Slack – A Team Collaboration Tool

Launched in February 2014, Slack is a relatively new group messaging app that may finally sink email in the workplace. Stewart Butterfield, a BC native and one of the founders of Slack, spends his time between Slack’s two offices in Vancouver and San Francisco. He claims he hasn’t sent an email to a colleague in five years. A few years after selling his photo sharing startup Flickr to Yahoo! for a couple of million in 2004, Stewart went about with his team developing a massive multiplayer game called Glitch. The game ended up being a failure but while creating it, they developed a powerful internal collaboration tool which eventually became Slack. With almost 1 million daily users, it is the fastest growing B2B app ever and has a current market valuation of $1.2 billion. Slack is being used as the primary means of communications at companies of all sizes and sectors including Walmart, Sony, NASA, eBay as well as several media companies including the Wall Street Journal.

It runs on all platforms: your desktop, the web, your phone, even Apple Watch and stays in sync as you switch from one to the other. Instead of one big email room, it lets you set up channels for various groups and teams, or even for specific functions (like, say, monitoring the @ replies to your company’s Twitter feed). Though it is possible to speak privately in Slack, by default everything you say is visible to everyone else at your company, even people in other departments — a system that Mr. Butterfield argues allows for greater collaboration across different parts of a company. Most discussions in Slack are also archived and made searchable. It also integrates many of the applications you use at work such as Dropbox and Google Apps into the app. While Slack is free, there is a Standard and a Plus version that add extra features for a few dollars per month.

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