Alexa Champions

Recognizing Top Alexa Developers in the Community

Drew Firment

Richmond, VA

Drew Firment’s most popular Alexa skills are ones he made with his 14-year-old daughter, who happens to be a big Harry Potter fan. The Potterhead Quiz skill determines if you’re a Muggle or a wizard, and the Potterhead Sorting Ceremony skill determines if you’re a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw, a Hufflepuff, or a Slytherin. (For the record, Drew is a Ravenclaw.)

“Her skills crushed all of mine when I looked at the metrics,” says Drew. “Here’s a 14-year-old who started with an idea, and was able to use cloud computing to get her innovation in front of millions of people.”

As a managing partner at A Cloud Guru, Drew works to help companies make the leap to cloud computing technology through on-line education. He says the Harry Potter skills are perfect examples of how cloud technology, such as Amazon Web Services, fuels innovation by allowing developers to focus on their product instead of infrastructure.

“The most compelling factor about cloud computing is the elimination of friction in the development process,” Drew says. “It puts the tools directly into the hands of the doers and disruptors.”

And to prove his point, he encourages people to try building an Alexa skill with AWS.

“It’s a really great mechanism to provide folks a simple way to engage with AWS and learn serverless technologies,” he says. “Developing an Alexa skill is a fun tool to accelerate cloud education using outcome-based learning.”

Drew advises developers new to Alexa to combine a little bit of creativity with cloud computing skills, and dive in and start building.

A simple and engaging way to explore cloud computing services and the new concept of event driven “serverless” functions is by developing a custom Alexa skill. It’s a fun and engaging entry point into the API-driven world of cloud computing and emerging serverless architecture patterns.

“It’s easy to get started, it’s fun, and it’s educational,” he says. “Building Alexa skills is a great way to build cloud computing skills.”

Alexa Skills Published

  • Potterhead Quiz and Potterhead Sorting Ceremony: The Potterhead skills are co-developed with my youngest daughter who is a fan of the Harry Potter series - mischief managed. The Potterhead Quiz challenges your knowledge to find out if you're a muggle or a wizard. The Potterhead Sorting Ceremony uses a decision tree to determine your Hogwarts House.
  • Santa Claus and Merry Christmas: Both of these skills are holiday favorites with over 100,000 customers. The Merry Christmas skill shares inspirational season’s greetings, and Santa Claus is an interactive skill for kids (and adults!) that determines if you are on the naughty or nice list.
  • Simon Says: This skill is a cult favorite with over 60,000 cloud computing enthusiasts who enjoy Simon Wardley’s thought leadership and wicked humor.
  • A Cloud Guru presents The Cloudcast: The process of bringing an award-winning cloud computing podcast to life on Alexa was a great learning experience!

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