The Department of Product


Thursday, 09 November, 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


Hi product people 👋,

One area of your product that you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about is your 404 error page. We’ve seen some examples of humorous takes on the 404 page in the past but a new startup thinks there’s a better use for them. Formless is a startup that believes the future of user input is conversational and they’ve built a new feature which allows product teams to transform their 404 pages into conversational, contextual, help pages which guide users back to what they were originally looking for. It certainly looks like a useful take on not only 404 pages but on forms, too. You can check it out for yourself here.

Other helpful products on our radar this week include a new API integration management tool which promises to help companies onboard and manage third party APIs more efficiently. According to a recent survey, 90% of tech companies find integrations with existing systems to be a common hurdle to sales and the aptly named is on a mission to help product teams do a better job of it. The company puts speed at the core of its offering and promises to get customers up to speed with their first integration within 30 minutes. What’s most intriguing though, is an AI-powered feature which will read third party API documentation for you and create the required integration specs which looks incredibly impressive.

Meanwhile, as the so-called ‘year of efficiency’ starts to draw to a close as we enter November,  Klarna had reason to celebrate the results of its own efficiency drivers. The Swedish buy-now, pay-later company posted a quarterly profit of 130 SEK (~$12 million) in Q3, up from significant losses last year. Revenues grew 30% which was partly driven by the global roll out of a partnership with Airbnb. Other product highlights include a new Klarna Shopping Lens app which allows customers to discover new products and the launch of a financial assistant.

A recent study by the Financial Conduct Authority suggests 27% of adults used BNPL products in the past month, up from 17% a year ago.

Finally, if your whiteboards and sticky notes at the end of a company workshop always end up a mess, Figma’s latest product release should help.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Essential reads for product teams

New from the Department of Product Substack this week:

DOP Deep –  What AI features are product teams building?

A closer look at how companies are deploying AI with some inspiration for your product. In this DOP Deep dive we explore the main ways companies are deploying AI technologies and take a deeper look at some examples from product-led companies like Google, Spotify, Amazon, Dropbox, Arc and more. Rather than just listing a bunch of features, we’ve categorised them into practically applicable use cases you can use for your own product. (Department of Product)

Process – How to use conjoint analysis for product decision-making

Ever make business decisions based on a hunch, or gut feeling? With conjoint analysis, you can uncover actionable insights that help you discover:

  • Importance of product features

  • Willingness to pay and optimal pricing

  • Best product and advertising messaging

  • Evaluation and comparison of concepts

Learn more


UX – Why you should bother to design forms

Ebay made an extra $500 million revenue, just by designing a button on a form.  Your product or service has a form. It needs information. And it may also use that form to display data in a process or flow. Designers are experts at designing the form and how it sits within a journey. If your stakeholders are asking why it takes so long to design a form – and why you should bother. Show them this. (Andrew Duckworth)

Case study – How Meta built Threads in 5 months

Meta engineer Pascal Hartig is joined by Joy Qiu, Cameron Roth, and Richard Zadorozny, three engineers from the Threads team, who worked on backend, iOS, and Android respectively, to explain how they built the social app in such a short space of time. (Meta Engineering Blog)

Podcast – How to build networks for your career

Husband and wife duo and tech titans Aarthi and Sriram explain some of the most powerful ways to build a network in your career.


Tools you can use

  • Feedboard – Your internet dashboard, all in one place

  • Guidde – magically create product demos, onboarding docs and SOPs 

  • Endel – find your focus and get deep work done

New product features, launches and announcements this week

OpenAI has unveiled custom AI assistants called GPTs that integrate with other products to perform specific actions.

One integration worth knowing about for product teams is the Zapier GPT integration. Zapier GPT will allow teams to connect with 6,000+ APIs across products including Google Calendar, Slack and just about any other product with open APIs. Use cases could include managing your diary or creating status updates via Slack when a new feature is ready for release.

Other product updates unveiled at the OpenAI developer conference:

  • GPT-4 Turbo – a new version of OpenAI’s LLM which includes knowledge of events up to April 2023

  • Assistants API for helping product teams build assistants into their own products.

  • Vision API to actively recognise what’s happening in real time and answer questions about it

Meta has filed a patent entitled “Work in VR” which outlines a privacy system designed to allow a subset of users within a shared artificial reality environment to participate in a private conference.

Google Maps has introduced a major update which introduces several new features. Immersive View uses AI to bring a multi dimensional 3D view of a journey , a new search function which uses image recognition models to search for key phrases and the rollout of Lens for augmented reality.

Netflix is planning the launch of new features for its ad-funded products. In Q1 2024, advertisers will launch QR codes in ad campaigns and users will be rewarded for binge watching 4 episodes of shows in a row.

📈 Product data and trends to stay informed

Pinterest’s monthly active users declined in the EU and US but increased significantly in other territories. Gen-Z are the most engaged cohort of users with younger users creating 2x the amount of pins in their first year vs older cohorts.

More than 60% of WhatsApp users in India message a business account. India is WhatsApp’s biggest market with 500 million users but WhatsApp for business is nowhere near as big in other territories, highlighting the importance of understanding cultural differences for product teams looking to expand internationally. 

Meta says there are now 1 million active subscriptions to Instagram creators, a year after the company launched the feature. Whilst it’s an impressive start, for context, Instagram has around 2 billion monthly active users.

78% of Chinese citizens think that AI products “have more benefits than drawbacks”. This was the highest among 28 countries surveyed and exceeded the average of 52%Full State of AI Safety in China Report

40% of adult smartphone owners say they update their OS automatically, according to Pew Research Center’s data-privacy report3% say they never update. Something to bear in mind if you’re ever testing your product’s app on OS versions.

Other product news in brief

Slack’s CEO is leaving the company and is set to join Bumble as their new CEO following the announcement of Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe this week.

TikTok owner ByteDance is cutting staff at its VR headset company as it admits it was too optimistic about VR.

Amazon is reportedly building its own LLM, codenamed Olympus, to compete with Microsoft, OpenAI. 

Last night on earth by digital artist blankembrace
All yours, all free. Enter your email to receive your briefing.

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 – July 13, 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’

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