Most people may know Stewart Butterfield as one of the founders of Flickr, who sold the company off to Yahoo for $25 million in 2005. Now his new company, Slack, a new team communication platform, is valued at $2.8 billion.
The impetus behind Slack is that email is too clunky, and worker drones need a better way to see what everyone is saying and have archive access. "By organizating people into channels or specific projects, you get an ambient awareness," Butterfield told Press:Here.
Instead of sending a ticket to a company's help desk to fix something, the department could notice a lot of chatter online about a computer problem. Instead of waiting for a fix-it ticket, the tech team could proactively try to fix it -- all because they were able to see what the rest of the company was talking about.
Slack actually came out of another startup by Butterfield, a video gaming site called Glitch, which never really caught on. After a while and $17 million in venture capital funds, Butterfield realized it was never going to be a moneymaker. However, his team realized it wanted to keep using the same messaging platform they created. This made Butterfield pivot to Slack as a new startup for companies who want a more open communication platform.
Butterfield said the name comes from his attempt to lessen the tension around office communications. "Having slack gives people room to play and explore," he said.