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a16z Podcast | Bots and Beyond

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💫 Short Summary

The video delves into the evolution and impact of BOTS on platforms like Facebook, emphasizing the importance of user-friendly experiences and mobile app engagement. It explores the limitations of chatbots in e-commerce transactions and the necessity of incorporating webviews for a comprehensive user experience. The discussion also highlights the significance of conversational commerce, user interaction models, and the balance between marketing strategies and brand-consumer relationships. The potential future of bots includes developing unique interactions and personalities, integrating services into daily life through messaging apps, and providing resilience and convenience for impulse purchases.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Highlights on BOTS and Facebook Messenger Platform.
BOTS are considered the next evolution after web and apps, leading to a discussion on their role and definition.
Facebook introduces a platform allowing brands to engage with users through messenger, providing responses beyond text such as cards and calls to action.
The absence of a social viral mechanism is acknowledged as a potential limitation.
The conversation explores the importance of AI and natural language processing in shaping the future of the industry.
Importance of creating experiences on mobile apps with user acquisition or engagement models.
Challenges of getting people to install apps and the influence of platforms like Facebook and Amazon on smartphone operating systems.
Evolution of Facebook product resembling WeChat official accounts, shifting from text-based chatbots to web view concepts.
Not all commerce needs conversation, questioning the necessity of dialogue in customer service.
Limitations of chatbots in e-commerce transactions.
Back-and-forth communication slows down the transaction process.
Preference for web views over chatbots in the app within an app model in China.
The design constraints of chat bubbles and the importance of identity in transactions are discussed.
The goal is to prioritize user-friendly and seamless transactions over categorization.
Limitations and benefits of chat and messaging as a canvas compared to the web.
Chat lacks the immersive and interactive experience of the web, making browsing and discovering services less intuitive.
Platforms like Telegram offer lists of available commands, but visually browsing options is challenging.
Incorporating webviews, video, voice, or other channels is necessary for a more comprehensive user experience.
The conversation explores the challenges and opportunities of delivering services in different channels.
Integration of services within Baidu Maps for local searches.
Influence of friends' likes and PageRank on Facebook search results.
Importance of acquisition models in social and commerce platforms.
Lack of chat functionality in webview commerce.
Highlighted examples of on-demand services available through Baidu Maps in 2014.
Messaging apps like WeChat are full ecosystems with integrated payment systems, not just communication platforms.
The focus for Western apps should be on creating highly-used apps instead of trying to replicate WeChat.
Facebook's Messenger has experienced substantial growth, handling around 60 billion messages monthly.
Messenger's success on mobile compared to desktop highlights the trend towards mobile-native products.
Messenger is a primary focus for Facebook's platform development.
Importance of Facebook Messenger in developing countries for low bandwidth communication and optimizing user experience.
Messenger evolving into a platform for transactions, ahead of Apple Pay, with checkout plugins.
Messenger seen as a credit card alternative in regions with limited internet access.
Critique on the heaviness and slow speed of the web hindering global accessibility.
Emphasis on identity persistence and payment integration for a seamless user experience across devices.
The rise of Facebook in Burma and its impact on identity and cultural differences.
Facebook in Burma is shifting towards entertainment rather than personal identity expression.
Potential for platforms like Kik to become serious payment platforms is explored.
The value of establishing a persistent Facebook identity is discussed.
The convenience of Facebook login across various apps is emphasized, indicating widespread adoption and potential for long-term use.
Comparison between web apps and bots in the context of Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Facebook's strategy of integrating bots into Messenger for frequent use and discovery.
Bots within Messenger likened to an app store, presenting challenges of information overload.
Exploration of using location as a filter for discovery, emphasizing problem-solving.
Notable lack of social interaction and acquisition models in Messenger's bot implementation.
Facebook focusing on helping smaller merchants connect with customers.
Offering low-cost and interactive solutions through Messenger and Facebook page.
Emphasizing social discovery through messenger codes, new URLs, and group dynamics.
Solving distribution issues for smaller merchants.
Particularly beneficial for international markets with less prevalent media hype cycles.
Benefits of organic solutions for app development.
Importance of distribution and building bots versus webpages.
Need for bots for frictionless interactions like booking tickets without email confirmations.
Conflicting perspectives on user experience and customer service.
Focus on creating rich interaction experiences without solely relying on apps.
Creating a user-friendly phone interface without downloading apps.
Emphasizing the importance of delivering a rich user experience and building a platform that is enticing and user-focused.
Referencing Facebook's marketing strategy as a model for success.
Discussing the challenges of brand relationships in the digital space.
Exploring the power dynamics of messenger and chat apps in empowering users to control their interactions.
Adaptation of Content Creation to Meet Evolving User Expectations.
Varying control over user interactions and content formats on different social media platforms affects user acquisition.
Platforms like Snapchat and Google AMP require unique content creation to fit their specific distribution models.
Anticipating the next wave of internet users involves understanding their expectations and norms, particularly regarding dynamic interactivity in messaging applications.
Users raised on messaging apps may expect more interactive content experiences.
Response to user fatigue from excessive marketing on social media platforms.
Messenger offers a more user-centric experience by providing a narrow channel without ads or sponsorships.
Users tend to abandon social media platforms as they become more monetized.
Limiting marketing to text and images can hinder new product promotion in commerce.
Balancing brand-consumer relationships and marketing strategies is crucial in the digital landscape.
The success of WeChat is attributed to its widespread user base and the circular effect it creates.
Facebook's Messenger lacks the same level of success as WeChat.
The shift in power towards users and platforms is highlighted, with a comparison to Facebook's decision-making influenced by user behavior.
The governance of platforms and balancing the interests of various parties is crucial in the context of social media platforms like Facebook and WeChat.
Facebook is the largest global political party, serving as a platform for various interests.
Conversational commerce is becoming a new paradigm, with commercial entities entering the conversation space.
The shift towards conversational software enables the release of services, features, and tools in unexpected ways.
The new runtime involves various forms of conversations like chat bubbles, voice interactions, and dynamic content.
Integration of bots with the physical world through QR codes offers new opportunities for engagement and discovery.
The future of bots involves developing personalities and unique interactions, like a fashion assistant named Anna Wintour.
Bots and services are being integrated into daily life for those less tech-savvy, allowing easy communication through messaging apps.
Messaging provides resilience and convenience compared to traditional web browsing on mobile devices, enabling impulse purchases and quick interactions.
This behavior can be built upon, creating a robust messaging context for future developments and improvements.
Importance of high-touch interactions in messaging apps.
Brands prioritize conversions over quality interactions in messaging apps.
Lack of personalization and resonance in branding compared to Amazon's progress.
Stripping away extras to focus on raw conversations could lead to more valuable interactions and user experience.
Importance of customer service centric approaches in business.
Value of conversation and dialogue in building relationships with customers.
Cost-effective solutions provided by platforms for conducting business.
Challenges of maintaining standards and dealing with fluctuations in traffic.
Evolution of computing from human augmentation to information retrieval in the context of mobile devices.
Current trends in urban computing are moving towards simpler and more accessible services due to personal devices and ubiquitous networks.
Brands are prioritizing delivering straightforward services at scale while reducing complexity.
Developers are warned about the bot-building 'gold rush' and encouraged to assess the value of chat in their products.
Designing bots to seamlessly transition to webviews for enhanced experiences and planning for offline capabilities are crucial considerations in development.
The integration of bots on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is discussed, along with examples of Twitter handles appearing on TV shows.
The speaker expresses intrigue in considering how the bot ecosystem will function in the offline world.
There is hope for a more immersive experience beyond simple follow prompts with the integration of bots.