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Apple Sept event, Audio streaming growth, Huawei’s OS push, Google Finance updates, Santander and Credit Suisse onto fintech, Psychological safety, & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$4.8B: Audio streaming revenue generated $4.8B in the first half of the year, up 12% YoY; US premium subscriptions grew 24% to ~72M; ad-supported streaming generated $421M; vinyl album sales generated $232M, up 4% YoY; represents 62% of physical media revenue; vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the 80s

$2B: Baidu is in talks to raise $2B for a biotech unit; the money will be raised over 3 years; the division will focus on AI-based tech to diagnose diseases and find new treatments

$200M: NY-based customer service software company Sprinklr raises $200M at a $2.7B valuation; the firm is also buying $300M in shares from existing investors

$200M: Snyk, which checks open-source libraries and containers for security problems during repository commitment, raises $200M Series D at a $2.6B valuation; founded in 2015, now claims ARR growth of 175% YoY; Snyk has added 100 employees over the past year, bringing the total to 375; plans to hire 100 more over the next year; raised $450M to date

€90M: Netherlands-based fintech firm Mollie raises €90M Series B on a $1B valuation; offers payments APIs to e-commerce companies; has raised ~$136M to date

$60M: Singapore-based fintech startup Thunes raises $60M Series B led by Helios Investment Partners with participation from Checkout.com, GGV Capital; offers cross-border payments services; has raised $70M to date

36M: ByteDance-owned Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) says it has created 36M jobs in China over the last year; the figure relates to content creators who make money from being on the platform, along with their teams; covers both individual influencers and corporate accounts; the Chinese government officially recognizes such jobs, referring to creators as “online marketing professionals”

30%: China-based smartphone firm Oppo is planning to increase device shipments by as much as 30% this year; the company has told suppliers it wants to increase the production of 5G handsets as it seeks to sell 150M units in 2020; most of those devices are aimed at its home market

📰 What’s going on

Slack ($14.6B market cap) FQ2 beats: $215.9M revenue ($209.1M expected); $0.00 EPS (-$0.03 expected); $73M net loss, compared to a $360M loss for the year-earlier period; 130k paid customers, up 30% YoY; the company expects $222M to $225M revenue for FQ3 and $870M to $876M for fiscal 2021

Zoom introduces 2fa for all accounts; users can verify their logins via SMS, phone call, or a third-party authenticator app; rolling out now

Google launches Verified Calls for Android; when a participating authenticated business calls a consumer, the Phone app displays the business name, logo, and reason for calling; businesses can sign up for the program through an official Google partner; initially available in the US, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Spain; Google previously launched Verified SMS

Google launches Business Application Platform, with no-code app development, API management, robotic process automation, and analytics; the no-code development aspect of the platform is based on tech from AppSheet, which Google acquired early this year; the API management aspects include tech from Apigee, which Google acquired in 2016

Google launches Android 11 in general availability; Pixel devices and phones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme can download the update now; Google said partners would upgrade existing devices and launch new Android 11 devices in coming months; adds grouped messaging notifications, new media controls, a new smart home control menu, stricter permissions settings, more. Also launched a Go edition for lower-end devices; available for all devices with up to 2GB of RAM next month

Google Finance announces a redesigned mobile app and web UI; adds a Watchlists feature that lets users group stocks, stats, earnings, and other news; also introduces explaners and descriptions for stats and key terms; rolls out in the coming weeks

Google’s Area 120 incubator launches Fundo: an app enabling online influencers to host paid events and viewers to attend; currently available in the US and Canada, the app handles ticketing and streaming; hosts can create invite links and set events as paid or free

Instagram establishes an equity team, aimed at understanding and tackling bias within product development; Instagram is also seeking its own head of diversity; they will be tasked with hiring and retaining more staff from a diverse cross-section of society; Instagram notes it’s also no longer prioritizing verification for accounts with large follower counts

Facebook is piloting its school-specific Campus feature at 30 colleges in the US: the section, accessible within the main app, features a school-specific News Feed, Groups, events, Campus Chats, more; also features a Campus directory for finding other students

WhatsApp launches new security advisory site for disclosing security vulnerabilities, reveals 6 now-patched flaws; the company said some of the bugs could have been triggered remotely, but it found no evidence of active exploits; WhatsApp said it would update the site’s dashboard ~once a month, but more frequently in active attack cases; the company will also build an archive dating back to 2018

Wired explores how the pandemic-driven shift to remote work has motivated tech companies to change their approach to perks; some are offering free food delivery rather than in-house chefs; some have offered free subscriptions to mental health services and free telemedicine sessions; Electric and Slack have given workers one Friday off per month

Apple announces Sept 15 streaming event; press invites included the phrase “time flies,” likely indicating the company will unveil the next Apple Watch

Apple will start mass-producing its first 5G iPhones in mid-September for an October launch; the company traditionally starts full iPhone production in August for a September launch; Apple has advised its 2020 iPhone lineup will launch a few weeks later than usual

Apple patents a water-ejection system for iPhone; similar to tech used in Apple Watch, the device emits a sound and vibrates to dispel moisture via its speakers; the filing notes it can also get rid of particles of glass and dust

Apple updates its App Store Guidelines, allowing game-streaming services like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud; under the new rules, companies must submit every available title for Apple’s App Review; each title must have its own App Store listing. Microsoft says Apple’s concession to allow game-streaming apps ensures a bad experience for consumers

Microsoft’s upcoming consoles Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will cost $500 and $300 respectively, launching Nov 10: a purportedly leaked commercial shows Xbox Series S will support resolutions of up to 1440p and 120fps; will also offer ray tracing, variable refresh rate, and come with 512GB of storage

Spanish bank Santander spins out its fintech VC division; Mouro Capital (formerly Santander Innoventures) will continue to be overseen by general partner Manuel Silva Martínez and senior adviser Chris Gottschalk; Santander will remain the sole investor in the $400M fund

Credit Suisse says it will launch a digital banking service next month; known as CSX, it will offer a suite of financial services via a mobile app, as well as a physical debit card

Salesforce acquires mobile commerce web app company Mobify; terms undisclosed; Mobify will provide Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud with a customizable storefront solution; customers include Under Armor and Lancome Paris

Huawei announces the second build of its HarmonyOS, and says it will introduce the software to its smartphone lineup; Huawei will start to replace Android with HarmonyOS on its smartphones in 2021; the company has rolled out a beta of the OS, but notes it will initially only work with smartwatches, TVs, and in-car display units; a smartphone SDK will launch in December; it’s also launching an open-source version of HarmonyOS; the OpenHarmony project currently supports devices with 128MB of RAM, but the firm says it will increase to 4GB next April; the platform currently has 490M users and 96k apps; 1.8M app developers are actively creating software for the OS

ByteDance plans to invest billions of dollars in Singapore over the next 3 years; the company has moved a numerous engineers from China to the city-state already, and plans to hire hundreds more people locally; follows reports China-based ByteDance intends to make Singapore its secondary Asia hub

TikTok reveals the mechanics of its machine learning-powered recommendation algorithm; executives also gave reporters a virtual tour of the company’s new transparency center in LA, which allows people to explore how its algorithms and data practices work

India-based food delivery firm Zomato is planning to go public in 2021, having just raised $160M on a $3.3B valuation; CEO Deepinder Goyal has reportedly emailed employees, outlining a plan to IPO in the first half of next year; Goyal says the firm will also look at M&A deals

Walmart is pilot-testing drone deliveries in Fayetteville, NC; the company is using UAVs from Israel-based Flytrex Aviation to deliver groceries and other household goods with a maximum cargo weight of 3Kg; on Sept 15, the company will launch its annual subscription plan Walmart+; last month, the FAA approved Amazon to operate as a drone airline

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

How to find the side door: Startup lessons from RXBar, 5-hour Energy, and more. Guy Raz of How I Built This explores how unorthodox startups created their own categories — and billions of dollars of value — by “taking the side door.” Sometimes the best way to beat the competition and win… is to sidestep competition altogether

Without psychological safety, there is no learning and there is no agility, by Jeff Gothelf. ”Psychologically safe employees are more interested in learning, excellence, and genuinely connecting with others than in looking good”

Inspiring Strong Product Leaders: a conversation between Teresa Torres and Petra Wille. Petra’s work centers around helping product leaders. The people in these roles don’t always come from a product background, so they may need guidance to understand the essentials of product management and what best practices look like in the real world

A startup’s playbook for running impactful virtual offsites; a timely useful guide by Kelsey Mellard and Mike Wang for First Round Review

Inside Twitter’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. HBR explores how Twitter suddenly shifted 5k employees to remote working. The consequences of that shift, what it means for the future of work, workers, and workplaces, are still very much in question

It’s OK to relax. Researchers from the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands found that short-term hedonism (e.g. lying on the couch and eating chips) may be just as important and satisfying as long-term accomplishments. The key is moderation. “The challenge is to find the balance between doing things that provide pleasure in the moment and things that provide pleasure in the long run,” according to co-author Katharina Bernecker. For more reading on this topic, check out The two sides of stress: distress and eustress by Nesslabs (one of my new favourite newsletters).

Now, back to binge-watching Away

🙂 #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

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Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Former product @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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