

DMV Trivia Skill

Followed by:

Swag, I received :)

Not bad, few hours of work — a new skill, swags and a new tool in the pocket.

8. New Skill Emails:

And there were weekly emails about new skills people are creating and also how top skills are getting incentivised. I used to mostly ignore them.

A few months later,

It was time for my company’s semi-annual hackathon. No wonder, a voice app idea came to my mind. It felt something doable in <24hrs, potentially cool to demo. And I ended up building another Alexa skill — EchoMonkey: Taking Surveys over Voice.

While I was nowhere close to thinking about Alexa development; I have developed multiple, hackathon winning Alexa skills.

I would give kudos to Alexa’s Marketing Team for doing an excellent job funneling engineers to develop skills and building a great community around it.

No wonder, the outcome is:

All in all, I can see a more enticing future ahead when I read things like:

Such efforts would keep the community captivated and more engaged.


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