Slack an app that lets coworkers chat with one another has been taking the enterprise world by storm.
Launched to the public in February, Slack has nabbed more 300,000 people as users, 73,000 of them paid users, and recently raised $US120 million in investment, making the startup worth $US1.12 billion.
You’d think that its popularity would be validating to the man responsible for it, Stewart Butterfield who, prior to Slack, was best known as a cofounder of Flickr.
In an interview with MIT Technology Review, when asked about if he was working to improve Slack, he answered with refreshing honesty:
Oh, God, yeah. I try to instill this into the rest of the team but certainly I feel that what we have right now is just a giant piece of shit. Like, it’s just terrible and we should be humiliated that we offer this to the public. Not everyone finds that motivational, though.
Disclosure: The Business Insider tech team uses Slack every day. We probably wouldn’t describe the app in quite so salty of terms, but he’s right that it’s just a basic chat room that could be improved a lot. We have to warn him, though, the basic-ness of it is what we like. Too many layers would turn Slack into something like a Yammer (in other words, spoil it).
Still, Butterfield tells MIT the Slack folks are working on some things that could be awesome: the ability to “favourite” comments, and something that helps you manage chat overload (too many comments and missing the important ones).
The fact that Slack emerged almost by accident might protect it. Butterfield and his then-company Tiny Speck invented Slack when they were working on a game called Glitch. Glitch was a flop, but the tool the team built to talk to each other became winner.
So if the team continues to use Slack to communicate about building Slack, that would be a winning combination.