The Department of Product


Thursday, 26 October, 2023

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

Hi product people ūüĎč,

Discord is expanding its new monetization strategy, making its app hub available to users in Europe and the UK. Developers will keep 70% of the revenue, with Discord taking a 30% cut. Discord’s senior product manager, Mason Sciotti,¬†says the company¬†has known how valuable its open API has been since its inception, and the app store is a natural extension of that.

The open API approach taken by Discord’s product team is in stark contrast to the monetization strategies deployed at Reddit and X but a 30% cut is still a hefty commission.

Meanwhile, quarterly earnings season kicked off this week and major tech companies reported their latest performance. Microsoft impressed with a 27% jump in net income as the company reported revenues of $56.52 billion. Product highlights worth noting include its Intelligent Cloud segment which includes GitHub and Azure which increased 19% to $23 billion and Microsoft 365 subscribers, up 10% to 76.7 million. Teams also continues to maintain its grip on the workplace comms space with more than 320 million monthly active users. 

Other company earnings this week include Spotify which impressed investors by posting a profit with monthly active users growing 26% to 574 million. This quarter has seen the company roll out a series of generative AI tools for creators and the launch of a new audiobook product as it seeks to expand outside of traditional music and podcasts.

Finally, and speaking of AI, if you think you’re able to tell the difference between generative AI images and human created images, this quiz from Google will put your skills to the test.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Your product briefing 

New from the Department of Product Substack this week

  • ūü߆Knowledge Series #10¬†–¬†DevOps explained and terminology worth knowing
    Continuous integration vs continuous deployment, how do companies like Slack and LinkedIn do DevOps and what is the role of AI in the future of DevOps?

  • Product Database:¬†Analytics and tracking tools
    A comprehensive database of 50+ tools product teams and websites are using to measure their product’s performance.

(Department of Product)

UX –¬†The common knowledge effect and how it impacts UX decision making

Teams often make worse decisions than individuals by relying too much on widely understood data while disregarding information possessed by only a few individuals. (NN Group)

Security –¬†How to know if your data is being used maliciously

Data is gathered in two primary categories: usage data and user data. Usage data pertains to the way a user interacts with a service. User data is specific to a user and includes personal information like email address, payment details and more. In this article, a Google ML engineer explains everything you need to know about managing your data Рand best practices for your product.  (Logan Thorneloe)

We believe in Augmented Intelligence just as much as we believe in Artificial Intelligence. Intelligent machines augment intelligent humans, driving a geometric expansion of what humans can do.

РA16z investor Marc Andreessen in the newly published Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Process –¬†How Linear runs product design

Product development software Linear‚Äôs CEO outlines how he company approaches product design. ‚ÄúThe way it‚Äôs constructed doesn‚Äôt really matter‚ÄĚ, he says. (Karri Sarrinen)

Tools you can use

  • Dashboards¬†–¬†turn spreadsheets into visual data dashboards

  • Hay¬†–¬†a plugin to boost your engineering team‚Äôs wellbeing

  • Galileo¬†– transform text into fully fledged Figma designs

  • Korl¬†– product presentations tailored to different audiences

New product features, launches and announcements this week

Amazon has confirmed that it now supports passkeys as an option for logging in. The new feature marks a significant step towards a passwordless future and Amazon has confirmed that users will be able to login across its suite of products using biometrics like fingerprints and FaceID. Given Amazon’s clout, other product teams may soon follow suit.

Researchers at Meta have unveiled Habitat 3 Рthe latest iteration of software designed to simulate how robots might assist real humans in the home. Without simulation software, attempting to collect data sets about physical locations and human characteristics could take years. Habitat helps researchers get it done in minutes.

Use cases currently in testing include:

  • Cleaning and tidying spaces

  • Opening drawers

  • Household chores

WhatsApp is testing a new self-destructing voice messages feature which automatically deletes messages after a set period. The feature is designed to help boost privacy.

Slack¬†has ditched its API integration with X. The Twitter app for¬†Slack¬†is no longer available and on its¬†product release blog, the company says this is due to ‚Äúupstream API limitations‚ÄĚ. Other updates from¬†Slack¬†worth knowing this week include the rollout of a¬†new ‚Äújukebox‚ÄĚ feature¬†that allows users to select from a number of audio options when waiting for other participants to join huddles.

Google Meet has added a new filter to its video calling tool designed to help users subtly enhance their appearance.  The new features include under eye lighting and smoothing. Google says the features have been highly requested by users to help them boost their confidence.

ūüďą Product data and trends to stay informed

87% of US teens own an iPhone and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next purchase. Weekly use of VR devices by teens declined from 14% to just 10%. Fascinating insights from the 46th Teens Survey 2023.

56%¬†of Americans say they usually click ‚Äúagree‚ÄĚ before reading online¬†privacy policies. Something to bear in mind the next time you’re tasked with implementing cookie banners.

Microsoft’s Azure revenues jumped 29% to an estimated $16.7 billion, beating Google Cloud which lost six points of growth in the same period.

China’s largest LGBT dating app, Blued, is¬†expanding¬†in Southeast Asia and the U.S., amid challenges at home due to increased state control of LGBTQIA content. The company boasts¬†7.3 million¬†global monthly active users and has ambitions to surpass Grindr‚Äôs 12.8 million.

Payments to 16 major consumer AI products grew 570% YoY in August according to Earnest credit card data. RunwayML was the fastest growing product, up 1700% YoY.

Other product news in brief

Snap returned to revenue growth after two periods of declines, with sales of $1.19 billion.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella says he regrets pulling out of the mobile market.

Plaid has hired a former Expedia exec as its new CFO.

Sketchbook A Рa generative art work by software engineer William Mapan, designed to pay homage to the creative spirit of childhood
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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 – 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’

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