Slack is one of the fastest growing startups ever. It blew up within its short 2 years of existence, which is amazing considering that it is a SaaS startup. So, it hasn’t been a surprise that people have been analyzing what made it so successful.
First, there was the Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce article by Andrew Wilkinson of Metalab – the design agency that helped Slack founder, Steward Butterfield turn his code into Slack’s fun product. Obviously, this one concludes that the design is what makes the startup successful.
Then, there was the Slack’s Design is Not Secret Sauce article by a competing designer, Matt Bond. He concludes that it is a mix of design, product, timing, team and marketing – basically, they got lucky.
Even better, the Slack founder posted about his own experience, concluding that their team focused on education, feedback, customer happiness and metric analysis in order to drive success. However, I have my own views and they really come down to three reasons:
- Social Pressure
If you don’t follow Slack all the time, then other people will reference or know stuff on Slack that you don’t know about. Within companies, where it is very important to inform yourself about what’s going on – you need to stay on top of things for your position and future ambitions. There is an intense social pressure to follow Slack and post to Slack 24/7.
You have to follow Slack at all times, resulting in unconscious stress because you might miss something. Slack is basically as important as an email.
- Single Source of Information
Because of my first two reasons, more information is going into Slack and your team is heavily invested in it. Now, there is no way to escape it – Slack is a part of your company and its culture.
This is why their business model is brilliant. It is based on historical messages – the limit is 10,000 messages and then you have to start paying.
The means that if you don’t check Slack enough, which would put you in social isolation, there is no way to see a conversation ever again and save you from that isolation. Remember, the more people in your company, the faster you reach that 10k message limit.
For example, if each person in your company is posting like 100 messages a day, and your team is made up of 100 people in total, you already need to start paying to avoid social isolation. Before you know it, half the people are missing conversations, find themselves socially isolated, and you start paying licenses because your internal communication and company culture just fails.
Brilliant. Well done, Slack.