Slack stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”. It’s an app that was launched in August 2013 by Stewart Butterfield, who is also founder of Flickr, the photo sharing website. On that day in August over 8000 customers signed up to use the team messaging app within 24 hours after the launch.
– The app is used as a tool for team collaboration services that are virtual and cloud-based.
– The data can run on free, in-house servers, and there is a secure two-factor authentication format used to access the service provided by Slack.
Sounds like Slack just got lucky, being there at the right time, at the right place with the right people. But, let it be known that Butterfield has spent many hours of his time in coding and developing animation tools. It’s about time he is recognized and emerges from under the radar. He has found a new way for team communication. The design mix, timing and marketing is what made Slack become a “Unicorn” or as so defined; a startup software company whose valuation has exceeded the $1 billion mark.
The content within Slack is searchable, including conversations and files. Slack has also integrated with third-party companies such as Dropbox, Bluemix, Google Drive and Trello, just to mention a few, which support community integration. By December of 2015, Slack had already an app directory of more than 150 integrations that could be installed by its users.
Another interesting feature that Slack users have is a large selection of emoji buttons they can add when messaging their friends or contacts. On the other hand their friends and contacts can express their reactions to those messages by simply clicking on those emoji’s when responding back. It’s as simple as that!
How it works
Joining Slack is done by invitation or by entering a specific URL. These are sent out to other teams, groups and communities via a Slack team administrator. When it started off, Slack was designed to be used for organizational communication, but it has turned into, and has become a community platform similar to LinkedIn and Facebook. The Slack communities can be categorized into topics of interest where discussion groups take place.
Slack is free for an unlimited number of users, although after 8,000 users per channel then there is a paid version which will allow access to more channels and added features. The Slack app is compatible with iOS and Android, as well as for the Apple Watch. Slack even featured on a promotional video for Apple a while ago. Users of Slack say that it just feels, looks and sounds different than the usual competition. And that is exactly what makes this billion dollar company app, so fun to use. It’s no wonder everyone is scratching their head to try to figure out how to reproduce the same type of popularity for their own startup.
By 2015, Slack had over a million daily active users and was recognized as the best startup of the year during the “Crunchies Awards”, organized by TechCrunch: the tech industry online publisher which covers new technology trends. Slack also receives a lot of word of mouth advertising and has over 16,000 users these days.