el producto #312 🚀
2023 predictions, Email retention tricks, Risk roadmaps, ChatGPT applications, Amazon sports streaming app, The job market in 2023, Live-streaming retail & more
Happy 2023 & welcome to a new edition of el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
$10B: Instacart cut its 409a valuation to ~$10B, down ~75% off its March 2021 peak of $39B
$450M: Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has acquired a majority stake in AR company Magic Leap for $450M
$200M: Indonesia-based fintech Akulaku has raised $200M; Akulaku provides digital banking services for underserved communities, e-commerce tools for merchants, and a buy-now-pay-later service
$175M: Tredence, a startup providing data science and AI solutions to enterprises, closed a $175M Series B; the San Jose- and Bengaluru-based startup says its focus is on addressing the "last mile" between insight creation and value realization in AI
$100M: Events.com has raised $100M in funding to help people find, organize, and share new events
>203K tech workers have lost their jobs since the start of 2022; ~47% of those layoffs came in Q3, and the largest RIFs occurred at Meta, Amazon, and Twitter
79%: ZipRecruiter survey: 79% of laid-off tech workers were able to find a new role within 3 months of starting their job search, and 37% were able to land a new job within 1 month
6%: Google may lay off 6% of its workforce in 2023 under the guise of poor performance reviews
📰 What’s going on
Amazon is planning to launch a stand-alone sports streaming app as CEO Andy Jassy looks to double down on live sports content
Meta has acquired Belgium-based AR company Luxecel for an undisclosed amount; Luxecel manufactures corrective lenses that redirect light from a projector to the human eye
AI startup Jasper released a chat interface to generate original writing content for business use cases; similar to ChatGPT AI, Jasper Chat is a conversational chatbot that interacts with users to help write and edit text; Jasper's bot is explicitly designed for business, marketing, and finance uses
Mastodon, an open-source alternative to Twitter, rejected five six-figure investment offers from VC firms in recent months; MAUs increased from 300K to 2.5M between October and November
India is conducting tests to launch a fair trade e-commerce network; the initiative is backed by the Indian government and will provide an interoperable network where buyers and sellers can transact regardless of the apps or services they use
WeChat has barred users from accessing ChatGPT; the platform has been removing applets that link ChatGPT to WeChat
Alibaba is about to launch its first metaverse live-streaming product: TaoLive City; the launch will be through Taobao, Alibaba's e-commerce platform; Alibaba already has two live-streaming e-commerce apps, Taobao and Diantao; users will be able to enter via an avatar a virtual environment where they can shop, enter contests, and interact with other users
The Chinese government is launching the first state-backed NFT marketplace; this will mark the nation's first entry into non-fungible tokens, which will run on the "China Cultural Protection Chain" blockchain
Baidu and Toyota-backed startup Pony.ai were granted permission to test self-driving vehicles with no backup drivers in Beijing; the companies received the first licenses to test the driverless car in the city's technology park as they seek to fill out a bigger commercial robotaxi service there
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📚 Good reads
The Risk Roadmap, by John Zeratsky. All startups have a product roadmap, but at the earliest stages, most of them don’t need one. That’s because a product roadmap is a plan for what you’ll build—but as a startup, you probably don’t know quite what you need to build. Enter the Risk Roadmap
Following China's success, retailers worldwide are increasingly using live streams to sell their products. The trend will most likely offset decreasing marketing budgets; retailers are interested in this sales channel because it reduces returns, usually one of the higher costs of online shopping
What does great email retention look like: Morning Brew. Want users to come back to your product? Then you'll love these actionable insights by Growth.Design
Los Angeles’ hottest startups for 2023. Dot.LA asked more than 30 leading L.A.-based investors for their take on the hottest firms in the region. I moved to L.A. in 2021, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the thriving local startup scene
Mass layoffs likely to continue in 2023, by Crunchbase. Startups that raised capital at inflation valuations in 2021 are more likely to need to conduct layoffs in 2023. On the positive side, there are 4x as many job openings as there have been layoffs, and candidates are finding roles relatively quick, as highlighted in this week’s figures. As long as there more openings than candidates, and inflation stays high, salaries are likely to increase too (although we can expect a slowdown soon)
Startups that could go public in 2023. Crunchbase with another forecast article. I’m a bit hesitant about some of these companies (e.g. fintech startups would take a huge cut on current valuations as things are right now), however, it may be good timing for others (e.g. Canva, just being boosted thanks to their use of AI)
🚀 Emerging trends
Artificial General Intelligence
OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman said there will be advancements toward artificial general intelligence (AGI) that will make the current ChatGPT chatbot "look like a boring toy." In late November, OpenAI introduced a public demo of ChatGPT, a conversational AI model that can interact with users in a more human-like way.
In a tweet thread posted this week, Altman said he anticipates "scary moments as we move towards AGI-level systems" as well as "significant disruptions"
However, the upsides can be "amazing" enough that it is "well worth overcoming the great challenges to get there"
The CEO continued on to say he expects humanity will "see great benefits all along the way," including those that dwarf ChatGPT's capabilities
On a more serious note, he acknowledged that he expects "significant problems" with the use of OpenAI technology over time
He vowed to run a "tight feedback loop" to improve the technology and attempt to make the mistakes "while the stakes are low"
Meanwhile, OpenAI is learning a great deal from ChatGPT, which Altman said is "going to get a lot better, less annoying, and more useful fast"
ChatGPT is currently free to try out during the research phase at chat.openai.com
Product Hunt curated a list of products that blend the AI chatbot into our work tasks and productivity tools. If you haven’t found a way to work ChatGPT into your life yet, this is your chance to try.
ChatGPT Chrome Extension: Access ChatGPT anywhere on the web
ChatGPT for Google: Show ChatGPT responses alongside Google Search results
Notes for ChatGPT: Save your conversations in ChatGPT as notes in Zoho
Promptheus: Have conversations with ChatGPT using your voice
Merlin: Click ⌘+G to use ChatGPT on any website
God In A Box: Chat with ChatGPT directly on Whatsapp
BFF: Or use ChatGPT as your assistant in iMessage
Menu GPT: Talk to ChatGPT in your menubar
Hubble: Use ChatGPT to gather continuous product feedback from your users
Albus: Access to ChatGPT in Slack
YouTube Summarizer with ChatGPT: Exactly what it says!
That’s all for today! Let me know what you think by replying back to this email or commenting on Substack
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