Slack, an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge,” is an American cloud-based set of online services and software tools. It can replace email and texting for your team, and keep all those forms of communication together in one app.
Stewart Butterfield, the 46 year old CEO and founder of Slack, came up with the idea for Flikr (a video and photo hosting service) in 2005, and sold it to Yahoo. Later, he founded Glitch, which is now what we call ‘Slack’. Essentially, Slack was created from the remnants of a failed idea.
Slack gained popularity due to its convenience. It allowed you to be able to create a virtual communication room for your whole office, with everything that you may need. Employees also claimed it was ‘fun to use’, injecting something new into the office culture.
It was a combination of a great design, useful features, timing, and marketing. Some say Butterfield was just in the right place at the right time with the right idea.
“As hard as it was to convince people to start using it, once they started they almost never stopped” – Stewart Butterfield
That was another factor; seemed like businesses developed an addiction to Slack pretty quickly. They wanted to know what messages were being sent at all times, and did not seem to want to miss out on any conversation.
There was also the aspect of social isolation. With features like the #random channel, which Slack describes as ‘Non-work banter and water cooler conversation’, people began using it for non-work reasons too. It became a social hangout of sorts.
The best part about it was that it was everything one could possibly need; instead of having to use your email to send links, dropbox for files, and iMessage to chat, Slack provided all of these features. There would be no more inconvenient switching-between-apps to communicate at work.
Butterfield claimed that the success of Slack had to do with the team and how they all focused on the responses they received, customer satisfaction, and analyzing their metrics.
Slack has over 8 million daily active users, 3 million of which are paid users. The app is being used by 43% of the Fortune 100 companies. In August of 2018, it stood at 7.1 billion dollars.