Uber Q2 results, TikTok and WeChat US ban, Grab and Google financial products, On burnout, Roadmap templates, Measuring to learn, more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$4.6B: Blackstone Group to acquire Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion. Ancestry.com is the world’s largest provider of DNA services, allowing customers to trace their genealogy and use at-home tests to identify genetic health risks

$1.7B: Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, has secured $1.78 billion in new funding from a long list of venture, strategic and private-equity backers. The figure includes $250 million the Cary, North Carolina-based company raised from Sony last month, and brings Epic’s valuation to $17.3 billion

$1.35B: Rippling, which makes human resource management easier with software, raised $145 million led by Founders Fund. The company’s new valuation of ~$1.35 billion represents a 5x increase from April 2019. Rippling automates payroll and manages software tools that new employees need, and it keeps all of those updated as employees get promoted, change groups, or leave

$200M: Southeast Asian ride-hailing leader Grab is raising $200 million from South Korea’s Stic Investments. The Singapore-based company is among the most richly financed tech startups in the region, having raised more than $10B to date

$80M: Intuit acquires Singapore-based inventory and order management firm TradeGecko; terms undisclosed, though sources say the deal is worth more than $80M; Intuit will integrate TradeGecko with its Quickbooks product

60M: Disney+ now has more than 60M subscribers, up from 54.6M in May; the company included the figure as part of its Q3 earnings; it also disclosed a YoY revenue drop of 42%, linked to the coronavirus pandemic

59%: the Nasdaq index hit a new high Monday. The tech-heavy index has surged 59% from its March lows, and 20% year-to-date. Some of the bigger risers since March:

  • Amazon +86%
  • Apple +94%
  • Microsoft +60%
  • Facebook +73%
  • Google +41%

-29%: Uber ($69.6B market cap) Q2 earnings mixed: $2.2B revenue, down 29% YoY ($2.2B expected); $1.02 loss per share ($0.86 expected); $3B rides gross bookings, $3.5B expected; $7B Uber Eats gross orders ($6.6B expected)

📰 What’s going on

Singapore-based Grab launches a suite of consumer-focused financial products; includes a micro-investments tool, loan offerings, and more; all are available via the company’s main app

Uber ($57.9B market cap) acquires UK-based SaaS firm Autocab; terms undisclosed; Autocab provides booking and dispatch tools; will let Uber customers book rides with local taxi firms in markets that the company doesn’t already serve

Uber may launch a full taxi cab service in parts of Mexico where its ride-hailing operations are not permitted; additionally, several taxi drivers in Colombia say the company has approached them about the possibility of such an operation; the firm has previously established similar services in Madrid, Athens, and Tokyo

WhatsApp adds a tool to let users search for info on frequently forwarded messages; the app will show a magnifying glass icon alongside content that has been forwarded more than five times; tapping the graphic launches a web search; rolling out now to users in the US, UK, Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, and Spain

Facebook opened up applications for its accelerator Commerce to European, Middle Eastern, and African startups developing platforms to bridge online and offline shopping. 30 companies will be accepted to the 12-week, all-virtual program, which takes no equity but brings participants into the Facebook global alumni network

Google signs partnerships with multiple banks as it prepares to offer banking services to Google Pay users; the company includes Bank Mobile, BBVA USA, BMO, and others; Google previously secured agreements with Citi and SFCU; Google will offer customer-facing services, but the accounts themselves will be handled by FDIC-backed institutions; to launch in 2021

Google Play Music will start shutting down in September: the service will first be revoked for users in New Zealand and South Africa, with all other regions beginning to close in October; it will go offline completely by the end of the year; users are being transferred to YouTube Music

Google is working on a foldable Pixel device as well as a Pixel 5a, according to a leaked internal doc; details and specs of the devices are unknown; Google France inadvertently reveals the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order in the country on Oct 8; the date was briefly included in a blog post announcing the devices alongside the Pixel 4a

Microsoft stops testing its xCloud game streaming service on iOS devices; due to Apple’s policies, Microsoft could only offer the beta to 10k users, all of whom were only able to access “Halo: The Master Chief Collection”; Microsoft previously announced xCloud will launch for Android devices on Sept 15

ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming says the White House would rather ban TikTok than force it into a sale; in a note to employees, Zhang calls pressure to sell “unreasonable,” but says ByteDance has no choice. The Chinese government can prevent Microsoft from acquiring TikTok, says state-backed news outlet China Daily; the editorial says China will not allow the White House to orchestrate such a deal, noting it has “plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab”

Trump signs an executive order banning all transactions with ByteDance and Tencent from Sept 20; ByteDance owns TikTok and Tencent is the parent firm of WeChat; claims the China-based companies are national security threats; Trump’s order could face legal challenges on the basis it restricts free speech; First Amendment experts might claim the apps are “content,” which is usually considered constitutionally protected speech. TikTok says it will “pursue all remedies,” saying it wants to ensure it and its users receive fair treatment; TikTok claims it has tried to work with the Trump administration to address its concerns, but says the White House has “paid no attention to facts” and “tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses”; Tencent’s share price dropped more than 10% on the news.

Meanwhile, several companies are taking their shot by cloning TikTok

Apple will launch this year’s iPhones in two stages; a 6.1-inch iPhone will be available first, with 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models to follow; Apple advised its 2020 iPhone lineup will arrive a few weeks later than previous releases

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Four types of dependencies that kill startups. A well-run startup is hyper-focused on a specific customer problem. However, dependencies appear, they come in many forms and they all create a lack of agility that creates a crack for startups to maneuver in. Sean Sullivan, PM Consultant at Product Stride summarizes four types of dependencies and advices to “(1) minimize dependencies whenever possible and (2) actively manage those that you do have”

Increasing the velocity of value delivery. William Eisner on how you can get better results by focusing on causes, not symptoms. “You will solve productivity problems by enabling the team to do well and by taking care of them, not by blaming them or demotivating them”

The Product-Market-Fit continuum. The question is not, “Does the company have product/market fit or not?” The more appropriate question is, “What’s the strength of the company’s product/market fit?” Richard Prucell, Advisor to early stage startups to help strengthen Product/market fit, creates a scoring system for measuring the strength of a company’s Product/market fit and explains how the score can be used

Jeff Bezos’ speech to congress transcript analysis— a must-read in entrepreneurship, leadership, value-creation, invention, immigration, philanthropy, environmental stewardship

The future of work: two interesting articles published last few days on: 1) The hustle economyhow platform like OnlyFans and Patreon are booming in the middle of employment crisis, and 2) Unbundling work from employment: on the massive opportunity for digital platforms that lower the barriers to micro-entrepreneurship to support the growth of these workers, in whichever directions they seek

Hospitality industry turns to tech to lure guests back. A key on your phone, voice-activated digital assistants that can order fresh towels, electrostatic sprayers — hotels are piling on tech workarounds to keep guests safe from Covid-19

Measuring to learn vs measuring to control — a 5 minute talk (and transcript) with Janna Bastow and John Cutler on the importance of learning, being open to challenge and refining when it comes to measuring

5 Product Roadmap templates (on Asana, Aha, and other tools), by Product School

On burnout. Steve Blank tells his very personal story handling burnout

🙂 #alwaysbekind

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

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

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