Another year, another iPhone with minimal changes. Virtually identical to the 2017 design except for the flat edges, the iPhone 12 that Apple recently announced doesn’t surprise. It pleases, but it doesn’ dazzle. 5G and a series of back magnets, named MagSafe, complete the highlights of a device that will sell well, but that won’t do anything to push the envelope.
Is there anything else Apple can do with the iPhone of the future? Of course: a high-frequency display, more and better cameras, eliminate “the notch”, resuscitate Touch ID… all iterative improvements. Fun for some, boring for most.
When I started studying computer science in 2003, working for a Big Tech company was a dream almost impossible to reach for me. I was born and raised in Spain, and that’s also where I went to college. Studying over 5000 miles away from the tech scene of Silicon Valley had an interesting effect on me, I’d watch Apple’s tech events and Microsoft’s product announcements as if they were Hollywood movies. I could never imagine myself being part of them.
The main reason why Big Tech companies felt unreachable was because none of them had software development centers in Spain. The only way of working for companies like Microsoft or Google as a Software Engineer was to move to another country, which made the dream feel more unattainable on top of the already challenging interview process. A lot of talent was left untapped in Spain, and a lot of engineers who dreamed of an opportunity in Silicon Valley never got it.
The coronavirus crisis, with all its ‘working from home’ and social distancing recommendations, has probably transformed your social life into a succession of video chats. Your boss, your doctor, your family, your friends, they all want to see your face and tech is here to help. Or is it?
Capitol Hill, Seattle. That’s the location of the most futuristic supermarket on the planet, the Amazon Go Grocery store. Today it opened its doors to the general public for the first time, and this was my experience.
It’s the year 2030, and your family is getting ready to watch a movie on a Saturday night. You turn on the TV and pause to think which service you should use: Disney+, Prime Video or Netflix. You don’t have any more streaming services. You end up settling for “Avengers 7” on Disney+, a family favorite. Popcorn is ready.
The Apple Card is finally here, offering a flashy titanium card engraved with your name next to Apple’s logo. Is it the best credit card in the market? And if it isn’t, why is there so much hype around it?
At Amazon and other tech companies, interview candidates get a lunch break in between their on-site interviews, and a lunch buddy gets assigned to accompany them. This way they can ask any questions they have about the team, the position they are applying to, or anything else that might help them relax. I love acting as lunch buddy because I feel energized interacting with candidates in such an informal setting. This past week, one candidate asked me a very interesting question during our lunch: what do you think makes a good engineering manager?
As a product manager, it is critical to have a meaningful roadmap with a backlog of work. Being able to ideate and constantly iterate makes our products better. However, it is critical that we are able to find which of our ideas are going to be the most impactful ones. Over the past year, my team has been working on refining how we approach this and found some things work better than others. The following are some of the things we found really useful.
1.Understand the goal – the first thing you must do is to really understand what is the goal you and the business are trying to achieve. If there is any misalignment you must align before continuing. It was amazing how many times we went and implemented things where the goal was not understood, or it was misaligned. Having understood this from the beginning would have saved us a lot of time and resources. Understanding the goal will take you to different paths, for example, a goal of driving adoption will lead you to do different things than driving for revenue or usage. If you do not understand this, you will cycle and leave things to chance.
Almost a year ago, Amazon unveiled in Seattle the first store offering no checkout lines, no cashiers, and almost no human interaction: Amazon Go. I reviewed the store the very first day it opened and I wrote about my experience and the many tests I did on that first visit. I called it “the future of retail” on my review.
Since that chilling Seattle night in January, Amazon opened a few more Go stores across the U.S. and even started experimenting with a smaller fully-unattended version. Other industry players have also been making progress, and when Microsoft and Kroger announced that they were testing a futuristic grocery store, I knew I had to try it.
Eric Migicovsky is a Partner at Y Combinator, one of the top of U.S. startup accelerators, and he was previously Founder and CEO at Pebble, the company that created the first commercially successful smartwatch. Last Friday, he was interviewed by Adora Cheung (another YC Partner) on being an entrepreneur at the intersection of hardware and software. Here you can read a summary of my five biggest takeaways.