LinkedIn’s redesign, New Google’s products, Messenger<>Instagram communication, OKRs, Palantir & Asana’s IPOs, Acquisition vs Retention , & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$16.5B: Palantir debuts at $10 per share in NYSE direct listing, giving the company a $16.5B market cap; the exchange previously set a reference price of $7.25; investors valued the firm at $20.4B for a funding round in 2015

$4.4B: Work management and productivity software maker Asana debuts on NYSE via direct listing, jumps 39% to $29 per share, giving the company a $4.4B market value

$3B: Airbnb seeks to raise $3B at IPO; the company announced its confidential filing in August; reportedly plans to make the filing public in November, after the presidential election, and to list in December; the company could achieve a valuation of $30B+

$2.9B: Baidu’s Smart Living Group (SLG) raises an undisclosed amount on a ~$2.9B valuation from; SLG oversees Baidu’s DuerOS smart assistant and related devices

$2.6B: China-based Sina, which owns social media platform Weibo, will be taken private in a ~$2.6B deal; a holding company, led by Sina CEO Charles Chao, will offer ~$43 per share, a 18% premium on its last trading day, July 2; Sina currently trades on the Nasdaq

$2.3B: Shopping platform Allegro raises $2.3B in Warsaw’s largest-ever IPO, which valued the company at $11.2B

$1B: Google announces Google News Showcase, a $1B publisher initiative; Sundar Pichai says the program will solicit high-quality content from an array of publishers, which will be displayed via a card interface on Google News; the company has signed partnerships in multiple countries including Germany, Brazil, and the UK; the feature is launching first on Android, with plans for iOS, Discover, and more over time

$500M: Uber Freight raises $500M for a $3.3B post-valuation; Uber retains majority ownership of the logistics arm; Uber Freight connects truckers with shippers for cargo assignments

$311M: U.K.-based Cazoo, developer of an online platform for buying and financing used cars, has raised £240 million ($311 million) in fresh funding; Cazoo said it has hit revenues of over £100 million since its launch less than a year ago

€258M: France-based fintech firm October raises €258M from unnamed backers; the company is not selling any equity, but instead the investment will be used to directly finance loans to SMEs; October operates in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands

$225M: E-commerce services firm VTEX raises $225M on a $1.7B post-money valuation; VTEX offers online sales solutions to multinational companies including Coca-Cola, Walmart, and others; raised ~$378M to date

$160M: France-based digital marketing firm Sendinblue raises $160M; offers customer acquisition and CRM tools to SMEs; has raised ~$198M to date

$65M: China-based home fitness startup Fiture raises $65M Series A led by Tencent with participation from Sequoia Capital China and others; Fiture is developing a connected smart mirror that offers workout programs

$18M: Braintrust, a marketplace for freelance technical and design gigs, raises $18M Series A; the company charges businesses, but doesn’t take a cut from project payments; Braintrust doesn’t charge freelancers to use the service or to bid on projects

20k: Amazon says ~20k of its US contractors and staff were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1 and Sept 19; represents 1.4% of its overall frontline staff; Amazon says it’s ramping up its in-house coronavirus testing scheme with a goal of 50k testa per day by next month

10: Instagram turns 10 years old

📰 What’s going on

Microsoft signs a strategic partnership with cloud monitoring and security platform Datadog; terms undisclosed; the arrangement will make Datadog’s tools directly available to Azure customers

Twitter expands its voice tweets feature for iOS (currently unavailable for Android or desktop); the company also says it’s adding a transcriptions feature for the audio clips; unclear when the transcriptions tool will roll out

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable display that has a self-healing layer; Apple says the it could automatically remove dents and other minor imperfections over time; the company also posits the idea of using heat to fix the screen; unknown if or when Apple will launch the product

LinkedIn rolls out a redesign of its mobile and desktop apps; introduces integration with Zoom, BlueJeans, and Microsoft Teams; also adds Stories, ephemeral short video clips that are similar to Instagram, Snapchat, and others; LinkedIn’s VP of product Kiran Prasad notes Stories do not include ads, but says the company will add premium features at a later date; stories are currently available in the US and Canada, with plans to expand to more markets over time

Uber has been granted a further 18-month licence in London after an appeal found it was a “fit and proper” to run private hire car services

Google extends Google Meet’s runtime caps for free users until March 31 2021; the firm previously announced meetings would be limited to 60 mins after Sept 30, unless meeting hosts have a premium G Suite account

Google Meet adds a noise reduction feature to its iOS and Android apps; previously available for the desktop, the tool automatically filters out background noise such as keystrokes, pets, and more; G Suite Enterprise for Education also adds an attendance reporting feature for meeting organizers

Google announces Hold for Me: a new Duplex-powered Google Assistant feature that monitors a call to a utility company, customer service, etc; Assistant notifies the user when a human answers the call, but first notifies the agent that Assistant is acting on behalf of the user

Google unveils the new $50 Chromecast featuring Google TV; streams 4K HDR video at up to 60 fps; supports 6.5k apps, as well as live and on-demand TV from 85 networks (US); will support Peacock and Stadia; the new remote features dedicated buttons for YouTube, Hulu, and Google Assistant

Google announces the Pixel 4a 5G at $500; features a 6.2-inch OLED display, Snapdragon 765G CPU, 6GB RAM, and 128 GB storage; unlike the Pixel 5, the 4a 5G features a 3.5mm headphone jack; the device is not water-resistant; now available for pre-order

Google announces the $700 Pixel 5 flagship; runs on the Snapdragon 765G, which is not Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line mobile processor, but includes 5G support; features a 6-inch OLED panel at 2340 x 1080, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage; water-resistant, supports reverse wireless charging

Google announces the $100 Nest Audio smart speaker; the mid-range product replaces Google Home in the lineup, and Google says the successor is 75% louder with 50% stronger bass response; supports smart home control, multi-room audio, etc; available Oct 5, pre-orders now open

Facebook announces Account Center, a centralized location for managing experiences across Facebook-owned apps; for example, Facebook Pay, Single Sign On, and cross-posting; accessible within the Settings sections of Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger

Facebook launches Forecast in general availability; the app crowdsources predictions related to popular topics, such as the outcome of the presidential election and the timing of the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine; users can browse by subject, make predictions, post comments, and share their predictions; requires a Facebook account

Facebook announces cross-communication for Messenger and Instagram, plus new Messenger-like features for the Instagram inbox, including emoji reactions, synced video watching, more; interoperability does not require a Facebook account

Facebook updates Groups with automated moderation, more; the company has made several changes to expand Groups’ reach; for example, Facebook has exposed public group posts to search engines outside of Facebook, will show group recommendations under the Groups tab, and surface public group posts in News Feeds

Amazon launches Explore, a set of premium live-stream virtual experiences; lets users book remote one-on-one city tours, zoo visits, shopping events, and more; video streams are one-way only, so guides cannot see the individual watching; Explore presently offers 86 experiences across 16 countries

Amazon announces Amazon One, biometric tech that lets a customer pay using a scan of their hand; designed for use in brick-and-mortar stores, it links a users’ handprint to their credit card; promises to let users pay for goods as they enter or exit a location; Amazon plans to use the tech in its own stores, as well as offer it to competitors

Amazon to update its Alexa app with Auto Mode in coming weeks; will enable a phone to act as in in-car display for Echo Auto and other Alexa auto accessories; supports voice commands and also offers large buttons for navigation, music playback, more

On-demand mobility company Via acquires Tel Aviv-based Fleetonomy, which provides a solution for managing multiple mobility services across a single fleet; also provides white-label ride-sharing and on-demand mobility solutions; terms undisclosed; Via has raised $587M to date; Fleetonomy previously raised $3M

Quantum computing company IonQ claims to have created the world’s most powerful quantum computer, promising 32% qubits with low gate errors; claims 99.9% fidelity between qubits; IonQ expects customers will need between 80-150 very high fidelity qubits to achieve quantum advantage

ByteDance has filed Chinese trademarks for “ByteCoffee” and “Shafa Yinyuehui,” which translates to “sofa concerts”; the applications are still in process; ByteCoffee is the name of the coffee stand within ByteDance’s Beijing HQ; the firm’s Douyin app (the Chinese version of TikTok) has hosted numerous musical live-stream events during the coronavirus pandemic

The European Commission has established draft rules for the Digital Services Act, would prohibit app stores from banning external payment systems; would also limit the number of apps Apple and Google could preinstall on their devices; a document viewed by Reuters indicated the Act would prohibit large tech companies from using the consumer data they collect to target users unless they shared that data with rivals

An alliance of Indian entrepreneurs is considering whether to launch a Google Play alternative in the country; the collective includes Paytm co-founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, MakeMyTrip CEO Deep Kalra, and others; they are critical of Google’s control of Android, which commands 99% of the Indian smartphone market

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

2020 bundles. Ben at Stratechery offers deep reasoning around how bundles between content and other services are offered through bundling strategies. A great read on the basics of bundling and the economy of components

Product pros. Chris Miles from Product Coalition shares a list of top 25 product professionals active on Medium, while Carlos G de Villaumbrosia from Product School shares his Twitter top 20

Tim Herbig’s guide to OKRs. A complete and updates guide on how to run OKRs in Agile product teams

The importance of storytelling. How PMs can paint a vision with storytelling, by Product Maestro

Frameworks, by Sarah Tavel. While I believe the best frameworks are the ones you create for your particular product needs, this article gives great examples for multiple contexts

Acquisition vs Retention: a shifting landscape. How the growing importance of customer retention is changing Product Management, by Matei Culcer, co-founder of ProdCamp

How Amazon conquered Italy, by NY Times. After several years struggling to gain a foothold in the Italian market, Amazon has gained a strong presence thanks to pasta, wine and inflatable pools

🙂 #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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