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22 Bot Rules

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Beyond the hype, bots represent a fundamental shift in the way end users interact with the software we build. How can we adapt to the new paradigm?

Originally presented at Twillio Signal. Video here: https://youtu.be/gb-q9Kfhfg0

slash-hyphen is an independent Slack consulting firm that specializes in helping teams maximize Slack through Consulting, Training and Custom Software.

Published in: Technology

22 Bot Rules

  1. 1. 22 BOT RULESAlex Godin, Founder & CEO, slash-hyphen June 2016
  2. 2. 👋 Let’s get something out of the way
  3. 3. 👋 I love bots but…
  4. 4. most bots are dumb
  5. 5. some bots are powerful@alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  6. 6. Let’s look at some strategies for building powerful bots instead of dumb ones @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  7. 7. PS: We send a newsletter about Bots, Slack & the future of work. THIS PRESENTATION BROUGHT TO YOU BY SLASH-HYPHEN INDEPENDENT SLACK CONSULTANTS CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE
  8. 8. RULE 1bots are about the platform @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  9. 9. If I asked everyone here what a “bot” was you would all have different answers
  10. 10. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com A bot is any software application that lives in a messaging tool.
  11. 11. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com It doesn’t need to be a text based interface.
  12. 12. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com It just needs to live in a messaging platform.
  13. 13. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Whether it’s Telegram, WeChat, Facebook, Slack or another platform, the power of bots is that they LIVE IN A TOOL WE ALREADY USE
  14. 14. RULE 2look to the future @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  15. 15. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THIS IS HOW YOU BOOK A DOCTOR IN WECHAT It doesn’t look like most of the “bots” we see today.
  16. 16. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THIS IS HOW YOU BOOK A DOCTOR IN WECHAT WeChat has a BILLION users. Their platform is used like crazy.
  17. 17. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com This interface has 27 buttons
  18. 18. This interface has 2 buttons
  19. 19. All of the platforms are building towards a WeChat future.
  20. 20. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THE BOTS OF THE FUTURE LOOK A LOT LIKE APPS
  21. 21. RULE 3@alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com context is powerful
  22. 22. Name Hillary Clinton Age 68 years old Gender Female From Chappaqua, NY Building on a platform means that you know a huge amount about your users on day one.
  23. 23. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Name Hillary Clinton Age 68 years old Gender Female From Chappaqua, NY Slack tells you about how they work Facebook tells you about who they are Twillio now lets you learn about who they are
  24. 24. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com “Meekan schedule a team meeting tomorrow at noon” Meekan is a bot that helps schedule meetings.
  25. 25. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com “Meekan schedule a team meeting tomorrow at noon” If it were an iPhone app, everyone on the team would need to install it.
  26. 26. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com “Meekan schedule a team meeting tomorrow at noon” Instead, it lives in Slack, where it has access to your team by default. The Slack platform enables new kinds of apps.
  27. 27. Want more like this? Subscribe to our newsletter. HOLD UP! CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE
  28. 28. RULE 4it’s about to get noisy @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  29. 29. TAKE A STEP BACK @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Why are we talking about bots? Two words.
  30. 30. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Mobile! Social! Local! VENTURE CAPITALISTSA bunch of VCs decided to give money to bot companies and now everyone needs a darn bot strategy.
  31. 31. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com WE ARE HERE This is the Gartner hype cycle at work. Tech comes in waves…
  32. 32. Social Networks @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Before bots we had
  33. 33. Mobile Apps @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Before bots we had
  34. 34. Mobile Social Apps @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Before bots we had
  35. 35. Mobile Social Video Apps @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Then we got
  36. 36. Mobile Social Video Apps @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Then we got There was one week in 2011 when 11 “Instagram for video” apps launched
  37. 37. These apps all launched in 2011 Only one is Snapchat
  38. 38. The rest are dead Sorry google+
  39. 39. 250,000+ In 2011 Apps launched on the app store
  40. 40. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com That is to say, get ready for a deluge of bots
  41. 41. you are not special @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  42. 42. RULE 5it doesn’t have to be mass market @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  43. 43. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com In a crowded market one winning strategy is to build niche apps
  44. 44. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com You only need a small percentage of FB Messenger’s 1 billion users to build a great business
  45. 45. RULE 6@alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com time adds up
  46. 46. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Now a quick story about a hero named Larry.
  47. 47. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Larry works at Meetup. He built a bot that lets employees save 10 seconds by bringing data from an admin dashboard into Slack. It gets used hundreds of times a day.
  48. 48. 1 minute/day x 100 people = 300 hours a year@alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com That time adds up:
  49. 49. 1 minute/day = 300 hours a year@alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com That time adds up: How many ways are there to save 1 minute a day.
  50. 50. RULE 7context switches take time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  51. 51. As developers we’ve built command line tools and added monitors to avoid context switching
  52. 52. Bots like Larry’s let us do that for non-devs.
  53. 53. RULE 7.5structure things people are already are doing @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  54. 54. THERE ARE SO MANY PROCESSES THAT CAN BE TURNED INTO BOTS
  55. 55. why try to create a new behavior?
  56. 56. 1.Find existing behavior 2.Bot it 3.Profit @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com DON’T INVENT NEW BEHAVIOR
  57. 57. RULE 8redefine conversations @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  58. 58. H0WDY.AI IS A GREAT BOTit takes synchronous meetings and parallelizes them.
  59. 59. H0WDY.AI IS A GREAT BOTit takes synchronous meetings and parallelizes them. Someone on the team triggers Howdy.1.
  60. 60. H0WDY.AI IS A GREAT BOTit takes synchronous meetings and parallelizes them. Someone on the team triggers Howdy. Howdy goes out and asks everyone a question. 1. 2.
  61. 61. H0WDY.AI IS A GREAT BOTit takes synchronous meetings and parallelizes them. Someone on the team triggers Howdy. Howdy goes out and asks everyone a question. Howdy turns the answers into a simple report. 1. 2. 3.
  62. 62. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com Just because a conversation or process used to happen one way, doesn’t mean computers can’t restructure it.
  63. 63. RULE 9avoid disaster, use humans to filter @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  64. 64. Blossom bot is the #1 best bot of all time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  65. 65. It was built in house at the New York Times Blossom bot is the #1 best bot of all time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  66. 66. It was built in house at the New York Times It uses ML to identify stories that are prime to go viral Blossom bot is the #1 best bot of all time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  67. 67. It was built in house at the New York Times It uses ML to identify stories that are prime to go viral Stories it finds get 3.4x more views Blossom bot is the #1 best bot of all time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  68. 68. Blossom could connect to Twitter. Blossom bot is the #1 best bot of all time @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  69. 69. Instead, it connects to Slack where the social media editors can have a conversation about what makes sense for each of their 100+ social media accounts. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  70. 70. RULE 10eliminate decisions @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  71. 71. Imagine two ways to order a pizza @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com 🍕
  72. 72. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com PIZZA APP ONE Super custom Customize volume of each topping Pick your cheese type
  73. 73. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com PIZZA APP TWO Push a button Get a pizza
  74. 74. WHICH MAKES IS A BETTER BOT?
  75. 75. currate to avoid decisions
  76. 76. RULE 11build guard rails @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  77. 77. Even simple bots can go awry.
  78. 78. If your bot feels like it can answer anything, people will ask it anything.
  79. 79. DON’T MAKE IT FEEL LIKE IT CAN ANSWER ANYTHING @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  80. 80. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com RULE 12understand your platform
  81. 81. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com RULEunderstand your platform Build experiences that make sense for the platform you’re on. Target their audience and speak their language.
  82. 82. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com A TALE OF TWO BOTS helps teens deal with anxiety and depression helps journalists find breaking news
  83. 83. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com A TALE OF TWO BOTS Lives on Kik. Lives on Slack.
  84. 84. RULE 13other people need bots too @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  85. 85. THE SLACK APP STORE IS 5 MONTHS OLD THERE ARE MORE THAN 6 STANDUP BOTS
  86. 86. DEVELOPERS. DEVELOPERS. DEVELOPERS. DEVELOPERS. people other than need bots
  87. 87. We love helping everyone in a company (not just developers) use custom bots to get more done in Slack. Interested? Send us an email info@slash-hyphen.com
  88. 88. RULE 14be sustainable @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  89. 89. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com many of the “ai” bots are actually PEOPLE PRETENDING TO BE COMPUTERS PRETENDING TO BE PEOPLE
  90. 90. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com That’s cool but… MAKE SURE YOU CAN PAY THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE BOTS.
  91. 91. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com 💰pay your people 💰
  92. 92. 💰pay your people 💰 X.ai, Clara and Fin all charge subscriptions for this reason @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  93. 93. RULE 15no one cares @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  94. 94. No one (outside of SF) is sitting at home frantically searching for BOTS!Just like in 2011 no one was googling for “social network with disappearing photos”
  95. 95. RULE 16this is new. no one knows what to expect. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  96. 96. The last bot most people used was an unsophisticated toy
  97. 97. RULE 17make starting easy @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  98. 98. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com /operator Onboarding is key with a new paradigm. Growbot has a command that lets you talk to a human right inside the bot.
  99. 99. RULE 18don’t build a commodity @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  100. 100. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THIS GUY IS BUMMED OUT because all toilet paper is the same. toilet paper is a commodity.
  101. 101. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THE SWITCHING COST IS LOW if you’re not careful, your bot will become an easily replaced commodity.
  102. 102. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THE SWITCHING COST IS LOW can you add network effects?
  103. 103. RULE 19don’t expect promotion @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  104. 104. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com IF YOU LAUNCHED A FART APP OR A FLASHLIGHT APP ON IOS IN 2008 you could get a million downloads
  105. 105. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com THESE DAYS THE APP STORE IS MUCH MORE CROWDED
  106. 106. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com EVEN IF YOU LAUNCHED A COMBO FART/FLASHLIGHT APP… you would get about 12 downloads
  107. 107. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com PLATFORM APP STORES ARE A GREAT WAY TO GET YOUR FIRST BUNCH OF USERS
  108. 108. but they’re not a sustainable growth strategy
  109. 109. no one says it won’t be native RULE 20
  110. 110. 2 YEARS AGO: SCREENHERO LAUNCHES SCREENSHARING FOR SLACK
  111. 111. 1 YEAR AGO: SCREENHERO BECOMES NATIVE SCREENSHARING IN SLACK
  112. 112. HOW DOES SKYPE FEEL?
  113. 113. RULE 21don’t get hacked @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  114. 114. @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com WHEN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO SOMEONE’S MESSAGES YOU HAVE ACCESS TO SOMEONE’S LIFE
  115. 115. WHEN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO SOMEONE’S MESSAGES YOU HAVE ACCESS TO SOMEONE’S LIFE don’t get hacked @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  116. 116. RULE 22always bring a towel @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com
  117. 117. RULE 22always bring a towel @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com SORRY! I’M A NERD…
  118. 118. JUST DON’T BLOW IT @alex_godin | slash-hyphen subscribe: letters.slash-hyphen.com ok. bots are great.
  119. 119. Want to learn more about how you can take advantage of bots at work? Send us an email: info@slash-hyphen.com
  120. 120. Did I mention that we have a newsletter? Click here to subscribe.

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