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Agile Digital Business

Glean applicable ideas from Agile Digital Business as your host, Vickie Maris, explores the topics of leadership, personal development, team development and team communications.
Vickie is a singer-songwriter, speaker, facilitator and author. In addition to her music and speaking at conferences, she facilitates sessions in staff retreats and workshops. She is a certified trainer of Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors, as well as a certified facilitator. 
You will enjoy and benefit from the interviews with guests on the show who bring a variety of perspectives and applicable insights. Focus areas include change management, leadership, team dynamics, communications, entrepreneurship, and more.

Dec 31, 2019

Kane Simms, co-founder and co-host of VUX World was my guest in Episode 24 of Agile Digital Business. Season 2 of the podcast is focused on preparing your business for the voice platform.

Graphic of Kane Simms, guest on Episode 24 of Agile Digital Business

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Kane. We talk about world-class voice experiences; a definition of an Amazon Alexa Skill; our experiences with creating a Flash Briefing; and we chat about the starting point for a marketing person who is looking to establish a presence for their brand in the voice platform.

At the end of the show, you'll hear me share my excitement about what is coming in 2020!


Vickie Maris
ost of Agile Digital Business, author, speaker and digital marketer


Time codes, notes and tweetables: 

0:00 Preview of upcoming content in Episode 24 of Agile Digital Business

00:43 Music and welcome from podcast host, Vickie Maris

3:40 Introduction of Vickie Maris by musician, Scott Greeson

3:55 Setup of the episode and the host shares background about her guest, Kane Simms. His co-host of VUX World is Dustin Coates.

4:48 Kane says hello to listeners.

5:32 Vickie asks Kane about his definition of a world-class voice experience.

Tweetable: "A world-class voice experience is something that is either engaging and entertaining, or something that gets out of your way and lets you just get on with the task." - Kane Simms

6:14 Mention of the company Earplay and work they have done on the Jurassic World Revealed skill. To access this skill via Amazon Alexa, state "Alexa, visit Jurassic World." Here is a promotional video about the Alexa Skill:

6:41 Mention of another company, Xandra, that worked on The Wayne Investigation and the Dunkirk Experience, a skill launched alongside the Dunkirk war film.

7:50 Importance of sound design and creating a sound environment.

8:00 Reference to site that contains research reports in many voice platform subjects. Kane shares that 71% of people trusted human-recorded audio more than robotic style of voice.

8:50 Utility type of Skill is one that helps a person get something done.

9:19 An example is the TuneIn Skill that you can enable on your smart speaker in order to play a podcast that you would like to listen to via your Amazon Echo.

10:36 Another example mentioned, that required conversation design, was the Virgin Trains Skill that can be used to hear train schedules or to order a ticket.

11:02 Kane provides a definition of an Amazon Alexa Skill. 

Tweetable or LinkedIn post: "A skill is essentially a voice app that is created by a third party to increase the functionality of Alexa [or the Google Home Assistant, Samsung Bixby, etc.] Google defines an Action as anything the Google Assistant can do." - Kane Simms #agiledigitalbiz #AlexaSkill

The concept behind a skill is that "you're teaching Alexa a skill."

12:43 Discussion of "in-app actions" to do something like book a table at a specific restaurant. This action will pre-populate the restaurant app with the specified data like number of people in the party and time of the reservation.

13:38 Vickie reflects on Episode 14 and her interview with Brielle Nickoloff in which they discussed the order that Amazon Alexa seeks data pools to return results when a person asks a question of the voice assistant.

14:48 Reference to the Amazon Alexa Skill for this podcast, Agile Digital Business.

15:08 Kane discusses the Flash Briefing they launched for VUX World and the opportunity that exists.

15:51 Example given of skills created by Peter Stewart and Dr. Teri Fisher.

18:20 Questions posed about how long people listen to Flash Briefings. Will they be OK with a longer piece of audio?

20:15 More details provided about the Skill by Dr. Teri Fisher, founder of Alexa in Canada and the Voice in Canada Flash Briefing. He created a new Flash Briefing every day for 500 days. Here's a YouTube video of his TEDx talk from October 2019.

21:05 Tweetable or LinkedIn post to share: "There are definitely opportunities for Flash Briefings to fit in to someone's morning routine if you can provide value, if you can get the format right, and if you can stick to it and be consistent with it." - Kane Simms #voiceassistants #agiledigitalbiz #AlexaSkill

21:50 Vickie reminds listeners of topics covered in past episodes of Agile Digital Business. She also reflects on her activities of podcasting, speaking at conferences,

23:50 She shares about a way to support the podcast or to become involved in the listener community at Patreon.

24:57  To get notified of upcoming podcast episodes, workshops and online group    Send email to teachinspireconnect @

25:22 Invitation for you to join Vickie's upcoming 30-day journaling group. The first group is designed to help you develop the practice of journaling or to get back to journaling. You can use the new journal, Changing Life After a Life Changing Event: 30 Journal Prompts and Stories to Help After a Loss, or bring a different journal to the online group. For more details:

27:14 A starting point for a marketing person who is wearing many hats and would like to establish a presence for their brand in the voice platform.

28:08 Exercises for a company to do when thinking about how to get started in the voice platform. 

Tweetable: "What does the conversation look like that you're already having with your customers?" - Kane Simms #voicefirst #vuxdesign #voc

Tweetable: "Do the homework on these channels yourself...If you don't use Siri, start using Siri. If you don't yet have an Echo, get one." - Kane Simms

31:04 Vickie talks about social media can make the world smaller. She met Kane and learned about the VUX World podcast through Twitter after she replied under one of Kane's videos.  Kane sent a DM and offered to chat with Vickie on the podcast.

32:43 Kane talks about how he met his co-founder, Dustin Coates, who has written a book on voice application development. Dustin's book: Voice Applications for Alexa and Google Assistant.

34:23 Mention of the value of sharing older episodes that cover specific topics listeners are asking about.

36:14 Follow Kane in LinkedIn, or in Twitter,

37:13 Kane offers an invitation to reach out and ask your questions about making a great conversational experience for your customers.

37:47 Tweetable: "This is not something that is going to go away. We need to be paying attention to what's happening in voice." - Vickie Maris, #agiledigitalbiz #podcast #voicefirst

37:59 Thank you to Kane Simms for the interview.

38:24 Vickie wraps up the episode with another thank you to Kane and a thank you to listeners.

Note: Please include #agiledigitalbiz in your tweets and posts of questions and comments related to episodes of the podcast.