Do you know what a voice influencer is?
Do you think of Orson Welle’s War of The World?
Or, maybe, FDR’s weekly radio broadcasts?
With an amazing voice and great use of language, President Franklin Roosevelt made up for being confined to a wheelchair during the heyday of radio.
Known as his “Infamy” speech, Roosevelt spoke one of his most memorable and influential phrases:
“YESTERDAY, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Yet this is NOT what I mean by voice influencer.
Instead a voice influencer is a person who is an expert and thought leader in the field of AI-powered, voice-first. They include technologists, infrastructure architects, content creators and evangelists.
Use this in-depth guide to get up to speed on:
- What the definition of a voice influencer is,
- Why they’re important to your marketing, and
- Who the top voice influencers are.
How Voice Influencer Is Defined
Voice Influencer Definition:
Is a thought leader in the voice-first space. This person is often involved in leading-edge, AI-powered voice technology. They may also have a background in information architecture, psycholinguistics and/or audio content creation.
From a marketing perspective:
Voice Influencer can persuade and sway others in their use of voice-first technology. Their influence extends to the purchase and consumption of voice-related content (including ideas and data), products and/or services.
Others trust this influencer because he or she has area-specific knowledge, input or control over product purchase or use, and/or relevant past experience.
The traits of a Voice Influencer include:
- Extensive knowledge of AI and voice technology as well as related skills.
- Recognized and trusted for their expertise.
- Create and distribute voice-related and/or audio content. This information helps customers understand and use voice-first products better and more frequently.
Why Do Voice Influencers Matter To Your Brand And Business?
Three reasons make voice influencers important to your brand and business:
- Create and test leading-edge, AI-driven voice-related technology.
- Expand your audience and user base with their thought leadership. Specifically, voice influencers extend your brand reach to people who can’t consume visual content. This includes people with visual handicaps, people in hands-free occupations (such as cooking), and eyes and hands-free contexts (such as driving a car).
- Develop new use-cases for existing voice technology and devices. Influencers explain how to take advantage of voice-first technologies in easy-to-consume terms.
How Were The Top Voice Influencers Selected?
These Top Voice Influencers are the current “Who’s Who” of the AI-driven voice-first space. And many of them have been active in the voice and related fields for years even before Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa entered the consumer market.
As some of the early voice pioneers move on to more advanced technology, the playing field continues to expand to include people who extend broader use and acceptance of voice products and content.
Further the COVID pandemic sped up the need, acceptance and use of voice-first devices creating at least 2 years worth of change in 2 months or less.
These 30 Top Voice Influencers were invited to be part of The Voice Den Party on Saturday, November 14, 2020 to help Dr. Teri Fisher (aka: The “Voice” Doctor) celebrate his 1,000th Alexa skill.
As the voice space continues to grow and expand, better metrics to assess influencers’ areas of expertise and reach across platforms will start to appear and evolve.
Until then, the voice community remains a relatively small, tightly knit and accepting community.
Tip of my hat to Voice Summit’s Pete Erickson and Project Voice’s Bradley Metrock for creating diverse and welcoming conferences and events!
Voice Spotlight: Dr. Teri Fisher Steps Up To The Influencer Mic
Actionable Marketing Guide’s Heidi Cohen interviewed Voice Influencer Dr. Teri Fisher. (And yes we get the irony of interviewing the Top Alexa Influencer via text!)
Why did you get involved in voice and what caused you to start publishing your Alexa skill?
I’ve always loved technology. When I realized the incredible potential of voice to completely revolutionize the way the world interacts with computers, I wanted to be part of helping to drive this transformation.”
Did something happen that caused you to take the leap into voice-first and related content?
I realized that VOICE is the next, and most natural, operating system known to humans, as social animals.
We’re entering an era when we’ll be talking with computers [and other devices] and I wanted to help educate the community about the potential of voice.
What tips can you offer about how you built your Alexa listener base and following?
Everything I’ve done in the voice space started as a passion project, a hobby. It’s this love for technology that has been my guide to everything I’ve created.
“Follow your passion and good things will come from it.” – Dr. Teri FisherClick To Tweet
How did you learn to incorporate gamification into your content and events?
I’ve been a musician and performer for my entire life. I love being able to express my creative side.
So, I took this passion for creativity and brainstormed ways I could do unique things in the voice space. So I provided something genuinely fun and innovative for the community.
After some thought (and a lot of planning!) I came up with the idea of incorporating a game into my content.
So creativity and education are also guiding principles in whatever I do. This includes public speaking and/or performing, The Voice Den, The Voicefluencer Show, and my podcasts, flash briefings, and other audio content.
I love innovating and providing value to the community in a truly engaging way.
Do you still practice medicine?
Yes I do! I’m a full-time sport and exercise physician. So, I’m a doctor by day and a voice enthusiast by night. Hence the nickname, “The Voice Doctor!”
Who Are The 30 Top Voice Influencers?
Sofia “Tuna the Doer” Altuna
Working on Global Product Partnerships for the Google Assistant. Sofia focuses on:
- Launching new platform capabilities,
- Helping developers with discovery and re-engagement, and
- Delivering great user experiences.
Audrey “The Audio Brain” Arbeeny
Audrey’s Voice Superpower is her super sonic hearing. (And yes, she was born with it!)
As Founder and CEO of AudioBrain, Audrey has used her natural talent to create Emmy-Award Winning Sonic Branding/Original Composition and Experience Design. She develops sonic branding strategy, original composition, sound design and audio identities for top global brands.
Rachel “Bot Woman” Batish
Rachel’s Voice Superpower is her passion for working with people and cultivating relationships.
Rachel is an experienced and hands-on entrepreneurial front-runner. Rachel has successfully developed and implemented strategies for dynamic startups and projects from inception to execution.
Jeff “The Purveyor of Pop” Blankenburg
Jeff’s Voice Superpower is his ultra-passion for technology.
Currently Jeff is an evangelist for Amazon’s Alexa. His knowledge base includes user interface design, web standards and mobile application development.
Fun fact: Jeff authored Migrating to Windows Phone (2011)
Adam “The Magician” Cheyer
Adam’s Voice Superpower is his ability to be a pioneer in AI and computer human interfaces.
Adam was founding member of 4 successful startups including:
- Siri which was sold to Apple and where Adam led server-side engineering and AI for the Siri assistant,
- Change.org which is the world’s largest petition platform,
- Viv Labs which was sold to Samsung and where Adam led product engineering and developer relations for Samsung’s voice assistant, and
- Sentient which is a massively distributed machine learning technology.
Fun fact: Adam has authored more than 60 publications and 38 patents.
Heidi “The CMO of Voice” Cohen
Heidi’s Voice Superpower is to help brands and businesses to meet their audience’s needs and wants within the context of voice and other evolving technologies.
Heidi removes the fears of emerging technology, data and math to develop consensus and community to build strategies for brands and businesses. In the process, she helps them to deepen and extend customer relationships over time. As a result, Heidi delivers profitable financial results for Fortune 100 companies, top global media brands, startups and private equity firms.
Fun fact: Heidi trekked across the Andes from Argentina to Chile.
Blog: Actionable Marketing Guide
Heidi “Breakpoint” Culbertson
Heidi’s Voice Superpower is her ability to understand and meets the evolving needs of the over 50 age group.
As Founder and CEO of Marvee, Heidi focuses on voice strategy and conversation design to meet the needs of the over 50 population. Heidi has 25 years of experience in emerging technology and early adoption. This includes voice, wireless, mobile and IoT.
Fun fact: Heidi was a professional tennis player.
Julie “Lady Lightning Fingers” Daniel Davis
Julie’s Voice Superpower is her passion for meeting the needs of individual students and teachers to guide them to grow as lifelong learners.
A former accountant turned educator, Julie Daniel Davis thinks about innovative ways to enhance education and, then, makes them happen. She uses her skills as an educator to help others catch the joy, whatever that joy might be.
Julie believes voice technology can enhance education. By using technology resources, she helps educators in to enhance critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. These are the skills students need to become influencers of their world.
Fun fact: You probably don’t know a woman that likes college football more than Julie. Roll Tide! In addition, Julie authored the children’s book, But What If It Wasn’t A Sardine Delivery Man? (BTW—It’s the first in her “The Adventures of Lady Lightning Fingers” series.)
Podcast: Voice in Education podcast
Pete “The Modevator” Erickson
Pete’s Voice Superpower is supporting human connections in the era of digital transformation.
With his company, Modev, Pete has created a community of dedicated voice experts from around the world. They work together to create events and experiences to foster teaching, learning and growth.
Lisa “VUI Queen” Falkson
Lisa’s Voice Superpower is her deep experience as designer of speech-enabled, multimodal applications across various platforms.
Strong background across the project lifecycle: requirements, design, development, test, deployment, and post-deployment support
Lisa has 15 years of industry and research experience specializing in design, development and deployment of natural speech and multi-modal interfaces. Her work includes next-generation voice user interfaces at NIO and Cloud Car. Lisa also worked on Amazon’s first speech enabled products including Fire TV, Fire Phone and Alexa Echo.
Fun fact: Author of Ubiquitous Voice: Essays From The Field.
Allen “Prisoner” Firstenberg
Allen’s Voice Superpower is his ability to create tools, software and tutorials to help people share their stories and improve their digital lives.
In addition to working for Objective Consulting, Inc., Allen is a Developer Expert for Google+ and Wearables. He joined the Glass Explorers Program when he realized how intimate and personal – yet inherently social – Glass would be.
His goal is to help people use Glass to find experiences that can be achieved in no other way – whether it’s how they interact, play games, or just record precious moments in time with their families. (Google)
Fun fact: Allen is the co-author of Designing and Developing for Google Glass: Thinking Differently for a New Platform.
Dr. Teri “The Voice Doctor” Fisher
Teri’s Voice Superpower is his unique blend of voice-first experiences with being a medical doctor in his professional life.
Teri realized the power of “Alexa Flash Briefings as The Prime Real Estate of Voice” early. So, in addition to giving you the inside scoop on developing your own voice-first content, Teri shares how to:
- Build an audience,
- Grow your business,
- Promote your non-profit, and/or
- Share your passion!
Podcast: Alexa In Canada
Dave “The Voice for Voice” Isbitski
Dave’s Voice Superpower is his ability to evangelize voice and other emerging and evolving technologies.
Dave has helped launch numerous technology platforms and devices while at both Microsoft and Amazon. Dave has over 20 years of experience with software development, devops, mobile, voice and the cloud.
Fun fact: Watch Dave’s Voice Global keynote via YouTube:
Brandon “Captain Kaplan” Kaplan
Brandon’s Voice Superpower is educating others about voice.
Brandon got excited about voice and learning the subtle nuances of the channel and user-interface (aka: UI). To design a voice program that has impact to drive conversations, Brandon learned that you must come from a place of understanding.
Blog: The Skilled Creative
Roger “The Evangelist” Kibbe
Roger’s Voice Superpower is bringing the future of voice to the present.
Roger builds voice experiences that push the boundaries and lead us to the future. He spent years working on customer experiences (aka: CX) and how to use technology to improve them.
Fun fact: Roger was an avid horseback rider as a kid and he dreamed of growing up to ride in rodeos.
Theodora “Artoo” Lau
Theo’s Voice Superpower is her desire to spark innovation in the public and private sectors to benefit forgotten demographics and to create a more inclusive society.
As founder of Unconventional Ventures, Theo, focuses on addressing the unmet needs of consumers with a keen interest in women and minority founders. She regularly mentors and advises startups in the financial services and healthcare/caregiving space.
Blog: Fintech Prose
Podcast: One Vision focused on innovation and fintech.
Bradley “This Week in Voice VIP” Metrock
Bradley’s Voice Superpower is his ability to connect the dots by watching the voice industry and learning over time.
Bradley built and runs Project Voice (which includes conferences, virtual events and more) to drive global business for voice tech and conversational AI companies. Bradley brings together buyers, sellers, partners, and investors through an integrated platform of content, community and consulting.
Fun Fact: As a cancer survivor, Bradley serves on the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Young Ambassadors. It has:
- Raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund early-stage cancer research and
- Returned millions in national-level grant funding since inception
Also Bradley authored More Than Just Weather And Music: 200 Ways To Use Alexa
Blog: This Week In Voice VIP
Dr. Joan “Rosie the Researcher” Palmiter Bajorek
Joan’s Voice Superpower is empowering and connecting people.
Joan is a linguist with deep knowledge of phonetics, syntax, semantics, morphology, corpus linguistics, data science, sociolinguistic, and discourse analysis. Leading a team of 11 and 200+ participants, Joan conducted large-scale analysis of speech recognition user-experiences for multi-modal, multilingual products.
Fun fact: Joan is the Founder and CEO of Women in Voice (aka: WiV), the international non-profit for women and gender minorities in voice tech. In the non-profit world and looking for some tips? Here are Salesforce’s Top 4 Trends Impacting Non-Profit Marketers.
Dr. Rupal “Notorious RP” Patel – VocaliD Inc
Rupal’s Voice Superpower consists of having her ear attuned to sonic details, especially those expressed in the melody of the voice.
Rupal is a speech scientist and obsessed with prosody—the rhythmic and intonational aspect of language.
According to Rupal, the ability to understand the aspects of the speech people use to signal is extremely powerful. While you need words to communicate clearly, BUT how those words are said influences behavior.
Bianca “The Jedi Knight (of Law)” Phillips
Bianca Rose Phillips’s Voice Superpower is her desire to build a world where:
- Telemedicine enables access to healthcare no matter where you live,
- Mainstream use of wearables allows for disease prediction before anything happens, and
- Clinical outcomes are improved because of uses of precision and personalized medicine.
As a leading thinker on the future of digital health and the law, Bianca wants you to imagine a future immersed in digital health. She is recognized globally for her thought leadership and her ideas attract the biggest minds and companies in digital health.
Bianca explores the processes, pillars and methods upon which digital health laws and societies are built, constrained, transformed and revolutionized.
Fun fact: Bianca’s interview with Teri Fisher called, Digital Health Law Making with Bianca Phillips
Podcast: Digital Health Law
James “The Godfather of Voice” Poulter
James’s Voice Superpower is based on his 10+ years specializing in voice, conversational AI technologies and emerging platforms such as Immersive AR/VR, 5G and Blockchain.
James is the CEO and Co-Founder of Vixen Labs.
Fun fact: James founded the Voice2 community
Noelle “Captain Kindness” Silver
Noelle’s Voice Superpower is empowering people through technology, mindful leadership and mentoring to be the change they wish to see in the world.
As a technical evangelist at heart, Noelle is passionate about mindful leadership, work-life harmony, and empowering people to achieve their potential through technology.
Noelle wants to use machine learning to solve business and world problems. And, then, share those learnings with developers to empower everyone to achieve more! So she’s taught thousands of people the value and importance of Conversational AI, voice technology.
Emerson “The Scout” Sklar
Emerson’s Voice Superpower is finding and fixing the most frustrating bugs.
As a voice evangelist for Bespoken, Emerson helps clients based on these 3 key ideas:
- Automated testing is fundamental to a successful voice development lifecycle.
- Voice apps deserve the same attention and care as traditional web and mobile apps.
- Voice automation is easy to implement and vastly increases the efficiency of your teams and the ratings of your apps.
Fun fact: Emerson has volunteered with the Scouts BSA for over 20 years.
Bob “The Anomaly” Stolzberg
Bob’s Voice Superpower is selling.
Bob knows how to get maximum engagement and ROI for your brand and/or business and to use voice to integrate it with your omni-channel marketing. As the CEO and Founder of VoiceXP, Bob enables anyone to create a Premium Alexa Skill in minutes without coding or hiring a developer or IT department.
Fun fact: Bob lives off-the-grid on a water lily farm 🌸 in the Ozark ⛰️ of Missouri. Also, Bob is obsessed with learning, being healthy, and helping or empowering other people. 💪 (Note: The emojis are Bob’s.)
Mark “Open Sourcerer” Tucker
Mark’s Voice Superpower is developing cross-platform voice experiences for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung Bixby using open source software.
Mark became adept at architecting and developing voice apps based on his thousands of hours spent doing hands-on creation.
To maximize their investment in voice technology, Mark recommends that brands and organizations create and modify all of their voice content at the same time for use on multiple voice platforms.
Blog: Mark Tucker
YouTube Channel (With Allen Firstenberg): 2 Voice Devs
Ian “The Optimist” Utile
Ian’s Voice Superpower is that he is graced with the vision to imagine a positive future.
As an entrepreneur, Ian is a strategic innovator. He focuses on growth through aggressive branding, marketing and sales.
Inspired by his vision and willingness to take strategic risks, Ian builds teams to develop products to manifest his hopeful ideas. As a result, Ian’s firms maintain profitability and can thrive without investors to rank on the Inc. 500.
Fun fact: Ian’s ancestors have raised their families in the San Francisco Bay Area since his forefather, Lieutenant Moraga, founded San Jose on November 29th, 1777.
James “Low E” Vlahos
James’s Voice Superpower is creating avatars based on the unique personalities of real people.
With an extensive background as a writer, James knows how to portray people vividly with words. The most important of content creation skills is storytelling.
So you never have to lose the voices of people you love, HereAfter uses conversational AI to help you save and interactively share life stories as shown in the video below.
Alexa Skill: The Voice Computing Book
Arianne “The Driver” Walker
Arianne’s voice supervoice is her knowledge of how to use voice in cars.
Because Arianne is the Chief Evangelist for Alexa Automotive at Amazon.
Tom “The Voice Of Research” Webster
Tom’s voice superpower is his expertise in market research and deep knowledge of the audio marketplace.
With 25 years of experience, Tom has a unique and often exclusive perspective audio industry, whether it’s podcasting, streaming audio, radio or smart speakers.
Fun Fact: Co-authored The Mobile Commerce Revolution (2014).
Blog: I Hear Things Blog
Kesha “The Champion” Williams
Kesha’s Voice Superpower is helping people become Amazon Web Services (AWS) certified Alexa skill builders.
Kesha was in the first group of engineers to be certified by AWS as Alexa skill builders. She shares the lessons that she has learned and teaches people how to build Alexa skills from the ground up.
YouTube Channel: Kesha Williams
Voice Influencer Conclusion
Since The pandemic caused roughly 2+ years of digital, AI-driven technology changes and acceptance globally in less than 2 months, ask yourself:
Are my marketing and business voice-first and AI-driven?
If not, they should be!
So use the wisdom of these voice influencers to persuade your boss and management team!
Because voice-first and AI-driven devices, technologies, platforms, content and other options meet your audience’s needs and wants based on their device and context.
Otherwise you risk losing customers and revenues!
Still not convinced?
Then, talk to your audience and, specifically, your customers in real time.
Because you need to get up to speed on this fast changing, AI-powered voice technology and related content.
And, together, these 30 voice influencers combined have centuries worth of experience to help you.
So, start learning from them now!
- “Day of Infamy” speech courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress. FDR’s speech runs a little over 7 minutes. We’ve taken the beginning and a portion near the end so that the recording embedded in this post is less than one minute. We also normalized the audio and reduced the noise for clarity.
- AMG added Heidi Cohen and Tom Webster to this list of Voice Influencers based on their extensive experience in marketing and emerging technologies including mobile and voice. They were NOT part of Teri Fisher’s The Voice Den Party.
- The information about these Voice Influencers was collected from the influencers, their LinkedIn Profiles and other public sources. If you’re one of these Voice Influencers and would like your information changed, please let us know. #ThankYouForYourSmarts #YouRock
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