How Alexa, Amazon’s well-known virtual assistant, was created

Amazon Echo

The initial Amazon Echo gadget was first proposed by Jeff Bezos in 2011, and he wanted it to be entirely voice-operated. Temporary contract workers were paid to wander across the rooms reading scripted open-ended questions as Amazon filled the rooms with Echo devices. This produced information that Amazon might utilize to enhance Alexa’s response capabilities by feeding back to Alexa.

Product Management Use Case: Amazon Echo

Photo by Fabian Hurnaus on

Lessons learned

  • Executive Support: From the beginning, Bezos of Amazon was a fervent advocate for Echo.
  • Economics : Amazon initially suffered a loss on every sale, but as the product and service were enhanced, more users were added.
  • Data collection: The response time of Alexa, the talking virtual assistant that drives Echo, was one of the biggest issues with the device.The secret to reducing latency was to gather as much data as you could and use it to continuously enhance the product.
  • Wizard of Oz, MVP: The experiment involved a human “wizard” replying in real-time to any voice requests a human test subject would make to the Echo while they were in a separate room.
  • Marketing hook: There were concerns on how to most effectively advertise the device and what the best “hook” would be to persuade consumers to purchase it. More than 40% of the early Echo testers stated that music was their primary concern.
  • Open Ecosystem: Alexa’s technology has been included into voice-activated smart plugs, headphones, smart displays, home entertainment systems, and smart doorbells.

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