Discover more from el producto
el producto #352 🚀
Spotify audiobooks, Zoom docs, LinkedIn's AI tools, TikTok ad-free subscriptions, DoorDash dine-out, Uber package returns, B2B activation, Empowering teams & more
Happy weekend and welcome to a new edition of el producto
🎰 The week in figures
$2B: Anthropic is in talks to raise more than $2B from Google and other undisclosed investors at a valuation between $20B-$30B; the company is projecting ~$200M in revenue by the end of 2023
$1.7B: Metropolis, an LA-based startup building AI-powered parking services, raised a $1.05B Series C alongside $650M in debt to acquire SP Plus, a parking facility company
$220M: InvesTree, an Indonesian peer to peer lender, raised a €220M Series D round
$125M: Headway, a NY-based startup that connects patients with insurance-covered therapists, raised a $125M Series C at a $1B valuation
$100M: CarData, a platform for streamlining employee mileage reimbursements, raised $100M
11.7M: Disney+ lost 11.7M subscribers in the last quarter. A password sharing crackdown is said to be in the works
1/3: TikTok Shop was on pace to process >$6B of transactions in Indonesia before the government banned online shopping on social media; Indonesia accounts for ~1/3 of TikTok Shop's global revenue
-14%: Qualtrics will cut 780 employees, or ~14% of its total workforce, to address past over-hiring issues
-15%: Chainalysis has cut 150 employees (15%+ of total), as the company pivots from commercial revenue to focus on closing government contracts
-20%: OpenSea has cut ~20% of staff as NFT sales drop; the startup was valued at $13.3B back in January
📰 What’s going on
Amazon reportedly used a secret algorithm to raise online prices. Project Nessie reportedly increased prices while scanning whether Amazon's competitors did the same. If Amazon's competitors did not raise prices, the algorithm would lower Amazon's price. Amazon made over $1B from using the algorithm
Amazon will shut down Amp, its live social audio app that it launched in March 2022
Zoom announced Google Docs-like collaborative document editing that’s free for users and launching in 2024; AI-generated meeting summaries will be included
Meta is rolling out AI tools for advertisers, including background creation, image expansion, and text generation
Meta's updated Ray-Ban smart glasses now allow users to chat with an AI bot beyond just basic voice commands
LinkedIn announced new features powered by OpenAI, including Recruiter 2024, an AI-powered recruiting platform, AI marketing and Inside Sales tools, and a LinkedIn Learning coach chatbot
Google announced it is bringing generative AI capabilities from its Bard chatbot to its mobile virtual assistant. The product, Assistant with Bard, will undergo a limited test before rolling out to Android and iOS devices in the next few months
Uber is expanding its offerings to include a new use case: ecommerce parcel returns. The service will be offered at a flat fee of $5
DoorDash is testing out a new feature that rewards its users for dining out, not ordering in. Customers in the test group are invited to swipe in at a participating restaurant to earn credit rewards that can be used for future orders. It’s an interesting strategic move for DoorDash since it doesn’t directly impact their bottom line on first glance, but by improving restaurant discovery and margins
Canva released a suite of AI design tools called Magic Studio, which can automatically convert designs into blogs, social posts, emails, and more; the company will also pay out $200M over the next three years to designers for using their work to train its models
In the UK and Australia, Spotify has started offering Premium subscribers up to 15 hours of audiobook streaming per month across 150K+ titles; the company plans to launch this program in the US this winter
Netflix plans on raising prices of its ad-free streaming tier shortly after the SAG strike ends, starting with the US and Canada
Apple’s search engine: John Giannandrea, a former Google exec who now leads ML and AI at Apple, has a "search team" working under him that has built a next-gen search engine for Apple's apps, codenamed "Pegasus"
Apple has issued an iOS 17 update to fix overheating problems in its latest iPhones. Apple says iOS 17.0.3 resolves an issue that could cause iPhones "to run warmer than expected"
Airbnb has filed a patent for “cross-listed property matching” which uses machine learning to detect listings that are cross posted on multiple platforms at the same time
Revolut gets closer to a banking license. Revolut finally struck a deal with its investor Softbank that will let it obtain a UK banking license
Telegram’s superapp ambitions. Telegram wants to transform into a decentralized super app, reminiscent of China's WeChat, by enabling third-party developers to create mini apps within its platform through a strategic alliance with The Open Network (TON) Foundation and Tencent, WeChat’s parent company
TikTok is working on ad-free paid subscriptions. Code in TikTok's app indicates that the company is testing a $5/month ad-free subscription plan
Humane, a startup founded by ex-Apple designers, unveiled its wearable AI assistant device at a Paris fashion show. Supermodel Naomi Campbell was the first person outside of Humane to publicly wear the "AI Pin." The device can be pinned to clothing and acts as a personal assistant, answering spoken questions and projecting information onto hands or nearby objects
Patreon has rolled out new features like visual brand identities for creators, a new mobile app, an updated home feed, and new membership tiers
OpenAI is considering building its own AI chips and has evaluated an acquisition target, in a bid to solve its AI chip shortage
📚 Good reads
Decoding self-serving bias: a spy’s guide to clear thinking (NirAndFar). Shane Parrish, a former cybersecurity expert and intelligence officer, shares an excerpt from his newly released book, Clear Thinking. Shane describes and disarms "self-serving bias": our in-built tendency to evaluate situations in ways that protect or enhance our own self-image. From the book:"Statements like “It was a great idea just poorly executed,” “We did the best we could,” and “We never should’ve been in this situation in the first place” are often manifestations of (self-serving) bias […] Solutions appear when you stop bargaining and start accepting the reality of the situation. That’s because focusing on the next move, rather than how you got here in the first place, opens you up to a lot of possibilities. When you put outcome over ego, you get better results"
John Cutler on true empowerment. Effective delegation is a key leadership skill that empowers others and gets things done. True empowerment goes beyond delegation and fosters an environment where teams have resources, support, and confidence to take action. Some questions to consider:
Are you stepping up or stepping back when challenges arise?
When things go wrong, is your first instinct to find a solution or find someone to blame?
Are you truly empowering your team or just handing off tasks you don't want?
How do you support your team during setbacks? Is it different from when they succeed?
When did you take full responsibility for a mistake without shifting blame?
Are your actions consistent with your words, especially regarding empowerment?
How do you ensure your team has the necessary resources and support, especially in tough times?
How would your team describe your leadership style during challenges?
Do you lead differently in private than in public? If so, why?
B2B activation. A brilliant post by Elena Verna looking why 90% of the monetization and retention issues stem from incorrect activation, and what to do about it.
Improving your AI assistant. Andrew Chen gives some tips on what to do when AI is too verbose, full of repetition and says sorry for being an AI….with a simple prompt. His post also explains how he integrated ChatGPT into the action button of his Apple watch, and some thoughts on the high growth (but high churn nature) of a lot of the AI-driven utilities.
GPT-4: every Product Manager’s new co-pilot in UX Design, by Ben Robinson. GPT-4's new image upload feature could be a game-changer for product managers in evaluating UI. This post shows an example by analyzing landing pages of notable apps such as Uber, Airbnb, and Booking.com
That’s all for this week! Let me know what you think by replying back to this email or commenting on Substack