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Boost VC backs Storyline’s Alexa skill builder

Have you felt a disconnect with your Alexa and wished she could share more of your sense of humor or tell you an actually scary ghost story? Startup Storyline makes designing your own Alexa skills as easy and dragging and dropping speech blocks, and has just raised $770,000 in a funding round led by Boost VC to help grow its skill builder API. The company launched in 2017 to help bridge the gap between creators and the tricky voice recognition software powering smart speakers like Alexa. With its new funding, CEO and co-founder  Vasili Shynkarenka says that Storyline is hoping to expand its team and its interface to other smart speakers, like Google Home, as well work on integrating monetization and third-party services into the interface. Storyline’s user friendly interface lets users drag-and-drop speech commands and responses to customize user’s interactions with their smart speaker devices. Users can choose between templates for a skill or a flash briefing, and test the voice recognition and logic of the design live in their browser window. Since its launch, over 12,000 Storyline users have published 2,500 skills in the Alexa Skills Store — more than 6% of all skills in the store. The interface has also been used by the grand-prize winners of Amazon’s developer Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids and the publication Slate. For Shynkarenka, the creation of these skills is vastly different from the creation of a typical smartphone app. “Most people think of Alexa as another software platform, like a smartphone or the web, and that’s not [actually] true,” he said. “The most popular apps on Alexa are not the apps that let you chat with friends or browse your social networks. The most popular apps are content apps — the apps that you can use to play trivia games with your family over dinner.” Just as YouTube has video creators, Shynkarenka says he wants Storyline to become the home for smart speaker content across devices. The startup has already cultivated an active online community of 2,500 creators excited about creating and sharing this content. Storyline is not alone in this space however, Amazon itself released Amazon…

Employers look for workers with soft skills as they struggle to fill talent gap

Research from Robert Half reveals that the widely predicted talent exodus post-Brexit will not help matters as almost half of UK companies (49 per cent) struggle to find skilled workers. As a result, one fifth (21 per cent) are now looking to recruit candidates who have exceptional soft skills, with a view to developing the desired technical skills The post Employers look for workers with soft skills as they struggle to fill talent gap appeared first on Small Business.

Five ways to support staff training and learning at work

For businesses to stay flexible and innovative, it’s important to encourage learning at work. To do that, you must create an environment which puts training, professional and personal development at the heart of your people strategy. This goes beyond improved productivity and profit. A strong learning culture can help you to fill skill gaps and The post Five ways to support staff training and learning at work appeared first on Small Business.

If You Don’t Know Who Your Customer Is, Improving Selling Skills Won’t Help

Over the past few days, I’ve been participating in a discussion about a struggling organization. It’s a start up, the CEO wanted help in developing sales skills. But as the discussion progressed, it was clear the CEO didn’t understand who their customers were. They were responding to queries from whoever happened to find their web […] The post If You Don’t Know Who Your Customer Is, Improving Selling Skills Won’t Help appeared first on SmallBizClub.

2 Overlooked Skills That Are More Important Than You Think

You could have gotten away with many things before the rise of the internet, but now to succeed in business, you must continually improve your skills and knowledge. For that reason, I want to bring to your attention two of those essential skills that can make or break the success of your business that most […] The post 2 Overlooked Skills That Are More Important Than You Think appeared first on SmallBizClub.

Hire for the Soft Skills

Remember a few years ago when it was simple to hire? There were so many people that had been displaced by the recession that finding a qualified and available candidate was a piece of cake. That is definitely not the case today. The employee shortage is real and in certain sectors, it’s a serious crisis. […] The post Hire for the Soft Skills appeared first on SmallBizClub.

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