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October 18, 2019Paul Cutsinger
We’re still in the early days of voice technology, and Alexa developer community is shaping the future of voice as we speak. Together, we’ve hit many milestones along the way, including the latest 100,000 skills celebration, thanks to your imagination, innovation, and hard work.
I recently sat down with Adam Savage and he shared his recommendation on how to approach the Alexa skill development process to successfully deliver a meaningful experience for customers. Adam, well-known for his 14 seasons as a star of the popular Mythbusters television show, is an expert builder himself. With almost forty years’ experience in building, his newest television show, Savage Builds, emphasizes collaboration as he pulls in others to help him build outrageous projects. His recent book, Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life is What You Make It, explores his own building obsession, as well as lessons on creativity and finding inspiration.
During our chat, I asked Adam about his ideas on creativity in building and how they apply to voice development. As you can imagine, Adam had unique insight into the process and what works. We discussed four key ideas builders should keep in mind as they begin their projects, the mindset they should embrace, and why the future of building lies in collaboration instead of working alone.
Every builder begins each project with their own unique vision. Because each developer has their own point of view, says Adam, “They’re going to contribute something interesting” to the project. This is the first step to solving the problem they’re working on.
The idea of “fail fast” is catchy, but it doesn’t capture what we really meant. What a builder really needs to do is “iterate fast.” Adam says it’s not about achieving perfection in your design, but about figuring out what works or what doesn’t, and moving on to the next step as quickly as possible. A successful builder doesn’t dwell on the outcome they want, but works toward the outcome the project wants.
The best projects aren’t built in isolation. Adam stressed that sharing is extremely important in the creative community, though it seems counterintuitive in our culture. The biggest dividends come from sharing ideas, sharing credit, and sharing encouragement. Adam says, “When we share with others, we are widening the circle of collaboration.”
Humans are the only animals that tell stories, and it’s one of our strongest tools for collaboration. Adam says when we listen to each other and hear each other’s experiences, we have a chance to see from another’s point of view. Our strength lies in collaborating with others, both in development and in our lives.
It was a pleasure talking with Adam. If Adam’s enthusiasm to innovate and collaborate with the growing Alexa developer community inspired you, participate in the Alexa Developer Community Contest to give and receive feedback on Alexa skills. We have $7,000 in total prizes including participation prizes and bonus prizes. Hope you can join us!