Uber launches Work Hub in UK, Facebook’s new calling app, Google’s voice authentication, The virtual economy, Schedule tweets, Outcome-oriented backlogs, more.

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

$70B: China-based Tencent says it will invest ~$70B over the next five years in cloud computing, AI, IoT, cybersecurity, and more; the company’s stock price rose 2.5% on the news; Tencent is primarily known for its WeChat messaging service and its video games operations. Tencent just raised $6B in a bond offering

$4.3B: Fintech firm Marqeta raises $150M on a $4.3B post-money valuation from an undisclosed investor; offers digital payment infrastructure tools to enterprise customers; has raised more than $500M to date

$2B: Microsoft is considering a $2B investment in India-based carrier Reliance Jio Platforms (RJP); Microsoft is looking to purchase as much as 2.5% of RJP; the telco has raised ~$8.5B over the last month

1.7B: Estonia-based ride-hailing firm Bolt raises €100M on a €1.7B post-money valuation from Naya Capital Management; Bolt operates across numerous markets in Europe and Africa; has raised $409M to date

$699: The New York Times profiles Booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel and his actions leading the company during the coronavirus outbreak; Fogel, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March, says the pandemic has been worse than any natural disaster, political coup, or data breach; the company lost $699M in the first quarter of 2020, which compares with $765M profit the year before

$500M: Didi Chuxing’s driverless unit raises more than $500M led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund; represents the largest ever funding deal within the Chinese self-driving industry; Didi spun out the division in 2019

$100M: MasterClass, an education platform with high-profile teachers, raises $100M Series E; 100% of the company’s revenue comes from its $180 annual subscription fee; the company has produced 85 courses; raised $236M to date

$78M: TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin collectively generated the most in-app revenue globally among non-game apps during April; the data does not count income from ads; the ByteDance-owned companies drew $78M last month, 86.6 percent of which came via Douyin

600: Uber lays off 600 staff in India, equal to 25% of its regional workforce, citing the coronavirus pandemic; the cuts impact multiple parts of the business including customer and driver support, marketing, and more; Uber is providing 10 to 12 weeks of severance pay

Uber launches Work Hub in the UK, a service to connect drivers with gig economy roles; available via the driver app, Work Hub lists jobs from third party providers; Uber introduced a similar feature in the US earlier this year

Uber scraps tens of thousands of Jump e-bikes, claiming it would be too complicated to donate them; Uber says the bikes require specialist parts and knowledgeable engineers to maintain them; the company transferred its Jump division to Lime as part of an investment arrangement

Facebook is testing CatchUp, an app for making audio calls with up to eight participants; users can indicate when they’re available for a call; works without a Facebook account; CatchUp was developed by Facebook’s NPE Team, which previously created meme app Whale

YouTube adds YouTube Kids to Apple TV; works with fourth and fifth gen Apple TV devices; parents and guardians must still set viewer restrictions via the YouTube Kids mobile app

Google is testing voice-based authentication for payments made via Google Assistant; some users are seeing a setting within the system’s Voice Match feature, allowing them to use it as a verification method; the feature is currently limited to in-app purchases and restaurant orders

Twitter rolls out the ability to schedule tweets from its web app; the feature is available via a calendar icon at the bottom of the compose window; users can also save drafts, though they do not sync across Twitter’s mobile apps

Apple rolls out macOS 10.15.5 which introduces a new Battery Health Management feature for MacBooks; analyzes the battery health and usage patterns and implements charging limitations to extend the power cell’s life

Apple has acqui-hired Canada-based data science startup Inductiv; terms undisclosed; Inductiv developed ML-powered tools for automatically finding and fixing data errors; the team is now working on Siri’s underlying tech

9to5Mac details the plans Apple has for numerous products, as revealed in the code from a leaked early version of iOS 14; iOS will feature a new home screen that can filter app views; iOS will support bulk setup for the coming AirTag item trackers, which will have user-replaceable batteries; Apple Stores will support AR views for additional product information

Amazon is in talks to acquire driverless tech firm Zoox; the deal reportedly values Zoox at less than $3.2B

Tech M&A reached its highest level since 2015. The so-called ‘Big Five’ (Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft) have already announced 19 deals this year. The surge comes as a once expensive market has rapidly seen prices fall in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

Ola Electric (part of ride-hailing firm Ola) acquires Dutch mobility firm Etergo; terms undisclosed; Etergo offers electric mopeds that feature swappable batteries; raised $22.2M to date

HBO Max launches; the $15 per month service features classic and new content including DC Universe movies, shows from HBO, Cartoon Network, and more. HBO Max is not available on Amazon Fire TV or Roku at launch; the service is supported by Chromecast, Apple TV, as well as some Samsung and Sony smart TVs

VR firm XRSpace announces $600 Mova, a standalone headset it says will launch in Q3; XRSpace is founded by former HTC CEO Peter Chou; the Mova will run on a Snapdragon 845 processor and promises 5G support and hand-tracking; it will also include Manova, an expansive VR world

The Outcome-Oriented Backlog. Nathan Udren walks us through a framework aimed to enable the entire team to understand exactly where user value is being created and what user outcomes are important

The 8 levels of focus for building successful products. Alana Brajdic on how to zoom in and out key focus areas in order to create successful products. “If you’re only looking at the bigger picture, you’ll miss small details causing the issues. If you’re only focused on the small details you won’t see how the work you’re doing fits into the greater system and strategy.”

The virtual economy. Growth in digital game spending is expected to reach $129B by 2020, and about 85% of it comes from microtransactions (spending inside the platforms in the form of virtual goods). Enjoy this masterfully curated and beautifully presented piece by ATELIER.NET

A decade in Product — a retrospective by Martin Eriksson, co-founder of Mind the Product and one of the most notorious voices in present Product Management, at the time of the 10th anniversary of #ProductTank, and his 20th as a Product Manager

The insider story of Houseparty. In the last two months, the video app Houseparty has grown 1600% to become the #1 social app in 82 countries, with hundreds of millions of users. Its success, however, has been many years in the making. Podcast + transcript summary by James Currier, NFX Partner, with Houseparty Founder Ben Rubin

Using Miro to run seamless remote meetings and workshops. While Miro has always been a solution for distributed and remote collaboration, they have enhanced Miro’s real-time and facilitation capabilities to make it easier and more powerful than ever before to run workshops and remote meetings. I have personally attended and led sessions using Miro, and I can strongly recommend it.

The rise of TikTok and understanding its parent company, ByteDance. Turner Novak, Partner at Gelt venture capital fund, wrote a deep dive into how TikTok suddenly became the most culturally significant product in the world. It rode the wave of AirPods and audio memes to over 1 billion daily active users and is now the best way to create and consume short videos on mobile

Product Drive — A free virtual conference with presence by Hotjar, Atlassian, Google, PayPal and more. Monday, June 1, Free

Working Remotely as a PM, with LinkedIn Sr PM Maria Popova, by Product School. Monday, June 1, 20:30 CET, Free

Product Management Live Chat, with Facebook Product Manager Valerio Magliulo, by Product School. Tuesday, June 2, 18:30 CET, Free

Product Management in the 21 Century, with Uber Sr PM Alex Marinov, by Product School. Monday, June 8, 20:30 CET, Free

Additionally, check out this Best Product Conferences in 2020 list put together by Product School

During the upcoming weeks (for as long as the Covid-19 crisis goes on) I will keep dedicating my evenings to offer free consultation / advice / coaching / casual chats to any impacted professionals that would like to reach out. Don’t be a stranger, reach out by DM if you are interested, and let’s help each other. We are all humans after all, and we are all on the same boat

el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.