How a failed video game became Silicon Valley's fastest growing business app

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It is Thursday, February 7, 2019. In case you forgot.
slackers

How Slack went from failed video game to the world's fastest growing business app


Slack, which has become the choice communication tool for modern workplace collaboration, is reportedly planning to go public this year via a direct listing (following Spotify’s lead).  

Founded in 2013, the company quickly became a Silicon Valley staple for its clean design, ease-of-use, and promise to dethrone email as the primary source of office knowledge sharing.

Slack usage has since exploded, with over 8 million daily active users (3 million of which are paid) the company was last valued at around $7 billion.

Slack attack

In retrospect, the need for something like Slack (a Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge) seems obvious, but in reality the tool was the best thing most of us never knew we needed.

Slack was a relatively late entrant to the world of office chat. There were plenty of apps originally built for consumers that offices had adopted for internal messaging. Skype was probably the most popular existing option at the time and HipChat (which Slack has since acquired) had a following among development teams.  

The difference with Slack is that it was built for business from the get-go, committing to the rapid development of new team-centric features, integrations, and a robust API for customization.
 

Glitch mob pivots

Slack was actually born as the byproduct of a now defunct video game.  

Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s founder and previous entrepreneur behind photo-sharing site Flickr, was working on developing a MMO called Glitch when they created Slack’s precursor for their internal communication.

The team found that it was difficult to get new employees up to speed on past conversations via email threads so they developed a system of channel based feeds that new users could join and see the history.

The game eventually lost steam and Butterfield made the executive decision to abandon the game and pivot to focus on bringing their internal tool to market.

Despite Slack becoming the fastest-growing business app in history, the company has big plans to expand to larger enterprise clients and take on Microsoft Teams (its largest competitor) head on.
Hot Job!
Plate IQ was founded in 2014 to help restaurants bring their finances into the modern age, saving them from the hassle of manually processing the stack of invoices they receive from food suppliers on a regular basis. Plate IQ is Y Combinator-backed and has processed over $1.5B in invoices so far. 


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Episode #7 - Noah Portes Chaikin, Senior Software Engineer at Code Climate

In our latest episode, we interview Noah Portes Chaikin. Noah is a senior software engineer at Code Climate. 

Code Climate creates analytics software for development teams so they can evaluate code risks and tie performance metrics to code changes. In our conversation, we learned about how Noah got into software engineering without a college degree, including how he taught himself the technical skills necessary to land his first developer job. 

We also discussed why Noah prefers working at startups vs. larger organizations and how that's contributed to his professional growth. Noah also shared his take on hiring, and what he looks for when hiring engineers.
 
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Yours truly,
Zac Cherin
Brendan Uyeshiro
Brendan Uyeshiro