The Department of Product


Thursday, 13 July, 2023

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'

Hi product people 👋,

The next time someone fails to show up for an important meeting, Google Calendar’s new feature could come in handy. This week, the company unveiled a new integration with Stripe which allows users to charge invitees upfront for meetings. In a blog post outlining the new feature, Google says the new integration is primarily targeted at small businesses who suffer loss of earnings from no shows and is part of a broader rollout of new Calendar features designed to help the company compete directly with Calendly, and other recent entrants to the market.

Other new products worth mentioning this week include a new product called Capacities which describes itself as a ‘studio for your mind’. It’s a note taking up which looks suspiciously similar to Notion at first glance. But if you delve a little deeper into its functionality you’ll be pleased to see it does differentiate itself across some interesting dimensions. First, it allows you to link objects and docs together and view them visually in a beautiful looking graph. Plus, it offers what it calls Daily Notes, which act as a filterable timeline of all your notes, sorted by date. It sounds fairly basic but actually looks like a useful way to do note taking when you see it in action.

Meanwhile, could NFTs be making a comeback? It’s a thought that sends a shudder down most spines, but a former product manager at Pandora has raised $20 million in the hope that they could. But this time, the proposition his company is offering is slightly different. 

Backed by leading investors including Andreessen Horowitz (and Snoop Dogg), Web3 music platform Sound is promising to offer an alternative to traditional music streaming revenue models. Artists currently receive roughly $0.003 per stream but Sound’s model is different. It allows artists to publish either full tracks or ‘fractionalized’ versions of songs as NFTs in exchange for direct streaming royalties that cut out the middle layer associated with streaming. It’s an interesting use case with a noble cause to help artists at its heart, but the NFT market may be irreparably damaged. Sega this week announced it is exiting the space entirely after experimenting with web3 gaming.

Finally, if you’re struggling to onboard customers effectively into your own product, this new company could help.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

The Department of Product Weekly Briefing

Essential reads for product teams

New from Department of Product this week

(Department of Product)

Process – How to create a consistent design system

A design system is a “collection of reusable functional elements–components and patterns–guided by clear standards that product teams use to create a consistent experience across a range of products.” ( Shaping Design)

Tools you can use

  • Magic Beans – manage your finances on Notion

  • Remotebase – hire top 1% remote developers in 24 hours

  • SourcePrompts – AI prompt database to use for design, content writing and emails

  • Cycle – capture user feedback from multiple sources

Strategy – Why speed is the greatest power for your strategy

  1. Quality: your product gets better faster.

  2. Productivity: you and your team have more fun accomplishing more.

  3. Network activation: speed and momentum is seductive. You’ll generate more attention from potential customers, employees, press, and investors.

  4. Keep more equity in your company: your valuation will go up, and your costs will go down, reducing the need to raise more capital.

Interview – DeepMind’s CEO on its plans to get back in front of the AI race

New product features, launches and announcements this week

YouTube is experimenting with a new lock screen that will allow users to watch video on mobile devices without accidentally touching the screen.

Twitter is blocking links to new rival Threads amid speculation that traffic is declining on Twitter after the launch. Twitter previously deployed a similar tactic against Substack links when they announced the launch of Notes and links still don’t preview fully on the platform. 

Twilio has opened up a beta of its new content API. The new API allows product teams to deploy rich messaging formats outside of the standard SMS, including WhatsApp message template. The release also includes the launch of a brand new content editor which allows non-engineers to write and manage messaging. 

Gmail is introducing a new calendar icon inside the compose window which allows users to Create an event or “Offer times when you’re free”. The create an event button automatically generates a calendar invite with the recipients of the email and “Offer times when you’re free” opens the calendar and allows users to select free times.

Microsoft has added the launch of a new Teams app on MacOS and Windows to its roadmap which it has described as being ‘reimagined from the ground up’, delivering up to 2x faster performance.

📈 Product insights and trends to stay informed

Gmail is the world’s top email server with 18.2% of the market, followed by Microsoft.

TikTok amassed $1 billion in consumer spending in Q1 2023 via in-app purchases. Using TikTok’s native currency, TikTok coins, users can send gifts to streamers and boost their own videos via promotions.

Adobe has announced that genAI feature Firefly has generated over 1 billion assets on the web.

Only 47% of SaaS licences are actually used.

The metaverse is dead after Meta’s Horizon World’s reportedly generated just $470 globally.

“AI engineer” is a new role that will likely be the highest-demand engineering job of the decade. The new role will likely include a mix of evaluating LLMs, deploying tools and staying on top of AI research, says swyx.

250 million people have downloaded ByteDance’s new music streaming app, Resso. The app only operates in India, Brazil and Indonesia and is focused on hyperlocal music genres that have the potential to go viral on TikTok.

Tech leadership changes

Uber’s CFO is to step down, the most senior executive exit since the company’s IPO.

Vimeo’s CEO Anjali Sud is leaving the company with Adam Gross named interim chief. Sud had been at Vimeo for 9 years. Vimeo reported a Q1 operating loss of $2.8 million, a $23.5 million improvement from the first quarter of 2022.

Google’s augmented reality exec Mark Lucovsky is leaving the company as it struggles to craft a vision for AR.

All yours, all free. Enter your email to receive your briefing.

Product Briefing – August 17, 2023

Google Maps’ new rival and ChatGPT usage declines. Plus: NYT bans LLMs, a new tool for multi-user collaboration, TikTok shuts off its algorithm

Product Briefing – August 3, 2023

Uber’s profitability and hidden blue checkmarks. Plus: a new tool for disputes, Meta’s Reels rakes in billions and retention benchmarks

Product Briefing – July 27, 2023

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

Product Briefing – July 20, 2023

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

Product Briefing – Jun 29, 2023

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

Product Briefing – Jun 22, 2023

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

Product Briefing – Jun 15, 2023

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

Product Briefing – Jun 8, 2023

Apple’s Vision and a new way to predict the future. Plus: Airtable gets percentages, Slack’s revenue struggles and a new feature analytics tool

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