The End of Searches such as we know them Today
Original from professors Oswaldo Lorenzo and Francisco González Bree from DBS. Original version of September 6th, 2013. Total or partial reproduction forbidden without written permission from Deusto Business School.
“Sherpa could mean the end of searches such as we know them today”.1 October 1st 2012 was another great day for Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria. The beta version of Sherpa was already available; it is his new voice assistant for Android. Sherpa was a voicecontrolled virtual assistant. It is free of charge and the client could download it from the Google Play virtual shop. In practice Sherpa allows the user to use his natural voice to ask questions and requests to his smartphone. With Sherpa, the user could obtain information in a more natural way; receive answers to informational questions such as what is the weather today in San Francisco. Additionally and for that moment, Sherpa was the only personal transactional assistant; therefore the user could reserve a flight ticket or make a bank transfer. Sherpa was capable of understanding the natural language and also carry out a great part of users’ interactions with their devices. In addition Sherpa had signed an agreement with key actors, for example PayPal, to allow sending money through the mobile with simple verbal orders2.
Xabier went on achieving successes in his entrepreneurship:
“My dream was always to make something for the final consumer. I saw that Google had become obsolete. Why do I have to write a letter in a searcher and receive loads of links as if it were an interaction with a data base? Why I cannot ask a question and the system goes to Internet and does the work for me? That is to say, that I can get more relevant information and I receive the data I am asking for in a way that is friendlier and intuitively for the user. Not only that. Be able to do more things. Why I cannot do through this assistant 80% of the things I do in my digital life? For example publish something in Facebook, in Twitter, send SMS and e-mails, ask the result of Athletic or make a bank transfer. Sherpa” was all this, Xabier commented.
Gartner. Sherpa: The End of Search as You Know It for CRM. August 2012. La Razón, 8th October 2012.
Deusto Business School
SHERPA: The End of Searches such as we know them Today.
Launching in Spain and Six Month Evolution (6) towards Latin America
A few days after Sherpa´s Beta version was launched in Spain it had attained 100,000 users3. It quickly reached the number 1 of new apps of productivity surpassing Dropbox and other applications. The launching of Sherpa in Spain had an extraordinary coverage in the media. Outlines of the success story were reflected in El Pais, La Vanguardia, La Razón, Europa Press newspapers, RTVE, among others (refer to Annex 1 for a summary of the news).
Sherpa was very well accepted and referenced by experts in the social networks. In fact some users sent feedbacks regarding its use and possible possibilities of improvement (refer to Annex 3). Launching in beta version permitted the company to meet concerns among investors who wanted an immediate launching.
“Silicon Valley investors received us extremely well. I took them a hefty volume with the business plan although they did not even allow me to open it. I had to excite them and they wanted an immediate launching. They were not worried about failures, they would assume them, what they wanted was to see it in operation, and once it was running to launch it in English, Xabier commented.
At the end of year 2012, Xabier began his trips in Latin America to promote the launching of Sherpa in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, among other countries. Interviews in the media were again another important pull for the spread of his communication strategy to build knowledge of the product (public relations).
“Our marketing strategy had three aims: To create...
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