Successful Product launches, Snap’s acquisitions, Spotify’s sponsored songs, Airbnb Premium, Tesla looks at China, Google Jobs, Lessons from Uber & more.
Another busy week at Uber after Travis Kalanick announced his resignation, which was immediately followed by employees’ petition for his return. Employees claim that Travis is key to the company’s success, and executives argue that relentless growth didn’t allow them to focus on culture. The company aims to improve conditions for riders (this week has already launched ‘tipping’ in few cities) and cleanse public image.
If only time for 1 article, check out how Snap has been quietly acquiring other startups and making them an essential part of their success (and that of Instagram!)
📰 Seen on the news
Spotify lets users create group playlists via Messenger; makes use of the Spotify chat extension; friends can add songs even if they don’t have a Spotify account.
Spotify begins testing sponsored songs within playlists; limited to select users; tracks appear above the regular list and include an option to save; unclear if or when the feature will roll out more broadly.
Instagram adds the ability to save live broadcasts for 24 hours; once a live stream has finished, users can save it to their Story. Stories passed 250m DAU.
Apple is working with clinical network Health Gorilla to bring medical diagnostic data to the iPhone; Health Gorilla connects doctors, patients, and service providers; aggregates medical data; will enable iPhone users to review and store their own blood test results, allergy information, etc.
Apple Music adds $100 annual subscription plan; only available to existing subscribers; previously only offered $10-per-month individual plan, $15 family plan and $5 student plan.
Airbnb is set to launch a premium service that offers quality-inspected homes; inspectors will visit rentals to make sure they meet certain standards; a pilot launch is expected this week, with a full rollout planned for late 2017.
Ikea developing an Augmented Reality App with Apple; will initially be for use in stores, where customers will view products superimposed on photos of their homes; later at home, users can visualize rendered products with millimeter-accurate placement and proportion.
Microsoft partners with Accenture on a blockchain-based ID network; part of a United Nations-backed initiative to provide legal identification for the 1.1B people worldwide who don’t have official documentation; will help refugees and others access to e.g. education and healthcare.
Microsoft launches enterprise video service Stream in general availability; currently rolling out to Office 365 Enterprise customers; provides secure video storage, management, sharing, viewing; includes face detection, speech-to-text transcription, linkable timecode, more; deep integrations with Office 365.
Amazon launches Prime Wardrobe, a clothing try-on service; customers select at least three items to try and return what they don’t want via prepaid box; the more items a customer keeps, the greater the discount.
Amazon’s display-equipped Echo Show now supports video feeds from smart home cameras; integrated via the Smart Home Skill API; Ring, Nest, and others have already implemented; Echo Show users can use voice commands to view live video feeds.
Facebook introduces tools to prevent the misuse of profile images; Picture Guard blocks others from downloading or sharing a profile photo; also stops Android users from taking a screenshot; launching in India, it’s unclear if or when it will be available in other countries.
Google adds job listings to search results; users can filter by role, location, employer, and more; pulls data from numerous websites including Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Facebook.
Google publishes academic paper “One Model to Learn Them All”; describes a machine learning MultiModel that can handle several diverse tasks, such as object recognition and language translation; research indicates training models on multiple tasks can improve performance in each individual area.
Firefox launches privacy-centric Focus browser for Android; previously available for iOS; blocks ad, analytic, and social trackers by default; can also block other content trackers.
Dropbox announces global network expansion; the company announced last year it would leave AWS in favor of in-house operations; has developed custom-built infrastructure, including an edge proxy based on open-source software; Dropbox is deploying the proxy stack today; the company expects the shift will lower costs and increase speeds for customers.
Automation tool IFTTT launches Data Access Project to let users create Applets using public data; users can make use of data from the SEC, FCC, EPA, and numerous other agencies and organizations.
Netflix launches its first interactive content; kids’ show “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” gives children more than a dozen decision points, allowing them to choose the direction of the story; plans another interactive kids’ show next month, but says the concept is currently an experiment; limited to some smart TVs, game consoles, iOS, and Roku devices.
Elon Musk publishes article detailing his plans for the colonization of Mars; estimated the cost of getting 12 people to the planet at $10B per person; claims the cost could be brought down to $100K, though colonization would be possible at $200K; sees a starting point of 2023.
Tesla signs an initial agreement to explore vehicle production in Shanghai; previous report claims Tesla is seeking to work with a local firm.
Uber launches in-app tipping in Seattle, Houston, and Minneapolis; will not take a cut of tips; also reduced the amount of time riders have to cancel a fare without incurring a $5 fee — from five minutes to two; riders are now charged by the minute for driver wait times beyond two minutes.
Travis Kalanick resigns as Uber CEO; Kalanick initially took a leave of absence last week; several shareholders wrote a joint letter to Kalanick, demanding his resignation…
…and more than 1100 Uber employees sign a petition calling for Travis Kalanick’s return; the letter argues that Kalanick is critical to the company’s future success.
📚 Good reads
The most successful launches on Product Hunt. The guys at Product Hunt looked at their archives and selected 12 products that have successfully grown and raised funding. Take a look for some inspiration.
On Snap’s acquisitions — Even Spiegel’s most underrated skill. Product Hunt looks at how Snap has been quietly acquiring companies that are now key to their product success.
The Scrum Product Owner theses. Stefan Wolpers brings us 56 statements describing Product Owners from a holistic product creation perspective. One of my favourites: “A product owner must be empowered by the organization to say “No” to a stakeholder’s requests — no matter how powerful the stakeholder is.”
6 must reads for hiring Product Managers. First Round Review has collected a series of articles on nailing it when hiring PMs. There’s no magic formula, but these advices can be handy if you are at either side of a hiring process.