The Department of Product


Thursday, 20 July, 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

Hi product people 👋,

AI fatigue is now firmly setting in, but that’s not stopping Microsoft. The company unveiled a bunch of new AI-powered features at their annual Inspire Conference last week. Highlights worth noting include the rollout of Copilot to sales teams, the announcement that Azure will support Meta’s open sourced LLM Llama 2 and the release of Bing Chat for enterprise. Microsoft also confirmed that a subscription to access productivity-boosting Copilot products will cost a hefty $30 per user per month. You can watch CEO Satya Nadella’s full keynote here.

Other products on a mission to help boost your productivity include a new startup we came across this week called Bardeen. At the core of Bardeen’s offering is the ability to automate tasks you’d rather not have to do on repeat – in just one click. In a product development context, this can include tasks such as creating bug tickets, generating GitHub issues from emails or creating an Asana task from a calendar event.  

But whilst one click automations are certainly helpful, one of the major influencers on your productivity is sleep. And if you’re struggling to get to sleep during the summer months, one product you may not have tried so far is this. Legal Lullabies is a new service which reads out bedtime stories entirely composed of tech companies’ terms and conditions. 

Meanwhile, as companies continue to focus their attention to monetization and new revenue streams, gaming platform Roblox has unveiled its vision of how it plans to help creators make money. Real-world subscriptions are coming and they’ll allow marketplace creators to sell subscriptions to products and services that are linked to the real world in some way. The details were scarce but the bridging of the digital and physical economies is a trend worth watching. As part of the announcement, the company also confirmed that its marketplace saw a massive 1.8 billion avatar items purchased in 2022, with the highest 10 earning creators earning an average of $23 million each.

Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about developing marketplace products, you can join the product leads at Uber Eats, Faire and GoPuff in this free live session hosted by Contrary Research.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

The Department of Product Weekly Briefing

Essential reads for product teams

Strategy – Shop Pay’s expansion and payment terminology you should know in 2023

In this DoP Deep newsletter we dig a little deeper into Shop Pay’s expansion and we’ll explore some important payment terminology that’s useful for you to know if you ever find yourself working on payment integrations in your company. (Department of Product)

UX – How to use empathy maps

The empathy-mapping process helps distill and categorize knowledge of the user into one place, while the artifact serves as quick, digestible way to illustrate user attitudes and behaviors. (NN Group)

Tools you can use

  • Twos – Notes, tasks, reminders, events and lists – all in one place

  • Dyte – add live streaming to your product in minutes

  • Opine – give video feedback in Figma

  • Allo – understand your team’s status and progress at a glance

Design – How to choose a font type

Whether you’re selecting the first typeface for a new project, pairing a secondary typeface after the primary selection has been made, updating a brand with something new that retains the feel of the original, or anything in between, this checklist can act as a universal guide.  (Google Design Guides)

Matters of debate

Is remote work better than being in the office?

New product features, launches and announcements this week

YouTube is testing a new feature called Stable Volume which will ensure volume remains as a constant level throughout videos.

Meta is launching cartoon avatars across Instagram and Facebook Messenger. The avatars look suspiciously similar to the avatars used in the company’s metaverse. Could this be an attempt to normalise the avatarization of humans to drive uptake in the metaverse?

Twitter is working on long form publishing tools that will include ‘long, complex articles’ with mixed media. “You could publish a book if you want,” says Elon Musk.

Google Docs is getting a new kind of notebook called NotebookLM. It’s currently an experiment but NotebookLM automatically generates a document guide to help you get a better understanding of the material covered in a document. Once you’ve selected a document, you can use NootebookLM in 3 ways: get a summary, ask questions and generate ideas.

TikTok has launched a new streaming service in Australia, Mexico and Singapore. 

📈 Product data and trends to stay informed

AI company Mubert says it has produced more than 100 million AI generated music tracks – more than the entire Spotify library. Here’s how other libraries compare.

Despite an unprecedented launch, daily downloads of Threads have fallen significantly since there. More importantly, time spent on Threads has dropped by ~50% and daily active users have declined 20-25% from its peak.

TikTok’s follow-up app Lemon8’s popularity is falling in the US. Daily downloads are down 6.7% and DAUS are down almost 50% from 11,930 to 6,360.

Total job openings for Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta are up 100%, 40%, 85%, and 162%, respectively since the end of Q1.

54% of people say they prefer to watch creators analysing a major event rather than watching the event itself. YouTube Culture and Trends report in full.

Funding for web3 startups has dropped 78% year on year to $3.6 billion.

Tech leadership updates

OnlyFans CEO Ami Gan is leaving the company after less than 3 years in charge. Chief strategy and operations office Keily Blair will take over as CEO.

Tubi has appointed ex-Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud as CEO.

OpenAI has lost a third board member with the exit of presidential candidate Will Hurd.

1996” by socmplxd, 2022.
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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

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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

Product Briefing – Jun 1, 2023

Notion’s new Projects and WeWork gets 3D video calls. Plus: goodbye YouTube Stories, FigJam’s new iPad app and AI natural selection

Product Briefing – May 25, 2023

Adobe unleashes its superpower and NYT takes on Spotify
Plus: a new tool to Rewind your life, Google Docs plays Notion catch up and Coinbase impresses

Product Briefing – May 18th, 2023

DuoLingo’s monetization machine and Google banishes blue links
Plus: Apple’s new voice clones, a new tool for async comms and the demise of Stack Overflow

Product Briefing – May 11th, 2023

Slack’s AI bet and Peloton gets a reality check. Plus: Zapier’s new no-code feature, a new tool for prudent product pricing and how to use Firefly for product design

Product Briefing – May 4th, 2023

Uber’s comeback and Tinder swipes for meetings. Plus: a new Slack thread management tool, how to sound engaging on Zoom and LinkedIn’s new genAI feature.

Product Briefing – April 27th, 2023

Snap’s AI backlash and Gmail gets beautified. Plus: a new tool for improving your writing, Spotify earnings impress and Klarna releases a new human shopping assistant

Product Briefing – April 20th, 2023

Netflix gets cold feet and Reddit flicks the API monetization switch.
Plus: a new tool for distraction free productivity, Shopify’s CEO on micromanagement and how to become more commercial

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