Jason Calacanis

Slack – Is This The Fastest Growing Enterprise App Ever?

Update: Apparently the Daily users are over 60,000 from the last report I can find in late April so this graph would be twice as tall




What is it?

Slack is apparently one of the fastest growing enterprise software apps in known history. This is most amazing growth curve I have ever seen with a very high % of paying customers. You are too late to invest, they have raised $43m and on their way to being a $billion company.

Turns out the founder Stewart Butterfield who founded Flickr.com and sold it to Yahoo for a rumoured $30-40m (seems like loose change now). Flickr was a pivot from an unsuccessful game which they were about to close down, Butterfield is obviously a gaming tragic.

Stewart Butterfield

Stewart Butterfield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When he sold Flickr he started on another game called Glitch, also unsuccessful but which pivoted into Slack. Great long story from Wired.com here and an excellent interview by Jason Calacanis with Stewart Butterfield

If you have ever used Hipchat or Yammer or hated wading through email to track subjects and projects and wanted more you will love Slack. One of the most frustrating issues when running a project or startup is getting everyone on the same subject without a massive untraceable unsearchable email storm. Slack solves this problem.

As a business guy who runs a few coding and hardware projects in my day job, I love how this allows code updates from Github to be pushed into the chat history by a tool called a Slackbot.

What is the fuss all about?

Slack is a new form of team collaboration software which goes so much further than traditional chat apps, wikis, intranets etc.

Slack Chat

Slack Chat


Slack is team communication for the 21st century

Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go.That’s Slack.

Slack Channels

Slack Channels

Create open channels for the projects, groups and topics that the whole team shares.

Channels increase transparency by putting knowledge in everyone’s hands. Discoverability, complete history & search across all channels is built in.

Channels include messages, files & comments, inline images & video, rich link summaries and integration with the services you use every day, like Twitter, Dropbox & Google Drive.Slack searches whole conversations, not just individual messages, so you can find what you’re looking for no matter who said what or when they said it.

Slack is full of thoughtful touches to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

  • Autocomplete makes mentioning your teammates quick and painless.
  • Internal email becomes unnecessary as desktop & mobile messaging, file sharing and notifications fold into one place.
  • Integrations with Google Docs and Dropbox keep external files in sync and searchable


Slack Integrations


Two built-in native file types let you create files for whatever comes out of your keyboard.

  • Posts: for longer written pieces you want to format and share with your team.
  • Snippets: for capturing blocks of raw text, code, log files and other preformatted text.

Both posts & snippets have all the features of other file types: comments, stars, public & private sharing, etc.

Slack has fully native apps for iOS and Android to give you the full functionality of Slack wherever you go.

Slack Apps on different devices

Slack Apps on different devices

You get access to everything from the palm of your hand: file search and filtering, starred items, the team directory and, of course, all your messages.It may sound complex, but Slack’s read state synchronization is simple: when you read something on your phone, your laptop will know about it and automatically mark those messages as read.Whatever you do on one device — catch up on direct messages, post a comment, upload a file — is reflected everywhere. Everything is in sync. We’ll keep your place so you can always pick up right where you left off.

  • Customize your own list of highlight words to trigger notifications.
  • Browse Slack files to preview images and read documents from anywhere

Slack indexes the contents of every file, whether you upload them directly or through integrations. That means you can search inside Word docs, Google Docs, PDFs, Photoshop files, commit messages —anything you add to Slack.

Powerful search operators make slicing and dicing your communication in Slack simple and fast.

  • Focus your search to just a specific channel, messages from a specific person, or to just the files that you’ve added to Slack.
  • Filter results by recency, relevance or file type to find exactly what you need.

Flexible file browsing lets you find exactly the file you need.You can sort and filter by file type or by person: a few clicks gives you all of your files, Google Docs from the whole team, or just your own snippets.




Invision – Web & Mobile Prototyping and UI Mockup Platform


I regularly listen to This Week in Startups which is produced by Jason Calacanis, he does a great weekly video which runs for an hour and has in depth interview with VCs and startup founders, who he manages to get to reveal some pretty interesting stories, often gets them to admin to things they may not have before, its one of the better webcasts for startups and a great laugh at the same time.

Jason does the Web equivalent of a live read for his sponsors (those of you who have ever advertised on radio will be familiar with the concept) and one of the companies he mentioned the other day was Invision a new prototyping, collaboration and workflow platform.

Having tried about 10 prototyping/wireframing/mockup apps in the last year for one of the projects I am working on, I can tell you they pretty well all suck big time on the collaboration aspect.

Also commenting and keeping track of problems is also a major headache, invariably you need to switch out to another platform to track the requests/bugs etc and don’t even talk about keeping version control over design suggestions and mockups, its not trivial or commonly done.

So Invision seems to solve the problem for design collaboration and prototyping in a similar way to how Github solves the problem collaboration problem for code and version control.

There is a 30 day free trial and the plans seem reasonable including a free plan for only one project. Check it out here Invision App.

Invision prototyping-mockup real time commenting

Invision prototyping-mockup real time commenting

prototyping and mockup and manage

Invision editor screenshot