How writing leads to empathy / why does anybody waste money on a speaker like Google Home


This morning I saw a Tweet with this graph showing the top things people ask their Alexa and Google Home devices:


Since you’re probably too lazy to click the image for the full-size version, the top three things people say to their Alexas are:

  • Tell me the weather
  • Set a timer
  • Play me a song

After I saw this, I decided I was going to write a post about how I think products like Google Home and Amazon Echo are stupid and I don’t get why people would waste money on them, especially if they’re just using them to see if they need to bring an umbrella to work tomorrow.

I was going to write about why people don’t just use the “Hey Siri” function on their phones to set a timer for that soufflé. Inspired by the graph, I tried it after work tonight and it worked great. When I said “Hey Siri, play the new Sufjan Stevens album,” she got it and soon I was listening to Greatest Hits for the tenth time today.

I was going to write about how Siri also set a timer and told me tomorrow’s weather, all without me having to touch my phone or talk to a $100 speaker.

Then I realized that the reason people want these stupid speakers is because not everyone lives in a studio apartment in Brooklyn where one set of speakers is more than enough to carry the sound throughout my home.

But that’s the cool thing about writing. Not only does it force you to examine the validity of an argument, it also helps you empathize with other people. There had to be a good reason this guy at work was bragging about the Black Friday deal he got on a Google Home today, I thought to myself. I should write about why that guy is stupid.

I guess I’m the stupid one.

Image from the Amazon Alexa product page.