el producto #57 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

HomePod review, Twitter and Snap growth, Intel’s smart glasses, Habits of susccesful PMs, Mozilla’s IoT project, Apple Music vs Spority growth & more.

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

📰 What’s going on

Digital writing anywhere. Apple patents technology that would enable a stylus to work on any surface and to transfer the information to a computer.

Nilay Patel reviews Apple’s HomePod for The Verge: sound quality is excellent; HomePod creates a model of its environment when set up (and when moved) to ensure musical neutrality; “Hey Siri” and speech recognition is very good regardless of music or the user’s distance; downside is that HomePod is locked into the Apple ecosystem.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the average tweet length remains the same since the company increased the character max from 140 to 280. Twitter has seen more engagement, including retweets and mentions, but fewer abandoned tweets.

Snapchat is launching a tool to enable TV broadcasters to live stream show clips via the app; NBC will be the first partner, streaming coverage of the Olympic Games.

Instagram tests a feature to let users save public posts or add them to their own Stories; currently available to a limited number of users, the feature is available via the Share tab.

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky tells investors that the success of Alexa has been a positive surprise for the company; shares that sales are strong and that consumers increasingly use Alexa’s voice-activated capabilities to shop, listen to music, and stream Fire TV.

Mozilla announces Project Things: a framework for connecting IoT devices; enables developers to create Things Gateways using popular devices (such as the Raspberry Pi) and to control devices from the web; supports voice control and IFTTT rules; the project’s ultimate goal is to create a decentralized IoT.

Intel’s Vaunt smart glasses: designed to look like regular eyeglasses, intended to be worn all day; laser-based system projects images onto the retina to convey notifications and other contextual information from a Bluetooth-connected phone; Intel plans an early access program for developers later this year.

Reason8 (iOS) captures audio from meetings and uses machine learning to create transcriptions, summaries, and action items; includes speaker attribution, automatic highlights, and more.

A leaked image of the Oculus Go retail packaging indicates support for Netflix, Hulu, more; the box says the $200 standalone VR headset will ship with access to 1k movies, games, and apps; also indicates 32GB storage.


🎰 The week in figures

The global smartphone market constricts: shipments down to 400.2M in Q4-17 from 438.7M a year before, 9% decline. Apple sold 5M fewer iPhones in that same year-to-year period.

Spotify generated revenue of $1.2B for Q3, with an operating loss of $85M to $110M; is projected to generate $4B revenue for fiscal 2017, which would be about 40% up on 2016; the company has an estimated valuation of $22B.

Apple Music is growing its subscriber count in the US at a 5% monthly rate, faster than Spotify’s 2%; with about 70M global subscribers, Spotify still beats out Apple Music’s 36M as the leading music streaming service; but the current US growth rates indicate that Apple Music could overtake Spotify in that market by summer.

Twitter ($20B market cap) Q4 beats: $731.6M revenue, up 2% YoY; the company achieved its first quarterly profit with $308M EBIDA ($241M expected); 330M MAUs, up 4% YoY. Twitter reports 68M MAUs in the US, down from 69M in Q3.

Snap ($16.9B market cap) Q4 beats: $285.7M revenue, up 72% YoY; 187M daily active users, 18% growth YoY. The company’s “Rest of World” market (i.e. not Europe or North America) added 3M daily users in Q4’17 alone, with Rest of World revenue growing 333%.


📚 Stuff to think about

The most successful brands focus on users, not buyers. HBR on how this subtle shift has a big impact on loyalty and upsell.

Meet Netflix’s AVA: a collection of tools and algorithms harvesting static image frames directly from videos to provide a more flexible source of raw artwork.

The habits and strategies that make talented PMs successful. Invaluable advice from First Round’s Product Program seminar.


🚀 off-product

Falcon Heavy test launch. SpaceX’s giant leap to take humans to Mars.


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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.