Storyline with Vasili Shynkarenka #21

Tue Apr 10 2018 (40:13)

In this episode, Teri welcomes Vasili Shynkarenka, Co-Founder and CEO of Storyline, to talk about his new platform that allows anyone to make Alexa skills without any coding!

Welcome Vasili Shynkarenka from Storyline!

Vasili Shynkarenka in the co-founder and CEO of Storyline, a platform that allows you to create skills for Amazon Alexa in the most simple way, without requiring any knowledge of how to code. If you can type, drag and drop, and most importantly, come up with a good idea, you too can create a successful Alexa skill with Storyline!

Vasili’s background is in computer science and marketing. He previously worked in voice design for 3 years, designing conversational interfaces for various brands and businesses.

Key Points Discussed on the Podcast

We covered a lot of ground in this interview with Vasili. Here are some of the key points that we discussed:

  • Storyline is a tool that allows anyone to create a skill for Amazon Alexa without writing any code. It is a visual interface, designed to be incredibly user-friendly.
  • Storyline launched Sept 2017
  • Non-technical people as very good at building excellent and engaging Alexa skills.
  • A good idea is more important than the ability to code when it comes to building Alexa skills.
  • Alexa is more similar to YouTube than an iPhone app.
  • Children are able to dive right in and create excellent skills for the first time (as opposed to other technologies).
  • There are currently 550 skills live that were built on Storyline
  • Storyline users range from age 7-87 years old
  • Storyline allows users to update content in real time without having to submit a skill for recertification with Amazon
  • Skill discovery is still a major challenge for the average users

Kids Court, by Adva Levin (Pretzel Labs)

  • Completely created in Storyline
  • Won the Global Alexa kids Challenge!
  • Kids Court is a relatively technically easy skill to create, but the concept is very unique and engaging.

Tips for Creating a Good Skill

  • Create skills tend built around daily habits; e.g. soundscape skills and news
  • Choose a relevant invocation name (i.e. command to use/open the skill)
  • Regularly update your content
  • Create a repetitive experience – something that will encourage users to return to the skill

Recent Storyline Features

  • You can now add long audio files and livestream audio in your skills
  • This allows for interactive radio: Alexa can start live streaming your audio, but you can also add commands that users could say during the livestream.
  • Alexa now supports pre-built variables; you can use these for all types of information.
  • For example, you can have Alexa learn a user’s name and Alexa can use that in the course of the experience
  • You can now store phone number in skills through Alexa, which are stored on the Amazon server. These would be accessible only by the developer. The users would be able to unsubscribe if wanted.
  • The ability to cross-promote skills built on Alexa will help with skill discovery

The Future of Storyline

  • An initial goal is to increase the number of skills in the Skill store
  • Eventually Storyline will be published to other platforms, such as Google Home

Thank you Vasili!

Thank you for sharing your information, experience, and incredible product with all of us! I look forward to watch how Storyline evolves over time!

List of resources mentioned in this episode: