Slack Research for Slack

Ashlee at BusinessWeek reviews Slack, another new service for moving people beyond email. I like Ashlee’s take on the applicability of Slack to non-geeks (broadly speaking, what I call Second Wavers):

But the real issue with these services is that they suffer from a distinct Silicon Valley bias. (On Slack’s “Wall of Love,” almost all the compliments about the service come from coders at other technology startups: “I am basically in love with Slack,” writes Tony Conrad, founder of About.me. “It is amazing.”) The programs are created by engineers who’ve never worked at a traditional company and who fetishize task management and the step-by-step processes used to build software applications.

For regular people in regular corporate jobs, Slack isn’t going to fly. First, it’s hard to get everyone on a team to buy into working out in the open. And once even one or two people fall away, the service becomes pointless. Instead of timesaving, Slack just seems annoying. The sample screen shots on its site read as inane, daylong, reply-all e-mail chains that you can’t opt out of: David says the meeting will be starting in 10 minutes. Kevin says awesome. Jessica makes a bad joke. Part of what people like about e-mail is having control over their communication and a venue for quiet conversations. Office work often involves politics and personalities, and conducting every interaction in public is a recipe for workplace chaos.

I have no doubt there is real value here, and I was particularly interested in the approach of integrating with file sharing and synchronization services like Dropbox rather than building one into the service.

Read more: To Kill Office E-Mail, Slack Needs to Learn How Non-Geeks Work

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