Building Bots for Messenger – Tips from the Experts: Octane AI

When Matt Schlicht founded Octane AI with Ben Parr and Leif K-Brooks, he wanted to develop an easier way to create and manage bots. Fascinated with messaging because its platforms are bigger and growing faster than the top social networks, Matt realized that everyone from musicians to teachers to big brands needed a simple platform that could create feature-rich bots in minutes, all without any programming.

Matt recently sat down with us to discuss Octane AI:

In 100 words or less, describe what your company does.
Octane AI is the easiest way to create and manage a bot you can use to engage with your audience on Messenger. Octane AI removes all the technical barriers to bots and allows you to focus on being creative with the content of your bot. 50 Cent, Aerosmith, KISS, SPiN, Lindsay Lohan, and 30 Seconds to Mars use Octane AI to interact with their combined 100+ million fans on Messenger.

Who are you trying to reach?

We designed Octane AI to be accessible and usable by any business, small or large, that has a Facebook Page.

How did you go about designing your bot?

Octane AI is designed to make the process of creating, managing, and optimizing a bot incredibly easy. Because bots and conversational interfaces are a totally new and foreign paradigm for businesses, we turn botmaking into an experience that’s easy to use and to understand.

What have you learned since launching? Any surprises or successes you want to share?

Someday in the near future, bots will rely heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, today’s bots aren’t quite there yet. Instead, they do a great job of facilitating customer service and collecting information.

That said, we’ve been surprised by the amount of unsolicited engagement that our bots have received. It’s clear that customers are naturally inclined to message their favorite brands and engage with them via bots.

We believe nobody has truly unlocked the full creative potential of bots. What are the experiences that can take place in a bot that would make you want to share it with your friends? What type of compelling content can be created uniquely for Messenger? This is the next frontier.


What are you going to build next?

We’re exploring ways for businesses—or anyone—to easily create native experiences for Messenger that people want to share with their friends. Right now, bots do a solid job of responding to customer service-related questions or sharing general info, but we want to evolve their skills. Imagine bots that can send updates to your friends for you, tell stories that change based on your reactions, give fans an inside look at what happens backstage at a concert or an awards show. That’s where we want to take bots next. We want to move beyond transactional experiences and make them conversational and personal.

Why Messenger?

When Facebook launched News Feed, it served as the first real place to tell people what you were doing, engage in social conversations, and get updates about the people you follow. Messenger has now evolved into a new, more personal way to do just that, and we think bots will take messaging to the next level. Imagine being able to engage one-on-one with your favorite musician. Imagine being able to ask them questions or have them tell you the inspiration behind their latest hit song. It has always been impossible to do this at scale, but the Messenger Platform is changing that. That’s why we’re so focused on Messenger—we truly see it as the next frontier for storytelling.

Our Tips From The Experts series highlights some of the top experiences in the Messenger platform. These businesses and developers have approached the platform in a unique and interesting way, and are seeing success during the early stages of the Messenger platform.

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