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el producto #347 🚀
ChatGPT Enterprise, Ad-free (paid) Instagram in EU, Personal user manual, Reframing problems, Startup discount programs, OpenAI growth, Apple's upcoming event & more
Happy weekend and welcome to a new edition of el producto!
🎰 The week in figures
$1B: OpenAI is on track to generate more than $1B in NTM revenue, up from ~$28M in 2022 and far ahead of prior revenue projections
$155: AI21 Labs, an Israel-based startup that develops text-generating AI tools, raised a $155M Series C at a $1.4B valuation; the company’s main product is its AI21 Studio, a developer platform for building custom text-based B2B apps
$100M: Apollo.io, a startup offering a sales and marketing database, raised $100M at a $1.6B valuation; Apollo.io has 500K+ firms using its product
$100M: Google plans on selling mapping APIs, allowing businesses to build products using environmental data; the company is targeting ~$100M in year one revenue and sees Zillow, Marriott, and Tesla as potential customers
100: WordPress.com has debuted a 100-year domain deal for ~$38K, with managed hosting and 24/7 customer service
+14%: Klarna's total sales rose 14% YoY in Q2; the BNPL provider saw particularly strong growth across Europe in recent months; Klarna's Q2 sales grew faster than the wider e-commerce sector, which expanded by just over 1%
+11%: Salesforce Q2 earnings: revenue: $8.6B (+11% y/y), FCF: $630M (+379% y/y), net income: $1.27B; shares were up more than 5% after the announcement
📰 What’s going on
Instagram is testing longer, 10-minute Reels internally after TikTok increased its max video length to 10 minutes early last year
Meta is considering offering EU users ad-free, paid versions of Instagram and Facebook to alleviate privacy concerns from EU regulators
Meta has launched a beta test for Horizon Worlds on mobile devices, aiming to expand its VR social environment; the mobile version functions like gaming apps, allowing users to control avatars and interact with VR players
In an attempt to avoid formal EU antitrust charges and fines, Microsoft plans to unbundle Teams from Office 365 across Europe starting 10/1
Apple is testing a 3D-printed version of its stainless steel Apple Watch Series 9 to ramp up production while lowering costs and increasing sustainability
Apple has sent out invites for its iPhone launch event on Sept. 12; the company is expected to reveal the iPhone 15 series and new Apple Watches during the event, which will be live-streamed on Apple's website
Google is bringing its Duet AI assistant to all paying users of Workspace apps, including Gmail, Drive, Slides, Docs, and others; after extensive testing involving over 1M users, Duet AI for Google Workspace is now generally available; its features include:
A note-taking tool that generates summaries and action items in Google Meet
An AI tool in Gmail that can draft whole emails
Automatic table generation in Google Sheets
Ability to generate images and presentations in Google Slides
OpenAI launched "ChatGPT Enterprise," a GPT-4-powered plan featuring increased privacy and data analysis, better performance, and more customization options
Figma introduced Jambot, a new method for visual interaction with ChatGPT in FigJam; Jambot is ideal for creating visual mindmaps with AI, employing a multi-threaded strategy for brainstorming, and collaborating with teammates and ChatGPT on the same canvas
The world's top websites are stepping up efforts to block AI web crawlers like OpenAI's GPTBot, which collects data for training AI models; about 18.6% of the world's top 1,000 websites, including Amazon and Quora, are now blocking at least one AI crawler
DoorDash is launching an AI-powered voice ordering product that will answer all calls for restaurants, helping participating businesses increase sales
Amazon announced a Buy with Prime Shopify app, allowing US-based Shopify merchants to integrate Amazon’s payment product into their online stores
X (fka Twitter) launched a private beta of X Hiring, a job posting service for verified organizations
Elon Musk has stated that X will soon offer video and audio calls; the features will be available on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC
Babylon Health, a London-based telehealth startup once valued at close to $2B, is being sold for parts after declaring bankruptcy
At TikTok’s office, where Oracle employees review the app’s source code, they sit at desks beneath overhead cameras controlled by TikTok, which the Chinese government ordered them to install
Chinese tech giants Baidu and SenseTime introduced their ChatGPT-style tools to the public Thursday after gaining approval from Chinese authorities; Ernie Bot by Baidu is the first domestic AI app for public use exclusively within China; by Thursday afternoon, the Ernie app was No. 1 on Apple's iOS store for free apps nationwide
Instacart filed its S-1 to go public last week; here are results from its last quarter: revenue: $716M (+15% y/y), ad revenue: $206M (+20% y/y), net income: $119M, ~600K shoppers serve 7.7M monthly active orderers
Klaviyo filed its S-1 to go public last week; here are results from its last quarter: revenue: $164.6M (+51% y/y), FCF: $39.5M, net income: $10.9M
📚 Good reads
How to reframe the problem and win, by Category Pirates. Solving an existing problem with an obvious solution is not how you really win. If you want to create new and different solutions (AKA, categories), you need a different approach. Examples:
Take the bicycle.
It was originally considered a revolutionary environmentally-conscious way to move around a city and keep fit. But people soon realized the streets were a gladiator arena, filled with hazards and potential accidents. In fact, we don’t know one person who regularly bikes who hasn’t been involved in some kind of accident (ourselves included).
Suddenly, biking became a problem.
But this problem created an opportunity for a new solution...
Spin classes offered people heart-pumping, community-driven workouts—without the risk of getting mowed down by a bus
But they created another problem. Going to a spin class and dealing with sweaty, pumped-up fitness aficionados stopped being enjoyable. The atmosphere morphed into an exclusive steamy/stinky locker room, instead of a gratifying workout.
And just when the naysayers wrote off the spin class trend, in comes Peloton.
Peloton combined the sweat of spin classes with the comfort of home
So, ask yourself: What’s the next problem Peloton's solution will create?
Because some category designer, somewhere, is dreaming up a fix for it.
Symbiotic Growth—A concept where your product's value proposition and its distribution channel are not just connected; they're conjoined twins. One can't breathe without the other. Greg Isenberg shares some useful examples in his article
Understanding AI as a platform shift. a16z shares interesting questions and considerations on framing how to approach defensibility in the emerging, AI-enabled landscape. By drawing lessons from the cloud era, the article points out how things may evolve. A few key bits: most of the value will accrue at the Application layer, defensibility will be harder to attain and mostly related to domain-related elements such as data advantages due to proprietary domain data or the existence of previously well-positioned SaaS solutions (and system of records) to which AI can add up a new experience layer enabling new use cases
Pleo’s Haresh Bajaj on how PLG + Sales put the company on the path to crossing €100M ARR. Haresh Bajaj, Pleo’s VP Product Growth, explains their evolution, how sales-led and PLG can work hand in hand 🤝 and how the move has created efficiency for the company in a time when that matters more than ever
Creating your personal user manual, by Adam Fishman. I always liked the concept of a personal user manual as a leader. In fact, I created my own (needs updating) after reading about it few years ago. Adam Fishman shares a fresh view on the topic, including his templates and examples
Startup discount programs, and why B2Bs should offer them, by Elena Verna. A must read if you are in the B2B Growth space (and inspiring otherwise) - including a bunch of useful examples and free resources for startups
That’s all for today! Let me know what you think by replying back to this email or commenting on Substack