7 Women Working On Amazon Alexa Recommend Their Favorite Skills

Your iPhone might have apps, but Amazon Alexa has skills: You can use any Alexa-enabled device to do everything from the spiritual (ask Tarot Reader to do a quick reading), to the practical (turn on the kitchen light). A basic Alexa feature — streaming music — is even at the root of one of the best viral memes of the year ("This is so sad Alexa play Despacito").
The number of skills, both niche and broad, is rapidly multiplying: In Amazon's 2017 third-quarter earnings report, the company reported there were over 25,000 skills available globally. This week, an Amazon spokesperson told Refinery29 there are now over 45,000 skills available globally. That amounts to roughly 2,500 new skills created by internal and third-party developers every month.
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That's a lot to keep track of, and try, even for the person who keeps an Echo Dot in every room of their home. To help cut through the clutter — and spice up your daily interaction with the virtual assistant — we asked seven of the women who work on Alexa to recommend their top, go-to skills, and their favorite lesser known skills. Ahead, their picks for the Skill you should try, stat.
1 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Cami Williams, Developer Evangelist, Alexa

Go-To Skill:

iRobot Home: "I love telling Alexa to start my Roomba. It is the epitome of lazy cleaning."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Chop Chop: "It’s a really fun skill for Echo Show that gives you tutorials on how to chop different fruits and vegetables."
2 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Jenny Lin, Senior Manager, Alexa International Product and Tech

Go-To Skill:

"World's Best Mom" Blueprint: "I used Alexa Skill Blueprints to create my own skills with what I want Alexa to say to my kids. When I say, 'Alexa, who is the greatest mom in the world?' Alexa now says, 'It’s Jenny, mom to Max and Elyse.' Jaw-dropping for the kids — and they never argue with Alexa."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Alexa Announcements: "Instead of yelling upstairs dinner is ready, I now just say, 'Alexa, announce that dinner is ready.' Alexa works like a one-way intercom to my kids’ Echo Dots to tell them, in my voice, dinner is ready and they should come downstairs."
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3 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Miriam Daniel, Director Product Management, Alexa Devices

Go-To Skill:

Alexa Routines: "Routines [let me create] a personalized routine that gives me the weather, traffic, and my Flash Briefing every morning. Try 'Alexa, start my day.'"

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Sleep, Relaxation, and Meditation Skills: "Try 'Alexa, help me sleep' or 'Alexa, ask Sleep Sounds for Rain' or 'Alexa, play guided meditation.'"
4 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Zoe Corneli, Head of Product, Echo Look

Go-To Skill:

Multiple timers: "I love to cook, so I often have two or three timers going on Alexa at a time. It’s convenient not having to wash my hands or stop what I’m doing."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Tracking Outfits: "I use my Echo Look to keep track of what I wear over time. I just say, 'Alexa, take a photo' and she captures a head-to-toe look and blurs out the background."
5 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Anna Khabibullina, Senior Technical Program Manager, Alexa Smart Home

Go-To Skill:

Music: "When I do my workout, [I say,] 'Alexa, play pop music from the 90s.' It really lifts my mood."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Drop In: "I tell Alexa to 'drop in' on my husband’s Echo Show when I miss him since we are doing long-distance."
6 of 7
Designed by Janet Sung.
Carrie Swint Wood, Head of Consumer Marketing, Alexa Skills

Go-To Skill:

AnyPod: "I am podcast obsessed and this is the easiest way to listen to them."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

Alexa, Let’s Chat: "She will have often hilarious conversations with you, all while helping advance conversational AI. The skill stems from the Alexa Prize, a $3.5 million Amazon-funded global university competition to accelerate advancements in conversational AI. In 2018, eight student-led university teams are competing to build a socialbot that can carry on a coherent and engaging conversation on trending topics."
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Designed by Janet Sung.
Priya Abani, Director, Alexa Voice Service

Go-To Skill:

1-Minute Mindfulness: "This beginner mediation skills helps me take quick — literally, one minute-long — breaks to recharge and reenergize during busy workdays."

Favorite Lesser-Known Skill:

7-minute Workout: "This skill is a set of exercises that helps me stay healthy. It’s a small daily, or sometimes weekly, commitment, so it works well for me."
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