el producto #51 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

A PM’s journey to coding, Dog-fooding at Airbnb, Christmas mobile activations stats, Insta’s in-feed recommendations, Apple’s battery replacements & more.

Welcome to the last edition of the year of el producto!

📰 What’s going on

Instagram begins displaying recommended posts within the main feed; recommendations are based on engagements from a user’s network.

Snapchat is developing a “Stories Everywhere” feature for sharing stories on other networks.

Apple will begin offering $30 battery replacements for iPhone 6 and later — a $50 discount on the regular price; the battery exchange program will run from late Jan 2018 through Dec 2018; comes as the firm apologizes for slowing down older iPhones in an effort to prevent automatic shutdowns.

Apple made up 44% of global mobile device activations between Dec 19-25; Samsung achieved 26%, and Huawei 5%; iPhone 7 was the most activated device at 15.1%, followed by iPhone 6 at14.9%, and iPhone X at 14.7%

Amazon’s Alexa app was the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store and Google Play on Christmas Day; the app is used to set up new Alexa speakers, so top position indicates strong hardware sales; Google’s Home app, which works with Home smart speakers, ranked second in the Google Play Store and sixth in the Apple App Store.

Google removes YouTube from Amazon Fire TV; the app was meant to go offline on Jan 1, but Fire TV users are reporting the service is no longer accessible; reasons for the early removal are unclear, but Google previously said it would take down the app because it is in dispute with Amazon.

An IBM Cloud Video survey of 1,180 US adults found that 44% streaming video users said that their service rarely or never recommends content they actually want to watch; the most frequent complaint about services such as Netflix and Hulu, was lack of content.

The World Health Organization will add “gaming disorder” as a mental health disorder officially recognized in its diagnostic manual in 2018. A draft defines it as a person’s prioritizing gaming over other “life interests”.

SoftBank acquires a 20% stake in Uber at roughly $33 per share; 17.5% at a post-money valuation of $48B, the remaining at a valuation of $67.5B.

WeChat launches a range of simple in-app games that don’t need to be downloaded; the 16 titles include jumping game Tiao Yi Tiao and Tencent Poker; follows the launch of a number of pared down WeChat instant apps from McDonald’s, Starbucks, Tesla, and others.

LG is set to announce a smart speaker with support for both Alexa and Google Assistant at CES next month; the ThinQ Speaker will work with a range of third-party IoT devices including locks, lights, and more; the firm will also announce a range of soundbars and Bluetooth speakers.

Garmin announces the Vivofit 4: an $80, wrist-worn fitness tracker with always-on color display that’s visible in direct sunlight; promises one year of battery life in a single charge; swim and shower safe; automatically adjusts daily activity goals as it learns about the user


📚 Stuff to think about

How Jobs-To-Be-Done Theory can help you better understand consumer behavior and provide you an innovation compass. “Jobs-to-be-done” involves a mindset change since it forces you to look at your product the way customers do. It is the theory that “The Job”, not the consumer, that is the fundamental unit of anlaysis.

When stored value meets network effect. Nir Eyal points out the importance of getting users to ‘invest’ (time, effort) in the product to keep them engaged. Combined with network effects, we have a killer combo.

How dog-fooding leads to great design. Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia talks about the importance of stepping into the users’ shoes by becoming users.

A Product Manager’s journey to coding. After several attempts at learning to code, Romy M shares some lessons of her 6-month deep-dive into it.


🚀 Stuff to think more about

Intro to Firebase. Rajat S with a great intro to this mobile and web development platform, popular for its cloud NoSQL database.


💥 Quote of the week (rather paragraph)

“You may think an organization that measures its employees against strict quarterly deadlines would operate with a mindset that encourages rapid experimentation. […] Because of the short-term pressure, anything that can be done in a quarter has to be highly predictable in order to make future commitments based on its results. Instead of seeing the innovation opportunities that come with thinking in short cycles, companies become conservative and focus only on the projects they believe will maximize that quarter of fiscal year. That means they continue to do the same things, whether or not those things work the way they used to” — Eric Ries, The Startup Way (great book!)


📮 If you enjoy el producto, you can subscribe to get it in your inbox every week. el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product Owner’s perspective.