Voice Entrepreneur with Ben Smith #40

Tue Aug 21 2018 (26:26)

In this episode, Teri welcomes Ben Smith, of Voice Entrepreneur and the managing partner at Chancebending Ventures, a digital consulting agency. Ben is also the SVP of Business Development at Vobile. Teri and Ben talk about entrepreneurship, how to get a head start in the voice space and how voice is different from other technologies.

Welcome Ben Smith!

Ben’s career has taken him down a variety of paths with a variety of interesting experiences: first an early Google employee; then founder of a company in Singapore; then helping Google set up a video streaming service that you might have heard of – it goes by the name of YouTube(!); to now running his own consultancy company. What at first may seem like a digressive course makes perfect sense once you learn of his two life-long passions: entrepreneurship and technology. It’s his passion for both that has led Ben to where he is today. That, and his jump-first-build-a-plane-on-your-way-down mantra!

Tell us a bit more about Voice Entrepreneur. What that is and what it is all about?

Voice Entrepreneur is a brand. It includes a daily podcast, a flash briefing, and a Facebook group. The idea around Voice Entrepreneur is that it is 50% voice technology and 50% entrepreneurship: marketing and the hustle and building businesses. As an entrepreneur, Ben is really interested in the business side of voice. Ben launched Voice Entrepreneur because of the lack of business resources for voice-first technology. Ben also wanted to find a new way to interact with these new devices. He wanted to create a daily Alexa flash briefing that would be more like an interaction, more like a friend than a show.

Can you give us some examples of what the show is about?

Ben looks at what’s happening in voice technology through a business lens. There are two parts to the briefing. First, he talks about what’s happening in voice technology: who is winning and what’s changing about the platform. Ben cites an example: Recently BMW and Amazon announced an integration with Alexa and their cars. In this case, Ben says, he talks about the business implications of that integration. That’s one part of the briefing. In the other part, he talks about entrepreneurship; how to raise money, how do teams work, how to bring in new people, and how to get people to pay attention to what you’re doing.

What is it about voice that’s different?

Ben thinks it’s pattern recognition. Back in 2003, the whole battleground was: could you be one of 12 search results on a PC screen? Fast forward to 2008, and there were now only three search results on a phone screen. Fast forward to 2018, and now with voice, there’s really only one result. When you ask Alexa: What kind of SUV should I drive?” you’ll only get one result. Ben says right now Amazon and Google are battling it out for that one spot, and it’s going to be interesting to see who comes out on top.

What are some tips to make sure that businesses and brands are prepared for the voice-first world?

The first thing is get out there. It’s not very difficult. Just try it. There are a lot of tools that can help you build voice apps with no experience.

There is a great basic tutorial at CreateAFlashBriefing.com and a comprehensive course at FlashBriefingFormula.com

The second thing is to experiment. Where is there an audience? How do you create discovery around voice? Ben advises that you shouldn’t worry about making money, but about figuring out how you can get people’s attention.

What are some tips to make sure businesses and brands are prepared for the voice-first world?

Ben thinks the podcast phenomenon is part of that. He shines some light on all the empty space in our lives. Everything about technology over the last 20 to 30 years has been about becoming more efficient and eliminating friction. Ben surmises that we are so early that we have not yet figured out a voice-only UI and that, he feels, we’re still forcing voice UIs into a mobile UIs when it’s clearly a new paradigm.

Is there anything else you want to share?

Ben says he got into this because he’s really excited about this technology. Ben reminds us that what truly matters is having passion, experimenting, and getting your hands dirty. Now is the time to do it.

Now, for a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

It gives me great pleasure to announce that I have created the most thorough course on flash briefings available. As you know, flash briefings are the prime real state of voice technology. The course will show you how flash briefings work, the equipment you need, what you should talk about, how to plan, organize and upload your flash briefing, among many other components! This will be your one-stop shop for all flash briefings questions and needs. You can find it right now at FlashBriefingFormula.com.

List of resources mentioned in this episode: