But first, the story of my life.
I used to be a screenwriter in Hollywood. And a pretty good one. For years I toiled and hustled and over time became good at what I did. I created multi-faceted characters, great stories and great dialogue. Everyone said so. But talk isn’t worth a whole lot in Hollywood. Nobody ever bought any of my scripts or asked me to write a movie.
Stupidly, I moved on to startups, I spent a lot of money and time I shouldn’t have spent, on bootstrapped little companies that were mostly way ahead of their time. I failed fast so damn often, I was the truth that made the whole stupid term “Fail Fast” an absolute lie. But I did learn a lot about tech.
Now, let me be clear, I’m no developer. I know CSS and HTML, and some pidgin PHP and JS, but I just don’t get the whole syntax thing. I’m probably too dumb, or too old, or both. The good news is I became a pretty good project manager. I know how to how to talk to developers, write a good tech spec, and I’m a JIRA nerd too.
Finally, about half a decade ago, I started to make a little progress when I got my foot in the door in the world of digital conversation. Naturally, I saw the dialogue as part of the flow of a good screenplay, and the chatbots as actors that didn’t whine and complain, and didn’t need trailers. I specialised in making Chatbots more creative, more human, more empathic. And after a while everyone started talking about how important it was to “humanise their Chatbots”. In short, I fused my creative skills with my tech knowledge and became a one man blended team.
Now, I’m sure I must be just one of thousands of blended skill peeps in the Beep business, but so far I’ve found very few who combine good character and dialogue skills with the ability to make sense of the whole Dialogflow, Alexa, Chatbot thing.
There are a lot of Conversation Designers out there, but they tend to be (no offense) ‘left brainers’ in a world that really needs many more ‘Both Brainers’. I see a ton of companies that want to create “more human-like conversations” but very little sign of the creative skills we need to deliver them.
And in case you think the whole “Both Brainer” thing is brainless, it’s the same process that gave us the glory years of advertising, on both sides of the Atlantic, when blended skills led to great creative content that delivered dollars to advertisers and delight to TV viewers everywhere.
So where are you, both-brainers?
I am convinced that better, more creative, more interesting writing, as well as more compelling, informative, and important conversational formats (i.e not just another pizza bot) are the fuel that Botland needs to truly break out and connect with users in a way that makes them say “You get me! You’re only a stream of frickin’ electrodes, but you actually get me!”
So if you’re a screenwriter or a playwright looking for a new gig, or side gig, and if you’re prepared to learn and keep learning a new, fast moving technology, give me a shout and I’ll show you the ropes. Me and the few other “creative meets tech” peeps in our space could do with the company.