7 Huge Announcements From Amazon’s Alexa and Echo Devices Event

Amazon Echo new design 2020

Amazon unveiled a new Echo device, some exciting new features for Alexa, a flying home security drone and more in their fall Alexa devices event. Let’s dive into the announcements made last week.

Amazon Echo new design 2020

1. The New Spherical Amazon Echo

The totally redesigned version of Amazon’s classic smart speaker has some awesome new features. It’s equipped with “adaptive sound” from Dolby, has Zigbee support, and functions as an Amazon Sidewalk bridge, which means it can connect with the upcoming Amazon Sidewalk network that connects all your devices together (and can even connect with your neighbors’ devices!) for added security and convenience.

New devices are available starting at $49.99 from October 22nd.


Amazon Echo Show Looks at You

2. The Echo Show 10: With Screen That Moves to Look At You

The new Echo Show 10 is fixed to a base that can move the screen to look at you. It moves to make sure you can still see, even as you walk around the room. There’s no exact release date for the new device yet, but preorders have already begun (see the link above).


3. Amazon Reveals a New Microchip to Make Alexa’s Responses Faster

It’s called the AZ1 Neural Edge, and developed with a company called MediaTek, the new microprocessor is designed to make Alexa lightning-fast. It will do this by allowing Alexa to process more commands on the device itself. The new chip will ship inside the new generation of Echo devices.


4. Alexa Can Talk to Multiple People at Once

She can even ask clarifying questions. Amazon staged a demo of the new functionality showing two people using Alexa to order a pizza. Alexa was able to understand when the two people were talking to her and when they were talking to each other. Pretty cool, huh?


Ring Flying Home Security Drone
Image credit: Ring

5. Ring Launches A Flying Home Security Drone

It is what it sounds (and looks) like: A camera attached to a drone that flies around inside your house. Called the Always Home Cam, it gives you a look into any room in your house whenever you want. When it’s done, it will fly itself back to its dock and charge up its batteries.


Amazon Luna Gaming Service
Image: Amazon

6. Amazon Announces A Cloud Gaming Service Called Luna (With Its Own Controller)

Apparently this has been in the works for some time, and will initially be available for PC, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone and iPad, with an Android version due out a bit later. You can request early access if you’re in the US. Players who pay the $5.99/month introductory price will get access to over 100 titles from some of the top game makers, including Ubisoft.


Echo Show Netflix
Image: The Verge

7. The New Echo Show Gets Netflix

If you have an Echo Show already, you already have access to Amazon Prime and Hulu. But now you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows on Netflix, too.


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Who Drives Sales In Your Organization? WARNING: It’s A Trick Question

I have never worked a day in my life without selling.
If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard”

– Estée Lauder (Josephine Esther Mentzer), Businesswoman, Cosmetic Company Co-founder.


Who owns the selling function at your company? Would you say it’s a particular person, or maybe a team? Would you say it’s you?

If you answer any of those things, you’re wrong. Well, you might be right—but you’re doing it wrong. Sales shouldn’t be the sole job of just one person in the company. If you’re doing it right, sales should be driven by everyone in the company. Whether it’s going to pitch clients, set up marketing campaigns or sales funnels, or just interfacing with suppliers or partners or even employees, everyone in your organization should be not just empowered to sell, but doing it naturally. That is the secret of building a truly great company.

Take Stripe, for example. Stripe makes a set of tools that make it easy for website developers to charge money from their customers. Hardly revolutionary, right? At first glance, it hardly seems evident that every engineer, every designer, every HR person at Stripe is not only equipped to sell Stripe, but is actually actively doing it day to day.

Yet that is what happens. Stripe is not only one of the most successful technology startups—if it were public, it would be worth more than Goldman Sachs—but it is universally adored. It’s the one company everyone in tech wants to work at. Yet they make “infrastructure”, which is high on the list of the most boring words ever. How do they do it?

The secret is their extremely strong mission and the culture they have built around it. Their mission? To increase the GDP of the internet. If that’s not ambitious, I don’t know what is. As a result, they draw to them all the internet nerds and people who believe what they believe: That the internet should power more of our lives and our economies. Many of those people are extremely smart and driven. But that still doesn’t explain how they get everyone in their organization constantly sell.

They can achieve that because of the unique culture they have created. It starts with picking the right people—people who are kind, smart, and genuinely warm and inspiring to others. Then they match it with a culture of collaboration and innovation that allows them to speed up the delay between receiving feedback from customers and executing a solution, called the OODA loop.

Combine the mission, people, and culture together, and you get an organization that is primed to constantly sell not only its products but sell its own story and mission, and inspire admiration far and wide. If you haven’t realized yet, this is the “good” kind of selling—the kind where people don’t even realize they’re being sold to.

So how can you replicate this in your organization? You don’t need to be a couple of Irish super-geniuses like Stripe’s founders to do it. Here are the concrete steps you can take right now to create a company that sells itself the same way Stripe does:

  1. Start with the why. Dig deep and figure out what overarching mission your company can be devoted to. Then ask the hard questions: Are you actually contributing much to that? Stripe’s mission works because it is believable. You can’t just make up a mission statement, slap it on your website, and expect it to get the same results. No: You need to embody this mission. If there are activities you’re engaged in that don’t serve it, take a close look at them to see how you could change them so that they do serve your mission.
  2. Communicate constantly about why your mission is a good thing. Stripe’s “increasing the GDP of the internet” is effective partially because they have done such a good job of making sure that every single employee understands not only how Stripe does that, but why it is desirable for society as a whole. Their reasoning is that if the internet has more GDP, life will be easier and more efficient, and economies will grow faster and be less wasteful.
  3. People who don’t clearly get and align with the mission, get rid of them. Simple as that. People who do, hire them.

If you do, you’ll create the kind of company that sells itself—because everyone in it is selling, all the time.


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When Does Selling Really Start? Hint: Not When You Think

“Either run the day or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, and mentor to Tony Robbins

To make a sale, whether it’s a big sale to one client or a smaller sale to many customers, you need to come prepared. It doesn’t pay to look unprofessional, even if you are making it up as you go. But when does the sale really start? When should you go from “prep mode” to “selling mode”? What does it mean to make the switch, and how can you prepare yourself better to make MORE sales with LESS effort?

The answer might surprise you. You see, most people would assume that the sale starts when the customer walks in the door, or when they first interact with your brand. Most people would be wrong. Here’s why.

The sale actually started when you woke up and decided to pursue this business in the first place. It started when you conceived of your brand and proposition. It started when you thought, “I’m going to provide this product or service.” Your brand is so much more than just your offer, some design, and some marketing copy. In order to sell in today’s marketplace, you have to not just HAVE a brand—you need to LIVE your brand. It needs to be authentic and consistent through every customer interaction.

So when does selling really start? Day zero. It’s already started!

1. We see 5,000 ads per day on average.

Gone are the days when you could create a sellable brand just by slapping on a logo and some nice copy. Customers today are extremely well-trained at spotting insincere or surface-level marketing. If you don’t embody your brand fully, people can smell it right away.

How did it get this way? Well, a big reason is the sheer volume of selling propositions each and every one of us is exposed to every single day. Back in the 70’s, the average person in the US saw 500 ads per day—mostly on billboards, TV, and newspapers. Nowadays, people see on average more than 5,000 ads per day. That’s insane! Think about that for a second: That’s over 300 ads per waking hour. Every single consumer in the market is exposed to this, every day of every week of every month of every year for the past 5-10 years. And that number will only increase in the coming years.

This is the firehose we are all drinking from, all the time. Your selling proposition is just a drop in that torrent. So how can you ever hope to actually reach a customer?

2. Authenticity sells.

The answer is, strangely enough, to be real. One of the main results of this state of affairs is that consumers are now completely immune to traditional selling propositions. The only propositions that break through the noise are the ones that speak to consumers in a language they recognize as different, as more important, as more real. The only way to sell in 2020 is to be authentic.

Sounds like a great buzz-phrase, but what does “be authentic” mean in practice? It means that your brand has to go deeper than just your marketing. It has to be baked into every cell of your product, marketing, and company. And then you have to find ways to tell customers about it that is authentic to who you are as well. In order to break through the noise, you need to be able to truly connect on a human-to-human level. How do you do that at scale, in all your sales?

First, your company has to be truly different. Your mission has to drive what you do, not just in that “oh yeah we have a mission” kind of way, but in the authentic, “this is what gets me out of bed in the morning” kind of way. Selling furniture doesn’t get you out of bed? Same! But enabling people to enjoy the space they live in—that’s something I could get excited about.

3. Live your mission.

That’s why selling really starts on day zero. It starts when you define what you’re doing and why. Once you do that in a way that is authentic to you and what you believe in, then you can build a proposition, and a company, in a way that aligns with your mission. Then and only then can you reliably sell to a customer base that has seen every trick in the book thousands of times over.

After reaching the “advertising saturation point”, the only true growth hack is living your mission.


By the way, it’s never too late to take a step back and redefine your proposition. You will have to make some hard choices. You will have to let go of some of your favorite predispositions and techniques that worked in the past. But what worked in the past doesn’t work anymore: We’ve all seen it too many times. It doesn’t work anymore to just appear different; nowadays, you have to actually BE different. Start today!


If you’ve started down the path of living your mission already, here’s an effective new way to communicate about it and find your tribe: Engage your tribe through Amazon Alexa. Shoutworks lets you create a custom Alexa skill for your business in one click, right from WordPress. Try it for free today!