el producto #94 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Apple TV subscription, Google Maps updates, Messenger redesign, Grab’s prepaid cards, YC top100 startups, Uber drone delivery, Q3 financial results & more.

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

🎰 The week in figures

$3B - raised by Beijing-based ByteDance at a $75B valuation; the company is known for its content platforms Toutiao and Douyin (Tik Tok in foreign markets).

$2B, Netflix plans to raise in debt to fund content, including acquisitions and production; this is the 6th time in 4 years the company has raised $1B or more via bonds; as of Sept 30, Netflix reported $8.34 billion in long-term debt.

$150M, raised by GoEuro on a series D round; the Germany-based travel did not confirm its valuation, but a source for Bloomberg says it’s worth $900M to $1B; GoEuro lets travelers book flights, trains, and buses across Europe.

90M regular readers on Apple News; the company is close to launching a subscription service; Apple reportedly will offer monthly plans providing access to bundles that include magazines and newspapers.

70% - Uber expects its food delivery service, Eats, to be available to 70% of the US population by year’s end; currently covers 50% ; Postmates serves 60% of US households; Uber says 40% of new Eats users are also new to Uber.

40%: Proportion of workers who are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback.


📰 What’s going on

Apple plans to launch its TV subscription service in +100 countries; reportedly plans to roll out in US in the H1 2019; Apple’s original content will be free for users of the company’s devices; content from other networks will be available to add on.

Google updates Maps with Follow feature; once a user follows a business, updates about events, special offers, and more appear in the user’s For You tab; rolling out to Android users in limited markets over the coming weeks.

Chrome v70 adds picture-in-picture support for desktop; lets users continue watching video while browsing across other tabs; the feature is available on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Google to shut down Nearby Notifications later this year; launched in 2015, enables Android to display contextually relevant information when users are near beacons; Google says marketers exploited the system to spam.

Google updates Search for desktop with new data and privacy controls; coming to mobile apps soon; plans to bring tools previously limited to Google Accounts to individual products; the Search update enables users to review and delete search activity, more.

Facebook rolls out redesigned Messenger; features a simpler UI with 3 main tabs, down from the previous 9; a camera icon at the top replaces the more prominent photo/video button at the bottom; users can change the color of individual chats.

Facebook adds music stickers to Stories; previously available in Instagram, the feature lets users select part of a song and overlay it on a post; Facebook is also expanding its live Lip Sync Live feature to Pages; users can also list songs on their profiles allowing friends to sample tracks.

Facebook is developing a standalone TikTok-like app that lets users record videos of themselves lip-syncing to music; Facebook’s lead product designer Brady Voss is overseeing the project known internally as Lasso.

Facebook confirms it’s developing an AR headset; head Ficus Kirkpatrick notes the tech is some way from being ready; Mark Zuckerberg previously suggested AR glasses are 5–7 years away.

Ebay announces Instant Selling, a program by which a smartphone seller gets payment, in the form of an eBay voucher, immediately upon listing a phone for sale.

Grab announces a partnership with Mastercard to offer prepaid cards to underbanked consumers across Southeast Asia; set to launch in Singapore and the Philippines in 2019, the scheme will provide both physical and virtual cards that users can top up with cash.

Grab begins testing GrabExpress, an on-demand door-to-door delivery service in Singapore; lets users request a courier to take a package to another address.

Samsung says it’s developing foldable displays for laptops; the company is working with third-party firms to develop the tech; Samsung is expected to introduce a smartphone with a foldable display as early as next month.

Lyft acquires London-based AR company Blue Vision Labs; TechCrunch sources indicate a price of $72M plus $30M in earn-outs; Lyft will integrate Blue Vision’s tech into its Level 5 autonomous vehicles; Lyft also revealed a fully-autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the company is aiming for a fully-electric service in London by 2025; Khosrowshahi made the comments to British reporters, noting Uber will add a “clean air” fee to rides next year.

Uber plans to introduce a drone-based food delivery service by 2021; Uber hopes to begin testing next year; the company posted a job listing for an operations exec to work on the service.

Daimler and EV company Geely partner to establish a premium ride-hailing business in China in 2019; will use Geely and Mercedes vehicles.

Elon Musk says The Boring Company’s first tunnel in Hawthorne, CA will open Dec 10; Musk also promised free rides for the public the following day.


💸 Financial results Q3

Amazon ($801.3B market cap) Q3 misses: Revenue up 29% YoY ($56.6B vs $57.10B estimated). AWS revenue: $6.68B vs $6.71B estimated.

Alphabet ($750.5B market cap) Q3 misses: Revenue up 21% YoY ($33.7B vs $34.04B expected). Advertising accounts for 85.8% (20% up YoY).

Microsoft ($786B market cap) Q3 beats: $29.08B revenue, up 19% YoY ($27.9B expected); $8.8B net income, up 34%; the company said it was a record quarter, largely attributable to cloud growth.

Twitter ($20.8B market cap) Q3 beats: $758.1M revenue, up 29% YoY ($702M expected); 326M MAUs, down from 335M in Q2; the company says the drop is mainly due to the removal of suspicious accounts; Twitter forecasts another user decline for Q4.

Tesla ($49B market cap) Q3 beats: $6.82B revenue ($6.33B expected); represents Tesla’s 3rd profitable quarter since going public in 2010.

Snap ($8.9B market cap) Q3 beats: $298M revenue ($283M expected); 186M daily active Snapchat users, down 1% quarter-over-quarter.

📅 Earnings calls calendar:

  • Facebook: 30-Oct
  • Apple: 1-Nov
  • Spotify: 1-Nov
  • Alibaba: 2-Nov
  • Booking Holdings: 5-Nov
  • Tencent: 14-Nov
  • Baidu: 30-Oct

📚 Stuff to think about

Y Combinator announces its 2018 TOP100 startups. The top 100 YC companies are listed by valuation, as of October 16 2018.

The messy middle of big companies. Scott Belsky talks about how some of the startup growth challenges touched on his new book, The Messy Middle, apply to larger organizations.

What you shouldn’t ask your customers. David Bailey tells us from his personal experience how asking the wrong type of questions will bias customers’ answers and eventually decide the fate of your product.


🚀 Like el producto? Forward it to a friend.

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. Free forever. Sign-up here.