el producto #212

Angel Jaime
10 min readJan 30, 2021


Facebook’s newsletters tools, Google redesigning Search, Empathy mapping, Culture of ownership, Reddit vs Wall Street, Big Tech Q4 results, Tesla Model S redesigned & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto

🎰 The week in figures

$37B: TikTok owner ByteDance generated $37B in revenue last year, more than double its 2019 revenue; ad sales reportedly offset the impact of a TikTok ban in India and US attempts to block the app; ByteDance reportedly generated $7B in operating profit in 2020, up from ~$4B in 2019

$5.4B: China-based short video app Kuaishou plans to raise as much as ~$5.4B via an IPO scheduled for Feb 5; Kuaishou is a direct rival to ByteDance-owned Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok); claims 481.4M monthly active users; Kuaishou’s listing could see it valued at more than $60B; investor demand for orders has already exceeded supply; the company is set to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange

$3.4B: Poland-based e-commerce parcel locker company InPost debuts on the Euronext exchange, shareholders raise $3.4B; the company did not raise any funds; the 35% float valued the firm at ~$9.7B; represents the biggest debut on a European exchange since Oct 2018

$1.5B: Didi Chuxing is close to raising $1.5B for its on-demand trucking division Didi Freight; and Didi Chuxing’s autonomous driving subsidiary raised $300M; Didi has been testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, and CA

$1.2B: SAP ($160B market cap) acquires Berlin-based business process automation company Signavio; terms undisclosed but Bloomberg previously reported the deal could be worth $1.2B; SAP announced its own Intelligent Robotic Process Automation offering in December; Signavio previously raised $230M

$1B: Tim Cook says Apple has an active iPhone install base of more than 1B; Cook also notes China has been strong for the company; he says 2/3 top-selling smartphones in urban China are iPhone models; Cook also says Apple has run into some supply constraints, noting “semiconductors are very tight”. Apple was the top smartphone maker by global shipments in Q4 2020; the company shipped an estimated 82M iPhones during the quarter; compares with Samsung, which shipped 62M devices; Huawei ranked sixth, having seen its shipments fall by 41% YoY

$700M: Workday ($55B market cap), which provides SaaS solutions for HR and financial management, acquires Danish employee success platform Peakon for $700M in cash; Workday said the deal would enable the company to offer clients a continuous listening platform, providing real-time visibility into worker productivity and sentiment

$700M: Beijing-based enterprise AI company 4Paradigm raises $700M Series D; provides clients with tools for running complex algorithms, developing apps, more; the company raised $230M in April for a $2B valuation; CEO Dai Wenyuan said in August he was considering a listing on Shanghai’s STAR Market early in 2021

$350M: Appointment scheduling software company Calendly raises $350M for a $3B-plus valuation; the freemium SaaS enables users to manage their schedules, and clients to book appointments; Calendly syncs with other calendars, like Outlook; before this round, the company had raised $550k

$350M: Wolt, a Finland-based online ordering and delivery platform, raises $530M; the company offers logistics tools to restaurants, grocery chains, and more; has raised $856M to date

$300M: Vimeo raises $300M on a $5B post-money valuation; follows a $150M raise in November 2020

$200M: Hong Kong-based travel platform Klook raises $200M Series E; Klook offers booking tools to activities firms across Asia; has raised $720M to date

$180M: Email delivery and analytics platform SparkPost raises $180M; serves enterprises, providing real-time data on bounce rates, spam traps, more; also offers insights on engagement, etc; raised $274M to date

$150M: China-based driverless tech firm Uisee raises ~$150M; Uisee is developing autonomous systems for other companies; partners include Dongfeng Motor, Hong Kong International Airport, and more

$100M: Audio social network Clubhouse raised ~$100M on a $1B post-money valuation in its Series B; the company has not disclosed figures, but the round was led by Andreessen Horowitz; it’s reportedly raised ~$200M to date; Clubhouse claims 2M users

€49M: France-based fintech startup Alma €49M Series B; the company has also secured a €21M credit line; Alma offers an installments-based payments platform aimed at high-end merchants; has raised ~$73M to date

$48M: Scalapay, which offers zero-interest installment plans at e-commerce checkouts, raises $48M seed; the company is adding 50 engineers and plans expansion in Australian, European, and US markets

185: Uber lays off ~185 workers from its Postmates division, including most of Postmates’ executive team; the cuts impact 15% of the Postmates staff; Uber reportedly is working to merge Postmates operations with Eats’ infrastructure, but will maintain the Postmates brand; Uber reportedly also plans to spin out robotic delivery unit Postmates X; Uber acquired Postmates for $2.65B last summer

📈 Q4 financials

Apple ($2.39T market cap) FQ1 beats: $111.44B revenue ($103.28B expected); $1.68 EPS ($1.41 expected); $65.6B iPhone revenue; $8.68B Mac revenue; $8.44B iPad revenue; $12.97B revenue from other products; $15.76B services revenue, up 24% YoY; 39.8% gross margin; Tim Cook noted that pandemic-related retail store closures impacted sales

Facebook ($775B market cap) Q4 beats: $28.07B revenue ($26.44B expected); $3.88 EPS ($3.22 expected); $10.14 average revenue per user ($9.49 expected); 1.84B DAU, 2.8B MAU; 3.3B MAU across the company’s family of apps; Facebook announced it would repurchase up to $25B of stock

Microsoft ($1.76T market cap) FQ2 beats: $43B revenue, up 17% YoY ($40.2B expected); $2.03 EPS (adjusted, $1.64 expected); $14.6B Intelligent Cloud revenue, up 23% YoY; $15.12B Personal Computing revenue, up 14%; $13.35B Productivity and Business Processes revenue, up 13%

Tesla ($819B market cap) Q4 mixed: $10.74B revenue ($10.4B expected); $0.80 EPS (adjusted, $1.03 expected); the company produced ~510k vehicles during 2020 and delivered 499,550 — shy of the firm’s 500k delivery guidance but a new Tesla record; Tesla’s stock has more than doubled in value since the firm’s Q3 earnings call in October

Samsung ($501.7B market cap) FQ4 mixed: ~$55B revenue, up 3% YoY; ~$8.2B profit, up 26% YoY; mobile sales down 11% YoY

📰 What’s going on

Google is redesigning search results on mobile to reduce clutter and make it easier to rapidly scan the page; the company said the new design would intentionally use color to highlight information, and feature larger, bolder text

WhatsApp adds biometric authentication when activating its desktop and web apps; users can opt to confirm linked accounts using their smartphone fingerprint reader or face recognition system; WhatsApp has offered validation via QR codes for some time

Facebook News launches in the UK; represents the news tab’s first market outside the US; Facebook News provides users with curated stories from select publications; features content from organizations such as Channel 4 News, the Financial Times, The Guardian, and more

Facebook is developing tools to help writers establish build and manage newsletters; the company’s plans are still at an early stage, but it’s thought Facebook could offer Substack-like features for building and connecting with reader lists; the eventual product is set to be overseen by Facebook’s Journalism Project

Apple releases iOS 14.4, addressing three vulnerabilities potentially under active attack; the company did not release relevant details, except that bugs impacted WebKit and the iOS Kernel

Apple launches “Time to Walk” for Watch and Fitness+, offering ~45-minute audio episodes of influential or otherwise interesting people telling stories as they walk in places that are meaningful to them; the four launch episodes include Dolly Parton and Draymond Green

Twitter makes its full tweet archive freely available for select academic researchers and developers; those approved for the academic research track can access 10M tweets per month; the company hopes to enable new study in platform trends and online discourse

Twitter launches a standalone text editor API for use in iOS apps; the open source tool is based on Twitter’s own text editor; the company says it has a robust set of features including syntax highlighting, text content filtering, support for bidirectional scripts, and more

Twitter unveils Birdwatch, a forum in which users discuss tweets potentially containing or linking to misinformation or disinformation; initially limited to a small group of ID-verified accounts; the company plans to roll the feature out more broadly, enabling users to flag tweets for discussion or click through an already flagged tweet to contribute or read comments and supporting evidence

Twitter acquires Netherlands-based newsletter platform Revue; terms undisclosed; the service lets users create, manage, and send email newsletters, with support for monetization, and more; Revue will remain a standalone brand; has raised ~$400k to date

Amazon’s Alexa adds the ability to turn off lights and other connected devices without user interaction; Alexa has been able to suggest such actions based on a user’s habits since 2018, but with the update the smart assistant can now complete tasks proactively; additionally, the company has launched an energy dashboard within the Alexa app that can display consumption for connected devices (where supported); Amazon is also rolling out its $5 per month Guard Plus home monitoring feature in the US

Telegram adds a feature to its iOS and Android apps to let users migrate chat histories from WhatsApp, Line, or KakaoTalk; the Android app also features improved animations throughout

YouTube introduces Clips, an experimental feature that lets creators share 5 to 60 second snippets from their live-streams and uploaded videos; currently available to select users, Clips lets users skim through their videos then select a segment that can be shared via social platforms; works via a desktop browser and YouTube’s Android app; coming to iOS soon

Google, Microsoft, and other tech firms launch Open Web Docs, a documentation platform for web developers and designers; the coalition plans to fund, coordinate, and contribute to the Mozilla-founded MDN Web Docs, which browser makers agreed to use for official Web API documentation in 2017, rather than replace it; Mozilla laid off 250 last summer, including many on the MDN Web Docs staff

Coinbase formally announces plans to go public via direct listing; the company revealed in December it had confidentially filed a draft registration; Co-Founder Fred Ehrsam previously said the company was spiritually built to go public through a blockchain-related offering

Tesla unveils a redesigned Model S with simplified interior, refreshed exterior, and an option for a 520-mile range; features a new touch display, similar to that of the Model 3 and Model Y; also adds a new screen for backseat passengers; retains the display behind the new stalk-less, U-shaped steering wheel; starts at $80k; the $119k model with Plaid powertrain offers the extended range and a sub-two-second 0–60 time

SAP to integrate Microsoft’s Teams into multiple products, including SAP’s HR and CRM solutions; the companies previously agreed to use and sell each other’s cloud products and partnered to accelerate customer adoption of collaborative offerings

The Indian government issues a permanent ban against TikTok, WeChat, and 57 other China-based apps; officials initially blocked the apps last year citing national security concerns; the companies were reportedly given the opportunity to demonstrate their compliance with India’s data protection laws, but regulators were unconvinced

🤡 The /r/WallStreetBets and Gamestop affair

GameStop’s stock price climbed 466% this week after coordinated trading operations by several thousands or Reddit users; it was worth ~$40 a week ago, and reached up to ~$490 per share; AMC surged ~450% in a single week. The issue has snowballed quickly resulting in a series of events:

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Tim Cook criticizes engagement-focused business models, data exploitation and misleading users, saying companies engaged in such cause polarization, loss of trust, and violence; Cook made the comments while speaking about consumer privacy and security during his remote keynote for the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference

How to build a culture of ownership, and other engineering leadership tips from Plaid & Dropbox, by First Round Review. “Great managers have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility”

Empathy mapping by Menka Chaman. Quality product requires technical excellence, but that excellence has to be directed towards an excellent user experience, and that takes empathetic imagination

Product Alignment Approach; Farbod Saraf shares how they do product at Miro

Customer Development, by Nitin Dwivedi: a four-step framework to discover and validate that you have identified the market for your product, built the right product features that solve customers’ needs, tested the correct methods for acquiring and converting customers, and deployed the right resources to scale the business

The state of Fintech Q4'20, by CB Insights

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Angel Jaime

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. CPO @ Yayzy, frmr Product Leader @ Revolut, @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.