Slack co-founder and CTO, Cal Henderson
I’m the Slack bore in the office. You probably have one in yours, or maybe you’re one yourself. If not, beware. The Slack bore is coming for you. And he's going to try and stop you using email. But we’re right. We are totally right. Rather than talk about Slack the productivity app, I want to talk about Slack, the challenger brand.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Slack (there are MANY other blog posts written about what Slack is and does). This one from slate.com is my favourite. It’s the work place communications platform that 200% of start ups are using and is going to replace all of the old archaic systems in your office including your toaster and hole punch.
That’s an exaggeration of course, but it is dealing a body blow to company email. Finally, someone has a viable alternative to the spirit crushing banality of the major form of business conversation in the connected world.
Stop for a second and consider the resilience of email. How it has survived, cockroach-like, since the era of dial up, when all we longed for was the funniest (and now most embarrassing) Hotmail.com address we could find to share videos of monkeys doing weird things.
Think how it has clogged the workplaces of the world, how it has ruined many a weekend, how it has made phrases like “Just ccing Bob into this conversation” part of our daily lives.
We say enough! The Slack bores of the world have a new champion, and this one is…
Famously the worst word to describe anything, niceness is perhaps Slack’s most enduring quality. To defeat the evil of email, who knew that you didn’t have to be super effective, you didn’t have to be slick, you didn’t have to be daring. You just had to ask nicely.
Slack is one of my favourite challengers around at the moment, purely because it might be the nicest killer on the streets, taking down one of the biggest work place monsters through a simple desire to inject fun, simplicity and humanity into the world of work.
This niceness extends from the gentle (almost Nintendo like) design, through to the cartoon like assistant Slackbot (Clippy with a heart?), all the way to the little positive messages of encouragement, and into their amazing approach to their wisecracking twitter fuelled customer service.
As we always say, challengers need to pick a “monster” to fight. Turns out Slack’s was the banality of evil (sorry email).
But importantly, you can choose how you want to fight it. Not every challenger is gung-ho, not every challenger wants a street fight. Instead, it turns out, killing with kindness is pretty effective too.
Nick’s a strategy consultant at eatbigfish and an Arsenal fan. He can often be found wandering around North London with Ruby, his French Bulldog, both of them looking for food that they don’t need.