el producto #214 🚀

Spotify and Salesforce go full remote, New Apple AR app, Facebook's smartwatch, Uber and Disney Q4 results, Measuring Design quality, Guide to APIs, & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$2.2B: Bumble ($7.7B market cap) closes up 63.5% in Nasdaq debut after raising $2.2B; the dating app company priced shares at $43 after setting a range of $37 to $39 per share; trades opened up 77% at $76; the freemium app, which generates revenue via profile boosts, travel mode, and more, requires women to initiate contact

$1.73B: Match Group ($42.3B market cap) acquires Seoul-based Hyperconnect for $1.73B in cash and stock, marking Match Group's largest buy to date; Hyperconnect operates Azar, a video chat platform with real-time language translation, and audio/video-streaming platform Hakuna Live; previously raised ~$11M

$500M: Zillow (~$39.3B market cap) acquires fellow real estate service ShowingTime for $500M; the Chicago-based company offers a suite of tools for agents and brokers; raised $2.2M to date; the announcement comes as Zillow reveals quarterly profits of $170M EBITDA 

$250M: Reddit raises $250M Series E on a $6B post-money valuation; the company was previously worth $3B; CEO Steve Huffman says the platform will invest in video, advertising, and more

$180M: Switzerland-based Nexthink, a platform for monitoring performance on employee devices, raises $180M Series D at a $1.1B valuation; the company deploys "collectors" on all worker devices to monitor network connectivity, program executions, and more - to inform IT troubleshooting, etc

$108M: India-based payments platform BharatPe raises ~$108M Series D on a $900M post-money valuation; it was previously valued at $425M; the company offers tools to let offline merchants accept digital payments; has raised $268M to date

$100M: Celebrity greetings platform Cameo is in talks to raise ~$100M on a ~$1B post-money valuation; it was last valued at $300M in 2019; Cameo lets users pay famous personalities to record personal messages

$100M: API and micro-service management platform Kong raises $100M Series D at a $1.4B valuation; Kong launched in 2009 as API marketplace Mashape and eventually sold that business after developing Kong; clients include GE, Nasdaq, and T-Mobile; raised $171M to date

$100M: China-based driverless tech firm Pony.ai raises $100M Series C (extension) on a $5.3B post-money valuation; the company is developing autonomous systems to be used by third-party partners; has raised more than $1B to date

95M: Disney Plus reaches ~95M subscribers, beating a target initially set for 2024; Disney revealed the figure in an earnings call where it set a new target of 230M to 260M customers by 2024

$74M: Mental health platform Modern Health raises $74M Series D for a $1.17B post-valuation; the firm works with licensed therapists to offer telehealth sessions; also offers wellness advice, more; clients include EA, Lyft, and Pixar; raised $167M to date

4.7M: Clubhouse has been downloaded 4.7M times; the audio social platform, currently iOS only, had been downloaded 1M times at the end of last year; the platform was initially the domain of Silicon Valley figures, but is now attracting a more diverse set of users. Meanwhile, it has been banned in China

18.8K: Apple's autonomous vehicles drove 18.8k miles in CA last year; the company reported 7.5k miles in 2019; Apple reported 130 disengagements (manual takeovers) in 2020, compared to 64 in 2019; the numbers represent a disengagement every 118 miles in 2019 and every 145 miles in 2020; Apple reported ~80k miles driven in 2018, but with one disengagement for every mile

$99: SpaceX's Starlink opens $99 refundable preorders to the public as the company expands its satellite broadband beta program, which now claims 10k-plus members; the price includes an antenna and router; Starlink warned preorders could take up to six months to fulfill and would be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, by location. It is available in US, UK and CA

📈 Q4 financials

Uber ($117B market cap) Q4 mixed: $3.17B revenue ($3.58B expected); -$0.54 EPS ($0.56 expected); $6.79B gross mobility bookings, down 50% YoY; $10.05B gross delivery bookings, up 130%; Uber Eats claimed +600k restaurant partners during the quarter

Lyft ($17B market cap) Q4 beats: $570M revenue ($563M expected); -$0.58 EPS (-$0.72 expected); $45.40 revenue per active rider ($42.20 expected); 12.55M active riders (13.2M expected); $458.2M net loss, compared to a $356M net loss in the year-earlier period; Lyft reported $2.4B full-year revenue, compared to $3.6B in 2019

Twitter ($47.6B market cap) Q4 beats: $1.29B revenue, up 28% YoY ($1.19B expected); $0.38 EPS ($0.31 expected); $1.15B ad revenue, up 31% YoY; 192M monetizable DAU, up 26% YoY (193.5M expected); the company plans to increase headcount by 20% and to generate $940M-$1.04B in revenue this year

Disney ($346B market cap) Q1 beats: $16.25B revenue ($15.9B expected); $0.32 EPS (adjusted, -$0.41 expected); $3.5B direct-to-consumer revenue, up 73% YoY; 95M paid Disney+ subscribers, each generating an average of $4.03 in revenue; 146M total paid streaming subscribers (includes ESPN+, Hulu, more) 

📰 What’s going on

Spotify launches Work from Anywhere model, enabling employees to choose office, remote, or hybrid schedules; the company also plans more flexibility regarding which cities and offices employees choose; Spotify will provide memberships to co-working spaces for remote workers who want offices. Salesforce and Revolut recently announced similar moves

iOS/iPadOS 14.5 (currently in public beta) adds the ability to change Siri settings to set third-party music apps as the default; works with installed apps such as Spotify, YouTube Music, and more; users previously had to create a Shortcuts workflow to achieve the same result

Apple to update Maps with crowdsourced incident information; with the iOS 14.5 beta, Maps gains tools for reporting accidents, hazards, and speed traps; Google Maps and Waze offer similar tools, plus those for reporting lane closures and more; Apple's CarPlay-compatible solution also offers hands-free reporting

Apple launches AR app For All Mankind: Time Capsule, a tie-in with the Apple TV+ original show; the second season debuts next week; the show explores an alternate history in which Russia was the first nation to set foot on the moon; the free AR app provides ~45 minutes of content for a fast play-through

Facebook is developing a Clubhouse-like audio chat product; Mark Zuckerberg recently appeared on a Clubhouse talk show, and has expressed interest in audio communications; Facebook's would-be competitor reportedly is in the early stages of development

Facebook is developing an Android-powered smartwatch; the company plans to launch next year; reportedly will focus on messaging and health/fitness features, and will integrate with systems from third-party fitness companies like Peloton

Facebook stops generating link previews for Messenger and Instagram users in the EU in accordance with GDPR privacy regulations; users outside the EU will also not see previews if they’re communicating with someone within the bloc

Facebook has changed its algorithm to reduce the volume of political posts appearing in the News Feed for users in Canada, Indonesia, and Brazil; the company says it’s using the change to test new ranking methods for such content; Facebook notes it will roll out similar adjustments for US users in the coming weeks; Mark Zuckerberg previewed the changes in a recent earnings call where he noted Facebook users had indicated they wanted to see less political content

TikTok is planning to introduce new e-commerce features in the US; the company has briefed advertisers about several upcoming tools, including a creator referral program; TikTok also plans to roll out an interactive live-stream retail channel, reminiscent of TV shopping networks

Jack Dorsey partners with Jay Z to establish ₿trust, an endowment fund focused on bitcoin development projects; Dorsey and Jay Z are collectively putting 500 bitcoin into the operation, currently worth ~$23.6M; the fund will initially target operations in India and multiple African countries; neither Dorsey nor Jay Z will direct how ₿trust operates. In a recent appearance, Dorsey also shared plans to build an app store for social media algorithms

Amazon is developing an incubator to help participants launch trucking companies that serve Amazon exclusively; an internal proposal for the program indicated it would provide business training and loans for trucks; the proposal also indicated Amazon had exclusive contracts with ~100 small carriers in the US, and that the company hoped to increase that to 285 by year's end 

Purported leaked Google document includes screenshots of Android 12, which Google is expected to launch this year following developer preview and beta versions; the screenshots reveal a redesigned notifications panel, menu bar icons for camera and microphone the user can tap to get information about app access, simplified privacy controls for location data, and more

Google is testing a Chrome feature for iOS that lets users secure incognito tabs with Face ID; The Verge notes references to the feature in some versions of the Chrome 89 beta, but it’s unclear whether it will be included when the update rolls out next month 

Google is testing a dark mode for Search on desktop; the company is making the feature available to users who have set their device’s OS to dark mode, though it’s unclear how widespread the rollout is; unknown if or when it will be made more widely available

Google News Showcase launches in additional markets including the UK and Argentina; the scheme sources high-quality news content from select publishers, prominently displaying it within Google News; featured publications are compensated; partners include Reuters and the Financial Times

LinkedIn is building a creator management team; the job listing indicated the company wanted to support and grow its creator base and to improve and retain creators

Microsoft has approached Pinterest about a possible acquisition; Microsoft made the proposal in recent months, but discussions between the firms are presently not active; Pinterest currently has a market cap of $51B; its valuation has climbed more than 600% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Volkswagen says it will work with Microsoft to build a cloud-based platform for developing and distributing driverless software; Volkswagen has partnered with Microsoft on autonomous tech since 2018; it’s aiming to launch vehicles featuring self-driving systems by the end of 2022

Mastercard to support select cryptocurrencies on its network starting next year; the company previously launched cards for spending crypto, but they don't use the company's network; Mastercard didn't disclose which currencies it planned to support

Data analytics firm Palantir and IBM announce a strategic partnership; financial terms unknown; as part of the arrangement, IBM will make Palantir’s technology available to its customer base; Palantir’s system will work in conjunction with IBM’s existing data management tools

Superapp Gojek is close to agreeing a merger with fellow e-commerce company Tokopedia; final terms are yet to be agreed, but the latest discussions indicate Gojek could hold 60% of the business with Tokopedia owning the rest; the Indonesian firms are also planning to list the combined company in Jakarta and the US; they’re aiming at a public market valuation of $35B to $40B 

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Measuring Design quality with heuristics. Jasmine Friedl shares a set of questions to help you assess product design quality based on: product thinking, UX design, and UI design

How to build an invention machine - 6 lessons by Amazon. Amazon veterans Colin Bryar and Bill Carr talk about the system Bezos and the leadership team engineered to run the company, what they call: the invention machine. “Design around customer obsession first and foremost — then you can seek out and develop the skills you need to get there“

Fighting decision fatigue as a Product lead, by Melody Wilding for HBR. Deliberation is an admirable and essential leadership quality, but there comes a point in decision making where helpful contemplation turns into overthinking. To stop the cycle of thinking too much and drive towards better, faster decisions you can: put aside perfectionism, right-size the problem, leverage the underestimated power of intuition, limit the drain of decision fatigue, and construct creative constraints

Does your team keep learning? Thomas Vuchot shares an inspiring piece on how Qonto’s Standards help to grow people and develop their skills. “Our success is deeply tied to our ability to foster a learning environment where everyone can become better every day and be proud of their work”

A Product Manager’s guide to APIs. Akshayaa Govindan explains some basic concepts about APIs

Escaping the roadmap trap. Emil Kabisch shares a set of useful roadmap templates for different needs and contexts

Have a great weekend.


el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here