The Department of Product
Microsoft’s earnings, a new way to send internal updates, how to plan features asynchronously and how Spotify does product discovery
Hello product people,
An essential – but often dreaded – part of building products in larger organisations is when it gets to that time of the week where you need to send an internal update about your product’s performance. It’s a joyless task, but without it, stakeholders are left in the dark. Now, a new product promises to do it all for you. Broadcast allows you to quickly draft internal updates with AI and share them on a regular cadence in your Slack and email. From weekly team recaps to ongoing product updates, the tool is designed to help product managers and others waste less time on status updates by integrating directly into tools including Notion, Asana, Github, Gmail and more.
Another product released this week to help you stay – or at least look – productive and engaged is this rather creepy new eye tracking tool from Nvidia. Eye Contact works by tracking your eye movements during video calls and fixing your eyes at the camera, even if you’re not looking directly at it. The technology will no doubt be useful for execs and other professionals who want to glance from a script occasionally and maintain eye contact. The results are pretty impressive but the reception so far has been mixed.
Meanwhile, Microsoft reported its earnings this week. It was a mixed bag for the tech giant with overall revenues up 2% and hardware revenues in personal computing down 18% year on year. For specific products, Microsoft 365 revenues were up 5.2% year on year to $11.65 billion and LinkedIn revenues grew 9.8% year on year. What’s impressive though, is that sheer breadth of product offerings Microsoft now boasts. A glance at the company’s product release document shows just how many different sectors the company’s products operate in – with many of them market leaders.
One market the company has seemingly decided to opt out of, though, is the metaverse. Last week Microsoft confirmed that they would shut their metaverse AltspaceVR and shelved plans for Hololens 3. With Meta investing over $36 billion in the space and Apple’s rumoured VR devices on the horizon, it’s clear that Microsoft is deciding to sit this one out. Instead, the company is extending a massive bet on OpenAI with a rumoured $10 billion deal inked this week.
Finally, if you’re looking for inspiration for your product’s UX, this handy curated collection of UX case studies from top product companies should help.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Your product briefing
Product process – How to plan new product features asynchronously
In my view, meeting-heavy processes totally detract the ability to have people in different time zones working together. Meetings also get in the way of deep work, which is needed in teams of builders such as Software Engineers, Designers, etc. Shopify recently banned meetings with 2 or more people for this exact reason. (Department of Product)
Case studies – How Spotify does product discovery
Connecting with your cross-functional product team is often the fastest way to gain context on a new project and understand user needs. These activities tend to foster stronger communication that will enable you to gather the collective experiences of the whole group. (Spotify engineering blog)
Newsletters worth reading – Chartr – data visualisations to make you smarter
Data-driven insights into business, tech, entertainment and society. Chart’s visual newsletter takes 5 minutes to read and it’s completely free. (Chartr)
Tweets to ponder
There are 6 types of successful products pic.twitter.com/zdiyUWo7yn
— GREG ISENBERG (@gregisenberg) January 17, 2023
Dates for your diary – Q1 2023
- January 31st – Spotify earnings (online)
- February 1st – Samsung Galaxy’s ‘Share the Epic’ media event (hybrid)
- February 15 – CIO’s Future of Work Summit (online)
- February 15-16 – AI Summit West (San Francisco)
- March 8-9 – Tech Show London (London)
- March 16-18 – Women in Cybersecurity (Denver)
- March 19-23 – Adobe Summit (Las Vegas)
Antipersonas represent people who could misuse your product in ways that negatively impact target users and the business. Formalizing a description of the 8 aspects of an antipersonas can help a design team mitigate such risks. (NN Group)
New product launches – Amazon launches a $5 per month Prime add-on for drugs
After years of openly flirting with disrupting the health care industry, Amazon went all out on Tuesday in its debut of RxPass, a new subscription service that provides Amazon Prime members with unlimited prescription medications for an additional $5 monthly fee.
New product features – Instagram launches ‘Quiet’ mode
Meta launched a new quiet mode for Instagram users, which is basically a Do Not Disturb setting specifically for the app. It turns off notifications and sends an auto-reply to people trying to DM you. While quiet mode can work for anyone, it seems particularly aimed at teens — likely as part of an ongoing attempt by Instagram to stop harming young people. (Mashable)
When we have compared our estimations to reality and made appropriate adjustments to our technique so we are reasonably sure of being (probabilistically) accurate, one says that we are making calibrated estimations. (Two Wrongs Blog)
Other product news in brief
After Discord acquired Gas, a new hot German startup targeting teens with a similar value proposition has bagged $2.5 million. Slay bills itself as a positive social media network for teenagers.
Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings is stepping down as CEO after 20+ years.
Coinbase’s chief product officer Surojit Chatterjee is leaving the company with a cool $105 million payday after exercising stock options at the peak of the pandemic crypto craze.
Twitter ended support for third-party apps. Twitter deliberately revoked API access and eventually released a statement confirming the policy change.
The latest product jobs from the Department of Product Pallet board.
Technical product manager, Brightcove (US / remote)
Brightcove is video that means business, helping customers experience the incredible potential of video. As a Staff Product Manager of Brightcove Architecture and API, you will be driving product development in and for a truly global environment.
Product manager, Able (US / remote)
Able is a purpose-driven company focused on making the overall population fitter, healthier, and happier by providing a 360-degree personalized approach to weight care for tens of thousands of people worldwide.
Senior UX writer, Amazon Buy with Prime (US / remote)
We’re looking for a talented, word-wise Senior UX Writer to join our highly collaborative content marketing team, supporting a product with high exposure. In this role, you will have the exciting opportunity to help shape and deliver on the next big thing at Amazon.
Google Maps’ new rival and ChatGPT usage declines. Plus: NYT bans LLMs, a new tool for multi-user collaboration, TikTok shuts off its algorithm
Slack’s major redesign and Square’s blockbuster earnings. Plus: a beautiful tool for knowledge, APIs explained and RIP Cortana
Uber’s profitability and hidden blue checkmarks. Plus: a new tool for disputes, Meta’s Reels rakes in billions and retention benchmarks
Shopify’s $1600 meetings and Netflix’s ad-funded success
Plus: a tool to free your mind, how to use developer tools and a summer reading list
Microsoft fights AI fatigue and Roblox’s vision for a new economy. Plus: a new tool for task automation, TikTok’s new music app and Google Docs gets a notebook
Gmail and Stripe punish no shows and Twilio’s new API. Plus: YouTube gets screen locks, DeepMind’s CEO talks and a note taking ‘studio for your mind’
Spotify CEO’s $60m body scans, Threads and Penpots. Plus: a new tool for SaaS pricing and Google Calendar gets shared events
Figma’s new mode and AR gets a niche use case. Plus: Shopify takes a gamble, a new tool for API integrations and Dropbox unifies search
Spotify, Revolut and the rise of the Super Sub. Plus: a new inbox for Slack, GitHub’s copilot creator speaks out and why Google can’t be trusted
Netflix’s gamble pays off and Reddit starts an API war. Plus: a new tool for translations, Intercom charges per query and Google Meet gets easier on the go