el producto #146 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness
Q3 results, Facebook News, Success in B2B products, New MacBook Pro, Huawei growth, Softbank eats WeWork, NPS issues & more.
Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.
🎰 The week in figures
$6.2B: Data science and engineering company Databricks raises $400M Series F at a $6.2B valuation led by A16Z with participation from Microsoft, BlackRock, NEA, others; clients include Hotels.com, Riot Games, and Cisco.
$5B: SoftBank will invest $5B in The We Company, plus spend additional $3B on share buybacks; SoftBank is set to take control of ~80% of the firm; SoftBank exec Marcelo Claure becomes chairman.
$1.7B: WeWork Co-Founder Adam Neumann will leave the company with $1.7B as part of SoftBank’s takeover.
$1B: Instabase, a development platform for business automation apps, raises $105M Series B for a $1B-plus post-valuation from A16Z, Greylock, NEA, others; aims to simplify business app development and operates an app marketplace.
$300M: Mobility firm Lime is set to record losses of ~$300M on revenue of $420M this year; the losses are linked to the depreciation of scooters, as well as the cost of running storage and maintenance facilities.
200M: Huawei says it has shipped 200M smartphones so far this year, roughly the same number it achieved for the whole of 2018; the firm is currently 2nd behind Samsung as the world’s largest phone manufacturer by volume.
📰 What’s going on
Amazon acquires healthtech startup Health Navigator; Health Navigator offers APIs for digital healthcare services; it will be rolled into Amazon Care, the company’s health program for employees.
Apple TV launches as an app for some Amazon Fire TV devices; now available on Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick HD, with support for third-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Cube expected soon; follows the launch of Apple TV on some Roku and Samsung TV devices.
Apple is set to launch a 16-inch MacBook Pro with a new keyboard design later this month; the device will reportedly include thinner bezels in comparison to other Pro models; some reports suggest it could cost ~$3k.
Google says it’s using natural language processing (NLP) tools to improve English-language search results in the US by as much as 10%; the company has developed an AI-powered system known as BERT to better understand the relationships between words
Google publishes a research paper providing details of its claim to have achieved quantum supremacy; Google says it used Sycamore, a 53-bit quantum computer, to perform a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10k years to complete. IBM says Sycamore shows progress in the field of quantum computing, but argues Google has not achieved actual quantum supremacy; IBM also says non-quantum tech could perform the calculation in as little as 2.5 days “with far greater fidelity”.
Google hires former Microsoft exec Javier Soltero as VP of G Suite; Soltero previously served as head of strategy for Microsoft Office and oversaw Cortana for enterprise; he left Microsoft last year following an internal reorganization.
BBC News launches a dark web version of its international website, available via Tor browser; the BBC notes its intended to circumvent national censorship efforts; the BBC notes countries such as China and Vietnam do not allow direct access to its online content.
Facebook launches Facebook News for 200k users in the US; available via Facebook’s mobile apps, the dedicated news tab features stories curated by a team of journalists, personalized recommendations, topics, and more; Facebook has reportedly signed content deals with ABC News, NBC News, Condé Nast, The Washington Post, and others; Facebook is also in talks with The New York Times, but a deal is yet to be agreed.
SAP signs a three-year partnership with Microsoft to help businesses transition to cloud services; terms undisclosed; known as Embrace, the joint effort combines Azure servers with SAP database tools; as part of the arrangement, Microsoft will offer SAP software direct to business customers.
Web host and design tools company Squarespace acquires social media content creation company Unfold; Squarespace previously launched an email marketing product and acquired an online scheduling tool; Unfold adds storytelling templates for various social networks.
Cloud automation firm ServiceNow names Bill McDermott as CEO; McDermott recently stepped down as CEO of SAP; at ServiceNow he will replace outgoing CEO John Donahoe, who himself is leaving to become head of Nike.
Huawei opens pre-orders for its 5G Mate X foldable smartphone in China; features a flexible OLED panel that can be unfolded to an 8-inch tablet; the device starts at $2.4k, shipping begins Nov 15.
TikTok launches a learning program in India, partnering with local creators and edtech companies to produce educational videos for the platform; clips cover, science, math, and foreign languages; some videos feature motivational talks and information on mental and overall health; TikTok claims 200M users in India.
Elon Musk says it’s possible Tesla could release a full version of its self-driving tech by the end of next year; Musk noted it would be a limited beta launch (timetable is not set); the company’s Smart Summon feature has been used more than 1M times since it launched late last month.
💸 Q3 results
Twitter ($30B market cap) Q3 misses: $824M revenue, up 9% YoY ($874M expected); 145M DAUs, up 17% YoY; the company projects revenue of $940M to $1.1B for Q4.
Microsoft ($1T market cap) Q3 beats: $33B revenue, up 14% YoY ($32.2B expected); the company’s Azure unit revenue up 59% YoY; the company anticipates Q4 revenue of $35.1B to $36B.
Amazon Q3 mixed: $70B revenue, up 24% YoY ($68.8B expected); the company says it spent more than $800M to expand its Prime one-day delivery service, noting it expects to spend an additional $1.5B through Q4; projects Q4 revenue of $80B to $86.5B ($87.4B expected); Amazon’s shares fell 9% in after-hours trading.
Snap ($19.3B market cap) Q3 beats: $446M revenue, up 50% YoY ($435M expected); 210M DAUs, up 13% YoY (207M expected); $2.12 ARPU ($2.10 expected).
👩🏾💻 Good reads
How the difference between traction and distraction could transform your productivity. Nir Eyal walks us through some of the key topics in his new book: Indistractable.
Where NPS goes wrong. HBR survey revealed that 52% of all people who actively discouraged others from using a brand had also actively recommended it. And across the NPS scale, they found consumers who had both actively promoted and actively criticized the same brand.
#mtpcon London 2019 lessons, by Mind the Product.
Secrets to a more successful B2B Product approach, by Google PM David LeDonne.