Tag: alexa

May 8 2017

Sonos + Alexa Strategy

We all know that Sonos is finally working on an Alexa integration. As I sit here listening to Atom Heart Mother on my Alexa (via “Alexa, play Pink Floyd’s album Atom Heart Mother”), I so badly want it to play throughout my house on our Sonos, rather than just on my desk via Alexa.

As more hardware companies start paying attention to revenue attach, following the lead of companies like Dropbox, Ring, and Peloton, there’s an obvious place for Sonos to do this. I hope they are thinking hard about it, rather than fearing being disintermediated by Alexa.

I’m very invested in both Sonos and Alexa, as I’ve got them installed in multiple places. Alexa is my desktop music system; Sonos is my house-wide music system. I pay subscriptions to a number of music services, including Amazon, Apple, Pandora, and Spotify. I’ve got them all integrated into Alexa, and most of them (except Amazon) integrated into Sonos.

I’d happily pay Sonos $5 – $10 / month for “advanced features” like Alexa integration. Right now I don’t pay Sonos anything, so $60 – $120 / year (and – a hint to my friends at Sonos – I’d prepay a year if you gave it to me for $50 – $100 with auto-renew) is easy to part with given how much value I get from my Sonos.

Now, I’d want to be part of “Sonos Life”, versus just paying for additional features. As a member of Sonos Life, I’d get all kinds of special happiness via Sonos on a monthly basis. Sonos doesn’t have to look very hard to figure out what to do since they – well – are central to music and have integrated many subscription services. Give me a free month of a service I haven’t yet activated. Or maybe special access to curated channels. Or live music that is syndicated from a different partner. Early access to new products. Fun promotions that all music lovers thrive on. Geez – maybe even a Sonos magazine (well – not really …)

Rather than being afraid of Alexa and integration, I wish Sonos would go all in before Amazon comes out with a connected speaker that causes me to consider ripping out all my Sonos systems and replacing them with Alexa’s …

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Feb 13 2017

Alexa, Techstars, and Cooper

Recently, Amazon’s Alexa team and Techstars launched The Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, Last week, a bunch of fun skills have been integrated into Alexa. I thought I’d give some a try. Cooper, my intrepid two year old super alpha golden retriever shows up around a minute into the video when I do my favorite Alexa skill, the Woof Woof.

If you have an Alexa, give these a try.

What is the Alexa Accelerator?
What is a start-up accelerator?/What is a startup incubator?
How do I / can I apply to the Alexa Accelerator?
Who should apply to the Alexa Accelerator?/Should I apply to the Alexa Accelerator?
What is the Alexa fund?
Where will the Alexa Accelerator take place?
When are applications due for the Alexa Accelerator?/By when should I apply…
What is Techstars?/Who is Techstars?

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Dec 2 2016

Alexa, What’s Your Favorite Accelerator?

I love Alexa. Of all the various tech things I’ve bought in 2016, Amazon’s Alexa has become the most consistently used new thing in my world. I’ve even had a breakthrough on the home front as Amy now regularly says “Alexa, play …” We’ve got them everywhere and the Echo Dot that showed up in October is centrally located on my office desk at Foundry Group.

On Wednesday, Techstars and Amazon announced the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Applications will open in January and the first program will start in July 2017.

Amazon, through their Alexa Fund, has been investing in companies that are using Alexa Voice ServiceAlexa Skills Kit, or companies working on the science behind voice technology, including text to speech, natural language understanding, automatic speech recognition, artificial intelligence and hardware component design. Several companies we’ve invested in, including TrackR, Rachio, and Dragon Innovation now count the Alexa Fund as investors.

It’s exciting to me to see Amazon and Alexa take it to the next level with their partnership with Techstars. I expect that will add another reason for me to spend even more time in Seattle.

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