The Department of Product
Notion's new Projects and WeWork gets 3D video calls. Plus: goodbye YouTube Stories, FigJam's new iPad app and AI natural selection
Hi product people 👋,
Notion has set its sights firmly on the enterprise market with a new product launch called Projects. The release is an evolution of the company’s existing project management capabilities with some new functionality added to sharpen its appeal. New Project-specific features includes AI autofill which automatically extracts information teams need and keeps it updated as project progress, page level notifications and improvements to subtasks and dependencies. The release also marks the launch of a brand new template gallery from top companies including this daily standup template from Mixpanel which is super handy for product teams. Notion is still a relatively small player in the enterprise project management market and the company will be hoping it can take a slice out of Jira, Asana and Google’s pie.
Not to be outdone this week, Google Docs also took the time to launch a couple of new features worth knowing about as it continues to play catch up with Notion and co. One feature which caught our eye is called ‘variable chips’. Here’s how it works: just like a variable in programming, users can set the value of a variable (think client name, contact number etc), and then use and update that in multiple places at once.
In other news, Zoom earnings impressed with the company posting an increase in revenues to $1.1bn, up 3% year on year. The company also announced improvements in monthly churn, down from 3.6% to 3.1%; a stellar number in the middle of a downturn which, for B2C comparison, is lower than the average monthly churn for Netflix.
What got us more intrigued this week though, was not Zoom calls, but a new communication experience called Project Starline. Developed by Google, Project Starline uses 3D immersion technology to make users feel like they’re in the same room as the person they’re talking to. Early reviewers have been shocked by how realistic the experience is, but questions remain about how broad the appeal of such powerful hardware might be in the long run. Project Starline has signed up with partners including WeWork to test the hardware in its co-working spaces and Salesforce. You can check out a demo of it in action here.
Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to mix things up and present an internal presentation as your own unique animated Pixar clone, this thread is for you.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Essential reads for product teams
Free webinar – How to develop an API product strategy
Hosted by Square’s Lead Product Manager, Abhishek Bharadwaj, in this live session, we’ll explore:
How to develop an API product strategy – where APIs fit into your wider product strategy and how integrating with third party APIs can add new functionality to your product
API terminology – essential terms product teams need to know when integrating with APIs
API monetization – how to turn your APIs into revenue generators
Tools you can use to better understand how APIs work and build your product’s API docs
(Department of Product and Sendbird)
Tools you can use
Comprehensive – a pay transparency tool to check salary benchmarks
Muse – a new team canvas for planning, sketching and strategy
Tab Close – automatically close leftover tab links from Zoom, Figma and more
Practical guides – Learn about Mastering User Retention
Get this guide by Amplitude Analytics, industry leader in product analytics. (Sponsored)
Tomer Cohen is the chief product officer at Linkedin. Since joining in 2012, Tomer has served in key leadership roles, helping launch and scale new innovative member and customer experiences. (20VC)
AI research paper – Why natural selection favors AIs over humans
Natural selection operates on systems that compete and vary, and that selfish species typically have an advantage over species that are altruistic to other species. This Darwinian logic could also apply to artificial agents, as agents may eventually be better able to persist into the future if they behave selfishly and pursue their own interests with little regard for humans, which could pose catastrophic risks. (Center for AI Safety)
Skills – How to find and foster product sense
Product thinkers have structured opinions on the products that they like and those they don’t. This structured thinking is a tell, even when it leads to the same conclusion as more emotional reasoning. (Stay SaaSy)
User testing in real life
An HBO Max user shares their real world frustrations at their human check security implementation – with amusing results
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New product features, launches and announcements this week
Figma has launched a standalone Figjam iPad app – very handy for workshops and brainstorming sessions.
Arc Browser has launched a new version of Boosts. If you’ve not heard of it before, a Boost allows users to customise every website they visit, changing font types, colors, CSS styles and more. Boosts can also be shared with other users. It’s a beautifully executed new feature but does it undermine the role of product designers?
WhatsApp is introducing screen sharing for Android users.
MoviePass has relaunched with a new subscription service and pricing model in the US. There are now four tiers with prices ranging from $10 to $40. The tiers use a new credit system that incorporates a variable cost model.
Genealogy company MyHeritage has launched a new app called ‘Reimagine’. The app scans all of your older photos of loved ones and enhances them through colorization, resolution improvements and animations which can ‘bring your memories to life’. Watch it in action here.
Microsoft has unveiled a new data analytics product called Fabric which it says is designed for the AI era. The new product integrates deeply into Azure Cloud products and Microsoft 365.
📊 Product insights and trends to stay informed
Adobe’s strategic pivot to a subscription model led to a ~4x increase in revenues. The company reported $17.6bn in revenues in 2022 , the vast majority of which was subscriptions.
Snapchat now reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds and 75% of 13-34 year olds across the UK. Snapchatters open the app an average of 50 times per day.
Just 14% of US adults have tried ChatGPT and 42% of US adults have heard ‘nothing at all’ about it.
IPO filings are up 18% year on year vs the same point in 2022.
An estimated 20% of Belarussian tech workers have left the country as the country’s once-thriving tech scene continues to decline due to political instability.
Other industry news in brief
YouTube Stories are being discontinued as the company focuses on Shorts instead.
Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden is stepping down from the company after steering it to profitability.
TikTok’s CEO will now also oversee ByteDance’s other wildly successful app, Lemon8.
🤖 Future Party – Want in on trends that drive the future? Join over 200k driven professionals who read TheFutureParty – the daily newsletter that dissects the business of entertainment & culture all in a quick and witty package. Subscribe for free.
One financial concept for tech workers explained simply and clearly. Delivered to your inbox every week. (Substack)
Airtable AI and a new browser
Plus: Meta’s paid sub plans, Airbnb’s trouble in NYC and how to measure engineering productivity
Google Docs’ Grammarly clone and Salesforce margins improve
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
Snap’s Dreams, Peloton’s churn and Jira’s new competitor
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