el producto #69 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Walmart gets Flipkart, Instagram’s native payments, Facebook’s dating feature, Xiaomi’s IPO and UK launch, Didi-Volkswagen joint-venture & more.

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

🎰 The week in figures

$106.4B: amount that consumers will spend $106.4B on apps globally this year — mainly on games. China currently accounts for 40% of the total global spend, and Americans paid $15B for apps and games last year. Both countries are expected to double their spend on apps by 2022.

5K devices currently support Google Assistant, up from 1.5k in January.

20% drop on Match Group shares following Facebook’s announcement of a coming dating feature; Match Group owns Tinder, OkCupid, and Match.com. Facebook plans to launch it later this year; will enable a user to create a dating profile separate from the standard Facebook profile; not visible to Facebook contacts; will suggest matches and will not include Facebook contacts in matches.

11.7% YoY decline on tablet sales. The decline is ongoing for 14 straight quarters; 31.7M units shipped globally in Q1; Apple, Samsung, and Huawei took the top three positions for units shipped in Q1; Apple shipped 9.1M units, representing 28.8% market share.


📰 What’s going on

Walmart gets Flipkart; Walmart will own 75% of the company for approximately $15B.

Twitter recommends all users change their passwords after discovering a bug in the password hashing process; resulted in user passwords being stored in plain text in internal logs before the hashing process completed.

Facebook’s Workplace launches 50 SaaS integrations from Atlassian, Microsoft, Adobe, more; also announced a corresponding bot directory; the ADT bot, for example, answers employee questions about paychecks.

Facebook announces Clear History, a feature that will enable users to opt out of letting Facebook collect data on browsing habits, which it does for ad-targeting purposes; will also allow users to delete stored data; existing data could be retained in anonymous, aggregated sets.

Facebook announces a new Groups tab, essentially replacing the dedicated Groups app the company shut down last year; adds a Watch Party feature that lets Groups watch videos together; also announced a new Groups plugin for embedding in sites and emails.

Mark Zuckerberg announces AR camera effects for Instagram; currently in closed beta with partners including BuzzFeed, the NBA, and Vogue; the company launched AR filters last year but didn’t open creation up to brands and public figures; Instagram is also launching video calls and third-party integrations for Stories.

Instagram activates a native payments feature for some users; a user can add a debit or credit card and set up a security PIN; Instagram says payments are currently limited to a small group of partners; can be used for booking appointments at restaurants, salons; ultimately plans direct payments for movie tickets, more.

Oculus TV to launch by month’s end; will provide a virtual environment for watching video programming in VR — alone or with remote friends; launch partners include Hulu and Showtime; will also provide access to VR entertainment apps, such as Netflix and Facebook Video.

Tim Cook says iPhone X was Apple’s best selling iPhone for each week during Q1; Cook made the comments during an investor call where he also noted wearables revenue was up 50% YoY.

Google announces an investment program for startups working on Google Assistant; the company is providing financial resources, access to Google Cloud Platform, promotional support, and more; the first partners include hotel concierge service GoMoment and language-learning service Edwin.

Google updates Assistant for Wear OS with audio replies, smart suggestions, and support for Actions; the first enables Assistant to reply audibly via Bluetooth-connected earpieces and speakers; smart suggestions produces a list of likely follow-up questions after a query; Assistant Actions brings access to 1M Assistant apps.

Google updates Chrome for desktop with intelligent muting of autoplay videos: will learn the preferences of users logged into Chrome; those not logged in will have to mute manually; Google says that, once trained, the new system will mute about half of unwanted autoplays.

Microsoft announces a number of updates for Outlook; includes bill pay reminders on Outlook.com, while the desktop version adds location suggestions when scheduling meetings; Android gets Office Lens, which lets users capture info from whiteboards and documents; iOS adds draft syncing for email.

Fitbit to make data available to doctors via Google’s Cloud Healthcare API; Fitbit CEO James Park recently said health would comprise a significant portion of the company’s consumer electronics strategy; will give doctors a central location to access health records and to track patients.

Email subscription management service Unroll.me announces that support for EU users will end on May 23 due to the company’s inability to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect May 25; will delete the accounts of affected users on May 24.

Authorities in Iran block Telegram, citing illegal practices by the company; an estimated 40M Iranians use the app; the government recently introduced its own messaging service Soroush; follows a similar ban in Russia.

Xiaomi files for IPO, aims to raise $10B on a $100B valuation; the company will list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; Xiaomi recorded $18B revenue for 2017, up 67% YoY.

Xiaomi will begin selling smartphones in the UK via a partnership with Three; also launched in Spain last year; previously announced plans to launch in the US by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Didi Chuxing and Volkswagen are set to announce a China-based joint venture; the unnamed company will focus on ride-hailing and self-driving cars; Volkswagen will initially take a 40% stake in the firm, with the option to acquire an additional 10%; Volkswagen will also provide 100k vehicles and autonomous tech; an official announcement is expected next week.

Ride-hailing firm Grab is in talks to raise $1B on a $10B valuation; Grab has raised $4.1B to date.

Ford, General Motors, and other automotive companies establish the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI); plans to create APIs and open standards that will enable vehicles to share data; will also facilitate payments.

Autonomous driving tech company Aptive launches 30 self-driving Lyft vehicles in Las Vegas; users in Las Vegas can now opt in for pickups by autonomous cars (with safety drivers present).

Elon Musk says Model Y production will begin earliest in 2020; Musk notes lack of space at the company’s Fremont, CA factory as an impediment to getting started.


🤑 Q1 earnings

Apple ($858B market cap) Q1 beats: $61.1B revenue ($60.9B expected); $9.2B services revenue; sold 52.2M iPhones; forecasts Q2 revenue of $51.5B to $53.5B.

Tesla ($51B market cap) Q1 beats: $3.4B revenue ($3.22B expected); the company says Model 3 production reached 2,270 units per week for three consecutive weeks in April; the first-quarter production target was 2.5k units per week; expects 5k units per week by the end of Q2.

Snap ($17.3B market cap) Q1 misses: $231M revenue, up 54% YoY ($244M expected); 191M DAUs, up 15% YoY (194M expected).

Spotify’s first quarterly earnings report: $1.37B revenue; 75M paid subscribers (75.1M expected); 99M ad-supported monthly active users (98M expected); projects $1.32B to $1.56B revenue in Q2.


📚 Stuff to think about

The Network Effects Bible. An extensive write up with definitions, resources and practical examples on NFX.

The subtle consequences of metric fixation. Against metrics: how measuring performance by number backfires.

Go fast and break things: the difference between reversible and irreversible decisions. Once you understand that reversible decisions are in fact reversible you can start to see them as opportunities to increase the pace of your learning.


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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.

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