Billionaire investor Mark Cuban doesn’t need to start a side hustle, but if he did, he says the obvious money is in coding virtual assistants.
If he were to start a business today, he’d build it around Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa or Google’s Home device, he told CNBC Make It.
“I would become an expert in scripting for Alexa and Google Home and Cortana and go to any place that sold devices they supported and show them how much more they could do with a few hours of personalization,” he said.
“Scripting” means coding skills for Alexa, like asking her to repeat the day’s news headlines, or asking her to communicate with your robot vacuum cleaner to start cleaning.
Currently, Alexa has over 40,000 skills enabled, which have been built by third-party developers, via the Alexa developer account, but you can build more skills for her yourself.
In fact, literally anyone can code for Alexa using Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit, and build new voice experiences for users.
“We think it should be simple for people of all skill levels to build for Alexa,” Rob Pulciani, director of Amazon Alexa said.
And if tech companies notice your coding skills, it can pay significantly too: 24-year-old David Markey earns US$10,000 per month, after his Alexa coding skills were bought by a gaming company.
According to Cuban, coding Alexa skills isn’t that hard either.
“Alexa skills and scripting Alexa skills is really, really easy. But everybody thinks it’s really, really hard. And so that disconnect is a great opportunity,” Cuban told Recode’s Peter Kafka.
But if you’re just interested in earning some extra cash on the side, Cuban said you could code for friends or neighbours instead.
“I told my kids [and] other kids, learn how to script, and just go get your neighbors and set up all of these Alexa tools and you’ll make $25, $30, $40 an hour,” he said.
“If I were 16 years old, I would learn Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft stuff and learn how to create scripts.
“Then go to my neighbors’ homes ... and charge $30 an hour to set it up in their house.”