An Interview with Josh Bocanegra of Persona
We had an opportunity to interview Josh Bocanegra, the co-founder of Persona, who will be participating on our User Engagement and Acquisition panel at SuperBot 2018.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve been a tech entrepreneur for about 12 years now. I started my first profitable business as a music producer when I was 16. It was a music production marketplace that would eventually land one of the instrumentals I produced with Universal Records, and create passive income through its subscription model.
I eventually moved on from music and spent most of my early 20s learning web development and digital marketing. After building a few startups, I moved from New York to California to look for opportunities in the tech scene.
Over the past 6 years, I’ve built the relationships that have brought me the influential clients I have at Persona today, which ironically have lead me back to the music industry, but from a tech position.
I started Persona to build chatbots for major music artists, but expanded to celebrities in general. Our biggest client to date is Katy Perry.
What got you interested in chat bots?
After building a demo chatbot of Selena Gomez for my daughter, I quickly realized its potential. I wrote about what I learned and what made me excited about chatbots on VentureBeat.
You built a number of bots for celebrities and fictional characters. How did those come about – did they approach you or did you approach them?
We’ve approached all of our celebrity clients except for Katy Perry. Facebook reached out to Katy’s team and then forwarded them to us.
Living in Hollywood has offered an advantage because sometimes I’ll just network with a celebrity themselves or someone who knows them at a party. My co-founder, Christina Milian, is a celebrity herself and has made introductions to celebs who are her friends, who would then introduce us to their friends and so on.
How do you create the “voice” or personality for these characters?
I just analyze their speaking style on social media. Sometimes, if the celebrity doesn’t post much in their Instagram captions, or offer much text-based status updates on Facebook or Twitter, I’ll watch video interviews of them. Other times, I’ll meet with the celebrity in person, like I have with Snoop Dogg, Kehlani, Karrueche and a few others.
I speak about this more in depth in my interview with Chatbots Magazine.
What tips do you have for developers or brands interested in chat bots?
For developers, when building any business, you should first look at the resources you have (beyond your skill set) and then build a company around that. For brands, don’t build a chatbot just to sell products, use it to create fun and interesting experiences for potential customers. The fastest and most efficient way to do that is by partnering with a chatbot agency. We help brands connect with our celebrities to expand their reach on Messenger and create experiences for their own bots as well.
Register for Super Bot
To hear more from Josh as well as learn from and share with other industry experts, register to attend Super Bot 2018.