I built a Chatbot in 2 hours and this is what I learned

This article was written by Shival Gupta.

We spend about 5 hours on our smartphones every day as per this study from Flurry. Not only is this statistic surprising in its own right, about 65% of this time is spent on communication related activities like social media, texting, emailing and phone calls. That’s 3 hours and 15 minutes. Every. Single. Day.

What it means is that the tables have turned at an angle acute. The mobile app that you were building for your kickass startup idea? It’s going to compete with millions of other apps for just 35% of the user’s daily attention. And not to forget the discovery costs associated with it.

So if you’re not going to make an app, what are you going to do? You have to setup your business, right? Most experts believe that the evolution of apps are chatbots that live inside the app. They extend the functionality of bigger platforms like Facebook or Telegram and user doesn’t need to install an extra app on their phone. Win win for both parties. Except for the developer, maybe. My personal suspicion in this play was two fold:

  • Building a bot is useless from a business perspective
  • Building bots is crazy tough from an engineering perspective.

To get to the bottom of this conundrum, I started some research. It took me around one month of passive reading, talking with experts, tinkering with toolkits, and procrastinating to finally coding a functional bot in about 2 hours. This journey is my quest to find if both my suspicions were valid and having some fun doing it.

The Journey Begins:

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I built a Chatbot in 2 hours and this is what I learned