el producto #225 🚀

PM competency framework, What the new Apple policy means, Telegram group video calls, Power-user traps, Instagram creator tools, Twitter monetization features & more

Welcome to a new edition of el producto!

🎰 The week in figures

$3B: LinkedIn has generated more than $3B in ad sales over the last 12 months; Satya Nadella says LinkedIn’s revenue has increased 60% YoY; Snap has generated $2.8B over the same period, while Pinterest has brought in $1.9B

$600M: Amsterdam-based cloud communications platform MessageBird acquires email marketing firm SparkPost for $600M; MessageBird raised the funds through an $800M Series C extension; MessageBird raised $240M at a $3B valuation as part of the round last October

$425M: Fintech company Brex raises $425M Series D at a $7.4B valuation; investors valued the firm at $3B for a Series C in May 2020; offers business accounts with credit cards, spend management tools, etc; raised $1.2B to date

$300M: Sweden-based health-tech startup Kry raises $300M Series D on a $2B post-money valuation; Kry offers telehealth services in multiple countries including France, the UK, and the US; has raised ~$550M to date; the company has facilitated more than 3M appointments over the last year, a growth rate of over 100%

$300M: Affirm ($19B market cap), which offers financing options at e-commerce checkouts, acquires Returnly, a returns management platform, for $300M in cash and stock; Returnly enables brands to offer store credit before an item is returned to encourage repeat business; previously raised $30M

$300M: Online pharmacy Capsule, which offers same-day delivery, raises $300M Series D at a $1B-plus valuation; the New York City-based company serves ~a dozen markets; also offers telemedicine and mental health services; raised $570M to date

$220M: Challenger bank Current raises $220M Series D on a $2.2B valuation; the company offers consumer checking accounts; has raised ~$400M to date

$160M: Barcelona-based business travel platform TravelPerk has raised $160M in equity and debt funding after a tough year for the travel industry as a whole

145M: Microsoft Teams claims 145M daily active users (DAU), up from 115M in Oct 2020; the service had 75M DAU last April

$110M: Canada-based SaaS firm Clio raises $110M Series E on a $1.6B post-money valuation; Clio offers contract-management tools to law firms; has raised $386M to date

$100M: Step, which provides mobile banking services for teenagers, raises $100M Series C led by General Catalyst with participation from celebrities and influencers; claims 1.5M accounts six months after launch; raised $191M to date

$100M: New York City-based Rho, a digital banking platform for startups, raises $100M; the platform, which now features an accounts payable feature, is structured for distributed teams and high-growth firms

$80M: Blockchain development platform Alchemy raises $80M Series B at a $505M valuation; the startup develops backend blockchain tech and has powered $30B in transactions representing tens of millions of users; Alchemy claims it is powering most of the NFT industry

7.8M: Sony has sold 7.8M PlayStation 5 consoles since launch in Nov 2020; the company also has 47.6M PlayStation Plus subscribers

30%: US consumers spent $14.92B on video gaming in Q1, up 30% YoY; US spending in the category was up 27% last year, driven in part by pandemic lockdowns; Sony and Microsoft launched new consoles at the end of 2020, and hardware represented 82% of category spending in Q1 2021

27%: Global smartphone shipments rose 27% YoY in Q1 to 347M units; Samsung led with 76.5M devices, followed by Apple (52.4M) and Xiaomi (49M)

💸 Q1 financials

Alphabet ($1.55T market cap) Q1 beats: $55.3B revenue, up 34% YoY ($51.7B expected); $26.29 EPS ($15.82 expected); $44.68B ad revenue, up 32%; $6B YouTube ad revenue, up 49% ($5.7B expected); $4.05B Google Cloud revenue, up 46% ($4.07B expected)

Amazon ($175T market cap) Q1 beats: $108.52B revenue, up 44% YoY ($104.47B expected); $16.09 EPS ($9.54 expected); AWS generated $13.5B in revenue, up 32% YoY; marks the company's second-strongest quarter ever in terms of revenue, behind the $125.6B generated in Q4 2020; Amazon said it would hold this year's Prime Day sale in June, rather than July

Apple ($2.24T market cap) Q1 beats: $89.58B revenue, up 54% YoY ($77.36B expected); $47.94B iPhone revenue, up 66% ($41.43B expected); $16.9B services revenue, up 27% ($15.57B expected); $9.1B Mac revenue, up 70% ($6.86B expected); $7.8B iPad revenue, up 79 % ($5.58B expected) $1.40 EPS ($0.99 expected); the company authorized $90B in share buybacks

Ebay ($42.5B market cap) Q1 beats: $3B revenue, up 40% YoY ($2.97B expected); $1.09 EPS (adjusted, $1.07 expected); $641M net income

Facebook ($873B market cap) Q1 beats: $26.17B revenue, up 48% YoY ($23.67B expected); $3.30 EPS ($2.37 expected); 1.88B DAU, 2.85B MAU; $9.27 average revenue per user; the company saw a 30% YoY increase in cost per ad and a 12% increase in ads delivered

Microsoft ($1.98T market cap) Q1 beats: $41.7B revenue, up 19% YoY ($41B expected); $1.95 EPS (adjusted, $1.78 expected); $15.1B Intelligent Cloud revenue, up 23% ($14.9B expected); $13.55B Productivity and Business Processes revenue, up 15% ($13.49B expected)

Pinterest ($49.3B market cap) Q1 beats: $485M revenue ($474M expected); $0.11 EPS ($0.07 expected); 478M MAU (miss - 480.5M expected); $1.04 average revenue per user ($0.99 expected); the company noted that it saw a drop in MAU growth and engagement growth in the US as pandemic restrictions loosened in March

Shopify ($159B market cap) Q1 beats: $989M revenue, up 110 % YoY ($866M expected); $2.01 EPS (non-GAAP, $0.73 expected); $1.26B net income (due in part to a $1.3B gain in the company's stake in Affirm, which recently went public); 24M MAU out of 107M registered

Tesla ($708.6B market cap) Q1 beats: $10.39B revenue, up 74% YoY ($10.29B expected); $0.93 EPS ($0.79 expected); $438M net profit (GAAP), a new quarterly record; 184.k 8 Model 3 and Y deliveries; the company did not produce any Model S or X units during the quarter

Huawei, which is privately owned, reports Q1 revenue of $23.5B, down 16.5% YoY; the company says the decline is due to weak sales in its consumer business

Next week’s results:

  • Lyft (Tuesday); expected Q1 revenue: $557.12M, -42%; EPS: ($0.98) compared with ($1.31) a year earlier

  • Uber (Wednesday); expected Q1 revenue: $3.264B, -7.9%; EPS: ($0.55) compared with ($1.70) a year ago

📰 What’s going on

Spotify announces a platform that allows podcasters to offer premium content; available via Anchor (which Spotify purchased in 2019), the service takes a 5% commission on all transactions, though the company will not begin charging creators until 2023

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek predicts all major platforms will introduce a live audio feature; Ek compares the trend to the Stories format, which originated at Snapchat but has subsequently been adopted by Instagram, LinkedIn, Spotify, and others; Ek posits musicians could use live audio to engage with fans, host listening parties, and more. Also revealed a sports-centric social audio service Locker Room will eventually relaunch as Spotify Greenroom; Spotify acquired Locker Room-owner Betty Labs in March

Telegram plans to launch group video calls for iOS users in May; the firm had planned to release the feature last year and did launch one-on-one video calls with end-to-end encryption; CEO Pavel Durov said the group video calls feature would deliver all features expected from a modern video conferencing product, plus encryption

Facebook launches a miniplayer enabling iOS and Android users to stream from Spotify within the Facebook app; supports free and paid Spotify users; when a Spotify user shares a track to Facebook, the post includes the miniplayer

Facebook acquires VR game developer Downpour Interactive, known for the VR title "Onward"; terms undisclosed; the entire team will join Oculus Studios

Mark Zuckerberg announces Instagram creator tools for generating revenue; the firm plans a marketplace that will match brands with creators for sponsored content deals, based on the content's alignment with the brand's target audience; Instagram also plans shops that will enable creators to sell directly to fans from their profiles

Twitter is developing monetization features for users, according to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong; she published screenshots revealing a "$" button on Professional Profiles (giving visitors multiple options for sending money), a Tip Jar for social audio feature Spaces, and a new Super Follow button to give paid users access to paywalled content

Apple launches macOS Big Sur 11.3, with AirTag support, improved controller support, optimizations for iPhone and iPad apps running on M1 Macs, more; also includes updates to Music, News, Podcasts, more

Apple releases iOS 14.5 with App Tracking Transparency, enabling users to prevent apps from tracking their behaviors across other apps; also adds new Siri voices focused on diversity, AirTag support, a redesigned Podcasts app, more. Apple also released updates to iPadOS and watchOS

Google is developing new office design concepts for post-pandemic, hybrid workplaces; Team Pods feature chairs, desks, and other easily rearrangeable elements on casters, and Campfires bring in-person workers together with remote workers for meetings; the company will test the concepts in ~10% of its global workspaces over the next year

Brooklyn-based Revel, known for its e-bike and e-scooter sharing programs, to launch an all-electric rideshare business in Manhattan this month; the firm is hiring drivers to operate a fleet of 50 Revel-branded Tesla Model Ys; customers will book rides via the Revel app

Stripe acquires Boston-based TaxJar, which helps e-commerce companies calculate, file, and report sales taxes; terms undisclosed, but investors valued TaxJar at $179M (post-money) for a $60M round in January 2019; claims 23k customers use its API and AI-powered cloud platform

India-based food delivery firm Zomato files for an IPO; the company plans to raise ~$1.1B via a dual listing on India’s NSE and BSE stock exchanges; Zomato generated $183.6M revenue between April 1 2020 and Dec 31 2020, with losses of $91.8M

China-based e-commerce firm JD.com says it has started paying some of its staff in digital yuan; China’s central bank has been testing the virtual currency in select cities since last year

China's central bank and four agencies demand tech giants, including Didi Chuxing, JD.com, and Tencent to unbundle financial services from payment apps; authorities reportedly said bundled systems obscured the flow of money, posing broader risks

📚 Good reads

The PM Competency Framework. Brendan Marsh shares a competency framework that not only articulates the complexity of Product Management in a simple way, but also attempts to make growth a team effort. A great system for both managers and individuals looking to find their improvement areas. Template and instructions here

The power user trap. A brilliant essay by Reforge on the consequences of over/underestimating our Power Users (and who do we consider as such)

Lessons from high-growth startups and how to hire exceptional designers, by Facebook veteran Julie Zhuo. "With every product you work on as a designer, you'll see a thousand things you need to improve. When it comes to building great products, diagnose with data and treat with design."

Product systems, by Brian Balfour. As a team grows, there are different teams with different charters they focus on. There are overlaps, trade-offs, and 2nd order effects. All products are a system. Seek to understand the system and the 2nd order effects of your decisions. Then you can drive impact

A tale of two platforms. Tim O’Reilly looks at the success stories of Amazon and Ingram, arguing that: “A platform has an obligation to serve all of its partners and stakeholders, not just its users”

5 big ideas from Stripe’s Shreyas Doshi. Linda Z has collected some great insights on how to escape the career treadmill, delegate well, and avoid mental traps

Make friction your friend. Friction can be good. Yep, sounds contradicting, but Abid Ladhani shares 7 principles for using friction to build delightful onboarding experiences for your users

Understanding your Aha moments and putting them to work, by Intercom’s Product Researches Lynsey Duncan.

How Xiaomi became an IoT powerhouse, by HBR. Any success story from China fascinates me. Not only because of the sheer scale of the market and the velocity at which tech is evolving there, but also because China is becoming more and more a model to replicate rather than a replicator of models

Apple is changing how digital ads work. Are advertisers prepared? HBR digs into what the new Apple Policy means, and how companies may have to transition away from user-centric models, invest in better understanding their audience, and use ad creativity as a way of differentiating themselves from rivals

📱 Seen on LinkedIn

Have a great weekend.


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