Disruptive businesses are really starting to show up the big guns, almost to the point where they go red in the face (bit of frustration, bit of embarrassment). It’s my guess that the disruptive market is going be the next big movement in small business.
I’m saying that because being disruptive works. No matter how big the competition you can break through, you get a whole heap of free marketing with it and people actually pay attention, plus it’s a lot of fun! Getting people’s attention will be the real reason people go disruptive, more and more advertising and media messages are hitting a numb audience.
So far the disrupters have been people with natural trouble making skills or companies who get lucky.
Want to know how being a Troublemaker works in the real world?
Let’s get to know Amazon Alexa. No, she’s not a Marvel superhero, although she could be, it’s a kick-ass name.
What is Amazon Alexa?
Amazon Alexa is an app, developed by Amazon in 2014 which runs as an intelligent personal assistant. If you have ever used Siri on your iPhone, or Galaxy on your Samsung, she’s like that, only she has her own accessories, the Echo and Dot smart speakers which give you more flexibility than simply using your phone (although you can just use your phone).
She can respond to your voice to play music, write to-do lists, order home delivered food and beverages, set an alarm, stream videos, tell you what’s in your calendar, play an audiobook as well as give you information on the weather, news and traffic. All of this is done through hands-free voice interaction.
If you have a smart house or smart whitegoods (lights, fridge, TV, air-con, sprinklers and entertainment systems rigged to a computer program), you can also use Alexa to remotely activate or deactivate selected systems. Say you were coming home from work on a hot day and you wanted to switch your cooling on so it’s a good temperature when you step in the door, you could do this via Alexa. Or, if you have a Smart lock and Alexa cloud cam, you can have couriers unlock your door and deliver goods securely inside your home if you are not there! Talk about disrupting the postal and courier industries…
Music can be streamed from a personal Amazon account. This encourages people not only to sign into Amazon and create an account, but also to upgrade to Amazon Prime, for free music downloads and Amazon Music Unlimited. The best way to get people to subscribe to your business is to offer so many benefits and advantages they don’t hesitate. Once they are subscribed it is easy to nurture your database and have a ready audience for testing and buying new products, and for getting feedback on future direction.
This little 4MB app currently requires 5,000 employees to run her and the product packages, and that number is growing.
Like all troublemaking projects, Alexa’s conception stemmed from passion, curiosity and pushing the limits of ‘reality’. Her initial inspiration? The communication systems aboard the Starship Enterprise. Anyone who’s watched StarTrek might have had the same thought, how cool would it be if you could just talk to your computer, like it was an actual person, and have it respond to you?
Yes, that would be very cool, if it wasn’t total fiction. What kind of people are crazy enough to take the technology from a futuristic science-fiction spaceship and turn it into daily living?
People who don’t take ‘reality’ at face value.
This is how troublemakers think. They do not see limits and barriers or hear the word impossible. They just know they want something (a talking Starship Enterprise computer) and they find ways to make it possible.
The name Alexa was chosen because the hard X sound is easy to distinguish, so the system knows with higher accuracy when you are addressing her.
The next troublemaking move the Alexa team made was to share, and share wildly. For them it is about the advancement of technology. They stay true to that initial driven passion for bringing the Starship Enterprise to life. To do that they know their vision is much bigger than the product and much bigger than Amazon. They opened the doors in as many ways possible to give absolute power to taking Alexa as far as she can possibly go.
Alexa Fund has been in operation since 2015 giving financial support to any company working in the field of voice control technologies. To date they have invested one million US dollars in other people’s companies.
In 2016 Amazon launched the Alexa Prize to further advance the speed of the voice technology progress. They then created space for everyone with this passion, to come together for collaboration and competition with Alexa Conference. Held in two cities in the US already, the conference attracted people from all over the globe.
Amazon has also made Alexa’s speech recognition and language processing technologies available to developers under the name Amazon Lex, in the hope that giving developers a ladder of knowledge to stand on will help improve reach and ability. That this might allow other chatbot systems to be available that could compete with Amazon Alexa doesn’t even worry them. They have a goal they are striving for.
Rather than compete with her competition Alexa has won them over. Partnering up with Microsoft in 2018 Alexa will actually be available through her closest competitor Cortana.
To be a Troublemaker you don’t always need to be troublesome, you can be cooperative, generous and still thrive. All it takes is intense passion, curiosity and a limitless mindset.
Ready to launch your own brand of impossible?
It starts here.