el producto #75 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Uber drunk recognition, Internet trends 2018, Google App Maker, Microsoft’s store tech, Instagram’s in-story shopping, Uber Lite, Adyen IPO & more.

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

🎰 The week in figures

1M possible World Cup outcomes predicted by Goldman Sachs; used AI to run 200,000 models, ultimately picking Brazil as the victor, with Germany as the runner-up. (Meanwhile UBS picked Germany, while ING favors Spain.)

10k Tesla’s superchargers in operation; the company has an additional 1k at the permit or construction phase.

9%: In a memo sent to Tesla employees Tuesday night, Elon Musk announced that Tesla will lay off about 9% of its employees.


📰 What’s going on

Twitter to roll out interest-based, personalized news notifications in the US in coming weeks; the Happening Now feature, which appears at the top of feeds and enables users to follow sports teams and events.

Google launches App Maker out of beta; available to G Suite for Education, Business, and Enterprise subscribers; App Maker offers low-code, drag-and-drop development and deployment of web apps that use data from G Suite and multiple databases.

Google updates Home with Multiple Actions and stacked commands; Multiple Actions enables users to issue numerous commands after saying “OK Google” one time; stacking allows users to combine multi-part questions in a single sentence; currently limited to English-speaking users in the US.

Google releases Chrome OS v67; supports Progressive Web Apps, which behave like desktop apps or native mobile apps: they run in windows rather than tabs; also adds split screen for tablet mode, select text to read aloud.

Google is updating Translate for iOS and Android with offline Neural Machine Translation (NMT); Google added NMT in 2016, but it currently requires connectivity; today, offline mode is limited to phrase-by-phrase translation, whereas NMT translates entire sentences and offers improved accuracy.

Instagram sends press invites for June 20 event; TechCrunch reported last week that the company was preparing to announce a long-form video hub, and indicated it would launch on June 20; the hub reportedly will feature scripted shows and music videos.

Instagram introduces shopping features for Stories; brands can add a shopping bag sticker to their posts which reveals product details when tapped.

Snapchat launches Snap Kit: a set of APIs that enables developers to create apps that use Snapchat logins for signups, keyboards with Bitmoji avatars, more; launch partners include Tinder and Postmates.

Microsoft is developing Amazon Go-like grocery store tech; the company is working on a cashier-free system that tracks items placed in a basket; Microsoft has demonstrated the system to Walmart.

Microsoft to update Office with Fluent Design; will feature smaller, simplified ribbon; will include new icons and animations, subtle color changes; also coming to Office for the web; the web suite will be modernized for speed and ease of use, with avatars and dedicated colors for comments.

Uber hires Daniel Danker as a senior director and head of driver product; Danker previously served as a product director at Facebook

Amazon starts shipping its $250 DeepLens wireless camera system to developers; designed to help users improve their machine learning and computer vision skills; features built-in processing for deep learning models.

Workday($26B market cap) acquires business planning company Adaptive Insights for $1.55B in cash; Adaptive Insights previously raised $176M.

Adyen stock surges 70% on first day of trading, giving the company a $14B valuation.

Xiaomi reports Q1 revenue of $5.4B, losses of $1.1B; smartphones represent 67.5% of sales; the company released the figure as it prepares for an IPO; Xiaomi aims to raise $10B on a valuation of at least $70B.

Uber is considering an acquisition bid for bike-share operator Motivate; the company powers the CitiBike service in New York and Ford’s GoBike in San Francisco; Lyft was in talks to acquire Motivate for $250M.

Uber files patent for technology to detect when users are drunk. Uber app can analyze how users walk, ability to tap buttons, and more, to determine their state.

Uber launches Uber Lite in India; the lightweight Android app forgoes the default real-time map, but retains in-app support and the ability to share trips; also caches local places to minimize data use.

Ford launches food delivery vans in partnership with Postmates in Miami; currently relies on drivers, but plans to launch an autonomous service in 2021; each van features a bank of lockers, accessible via touch pad; audio and light prompts direct each user to the correct locker.

Ride-hailing firm Grab raises $1B led by Toyota; the company now has a valuation of more than $10B; Toyota also gains a board seat as part of the deal; Grab operates across eight countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam; raised $5.1B to date.

China is set to introduce a national vehicle tracking system on July 1; RFID chips will be fixed to the windshields of new cars, and detection devices will be installed along roadsides; the chips will contain vehicle license plate information and car color.


📚 Stuff to think about

Building a Wardley Map. Design is about understanding the context enabling you to take decisions. A Wardley Map represents the value chain of the context you’re shaping, and hints at what strategic options are available.

Startup timing is everything. Pete Flint shares a framework to identify the tipping point for when a product or market goes under rapid transformation.

The race for autonomous vehicles. CBInsights dives into how Baidu’s Apollo project can keep them ahead of Tesla, Google, Apple and other in AVs.

Internet trends 2018. If you don’t have time to go through the 294-slide annual report by Mary Meeker, check out Simone Cicero’s analysis or just scroll down to some takeways I’ve noted from Recode:

  • 2017 was the first year in which smartphone unit shipments didn’t grow at all.
  • Internet user growth decelerated. Rose 7% in 2017, down from 12% the year before. With more than half the world online, there are fewer people left to connect.
  • People, however, are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9h per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6h in 2016. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.
  • Despite the high-profile releases of $1,000 iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Notes, the global average selling price of smartphones is continuing to decline. Lower costs help drive smartphone adoption in less-developed markets.
  • China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500m active mobile payment users in 2017.
  • Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20m in Q317 to more than 30m in Q4.
  • E-commerce sales grew 16% in the U.S. in 2017, up from 14% in 2016. Amazon is taking a bigger share of those sales at 28% last year. Conversely, physical retail sales are continuing to decline.
  • Big tech is competing on more fronts. Google is expanding from an ads platform to a commerce platform via Google Home Ordering. Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon is moving into advertising.
  • Internet leaders like Google and Amazon will offer more AI service platforms as AI becomes a bigger part of enterprise spending.
  • China is catching up as a hub to the world’s biggest internet companies. Currently, China is home to nine of the world’s 20 biggest internet companies by market cap while the U.S. has 11. Five years ago, China had 2 and the U.S. had 9.

🐦 Tweet of the week


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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.