Why Create the Word Maker Skill?

I created Word Maker to try out building Alexa voice skills. Santa brought an Echo Dot for Christmas and poking around the SDK, I saw how easy Amazon made it to create skills. Yes, you still have to code, and of course it’s easiest if you use all their AWS services.

But what should my skill do? I wrote one that polled my web servers for status, and Alexa would read it out based on which server I asked for. That was cool, but nobody besides me would care. So I had to think of something else, and at that point my son walks into the room saying he’s invented a new word.

That’s it — New Words!

I figured world leaders, titans of industry, influencers, and ordinary people need a way to create brand new words. We know at least one President does it himself but this would make it easier for him.

As I think about it, branding companies make 6+ figures a pop to come up with new names. There’s probably a bit in here about bots killing high-paying jobs, but that’s, you know, progress.

It’s super simple, if you ‘ask Word Maker for a made-up word’ Alexa will read it aloud to you, spell it, then repeat it spelling-bee style. Version 2 added a very simple prompt, ‘do you want another?’ That one piece raised engagement 200% — much like ‘lather, rinse, repeat’. So there’s a great deal of voice design learning and discover to be done here.

But What is a Remoggle?

The name — Remoggle — is a nonsense domain I had parked, and it sounded like it could be a word game. While waiting for Amazon to certify the skill, I created a whole Remoggle.com landing site and brand. It has a logo, style guide, Twitter account, and I can’t remember if I created Facebook page too.

In the end, Amazon didn’t let me use the name Remoggle, since Alexa didn’t always hear it correctly. I settled for the much more on-the-nose “Word Maker’. But I didn’t change the site because this was a practice exercise for me, and I wasn’t going to do a whole rebrand for what is my equivalent of doing the Sunday crossword.

Where Is It Now?

Version 1.0 went live mid-January 2018, and version 2.0 on the last day of that month. About mid-February, I added a Twitter bot. Twitter banned a bunch of bots around then, so it naturally got me interested in writing one.

I’ll write up a technical rundown and lessons learned for the skill and the bot later on. For now, you can try it out just saying ‘Alexa, open Word Maker’ — it doesn’t cost anything or need permissions, so install is automatic. I also don’t get any of your data, Mr. Bezos keeps all of that.