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Q&A with Sharesight Alexa Skill developer - Russell Dear

by David Olsen, Content Manager, Sharesight

Recently Russell Dear, a Senior Developer at Xero (and a Sharesight client) reached out to us in a personal capacity to ask whether he could develop an Amazon Alexa Skill for Sharesight using our API. We love opportunities to expand the Sharesight ecosystem and thought it would be great to allow Sharesight clients to check their investment portfolio performance using Amazon Alexa voice commands.

featured - Sharesight API Russell Dear

If you own an Amazon Alexa device (such as the Echo) – it’s easy to add the skill to your device and connect your Sharesight account – read the Sharesight Alexa Skill blog for details.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/embed/1IGz_7Sgj-8?rel=0

After Russell developed the Sharesight Alexa Skill we asked him a few questions about his experience and wanted to share his answers with you:

Why did you build the Alexa Skill?

I started using Sharesight near the end of last year on the recommendation of a couple of friends. I found it a useful way to get aggregated information across the different investment services I was using. I had also recently bought an Echo Dot, and had been mucking around with their skill creation process. I thought it’d be cool to be able to get my portfolio details read out to me each morning over breakfast, and I had some spare time during the Christmas holidays, so I gave it a go.

What are some other Alexa Skills you’ve built (if any)?

I’ve made a skill to find out what time the next train leaves from a given station in Wellington, which I use as I’m leaving in the morning to find out whether I need to run to catch it; and I’ve made one to help figure out what to have for dinner given an ingredient from the fridge.

How did you find working with the Sharesight API?

The Sharesight API was great to work with. The OAuth configuration process worked seamlessly with Amazon’s account linking process, and the reference docs were clear and easy to understand.

Should the Alexa Skill work in all English markets?

Yes, the skill has been registered to work in all of the English-speaking markets in which Amazon sells Alexa products. I’ll add in future languages as they become available.

What are your thoughts on Sharesight?

It’s a useful way to get aggregated information across the different investment services I use - Sharesies, InvestNow, and ASB Securities. I was looking for some kind of tracking solution and it was important to me that it covered all of the instruments I’d invested in. Sharesight had the ETFs and Vanguard funds I was looking for, as well good tracking & graphs. A nice API to play with is a bonus, obviously.

How long have you been using Sharesight?

I’ve been using Sharesight since November last year - which, not coincidentally, is the same time I started looking seriously at investing.

Have you connected Sharesight to Xero? If so, what are your thoughts on the integration?

I have - I’m a little bit biased, obviously, but I think it works nicely. I make a trade, and the purchase shows up in my Xero account ready for reconciliation. Easy!

Would you like to create an app like this using the Sharesight API?

Sharesight maintains both the Sharesight Connect and Sharesight User APIs and we encourage you to connect using these APIs in new and innovative ways. Please send us an email (sales@sharesight.com) so we can grant you access to our test environment free of charge and talk further on how you’d like to build on the Sharesight ecosystem.

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