Yesterday while the NCAA games were going on I was judging a Capital One/Amazon Alexa hackathon. The theme was fin tech. It was pretty cool. Hackathons rarely put real companies together. But, occasionally they do. The biggest thing they do is create a space for people to learn, to meet up, and to work together.
Capital One and Amazon are sponsoring these around the country for a number of reasons.
They want to find out how easy they are to work with. Can people write to the various APIs they have easily? What’s tripping them up? In the case of Alexa, what are they thinking when they write apps for it?
In my case I did it to support the local fin tech community. I also did it to help my brain think out of the box. I have an Alexa, but I use it in a very pedestrian manner. Seeing people that dedicated themselves all day to thinking out of the box helped me to start to try and think about how Alexa will really integrate into our lives.
All of the companies at this particular hackathon created B2C applications. But, it got me thinking about B2B. It’s pretty easy to see how a personal assistant like Alexa will integrate into certain B2B processes and make things efficient. If integrating it isn’t on a B2B Fin Tech company road map, they ought to consider it. It won’t fit everywhere, but it’s going to fit in a lot more space than people think.
Strategically, when you play with Alexa in an environment like that it’s also easy to see how big corporate tech giants, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook are on an epic collision course.