Is Amazon about to ruin Alexa answers with ads?

Amazon Echo Dot (third-gen)


I’m a product guy. Way back in the day I was actually a product marketing executive for a big tech company. I’ve shipped hundreds of products over the years. You always try to marry a need with a solution. Meet enough folks’ needs, and they’ll buy your product.

Generally, though, people have to think they have a need. Oh, sure, that’s what marketing’s about. Its job is to create demand where there might not have been any. Sometimes, it generates awareness. Sometimes, it generates leads by finding folks who might be a fit for a product. Sometimes, it just generates enough hype that the product takes off as a mere side effect of an intense hype machine.

Also: Amazon’s ready to announce a bunch of devices on Sept. 28

How does this relate to Alexa? Back in 2014, Alexa seemed kind of weird. People couldn’t quite figure out why you’d want one. It didn’t fit any of the usual product marketing formulas.

It was a Pringles-can shaped device you could talk to. Why would you talk to it? Why would you spend a few hundred dollars for it to do what any calculator app would do? Why would you let it take up space just to be a glorified alarm clock? And lights…just flip a switch. It couldn’t be any easier.

And for playing music? Well, we had stereos, our iPods or phones,

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