The first in a new series called ‘Unscripted’ where we have off-the-cuff, unscripted conversations with voice first leaders and practitioners to get acquainted, hear their story and find out how they do what they do.

In this first episode, we speak to Alexa Skill developing veteran, Nick Schwab, founder of Invoked Apps, about:

  • User adoption of his Ambient Sound skills (his daily usage is huge!)
  • In skill purchasing and his conversation rates (surprising!)
  • Developer rewards and how it all works
  • How much it costs to host a successful skill
  • Why now is the time for Europe to invest heavily
  • The discoverability crisis and what’s changed

Follow Nick Schwab on Twitter

Check out Invoked Apps


2 thoughts

  • Ray Szasz

    Great interview with Nick. I have been following Nick’s work recently as well as others and quickly realized his custom sound skill approach and recent implementation of ISP mirrored what I wanted to do with my sound skill strategy. It was confirmation for me that I am on the right track.

    I have created 11 sound skills to date mainly around sound I wanted to use for our grand daughter and I eventually published them under Preeminent Technologies LLC. I created one of Alexa’s favorite sound skills, Flamenco Guitar Serenade, give it a try and you will see what I mean.

    My Sound Skills
    – Bamboo Water Sounds
    – Flamenco Guitar Serenade
    – Garden Sounds
    – Harp Serenade
    – Monk Serenade
    – Sailing Ship Sounds
    – Swamp Night Serenade
    – Tibetan Bowl Serenade
    – Underground Cave Sounds
    – Upset Baby Calmer

    I also stepped into the adventure story space and created a skill called Star Commander that strives to teach decision making and teamwork concepts. It’s based on the user playing the role of a Star Commander where you are put in charge of a star-ship. You get to pick from either flying solo or with a co-pilot. The adventure teaches you that flying with a co-pilot allows you to complete missions. The skill also teaches the user about current space endeavors and space facts. This skill went live on June 17 and was selected as Skill of the Month for June 2018 by Storyline CEO Vasili Shynkarenka.

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    The life skill learning lessons, space mission scenarios and space fact aspects of Star Commander will hopefully attract and retain users. The skill is loaded with sound effects and about 6 different voice characters, all developed in Storyline. I have plans to increase the interaction points in the skill as well as adding an Explore option. Dave Isbitski recorded himself playing it on his FireTV Cube (see Twitter) and Paul Cutsinger responded that he enjoyed the skill as well. I am interested to know what you think about Star Commander, so please do let me know.

    I also ran a BING Ad campaign for Star Commander a few weeks back to test driving skill enablement, but it was not successful. I had spent $55 for 3,040 impressions and 232 ad clicks over 8 days and did not see an increase over usual daily skill enables. A lot of this has to do with the fact that you cannot get a deep link into the Alexa skill store that triggers skill enablement. All I really accomplished was displaying the Alexa Skill Store showing my skill name and icon 232 times, 80% from smart phone traffic. Both Geoffrey Colon (Microsoft Communication Designer) and I discussed this issue in the Facebook Storyline Community group and he has committed to getting with the BING AD team to drive adoption of an Alexa Skill Store deep link solution. I will be chasing Geoffrey for updates.

    The voice space is very dynamic and my 38 years of IT experience has given me a very deep and broad technical background and industry experience that I hope to apply to the voice space. I am still working on setting up a website and brand, Preeminent Technologies LLC is my own independent consulting company.

    Ray Szasz

    • Kane Simms

      Hey Ray,

      Apologies for taking a little while to get back to you on this. Baby was born on the day after you sent this so it was all a bit hectic!

      Thanks for your input and I’m glad you liked the episode. Sounds like you’re really trying to make this voice thing work and its great to hear that Star Commander is doing well. I’ll definitely check it out. Would love to chat some more with you sometime. Thanks for leaving your email. I’ll drop you a line.

      Thanks again

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