If you have never heard of Slack, it is quite normal. However, if you have heard about it and used it and you did not become accustomed to it, that is not quite so normal. At its simplest, Slack is a workplace chat app aimed at businesses rather than individuals. It allows team communication for small to medium sized teams. The teams can create joint accounts and can communicate with each other.
The popularity of the app is primarily a matter of aesthetics. A team can be up and running instantaneously. The free apps for desktop and mobile have stunning designs. The app also has a full-featured web interface. It is quite useful for users who cannot install the apps. The app can also be easily customized by users according to their needs.
It allows linked social media posts to be embedded. Images can be downloaded and stored. It also allows to set up a “Slackbot” to answer questions or to perform complex tasks automatically.
The aim of the designers of Slack is to make it a repository for everything a company uses. In order to achieve this, it ties together disparate third party apps like Dropbox, Google Docs, Twitter and many others. Initially people use it for chat but then they stick to it because everything else works a lot more better through the app.
Slack started over in 2009. It was set up by the founder of Flickr, Stewart Butterfield. The initial goal was to design an online gaming tool. The project went wrong and ultimately it was tweaked to create Slack.
Slack has observed unprecedented growth over the past one year. According to Business Insider, Slack now claims to have over 500,000 daily active users. The number of active users is reported to have doubled twice in the past six months. It has around 135,000 individual premium subscribers that add over $1 million to the annual recurring revenue every 11 days. Premium subscription lets users search their complete message history and attach an unlimited number of external apps to itself.
The number of active teams using Slack has also more than quadrupled in the past six months.There were 13,000 total active teams six months after its launch. The number of total active teams has reached 60,000 by the end of the first year of its official launch this February.
According to Fortune the valuation of Slack is $1 billion or more. The company also plans to expand from 100 employees to 250 this year. It is also about to open and office in Dublin this year. It will also upgrade to a version that would support large companies with multiple teams.
Apps like Slack that are developed around the ideas of team communication have a tremendous potential for growth. According to Butterfield himself the move away from meal to internal messaging systems is inevitable. He hopes that most of the people will use slack.
However, there are a number of inhibiting factors for its growth. According to Business Insider, its security model is intentionally kept leaky. Anyone with an email address from any major company can signup and see a list of all the teams in it.
Let’s hope that such caveats would be addressed by the passage of time as the app matures.
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