From Bard to Roblox: Everything That Happened in AI This Week
+ The 7 Failure Patterns of Managers
Welcome to over 3,000 new subscribers since last week’s newsletter.
In Today’s Newsletter:
Tech Corner: Everything you need to know that happened in Generative AI this week
Product Corner: How Airtable nailed its Product-Led Growth (PLG) motion
Career Corner: The 7 failure patterns of managers
Paid Corner: How to measure and improve product retention
+ Bonus: Your PLG Formula
Everything you need to know that happened in Generative AI this week
Last week, I told you it was the biggest week in AI ever, and that we had entered the era of Integrated Generative AI. As predicted, this week delivered with integrations everywhere: from Adobe and Canva to Roblox. Keeping up is nearly impossible. But, that’s why you subscribe to Product Growth.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Google Bard
Google finally released its ChatGPT competitor: Google Bard. You can ask Bard any question and get a direct answer. But it’s way behind ChatGPT & Bing. Google is entering the race late and with a worse product.
2. Adobe Firefly
Adobe broke into the generative game in a huge way. Of course it has text to image, but also so much more. Brushes, finishing your work, alternate styles. It’s a designer’s dream.
3. Bing Image Gen
The long-awaited ability for Bing (the best free way to access GPT-4, if you can live with the Edge browser) is finally here. Microsoft released image generation to creative mode. And it has all the power of OpenAI’s amazing DALL•E. Here’s a few images I whipped up:
4. Github Copilot X
GPT has come to Github, including:
Natural language interface for coding questions
AI generated code
AI pull requests
Soon, every software engineer will be using AI to speed up their development.
5. ChatGPT Plugins
ChatGPT has officially become a platform. You can plugin GPT to access proprietary data & use 3rd party services. Here’s GPT booking your dinner reservation (OpenTable), or finding a recipe & ordering the ingredients (Instacart).
6. Generative Canva
Canva joined the era of Integrated Generative AI. Text to image, magic presentations, magic write, magic eraser… it’s all there. It can even do magic design from a single image.
7. Roblox Generative
With simple words, you can generate new materials and structures in Roblox. Whereas building a game or world used to be an exercise in patience, now it’s as simple as chat. Entire games will be built via chat AI and played by Roblox’s 200M MAU.
8. Nvidia DGX Power
ChatGPT was trained on Nvidia chips. Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, called it, “the iPhone moment of AI.” Nvidia’s new DGX tech is going to bring generative AI’s powers to “every industry.”
9. Runway Text-to-Video
Runway released Gen-2 of its text-to-video tech. It’s a huge improvement. Soon, we’ll be able to create entire video ads and content with words.
10. Microsoft’s Notion Killer
Microsoft released Loop, an app that’s going directly after the Notion & Coda category. Only better: it’s going to be powered by the latest from OpenAI. Microsoft looks ready to pull a knockout similar to Teams and Slack.
How Airtable Nailed its Product-Led Growth (PLG) Motion
Product-led growth is not just a buzzword. It’s a proven strategy that helped Airtable grow from zero to a $11 billion valuation in less than 10 years.
In this article, I’ll show you what PLG is and how Airtable nailed it with three smart moves.
Imagine you have an idea for a new app. You want to build it without coding, customize it to your needs, and share it with others. Sounds impossible, right? Well, not if you use Airtable.
Airtable is a cloud-based spreadsheet-database hybrid that lets anyone create their own custom apps without coding. It has over 250,000 customers, including Netflix, Shopify, and Slack.
But how did Airtable grow so fast? How did they turn a simple spreadsheet into an $11 billion empire? One of the key parts of Airtable's story is product-led growth (PLG).
PLG is a strategy that relies on the product itself as the main source of value and revenue for the business. Users try, buy, and stay with the product based on their experience. No need for expensive marketing or sales campaigns.
PLG works best for self-service products that are easy to use and deliver value quickly. Think Slack, Dropbox, Zoom, etc. These products don’t need much explanation or persuasion. They just work.
Connected Apps Platform
Airtable is self-service - and more. It’s also a connected apps platform that enables users to build workflows by connecting different apps and data sources.
This means that users can customize their experience with Airtable and integrate it with their existing tools and systems. They can also share their creations with others and learn from best practices in different domains.
This creates network effects that drive more user retention and loyalty. Users become advocates for Airtable and spread the word to their colleagues and friends. This creates viral loops that drive more user acquisition.
Expansion Sales Team
But user acquisition and retention are not enough for PLG. You also need to “land and expand.” You need to grow your revenue from your existing users by upselling them to higher plans or cross-selling them more features.
That’s where Airtable’s expansion sales team comes in. They have a dedicated team of account executives who focus on growing existing accounts rather than acquiring new ones. They use data-driven insights to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities and engage with high-potential users.
This way, users can get more value from Airtable by upgrading to higher plans or adding more features. This creates revenue growth that drives more user expansion.
By combining these three elements - Self-serve software, Connected apps platform, and Expansion sales team - Airtable delivers a powerful and flexible PLG motion.
PLG is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It requires deep understanding of your users, your market, and your product. But, as the Airtable story shows, when done right, it can lead to massive success.
The 7 Failure Patterns of Managers
Managers can make or break the work experience. But some of them don’t know how to lead or support their teams. Here are the top 7 ways managers fail themselves and their teams:
1. Not enough frank feedback
Everyone wants to be nice. But we need our managers to be frank about our shortcomings. If a manager cannot accurately identify your growth areas, your career growth stalls. Being too nice is a managerial failure pattern.
2. Unwilling to get into the details
Not being a micromanager? That’s nice. But it’s unhelpful to not direct the team on substance. Only process or coaching is not management. The best managers are out there making key plays on the field.
3. Not going to bat for their team
Being a humble but well-respected IC is fine. But as a manager, you must go to bat for your team. Bad managers don’t advocate enough for their folks. You have to be the loudest voice. No one else will be.
4. Placing the blame on reports
The buck stops with you as a manager. But many managers seem to forget that in their own situation. Great managers provide the right coaching to improve the areas needed to deliver results. They carry the team on their back.
5. Not empowering the team enough
At the same time that great managers make good results happen, they also do so in a way that empowers the team. Building an environment of micromanagement stunts report’s growth. Great managers empower frequently.
6. Relying on feelings over facts
Shooting from the hip doesn’t cut it as a manager. The best managers use the numbers and data-based comparisons of others at the level. They use results and 360 feedback heavily, not just their own interactions with a report.
7. Telling leadership one thing and reports another
The best managers are transparent and direct with their reports. They help them understand the business climate and don’t lead them astray. The failure pattern is criticizing the team without them fully understanding you are.
How to Measure and Improve Product Retention
Retention is the ultimate measure of product-market fit. If you have high retention, you have a killer product. If you have low retention, you have a problem.
Amongst high leverage metrics, retention is the king. Here’s how to measure and improve yours.
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