Thursday 05 October, 2023

Lessons on data mistakes with Tokopedia’s CPO

We learn about some mistakes with data that product managers make and compare Baidu’s AI model Ernie with GPT-4.

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Hello reader,

I initially wrote a long intro with several paragraphs talking about my past experiences playing pool and about how it’s about not making mistakes.

Then I started queuing for Taylor Swift tickets and realized, who cares about life lessons?

The real thing you need to make sure you don’t screw up is getting your tickets once you enter the buying page – for instance, misplacing your phone so you can’t find it when you’ve got to get the one-time password for your credit card payment, or taking a little too long in the toilet and getting booted out of the buying page once the time limit runs out.

And with that, before we focus on our main story and the rest of the newsletter, I leave you with some final words: Every man and woman for themselves!

Today we look at:

A product manager’s guide to avoiding mistakes with data Whether Baidu’s AI model can beat GPT-4 Other newsy highlights such as Neu Battery Materials’ successful seed round and Alodokter’s acquisition of a pregnancy app Premium summary Product managers beware

Image credit: Timmy Loen

Products come in all shapes and sizes, but that means that mistakes can also take many forms. That said, there are some overarching ideas that apply to most, if not all, product managers. Ramesh Gururaja, Tokopedia’s chief product officer, shares his thoughts on them.

Avoiding bias: When collecting data, product managers need to consider many factors to ensure fairness in what’s being reported. Gururaja cited a case study where Boston City launched an app to help locate and fix potholes. However, because only affluent citizens could afford smartphones at the time, only potholes in well-off areas ended up being fixed. Man in the mirror: Another trap is vanity metrics. When looking at data, it might be easy to hone in on numbers that look good but some of them might not mean much at all. Instead, product managers should focus on metrics that can be acted on. Check your attitude: Product managers need to be patient too, says Gururaja, because “data isn’t going to speak in your language on day one.” They need to recognize that collecting comprehensive data takes time and effort.

Read more: How Tokopedia’s product chief avoids costly errors when using data

News spotlight 1v1 me bro

Image credit: Timmy Loen

I love some spicy competition in the tech sector, and what’s spicier than the current AI race? It seems like almost every titan in the industry has their own version of a large language model. On that note, let’s take a look at the rivalry between Baidu’s Ernie and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Round 1, fight: Our journey begins about four years ago, when Baidu’s Ernie beat out the AI models of both Microsoft and Google in a test known as the General Language Understanding Evaluation. It reigned for the next couple of years … until ChatGPT showed up. Down but not out: It was reported that Baidu was caught off guard by the release of ChatGPT. However, the tech titan still rolled out Ernie due to market demands. Last week, the firm released Ernie 3.5, the latest version of the model. Trading blows: According to Baidu, Ernie is better than ChatGPT and GPT-4 in several areas, most notably in Chinese language capabilities. However, it still has a long way to go to catch up with – and ultimately surpass – GPT-4.

See also: After layoffs, Zenius bets on offline learning in revival strategy

SYNC 2023: Climate Tech Discover the intersection of technology and sustainability

SYNC is back this year with a first-of-its-kind gathering that spotlights Asia’s climate tech leaders. Mark your calendar for August 21, 2023 and join us at the iconic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore for our annual tech summit.

Take your first (or another) step toward green innovation with us. Tech in Asia is committed to placing sustainability at the forefront and delivering carbon-neutral events like SYNC 2023: Climate Tech.

Find out more and apply for your ticket to this invite-only event here. Be part of the movement toward a sustainable future – send in your application today!

Quick bytes

1️⃣ Threading the needle Singapore-based marketing firm Needle has secured US$1.2 million in pre-seed money. With its AI-powered solutions, Needle streamlines the creation of marketing campaigns through automation.

2️⃣ That’s metal India-based Varanium Capital has announced the first close of its venture debt fund at US$30.5 million. It aims to invest between US$150,000 and US$350,000 into 100 Indian startups in the direct-to-consumer, SaaS, B2B commerce, and fintech sectors.

3️⃣ Missing more than an A Giselle Makarachvili, the CEO of co-living platform Hmlet, has stepped down from her post to focus on her family. She joined Hmlet in January 2020 and has been its CEO since October 2021. The company has already named Jonathan Wong, a former executive of the regional units of CloudKitchens and Uber, as its new CEO.

4️⃣ Full charge Singapore-based Neu Battery Materials has raised US$3.7 million in a seed round. Founded in 2021, the firm focuses on recycling lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used for electric vehicles.

5️⃣ Freakin good job Freakins, an Indian fashion brand specializing in denim, has bagged US$4 million in its seed round. The D2C firm carries over 1,500 styles on its platform.

6️⃣ Alo alo, what’s going on here Indonesia-based Alodokter has acquired Diary Bunda, a local pregnancy tracking app. Alodokter also announced that it has secured US$6 million from Optima Health, a unit of US-based healthcare firm Sentara.


Jonathan Chew

Has a strange liking for grabbing tiny plastic things on wooden walls

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