The sheer success of Alexa is one part that is fascinating to watch playing out. But, as someone analyzing strategies, it is equally fascinating to watch how exactly Amazon is successfully building out a general-interest platform with Alexa. SDKs and partnerships with companies are one part. But fostering a developer community is something else, and something that easily gets forgotten. Such a community becomes itself a fertile ground for programmers building the stuff on top of the platform -wether for themselves or for companies small and large they work for-.
To spotlight the most creative and outstanding contributors to their ecosystem, Amazon has launched the Alexa Champions program to recognize them. “Each of our Champions stood out in their commitment to helping and educating other community members,” Isbitski told Motherboard. “While we were definitely looking for people who were regularly publishing thoughtful, innovative skills, our selection process went beyond that. We looked at developers who have consistently shared their knowledge of Alexa or created tools to help other developers use Alexa Skills Kit or Alexa Voice Service.”
For example, there’s April Hamilton, an early adopter turned early developer who launched the blog LoveMyEcho. She provides news and tips to both the average user base as well as Alexa Skills developers, and is also one of the top contributors to the Alexa developers forum. Isbitski feels that “she’s been a great resource and mentor for so many in the community.” Most of the other Champions have given the community an assist with the technological infrastructure of Alexa, with Isbitski explaining that “we looked at developers who have consistently shared their knowledge of Alexa or created tools to help other developers use Alexa Skills Kit or Alexa Voice Service.
A program like “Alexa Champions” is low-cost, low-risk, high-reward work for Amazon. A no-brainer, really. The platform provider, here Amazon, just has to realize how much can be gained by actively helping the developer community.
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