The VoiceFirst Roundtable - Episode 5
Host: Bradley Metrock (CEO, Score Publishing)
Guest: Nandini Stocker (Head of Conversation Design Advocacy & Partnerships, Google)
Duration: 42 minutes, 57 seconds
The referenced Medium post, "Honoring The Voices Within And Among Us, Before They're Gone," can be found here.
Bradley Metrock: [00:00:10] Hi, and welcome to Episode 5 of The VoiceFirst Roundtable. My name is Bradley Metrock - I'm CEO of a company called Score Publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Our sponsors for this podcast are Fourthcast. Turn your podcast into an Alexa skill - get started today at Fourthcast dot com. That's F O U R T H C A S T dot com.
Bradley Metrock: [00:00:34] Our other sponsor is the Alexa Conference. The Alexa Conference is the annual gathering of Alexa developers and enthusiasts. Learn more, and get registered, at AlexaConference.com.
Bradley Metrock: [00:00:44] We're very pleased, very grateful, to be joined today by Nandini Stocker. Nandini, say hello.
Nandini Stocker: [00:00:53] Hello.
Bradley Metrock: [00:00:55] Nandini is the Head of Conversation Design Advocacy and Partnerships at Google, and I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I have to be honest, this is fantastic. Greatly appreciate you setting the time aside, Nandini, and Google helping to make this possible as well.
Nandini Stocker: [00:01:15] Absolutely. I think what you're doing to really supercharge this industry - to get good information out there - is really key to this next wave of voice tech. And Bradley, I sort of want to start actually with something more personal with you, because we had this exchange on Twitter and I wanted to just clarify it for your listeners. We had this exchange on Twitter where you had called for more women to be on your shows, and I just wanted to clarify for everyone: first of all, that was after Bradley had already asked me, and the medium that you use to communicate can sometimes have certain pieces lost in translation. The way you asked was you know kind of a great act of really putting your foot out there to extend that invitation. And I think the way I reacted was a little bit forceful and a little bit...in 140 characters can come off as a little flippant, where I immediately started adding and I created a list. And I just hope that that didn't come across as anything other than seizing a great moment to rally some information together for what I looked at as a great call to action on your part. So I'd like to just start with that gratitude. So thank you.
Bradley Metrock: [00:02:47] Well I appreciate that. I appreciate you saying that. And you know that...it's important to have women on our podcasts. That's very obvious. I am married to a very strong woman. We've been married since 2005. She's a very well known woman here in Nashville. And, you know, women's studies minor, very feminist...and you know on the other hand, I'm more on the conservative end of things, but we make a great team. We were on vacation when I got an e-mail from someone who I'm not going to say who it is asking me "what's up with no women on your podcasts?" And there was someone who had actually taken the time to listen to if not all of them, most of them. And it caught me by surprise. And so we've really...you know, my reaction really isn't relevant. What's important is that we get women on here who are doing fantastic work - and no, you didn't offend me at all. You know, like I said, I greatly appreciate you being here and you sharing your time with us and really that's all I could ask. Twitter is Twitter. You know, it is what it is. You're right, things can come across and be misconstrued. But no, I didn't think anything of it. I greatly appreciated you putting that list together. We're going to have a lot of those folks on the shows but no you're nothing but appreciated. And you know and I appreciate you sharing that.
Nandini Stocker: [00:04:24] Great. Like you said, we need more women's voices - more men, women, and non-binary voices out there, getting their voices heard. And you know more women at the table and I'm happy to be here. Honored to be the first woman on your virtual roundtable. So thank you.
Bradley Metrock: [00:04:45] Yes. Thank you. Greatly appreciate that.
Bradley Metrock: [00:04:49] Let's start with how you got to where you are right now. You've got a fascinating position, doing very interesting work. And for the lay person who has no real idea about how someone might be able to get into that, or for someone who is in college or graduate school right now wondering how to get into this field, share with us a little bit Nandini about how you...about your experience, and how you got to where you are right now.
Nandini Stocker: [00:05:27] Sure. It might sound dramatic but I sort of feel like all paths led to this point. But it really is true. I studied I was self-taught and many many things I did. I homeschooled myself and for part of my education skipped a few grades. I was always interested though in language and communication as you know, and also science. So I've always been both technical and artistic and love language, love talking...I could talk at a really early age. I just sort of paid attention to those interests and followed them instead of going down traditional routes, I guess. And I studied computer science and communication arts and political science and then some business and management and a few other things. But even in those jobs I was always learning and trying new certifications and taking classes.
[00:06:36] So I guess I...I'm a communicator. I like to talk to people. I like to listen, and have conversations and somehow all of those things you know I learned how to talk in front of people learn how to talk to people and that I guess yeah it really feels like all paths sort of led to a point where I'm excited, I'm really passionate now about helping other people learn to find that voice in themselves to talk, whether it's between two humans, two businesses, or everything in between where some machines are involved.
Bradley Metrock: [00:07:23] Early in your career, at least if I understood it correctly, you started as a technical writer. Do I have that right?
Nandini Stocker: [00:07:35] Yeah. Even before that, I was doing legal citations and layout editing.
Bradley Metrock: [00:07:41] And then you made a jump over to the audio and voice side. How did that...what precipitated that?
Nandini Stocker: [00:07:49] Well I was a technical writer and I did user guides and created requirements, databases, and I pretty much figured out Visual Basic, ins and outs of all of the Microsoft Office products, and sort of automated a documentation group all single person documentation engine, with an internal web site and everything. It was MCI WorldCom at the time, and they started getting into speech recognition. They were partnering with Speechworks and a couple other companies to start putting together these dialogue modules that would go into telephony applications, and there was speech recognition involved, and I...the lead at the time said "you know, I don't know how we're going to sell this stuff and how we're going to communicate this to anyone. So could you write a document that's sort of like the definitive primer on how this all works?" And from you know and I said "Sure, I can do a great document." And as I was doing it you know I was it covered everything from what is speech recognition to what the reports would look like. And I used my layout skills, and my journalistic skills, and interviewed people, and met with engineers, and met with sales people, just try to find this one document that everyone could use as that sort of conduit and help everyone understand it. But in the process, I was fascinated. I loved it. I thought wow, machines can talk now? That's kind of like my scifi dream. And you know I had funny little things in there too that I sort of put in there, like the song - The Jimi Hendrix song - Kiss the Sky vs. "kiss this guy.
Bradley Metrock: [00:09:49] Nice.
Nandini Stocker: [00:09:49] You know, to try to help people understand the real intricacies of this field. And then I think I even ended one of the chapters with "and we're that much closer to Star Trek" cause I was that geeky.
Nandini Stocker: [00:10:05] So i fell in love with that because it's something clicked in my brain that you know I've always tried to find something as equally technical and language-based. And here I am - here it is. And so I approached my director at the time and said "How do I actually get into this?" I wrote a document about it, but I want to design it and build it and do that. And he said "well, I don't know about designing, but there is a junior developer position over in this other group we just pulled in, but you're going to need to learn Unix and run a Solaris machine - a couple of them - and code in VoiceXML (in VI) and write all the...they were called prompts...and I had to learn that. And then also still do the documents and be customer facing and explain all of the dialogue. So I learned all that. And sure enough the team, you know...I became a good designer with all those skills kind of coming together. I became a good designer because I could, and basically I found that I was already a designer inside. I just needed to see where all the pieces in front of me - you know, all the Lego pieces on the table - and understand all the cogs and how they worked. And then I knew how to talk to people and I could observe how communication works and I studied language. So yeah, just all sort of clicked, and from there the more interfacing I was with...the more actual designs I did, as I started to do some pretty complex stuff and the team was really excited because they could start to have something more challenging than like just the bits and bytes they were trying to do. I moved into more design-related roles and kind of trying to drive us into more innovation and I guess all of that was just a series of pivots in my career where I saw "oh, here's the next phase, here's the next phase...this is what I want to do. I want to see more of this, or I want to do more of that," and paid attention to those. And along the way if I needed to learn something, learn more. And then, how I ended up at Google is...Google is an amazing place. I still remember at that job at MCI when I was sitting there and a dear friend and colleague who was helping me with the website - Janet Kenning - she's an incredible poet, teacher, and technologist. She said "you have to see this site! Why are you looking through, like, all these other search sites? There's this new one. Look, it's called Google." I will never forget when she pulled up the site, and it had the colors, and you type something and stuff came up right away. You had to click through several pages, usually, to get to the right blue link that you wanted. But.
Bradley Metrock: [00:13:17] It was kind of wild.
Nandini Stocker: [00:13:19] It was kind of wild. And, yeah, I mean looking back it's kind of far out. Something clicked in my brain there, and I remember the first person I knew that went to Google. I later moved on to a series of other companies that were doing this technology, like TuVox and I got a certification from Nuance. They had a dialogue designer certification at one point, and moved to TuVox. And I remember the first person I saw go get a job at Google...I was like "wait, what? That's possible?" And it sort of sat in the back of my mind.
Nandini Stocker: [00:13:53] But I'm lucky enough you know. And then you know I had a family and I did a lot of consulting and along the way you know sort of made my trail in the field. And at one point Google came to me. I say that like it's "the Google," but a great leader at Google, who has been a great sponsor of me from the beginning, knows that Google thrives and is built on smart creative thinkers and technologists. I'm lucky you know that he considered me that and honored that he saw that in me from the very beginning and brought me in to push the envelope and bring us into this next new phase. And yeah having you know forward thinking leaders that can really see that in someone, before they even see it themselves, is pretty incredible. And that's what's incredible about this place, and why I'm still here. I love it. It's a tough job. I work really hard. But I think creative technologists all working together in this kind of collaborative environment can be quite chaotic. But it's still as exciting as I thought it would be. So it's fantastic. And that's how I'm here.
Bradley Metrock: [00:15:21] Those are the types of stories that we want to get to the heart of: how the key players, the people doing interesting things in the field today...how they got here. And I appreciate sharing that.
Bradley Metrock: [00:15:35] So let's touch on the topic of conversation design. So you live this every day, but there's tons of people coming into this sector. Voice is on the rise, as you well know. Assume that I've landed here from Mars - I don't know anything about anything about anything - and I see the words written "conversation design" and I ask you "what is conversation design?" How would you explain what that is?
Nandini Stocker: [00:16:01] Sure. Well first I'd say "welcome to Earth!"
Nandini Stocker: [00:16:06] We think this is a pretty great place. And one of the things we have going for us here is the ability to share ideas with language and connection. And by the way, what technology are you using for that universal translator? Because we've been trying to talk to each other for a while and understand you know what our animals are telling us but we're still stuck on getting human language and differences down. So I want to learn about what technology made you so cloaked that we thought there was no life on Mars. So that's how I'd react.
Bradley Metrock: [00:16:48] OK.
Nandini Stocker: [00:16:48] So what I just did there is conversation design, where you have two participants, you start to...you greet them, you somehow indicate that you're "OK I heard what your question was, now it's my turn to talk." And I want to establish some sort of common ground. And I noticed something interesting about you, and suddenly we're connected, and we're now...now there's a conversation started. And then where the conversation goes from there can thread in so many different ways. And you know hopefully lead to some sort of closure. Conversations do have many structures and then there's longer conversations. But ultimately it's how we have evolved as a species as the ability to share ideas of spoken language. And that's how I'd explain it. And if you're designing for that - if you saw a sign that said "conversation design" - that might be where someone is studying or explaining to other people just how that works and all it means is paying attention to how we all communicate and use that to create better conversations for connecting between us.
Nandini Stocker: [00:18:06] And if you're designing between a machine and a human, let's make that machine behave using those same core evolved structures and ways we do that as humans, and then maybe we can do more with our lives if we have technology that can understand and work with that, within that framework, rather than kind of shoehorning it the other way around, and trying to modify how we've operated for hundreds of millennia to accommodate some machines that we created. So why not, if we created them, why not make them work even better for us to do what we created them to do, which was to connect us and do more things with our lives?
Bradley Metrock: [00:18:53] That's great. By the way, have you seen the movie Arrival?
Nandini Stocker: [00:18:57] Yes.
Bradley Metrock: [00:18:58] OK. I was about to say if you hadn't seen that, we'd have to stop this right now and you need to go watch that. What a great film.
Nandini Stocker: [00:19:05] It is. True story: our team completely geeked out over that movie. And we all, all the conversation designers, voice designers, especially anyone who studied linguistics - which is most of us - completely geeked out and did a movie night and we were able to reserve Larry's old office, in one of our buildings. It has a gigantic screen, and we pulled the couches together, moved aside all the paperclips and everything else, and watched Arrival together as a team, and just geeked out over the fact that there was a linguist protagonist, for once, in a movie.
Bradley Metrock: [00:19:47] Sure.
Nandini Stocker: [00:19:49] But you know of course I immediately thought I need to watch Contact in this setting. That's one of my favorite movies of all time.
Bradley Metrock: [00:19:56] I've seen that. I don't remember...was Jodie Foster in that? Who was in that?
Nandini Stocker: [00:20:02] Yes, Jodie Foster. Matthew McConaughey.
Bradley Metrock: [00:20:06] OK. I remember that.
Nandini Stocker: [00:20:08] Well it's based on the novel by Carl Sagan, and in Carl Sagan's book though, there are five or six people that traveled. But when it was made at the time - I guess it was 1997 - Carl never saw the final result of the movie unfortunately. But yeah it's one of my favorite favorite movies of all time. The book is incredible as well.
Bradley Metrock: [00:20:38] To continue down this tangent for a moment, the film Arrival...it just strikes you as being realistic, even though it is a science fiction film in which aliens land on the planet. Because when aliens show up here, somebody is going to have to figure out how to communicate...or assuming they want to communicate with us, you know, someone will have to figure out how to communicate with them. Fascinating.
Nandini Stocker: [00:21:09] I mean you hit it on the nail. It has this underlying common thread of plausibility. And why is that? It's because central to it is just trying to understand common ground that we all have, which is our ability to communicate. And what language we use is almost inconsequential but it's focused on that ability to how we understand each other. And so it has...that's why it's so powerful, I think. Yeah, you're right, it feels realistic. You know has these crazy kind of creatures and it has these big spaceships and all kinds of things happening. But the fundamental core of it is something we all like know deep in our brains. And is something we do without thinking. So yeah you hit it on the nail.
Bradley Metrock: [00:22:02] What were sort of going down this road, I love that you're a Star Trek fan as well, with your Twitter handle and so on and so forth. I've not really seen that much of Voyager and Enterprise and some of the other ones, but I am a huge and I mean HUGE Next Generation fan. Have you seen Star Trek Next Generation?
Nandini Stocker: [00:22:25] Oh my gosh. Then you need to do a Google Assistant action, or app.
Bradley Metrock: [00:22:31] I should.
Nandini Stocker: [00:22:32] ...trivia game, because I've got, I think, the definitive Seven of Nine trivia questions. But you know someone needs to do Data, or all the characters, you know, do a trivia game for all the characters.
Bradley Metrock: [00:22:49] Yeah we could definitely be up for that task. And of course there's many many many examples in the Star Trek universe of how communication is paramount to the resolution of something or causing some sort of conflict and so it doesn't surprise me that you're into that as well.
Nandini Stocker: [00:23:12] Right. Well I mean what I love about Star Trek - all of them - is that it's never about showing off cool technology. You know what if we - you could hear the writers - what if we land there and we can't understand them? Oh I know! We'll use these universal translators that make everyone understand each other, no matter what. And once in a while we'll have a traveling time episode where it's humans in there and they ask "what are you using?" And see what I did there? I tied it back to what you...
Bradley Metrock: [00:23:44] Yes, that was good. So we share a lot in common. I appreciate someone who enjoys science fiction and obviously for your job and your company, so much of it is starting to not, you know, not be fiction anymore.
Bradley Metrock: [00:24:03] Let me transition to asking you something else that's been on my mind, and that is the competitive positioning between Amazon's hardware and Google's hardware. What differentiates an Amazon Echo, versus a Google Home? And one thing I just discovered a week or so ago is that Google Home allows you...Google Home recognizes different voices, which Amazon Echo does not do, so that's spectacular. And I had no idea about that.
Bradley Metrock: [00:24:39] Can you share with us perhaps one or two other key differentiators in your mind between what Google is doing, like with Google Home, and what's going on, either with Amazon or just in general out in the rest of the marketplace, with voice assistants right now?
Nandini Stocker: [00:24:59] Sure. We think that if you want to interact with Google, which I reckon you do on a daily basis, that the Google Home for example is just one device where it brings Google into a different modality - a different way to interact. Where you can do more things hands-free, you can...it's just all the power of Google in a device. All the things you want to do with it that - and plus more - and introduces all the things that you would want to interact with. Now the Google Assistant is, you know, your Google and your Google across devices, and the Google Home is just one of those. So what makes sense in the Home, and what you might want to use that for, is there are certain use cases that make the most sense for that. Things where you want your hands free to do other things, or you want to consume information while you're taking care of your child or tinkering with your car or other things - it's a great device to do that. Play music and set timers and other things like that, but the Google Assistant and the Google Assistant ecosystem is something where it really extends, and the differentiator is it's across all devices right now. It's on 100 million plus phones, and including iOS. And so all the things that you would want to access for Google - making that available and ubiquitous is kind of our differentiator. It's kind of naturally falls into that's what we do. Access to information and things you want to do in your world. We're trying to make that possible across a lot of devices so that the technology is there with you when you are, and under your terms, and within your context. That's where it will be useful, rather than within one device, or where you're sort of having to cater to a device...idea is that eventually, you know, technology can fade into the background, right? And you can you can do more things in your world. And by having the Google Assistant, which is your Google across all these devices, it will let you do that. And so then the differentiator for the Google Home is that it also...we think it's a beautiful device. It has great sound and it's stylish and you know depends on the room. But again I'll say that it's your Google - you know you can bring it into the environment where you want it, it's your home - so it's your Google Home and you can dress it up any way you want. Like I'd love to see pictures of creative ways that people have pulled it into their environment, and made it part of their own. Because yeah, it's your Google. So all the information and everything we help you do, if you want that on a device that you can fit in your kitchen or somewhere else...great. That's kind of what we care about, is just bringing that information and making Google more useful to you in more places overall. So I hope that helps.
Bradley Metrock: [00:28:20] Yeah, that's great. So it's more about Google ensuring that you can take your Google and access your Google wherever and however you want to, as opposed to "well these folks over here...we need to have some sort of hardware to compete with this thing over here." No, it's just about...we're just for our sake, making sure that everyone can access Google. That's great.
Bradley Metrock: [00:28:52] And you're right. Google Home is stylish, as opposed to the Dark Tower of Death that is the Amazon Echo.
Nandini Stocker: [00:29:01] Oh...that's not fair.
Bradley Metrock: [00:29:03] I can say that.
Nandini Stocker: [00:29:06] I mean it's, yeah, a joke, but it's...you know, they're great great people working at Amazon. Like I just wrote recently, and can talk about that later, but I just wrote recently about a colleague of mine - old colleague of mine that was from there, Philip Hunter - and the other folks at Amazon. Some of the people on my team came from Amazon and Apple...and you know, especially as designers and creative technologists, we all just care about creating great things for users, and so, it's competitive, but in a great great way. That's what competition is great for. Let's push the envelope for creating great experiences for users. That's what really matters here.
Bradley Metrock: [00:29:58] Yeah absolutely. Amazon gets a lot of praise as they deserve for a lot of different things. It's OK, you know, to poke a little fun at 'em.
Nandini Stocker: [00:30:07] Absolutely, yeah.
Bradley Metrock: [00:30:09] I appreciate you sharing that. Let me ask you one more thing as well. It feels like this voice technology movement - I don't think it's inaccurate at all to call it a movement - it's built up over the last couple of decades. People have done a lot of great work. And now the time, it feels like, is here. And it feels like we're moving at warp speed. And it's because we are moving at warp speed, and there's literally news - there's so much news coming out that we had to create a news show for it.
Bradley Metrock: [00:30:42] In five years time, what are we going to be talking about? In your mind, what is life going to be like with these voice assistants? How are we going to be interacting with them? Are we going to continue on this incredibly exponential trajectory of progress? Or are we going to plateau, and have problems? Where do you see us going in the next few years, Nandini?
Nandini Stocker: [00:31:05] Well, instead of saying "what will we be all talking about?" I'm gonna use language here to explain: I think it's a distinction. I hope you know in five years that it won't be what we're all talking about, but who we'll be talking to, and that we'll be able to talk to each other about things that matter, and that the technology...we're not going to be buzzing about the cool new voice tech that came out, so much as we can maintain eye contact with each other and we can say, you know, make connections. If we're talking to each other about meeting up, or did you see that cool thing, or hey my daughter really likes such and such...oh who's that? That our devices will assist us in enabling those conversations without breaking the flow of the human connection. I can't articulate it any more distinctly than that, because that's sort of my vision of where I see this, you know, where this should go. But in what I do in my work, I can't articulate at all where Google will be in exactly five years, or even the next year, or in the next couple of months. These things change so fast, but hopefully the buzz will be less about the specific technology, and it will be more about "what did we ever do without this?" Because now I...wow, I'm so much more connected to everyone around me, and I can really...we can really talk, and get things done in our world, and through conversation that is rich and insightful and getting information...looking up information in the moment, or all those little micro moments that you have to stop and technology or different steps that we've created to help us do those things, but sometimes just get in the way, will no longer be an issue. That's where I think we should be going and what I deeply care about, and why I care about this space.
Bradley Metrock: [00:33:26] Yeah. That's great. And I find that absolutely fascinating, that this area of technology, you know, it's almost like the primary ROI for voice technology is decreasing our use of technology.
Nandini Stocker: [00:33:41] Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean a wonderful colleague, Wally Brill, said something a few months ago to me that really resonated: that technology is a commodity, and execution is an art. So we need to do that. We need to recognize that and execute in a strategic way to really accomplish that vision that I sort of see for us. We need to do that, but what's interesting is that...I said to you I think before we started that I consider a conversation a way of life. You looked out you know millennia ago or even a hundred...couple of years ago, or even now...if you stop and you look around you, conversations you know on the trade routes or just between people, anyone trying to sell something, it's enabled by a dialogue back and forth, right? So I would say that we need to change...in order to get there, part of what we need to do is recognize that technology is a commodity and information needs to remain freely flowing. Quality of information is absolutely imperative that we preserve. So, in this new era, conversation is currency.
Bradley Metrock: [00:35:14] Yeah. That's fascinating.
Bradley Metrock: [00:35:15] And so I want to close by thanking you again for setting your time aside and sharing your wealth of experience and expertise, not just with me, with all the folks who will be listening to this. And I want to touch on a post that you wrote recently, just a matter of days ago, called "Honoring The Voices Within And Among Us, Before They're Gone." And we're going to post this, by the way, in the show notes and link it so it's available. But you, in this post, which I certainly encourage people to read, discussed a key part of your life experience being diagnosed with cancer, and in this case oral cancer, and the threat of not being able to speak again. And this really really resonated with me. I also am a cancer survivor - I was diagnosed with melanoma back in 2010. And you really capture the fear of not being able to accomplish everything that you had hoped to, and that you had wanted to. And so I just wanted to thank you for writing what you wrote. It was a real testament to your colleague. Obviously you cared about her a lot, and I, and I'm sure many many other people, greatly appreciate you sharing what you shared.
Nandini Stocker: [00:37:05] Thank you Bradley. And I'm so glad you're here.
Bradley Metrock: [00:37:09] Well I'm glad you're here! So it's something I definitely wanted to touch on here at the end.
Nandini Stocker: [00:37:18] I mean to just say one thing about that: as I mentioned in the post, it's that facing something like that is...for me in particular it was earth-shattering, not so much you know facing your own mortality is one thing, but when you face it in such a way where there's maybe even a question of you know maybe I'd never really thought that there would be treatment or whatever. I didn't really face the fear of death. I mean, of course it was there. It was like "what if it spread?" You probably felt all the questions, and the what ifs. And you probably spent a lot of time on Google, looking for stuff, and I did that.
Bradley Metrock: [00:38:04] Too much time.
Nandini Stocker: [00:38:04] Yeah. The very real thing for me, which you so graciously articulated, as that when you face your own mortality...everyone has something to give the world. And they don't always unlock it early in life or face up to it. But everyone has something to contribute, something to give the world. And I realized that I was holding myself back. I could have been doing more. And then I realized that we're all writing our own legacy in real time. And I realized that I owe that to myself to get on it and push myself even further. I've always been a high performer, but I thought, you know, I can't hold back now. This is...I have to do this because you never know what's going to happen. And I think that now every time I get on a plane, every time I get in a car, I'm always thinking of have I done today what I...have I told the people I love that I love them? And it's it's really, it's really important and it's about writing your own legacy. And I'll leave it with honoring the legacy and the contributions of everyone around you. So if you learn something from someone, or you admire someone for what they do, honor that and tell them because they probably don't know and tell them before it's too late.
Bradley Metrock: [00:39:47] It's good advice.
Nandini Stocker: [00:39:49] I'll give you one more thing to do to help start those conversations. And, you know, you thank them, for all the people you do know. And then, for the people you don't know that you do want to connect with: don't start by asking them "what do you do?" or "who are you?" or "what's your name?" Say something like "Hey, what are you working on?" And that frees them up from having to be on the defensive of having to prove that they're worth talking to you. You immediately want to know what's at their core of creativity - what is it they're interested in. "Hey, what are you working on?" And that gives a leap into a conversation much faster, and you can connect. And yeah, just everyone have great conversations. It's really worth it.
Bradley Metrock: [00:40:40] I think one of the things as well that unites all the folks in voice technology that has fascinated me - frankly, drawn me closer to this field since we've started VoiceFirst.FM and done some content creation stuff in the space - is almost, with no exceptions, everybody understands, because they work with voice and they work with audio, the power of language, the power of your words. Your word choice is really important to relationships, and as you said, if you've got something to say, get on with saying it, and.
Nandini Stocker: [00:41:20] Say it! Get out of email, and talk. If you find yourself shoehorning it into some words, and rethinking, it's because written language is static. And when you need to communicate something important, talk to them in person. Then you can sort of self-correct, and repair any misalignment of meaning ,and then follow up with an email. But important conversations are best accomplished with voice, or with a face-to-face with gestures if you can't speak.
Bradley Metrock: [00:41:58] Yeah. That's perfect. And it's why you are where you are. You know, you clearly have a level of insight that the world needs. So it's been a pleasure having you on The VoiceFirst Roundtable, Nandini. Greatly appreciate you. Greatly appreciate Google for making this happen. And thank you.
Nandini Stocker: [00:42:23] You're welcome. Thank you, Bradley.
Bradley Metrock: [00:42:25] For the fifth episode of the VoiceFirst Roundtable, thank you for listening, and until next time.