The Department of Product


Thursday, 04 May, 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.

Hello product people 👋,

The five minutes before a meeting that everyone secretly wants to cancel can be excruciating for tech professionals. Now, a new product is actively encouraging meeting participants to go ahead and cancel guilt free. It’s dubbed ‘Tinder for Meetings’ and Cala works by presenting you with a series of cards which represent your daily meetings at the start of your work day. If both attendees swipe left to cancel, the meeting is automatically cancelled. No questions asked.

Other product highlights worth noting this week include the rollout of Google’s new passwordless vision of the future, passkeys. For many product teams, passwordless authentication is still stuck firmly in the buzzword category with few practical consequences, but the release of passkeys is significant. Google’s identity and security product manager Christiaan Brand hopes that the release means that we’re now “not just talking about this stuff” but that it’s ready for prime-time adoption.

Meanwhile, earnings season continued and Uber beat analyst expectations with revenues of $8.82 billion, up 27.5% for the quarter. Monthly active users reached 130 million, up 13% year on year and it’s the company’s product diversification that continues to please investors. Aside from its core ride hailing platform, the pandemic helped Uber strengthen its delivery business with Uber Eats and a courier delivery service. Uber is also quietly building a solid advertising business with over 345,000 active advertisers. Other product highlights worth noting include audio recording safety features and a new feature that allows sports fans to order items directly to their seats at sports stadiums. You can read Uber’s full investor update here.

In other news, Twitter’s director of product management Patrick Traughber has reportedly told employees that it will double down on its subscription product. According to audio of a meeting leaked to The Information, product teams at Twitter will be tasked with the goal of adding three to four features to it per week.

Finally, what if you could ask complex data science questions about your product directly from Slack without knowing SQL? This new product has you covered.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Essential reads for product teams

Strategy – How to boost retention with better onboarding

Delivering more value doesn’t always mean launching new features, adding services, or offering more stuff. Sometimes, it’s about better connecting your subscribers with the value they seek from your product, which is especially important when onboarding new subscribers. ( Growth Croissant)

User management tools  – Add new login types to your product

Add Biometrics, magic links, social logins to your product with Descope. Simplify onboarding, improve conversions and manage users in one place – set up in just 10 mins. (Sponsored)

Recommended newsletter – Unicorner

Unicorner sends the best early-stage startups straight to your inbox. Every Monday morning, you’ll get a 2-minute rundown on a promising company with the potential to be a future unicorn. Learn about the next Netflix, Uber, or Airbnb before they’re the next Netflix, Uber, or Airbnb. 

Tools you can use

  • Prelaunch – validate your ideas before you launch

  • iLib – the largest directly of AI tools and products on the web

  • Papertrail – save your most important Slack conversations and threads in one click

Case studies – How Uber does demand forecasting at airports

Airports currently hold a significant portion of Uber’s supply and open supply hours (i.e., supply that is not utilized, but open for dispatch) across the globe. At most airports, drivers are obligated to join a “first-in-first-out” (FIFO) queue from which they are dispatched. When the demand for trips is high relative to the supply of drivers in the queue (“undersupply”), this queue moves quickly and wait times for drivers can be quite low. (Uber Engineering)

Strategy – 7 examples of product led growth in mobile apps

How products like Spotify, Duolingo, Bumble and more use product led growth tactics. Most B2C apps employ over three PLG mechanisms together to help their product grow, with a strong bias towards monetisation. (UX Collective)

🚀 New product features, launches and announcements this week

LinkedIn is experimenting with a new GenAI feature that will generate cover letters to hiring managers. Using information from the job post, hiring manager and your own profile, the message will be hyper personalised and is designed to be used as a starting template that can be edited by candidates before hitting send.

YouTube is rolling out podcasts for US users and is available to non-premium users.

Microsoft is tapping into the on-demand payment model by rolling out a new payment system that lets small businesses charge for appointments, webinars and more. The new feature is powered by a partnership with GoDaddy, PayPal and Stripe and is free for Teams business users. 

BeReal rolls out RealPeople – a curated timeline of the “world’s most interesting people” – as it fights to stay relevant.

Reddit is beta testing a Discord-inspired channel for community chat called Channels. The new feature is starting with a select group of 25 volunteer subreddits and will roll it out to more if it’s successful. 

🤓 How to sound engaging on a Zoom call

A new study analysed 1,600 Zoom conversations. The highest-rated conversationalists:

  • Varied their volume

  • Spoke ~3% faster — which equates to around six additional words per minute.

  • Nodded and shook their heads more often, signaling appropriate responses and attentiveness.

  • Mixed up the conversation, but not too much. The most engaging speakers knew how to introduce new topics without steering too far from the agenda.

  • Were more “intense,” and emotional in their communication style.


🧠💻 Upcoming live programs – Looking to become more technical in 2023? The Web Technologies Program starts May 27th

📈 Product insights and trends to stay informed

Pinterest’s average revenue per user is down on the quarter but up 1% globally year on year and 27% for the rest of the world year on year. Investors responded warmly to the company’s latest earnings as it successfully captures more of the GenZ market. Full earnings report.

Pinterest average revenue per user

TikTok is on track to generate $12 billion in revenues this year, steamrolling ahead of social media rivals at similar points in their lifecycle.

70% of Japanese people now use an app called Line which has been dubbed the ‘WeChat of Japan’. The most widely used feature is stickers – downloadable, oversized emojis that users buy in packs. 

Physical buttons are making a return to the car market following research which showed that touch screen UIs can distract drivers for up to 40 seconds at a time. Will the trend spill over to other hardware?

In compliance with EU Single Market Regulations, Apple was forced to reveal its monthly active users for app stores in the EU. The iOS App Store has 101 million MAUs, iPadOS App Store 23 million MAUs, with other stores trailing behind. Full data set here.

Netflix may have lost up to 1 million users in Spain last quarter as it cracked down on account sharing. 

Other industry news in brief

Clubhouse is laying off more than 50% of its staff. An announcement by the company’s CEO reveals why.

Meta’s head of development and programming Mina lefevre is leaving the company as it shuts down Facebook Watch Originals.

The “godfather of AI”, Geoffrey Hinton has resigned from his position as VP and engineering fellow at Google, citing ethical concerns.

A Pinterest board in style of Sgt Pepper album cover
All yours, all free. Enter your email to receive your briefing.

Product Briefing – November 9, 2023

GPTs for everything, Google Maps gets Immersive, Netflix’s QR codes
Plus: Slack’s CEO exits, How to use conjoint analysis, a new tool for reading API documentation

Product Briefing – November 2, 2023

Google Slides’ superpowers, a Sublime second brain, Pinterest’s PMF
Plus: Tech salary report, how to manage API integrations, Spotify, Instagram and LinkedIn MAUs in context

Product Briefing – October 26, 2023

Discord monetization strategies, Slack ditches X, Spotify growth
Plus: 50+ product analytics tools, Microsoft impresses, Google Meet gets appearance enhancers

Product Briefing – October 19, 2023

Netflix’s $8 billion quarter, Figma in limbo, Synthetic UX research. Plus: YouTube’s major release, a new way to manage your calendar, the Web Technologies Report 2023

Product Briefing – October 5, 2023

Google Docs’ new competitor, AI wars, App industry benchmarks
Plus: Airbnb’s ML patent, DoorDash’s swipe for restaurants and Uber expands to returns

Download your template

Enter your email below to get access to the product roadmap templates.

Check your email to access your resource

Download your template

Enter your email below to get access to the product roadmap templates.

Check your email to access your resource

Download your template

Enter your email below to get access to the product development models.

Check your email to access your resource

Download your template

Enter your email below to get access to the product development models.

Check your email to access your resource

Share This