el producto #141 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Angel Jaime

Google Pay for business, New Facebook devices, iOS 13 roll out, Research and validation techniques, First days in a job & more.


Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.


🎰 The week in figures

$280B: Digital remittance services are expected to generate as much as $280B in revenue by 2025; the global payments market overall will be worth $2T by then, up from $1.5T this year.

$35B: Stripe raises $250M at a $35B valuation; a $245M Series E in September of last year valued the company at $20B; Stripe launched a near-instant loans product and a Visa corporate card this month.

$3B: WordPress.com parent Automattic raises $300M Series D at a $3B post-valuation from Salesforce Ventures; founded in 2005, the company contributes to the WordPress open-source project; also offers free and premium hosting, and add-ons for e-commerce; Automattic is acquiringTumblr from Verizon.

$2.7B: DevOps and repository platform GitLab raises $268M Series E at a $2.7B valuation; the company’s valuation has more than doubled since a $100M Series D in Sept- 2018; plans to go public in November of next year.

$2.4B: Postmates raises $225M at a $2.4B valuation; in February, the company confidentially filed to go public

$1B: Airbnb announces plans to go public next year; also revealed metrics demonstrating massive growth since the company’s 2008 founding: hosts have earned ~$80B on the platform, which currently features 7M rentals across 100k cities; has facilitated 40k tours and experiences; generated $1B-plus in revenue during Q2 2019.


📰 What’s going on

Apple rolls out iOS 13; features a dark mode, as well as updates to Photos, Maps, and more; also includes a redesigned Reminders app, and Find My which replaces both Find My iPhone and Find My Friends; Apple is set to launch iOS 13.1 on Sept 24, which will include automated Siri Shortcut actions, the ability to split data for enterprise devices, and more.

Apple files to patent a hologram projector for use in 3D AR glasses; iOS 13 code appears to reference an AR hardware device codenamed Garta and a software shell called StarBoard; code also indicates the headset will require a paired iPhone for processing.

iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are capable of charging other Apple devices wirelessly but the feature is disabled in iOS; prior to Apple’s unveiling of the products, rumors indicated the new iPhones would charge AirPods and Watch.

Facebook announces new Portal video calling devices; 10-inch Portal ($180) is a refresh of last year’s model, while Portal Mini ($130) has a similar design in an 8-inch form factor; both work in portrait or landscape mode; the company is also launching Portal TV ($150), a camera-and-mic device that connects to a TV; users can also now make video calls via WhatsApp as well as Messenger; pre-orders available now, ships Oct 15.

Spotify acquires Brooklyn-based SoundBetter, a marketplace for music production services and track licensing; Spotify will integrate SoundBetter features into its Spotify for Artists product; SoundBetter claims 180k registered users and pays out an average of $1M per month to artists.

Alphabet’s Wing launches drone delivery pilot in Christiansburg, VA; will deliver snacks and over-the-counter drugs from Walgreens, some FedEx Express packages, and items from local retailer Sugar Magnolia; Wing expects to complete most deliveries within 10 minutes of order finalization.

Google is set to introduce a Nest-branded Wi-Fi router system that doubles as a Google Assistant speaker array; consists of a main router and signal-extending beacons that offer Home-like functionality.

Google partners with Vodafone-Idea to make Google Assistant available to users in India via a phone call; aimed at those who do not have an active internet connection or capable smart device, it lets Vodafone customers dial in and ask questions in English or Hindi.

Google announces Google Pay for Business, a standalone app for SMEs in India; lets merchants accept online payments; the company is also launching Spot, a service that allows companies to brand themselves to customers via the consumer Google Pay app (formerly Tez); Spot also lets firms advertise jobs to potential applicants.

Google plans to add its Stadia gaming service to Android TV; the report cites a slide shared at a trade event which lays out a product roadmap through 2021; also indicates Android TV will roll out a revamped Google Play store.

Google says it’s making “the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history”; the company says it’s purchasing a total of 1.6k megawatts in wind and solar power, as well as signing multiple other energy deals; Sundar Pichai says the company’s sustainable energy program now covers 52 projects, which in turn is generating $7B worth of construction and thousands of jobs.

Amazon becomes the first company to sign up to the Climate Pledge, a business commitment to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years before schedule; Jeff Bezos has also announced the Right Now Climate Fund, a $100M reforestation scheme that will work in partnership with The Nature Conservancy; Amazon has also announced a new website for keeping track of its sustainability efforts.

Medium introduces Save to Medium, a Paper-like bookmarking feature that lets users save articles from across the web; available via a Chrome extension, as well as system-level sharing features in iOS and Android (the Medium app must be installed); content loads in an embedded browser, or in Medium’s custom format if it comes from certain partners.

Huawei’s upcoming Mate 30 smartphone lineup will run an open source version of Android; Huawei is unable to use Google’s licensed build due to US trade restrictions; the devices will not feature Google services such as Play, Gmail, and Maps, but will reportedly use an intermediary service to give users some access.

Salesforce announces a sustainability tracking tool; known as Sustainability Cloud, it lets companies track their environmental data including carbon emissions; the software is set to launch this December.

GitHub acquires engineering analytics platform Semmle; GitHub will integrate Semmle’s code analysis tool into GitHub Actions; GitHub also announced it’s now a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Numbering Authority; will enable code contributors to report vulnerabilities for national database inclusion from within repositories.

Snap is in talks with several media firms about a dedicated news section within Snapchat; the feature is set to launch next year and will be located in the Discover section.

Gatwick Airport is set to be the first in the UK to use facial recognition cameras on a permanent basis; the airport will use the cameras to cross-reference travelers facial data with their ID as they board flights; follows a self-boarding trial for some EasyJet flights.


👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Your first 30 days as Product Manager in a new company. Practical advice for a smooth transition into a new company. For further reading on onboarding, check this great book: The First 90 days.

The strategy behind TikTok global rise. 1B downloads, 150 markets worldwide and 75 languages. Few Chinese companies have managed to expand that far globally, and probably no other has done it so fast.

How Product Managers lose trust. John Cutler on the importance of trust and awareness of how language and actions can drive it.

How Pinterest wants to leverage AI to get into shopping. After the acquisition of VisualGraph in 2014, the company’s AI algorithms have gradually improved. Pinterest said this week that its AI technology can accurately identify more than 2.5 billion objects in photos of fashion and home décor, such as a specific brand of men’s black boots or a particular brown leather sofa.

Ready, set, hypergrowth: How Duo’s Product Design Lead primed her team for momentum. “The best moments in user research are the surprises. The second you notice something that diverges from your expectations, drill down to deepen your understanding.”. Complement this read with actionable advice by Steve Portigal: Great User Research for non-researchers.

Idea validation. A brief intro to multiple validation techniques.


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Angel Jaime

Written by

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Former product @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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