MVPs vs RATs, Facebook’s AI, Snap’s spectacles, Instagram’s carousel, iPhone’s 3D-sensing camera, Skype Lite, Design for the 5 senses & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📚 Good reads
- 12 things about Product-Market Fit (PMF). Tren Griffin has compiled some valuable thoughts on PMF by few notorious VCs and tech founders. (If you only have time for one article, make it this one)
- Maximise discovery with RATs. Rik Higham from Skyscanner proposes an alternative for MVPs, focusing on testing our riskiest assumptions in the fastest possible way: the Riskiest Assumption Tests
- Facebook can’t exist without AI. Backchannel talks to Facebook on the Applied Machine Learning group that helps them see, talk, and understand. Insightful read on how far Facebook has got with AI, despite them feeling still at it’s infancy phase.
- Brief intro to Computer Vision via Deep Neural Networks by Object AI, a Computer Vision AI startup working on video and image object detection.
- Design digital experiences for the 5 senses. Nathan Kinch from InVision proposes a 3-pillar design framework that supports the design of human experiences by focusing on Value, Meaning and Engagement.
- Will Snapchat focus on Products or Platforms? HBR takes a look at how Snapchat’s investments could protect and multiply its core value (or likely not).
📰 Seen on the news
- Product roadmap visualization company Roadmunk raises $1.1M; customers include Disney, Amazon and Adobe; plans to launch Master Roadmapping product this year, enabling broad, organizational visualizations.
- Snap begins selling $129 Spectacles online; the camera-equipped glasses were initially only available via vending machines in select locations.
- Huawei unveils the Honor VR Camera: a 360-degree camera for smartphones; supports live streaming; Insta360 app enables sharing images and video; No info on launch date, pricing or compatibility has been given yet.
- Twitter launches Periscope Producer in general availability; available for iOS, Android and web, Producer lets brands, news organizations and others broadcast from various video sources; works with external cameras, VR headsets, the Xbox One, more.
- Instagram adds support for carousel posts; lets users upload up to 10 photos and videos, adding group or individual filters; viewers can swipe through the array, liking individual images.
- Alphabet’s Jigsaw introduces Perspective, an AI-powered tool for moderating online comments; publishers can use the API to measure and rate comments along a “toxicity” scale; moderators and readers can then filter out posts based on the rating.
- WhatsApp launches Status: a new tab for sharing ephemeral images, videos and GIFs; users can add stickers and post statuses (with visibility limited to specific groups) or send to friends, who can privately reply; messages are encrypted.
- Messaging service Viber announces in-chat shopping features; users can search and share items from Macy’s and Rakuten.com (which owns Viber), before being pushed out to the corresponding website to purchase goods; launches in beta on Mar 6.
- The next iPhone will feature a 3D-sensing front-facing camera with infrared module enabling 3D selfies, iris and facial recognition, more, according to analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo; also says 3D sensing is likely for the rear camera.
- Apple is also likely to announce a 10.5-inch iPad Pro next March alongside new versions of 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models.
- Google unveils a technique for displaying people’s faces in mixed and virtual reality, though they’re wearing headsets; Google and Daydream researchers worked with YouTube Spaces on the system, which relies on a 3D model of the subject’s face and eye tracking to relay gaze and facial expressions; the headset remains visible but translucent.
- Disney Research unveils a wireless power transfer system that can power low-wattage devices and charge cell phones anywhere in a given room; the purpose-built demonstration room is covered in aluminum panels and has a copper pole in the center; can safely supply 1900 watts.
- Google and Bing agree to lower search rankings for piracy websites in the UK; both firms have agreed to a voluntary code of conduct, ensuring legitimate services are ranked higher; the changes are set to come into effect this summer.
- Airbnb acquires payments firm Tilt for $60M; Tilt offers a range of products including bill splitting and crowdfunding tools for enterprise customers.
- Twitter’s user numbers are likely to be surpassed by China-based counterpart Weibo within the current quarter, according to Tech In Asia; Twitter has 319M monthly active users, Weibo has 313M .
- Microsoft launches Skype Lite in India; the Android app offers chat, voice and video calling, and has been designed to still work on 2G connections.
- Google’s Waze is set to expand its carpool service to several cities in the US and Latin America, according to The Wall Street Journal; exact locations remain unclear, but a rollout is expected in the coming months; Waze Rider was launched in San Francisco last May
- Ford plans to debut self-driving cars without steering wheels and pedals in 2021. They will skip Level 3 autonomy (cars that require the driver to remain ready to take control) after finding that engineers testing Level 3 systems regularly fell asleep or had difficulty maintaining awareness.
👨🏫 Quote of the week
“Getting product right means finding product/market fit. It does not mean launching the product. It means getting to the point where the market accepts your product and wants more of it.” — Fred Wilson
👨🔬 Things I’m experimenting with
This newsletter. All the time.
You may have noticed that I publish this newsletter via two separate platforms: Medium and Mailchimp. I also use different channels to distribute the publication every week, mainly social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter) and the platforms themselves (Mailchimp as a mail list, Medium via my contacts network). I have been alternating the links I share on social media, pointing to either Medium or Mailchimp, and looking at several metrics; for example: traffic volumes, sources of traffic, links opened for Mailchimp, shares and likes for Medium, amount of new Mailchimp subscriptions or Medium followers with every post.
I have also been experimenting with the content. I have been looking at new and different sources of information, adding more / less news on certain topics, trying different tones of voice, changing the order of the sections, including more / less personal content, adding different types of content (e.g. videos and audio), etc.
The results are…not there yet. Unfortunately elproducto’s traffic is still quite low to get any meaningful learning (I will not even start talking about statistical significance). However, I have already noted few learnings and a couple of actions I want to take moving forward:
- Curating a mail list takes way more time than I initially expected. Unfortunately most of that time is taken from what I would otherwise spend on writing my own original content. I have not published any post or article (other than elproducto) since more than two months ago.
- Medium is not the right platform for starting a small newsletter. Yes, it looks pretty and neat, however: 1) Medium can only help you growing audience within it’s own user base (and your Medium contacts). Until you build your audience, you can pretty much get the same or more exposure from any other publishing platform. 2) Most of my readers are not active Medium users, therefore I’m not getting much benefit from features like Share or Like.
- People showing interest and appreciation for the hard work. I will be honest: I wanted to give up after the second edition. Then a couple of friends started sharing the link to elproducto out of the blue. Then I started getting the first subscriptions from unknowns. Then people that I admire (for being cool and smart , for their career achievements, for their talent, passion and determination on their fields of expertise, and for many other reasons) subscribed, sent me feedback and shared the newsletter. You are probably one of them. Thank you.
- I am writing. A lot. Despite not having as much time as I wished for in-depth product posts, elproducto is helping me building the writing habit I always wanted to get into but I never managed to.
- I am reading. Maybe too much. Before I used to scan through newsletters, Medium articles, social media, tech sites, etc. Now that I have to share the content I spend more time reading properly, not just scanning. I want to make sure I don’t publish crap, for what I need to ensure I understand well what I’m reading and that the sources are reliable.
- I am considering changing the frequency. Switching to a bi-weekly format would give me some time to focus on writing original content. As with everything in elproducto, I will just give it a go and test it.
- I stick to the mail list. I will soon stop publishing the newsletter on Medium. See reasons above. Wanna keep reading elproducto? You can subscribe to the mail list here.
Once again, especially if you made it until here, my most sincere thank you.