el producto #125 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Uber’s first public results, Google Lens updates, iOS 13 preview, In-flight 5G, Product briefs, Quant data isn’t enough, Product career ladder,…
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.
🎰 The week in figures
$20B - Alibaba is considering to raise via a second public listing; the company plans to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange this year; raised $25B when it launched on the New York Stock exchange in 2014.
$7–8B - target valuation by free stock trading Robinhood, raising $200M-plus from existing investors; sources said a $10B valuation is possible for a subsequent round.
$3.1B - quarterly revenue reported by Uber in its first earnings statement as a public company; up 20% YoY; lost $1B, matching the company’s forecast; Uber saw a 35% increase in costs for the quarter, largely due to IPO preparations; $14.6B gross bookings, up 34% YoY.
100M - Youtube subscribers reached by India-based entertainment platform T-Series; becomes the first YouTube channel to pass the milestone; the channel offers Bollywood-related content.
50k - commercial rides operated by Lyft’s 30-vehicle autonomous fleet in Las Vegas one year after launch, making it the largest such service in the US; 95% of riders reported it was their first autonomous ride; the average user rating was 4.97 stars; Lyft operates in partnership with Dublin-based Aptiv.
📰 What’s going on
Google updates computer vision product Lens with filters for dining; Lens can highlight popular items on a restaurant menu, translate dish names, and split bills based on camera input; also pulls restaurant information and photos from Google Maps.
Google announces new privacy rules for Chrome and Drive add-ons from third parties; will limit Chrome extension access to the minimum required for operation; will prohibit apps that connect to Google Drive from accessing any non-app data; the changes are the result of Google’s Project Strobe audit of third-party services.
Gmail’s confidential mode will roll out to G Suite users from June 25; previously available to regular Gmail users, the feature lets senders restrict access to messages; the feature must be enabled by G Suite admins.
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn acquires CA-based user analytics firm Drawbridge; offers AI-powered enterprise tools to help better understand their customers.
Microsoft VP Nick Parker indicates the company is working on an always-updated OS; speaking at Computex, Parker notes new devices will require a “modern OS” featuring passive background updates; he also says it should work with 5G and support various input methods including touch, pen, voice, and gaze; it’s unclear whether the OS is Windows-based.
TikTok-owner Bytedance says it has plans to produce consumer hardware; full details unclear, but the company will focus on educational products; follows a report the company is developing a smartphone.
Apple is set to add dual Bluetooth support to the next iPhone; will let users send audio to 2 separate Bluetooth devices simultaneously; iOS devices can currently connect to multiple speakers via AirPlay 2.
Apple plans to drop 3D Touch functionality for its 2019 iPhone lineup; the company is expected to remove the feature to reduce production costs.
Purported iOS v13 screenshots reveal system-wide Dark Mode; individual apps, including Music, feature a true black background, indicating potential battery savings; also features a redesigned Reminders app; Find My Friends and Find My iPhone are unified in a new app called Find My; Apple is expected to unveil its new OS lineup next week at WWDC.
Apple hires Chiara Cipriani to serve as a director of video services in London; Cipriani was previously VP of Disney+ International; Bloomberg suggests Apple is building out for an international Apple TV+ launch.
Numerous iPhone apps use background refresh to send user data to research and marketing firms; apps such as Microsoft OneDrive, Spotify, and the Weather Channel use cookie-like tracking tools to collect and transmit usage data to external servers, even if the apps aren’t in use.
Netflix is raising its prices for UK customers; the standard plan increases from £8/month to £9; premium from £10 to £12; the basic package remains the same at £6; represents the first price increase for British users since 2017.
Uber announces it will deactivate riders with significantly low ratings from drivers; drivers have always been held to high rating standards; going forward, Uber will warn low-rated riders and provide tips for improving scores; the company will ban those who don’t improve.
Amazon rolls out Announcements intercom feature to all certified Alexa products; previously limited to Echo devices; enables a user to broadcast a message, via voice command, to all Alexa devices on a given network.
Foursquare acquires Snap’s ad impact service Placed; the service lets marketers gauge how well ads have worked by tracking footfall at physical locations; Foursquare will combine it with its similar Attribution product and brand the service Placed by Foursquare.
Salesforce announces a blockchain platform; Salesforce Blockchain is based on Hyperledger Sawtooth and is designed to let users create and maintain distributed apps, smart contracts, and more.
Intuit ($64.3B market cap) acquires analytics firm Origami Logic; terms undisclosed; the company offers cloud-based data tools for marketing firms.
In-flight Wi-Fi firm Gogo announces plans for a 5G service launching in 2021; the company says it will add 5G transmitters to its existing ground-to-air masts; will be available for flights within North America.
Commuters in London will soon be able to use Apple Pay on Underground and bus terminals without having first to authenticate each transaction; exact launch date is yet to be decided; known as Apple Pay Express Transit, the feature is already available for some other mass transit systems including Japan’s Suica cards and the soon-to-launch OMNY network in New York City.
Portland to pilot test Sidewalk Labs’ Replica software, which collects de-identified mobile location data to create simulations of people’s movements through the city; provides insights on the impact of ride-shares on congestion, how cyclists are using designated trails, more.
Tesla opens pre-orders for China-produced Model 3; Tesla will sell the cars locally, with the cheapest model starting at ~$48k, 13%cheaper than the current imported version.
BG (iOS) lets users remove the background of an image with a single tap; also includes tools for changing the background, adding filters, and more.
Status quo is the greatest competitor you’ve ever met. A VC opinion on a frequent startup pitfall, led by ignoring this simple question: what happens if we do nothing?
Why quantitative data isn’t enough. A former Facebook data scientist’s opinion on why qualitative research is often necessary to unveil the nitty gritty of quantitative output.
Product briefs. What are they and how to write them. When it comes to complex products or features, I’ve been using a similar format for a while. I believe its main benefit is well pointed out in this article “The product brief isn’t just a document. It’s part of a broader process to flesh out ideas. One of the most powerful benefits of creating a product brief is that it allows you to apply critical thinking from the very beginning.”
The Product Leadership career ladder. Rich Mironov has surveyed several product leaders in order to find out what questions and concerns they had while stepping up in responsibilities, and what is appreciated about leadership roles.
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