For centuries tech has been about making everything easier, faster, more connected. IMHO, next we have to thoughtfully and discerningly step back from that where it isn't helping.
As an example, for the last 30 days I've stopped looking at news and Twitter before noon. They put me in a fast-paced, reactive, what's-next mindset. Leaving them until later means I'm more focused and less tense. I'm doing it for at least another 30 days.
Companies don't go out of business because employees are distracted by chat messages and noisy conversations, they go out of business because employees are working on the wrong thing. Slack still has a lot of work to do if they really want to succeed in their mission, but I also don't think it's entirely fair to judge them (excessively) negatively based on it being distracting because that's not the point.
This is tautological. Maybe try expressing this more usefully?
> Companies don't go out of business because employees are distracted by chat messages and noisy conversations
Why not? Unending distraction raises costs and encourages a focus on the urgent rather than the important. That will raise prices and lower the company's ability to do strategic rather than tactical work. That seems like a major risk to me.
I agree that there are risks the other direction as well. A company can become too insular or too scattered. But that doesn't mean that one can ignore the opposite risks.
> being distracting because that's not the point
I agree that's not the point for them. But as a user, it's definitely a point for me. And if you're looking for ways that companies go out of business, doing what they want rather than what the user needs is a common one.
Slack was supposed to be a progress compared to other communications channels, for instance mails, phone calls and previous IRC channels.
My takeaway from Slack is that it is very nice for chatting casually and organizing lunches, but it does a poor job at improving professional communication. I sometimes feel its appeal is mostly gifs for fun and the ability for managers to ping people and expect immediate answers.