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Welcome to Alexa/Echo!

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Back in early March, I started a new blog, but I wasn't willing to reveal what it was, mostly because it looked like crap. Instead, I wrote about in vague terms and created a series on starting a blog.

Two months later... it still looks like crap.

It's been difficult to find time to write with my new role as a stay-at-home Dad in addition to running a scorching-hot dog sitting business.

Now that I've set the expectations ridiculously low, I can start to build it up a little bit. I've written 20 articles in about 2 months, which isn't too bad considering I lost a few weeks to a vacation and catch-up.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Alexa/Echo. The blog is about covering everything around Amazon's Echo product and Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition service.

I've been a fan of the Amazon Echo for awhile and reviewed it back in VERY late 2014. I revisited it a few months later. At the new Alexa/Echo blog, reviewed the new Amazon Dot, Echo's baby sister (Dot's a girl's name right?).

This is all to say that I've been a big fan of the technology for a long time. You might wonder what makes the product and service different and worth blogging about. After all, Google has Google Now, Apple has Siri, and Microsoft has Cortana. The difference is that the Echo is always-listening and hands-free.

I simple call out, "Alexa, play Jack Johnson" and music plays. I don't have to press a button, navigate to an app, type any words, or anything. It's rare technology that simply works and reduces complication.

It's easy to view it as just a music player, but I use the Dot in my bedroom as an alarm clock by telling Alexa to set an alarm. I can control my Nest thermostats in my house by talking to it. My wife can play Jeopardy by talking to it. I can get my daily calendar and news by asking it. I can have it read me Audible books. Maybe none of this knocks your socks off, but collectively, it's pretty impressive, especially since there are no subscription fees. (An Amazon Prime account is very useful for the music, but we pay for that to get the fast, free shipping and access to the Prime video library anyway.)

Why Start Alexa/Echo?

If you haven't guessed it by now, I'm a fan. That's most important. Many people say follow your passion, but that's just one ingredient in the "cake of success." It's an important ingredient.

When I started the blog, Amazon had just announced the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap products. This release of new products in the family kicked off a bunch of media coverage and I started to realize exactly how big of a deal it is.

A newsletter that I subscribe to, Noah Kagen of OkDork and AppSumo fame, suggested that there were no good Amazon Echo blogs out there. (There are actually a couple.) He presented a very brief business plan on how such a blog could make some decent money. I think it was a little optimistic, but for a back-of-the-napkin calculation, it wasn't bad.

So I went to look for a domain name. The first few dozen searches I made didn't come up with any of preferred domains like EchoBlog.com. I don't know why it took me so many searches, but I finally found AlexaEcho.com the two things that I wanted to focus on. My guess is that most people just use the Echo hardware and never really think about the Alexa software service that powers it.

I'm not one to believe in fate, but the domain's availability surely seemed like a sign.

Why Tell You About Alexa/Echo Today?

I realized that I'm probably not going to make any headway on the design any time soon. (Unless there is a good WordPress designer out there who can work with the Splash theme. Feel free to contact me).

Yesterday, Google announced that it is making a copycat product called Google Home. I'd say that this validates the space, but some people are predicting that Amazon's Echo could be their billion dollar business. I might as well piggyback on the news.

Posted on May 19, 2016.

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