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"Every large team I spoke to had an exceptionally high bar and was unwilling to entertain Level until it was significantly more “mature.”"

They all made the right decision, as it folded only a couple months later.




That kind of circular reasoning is only more maddening because it makes sense. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy combined with a prisoner's dilemma.


When you deal with a solution provided by a startup that is a one man army you can play with the product, but you don't trust it enough to buy it. The story tells exactly why you should never trust such a product. These are not socks, buy a pack of three and throw it away in 6 months, people expect to use the solution for 3-5 year and there is no guarantee there will be updates, upgrades and support even next month. Trust, risk management, rings a bell?


It also requires time travel to implement; the folding knowledge was not known at the time of decision.


You don't need a time travel device, just a bayesian prior on probability of folding. (which happens to be close to one.)


It's not time travel, it's risk management.


I don't think it does make sense. Funded businesses die all the time. Google cancels products all the time. companies are acquihired and products end of lifed.

Even within organizations there are critically important employees.

So, no, it doesn't make sense.


At this point in time, Slack is a billion dollar unicorn that can magic money out of wherever it needs to keep going as long as it wants. It's not going away any time soon. The worst case scenario for Slack is acquisition and long slow death over a decade.


All it takes is one information leakage scandal, and customers will abandon Slack at the drop of a hat. It's just a chat app, so it's very easy to replace.


I am willing to bet that 99% of users will not blink an eye if there was an information leak. See Equifax, Facebook..


Equifax is a consumer product with uninformed customers, wherein the 'blowback' can't really be had by individual customers, rather, it has to pick up as a media storm.

Slack contains a world of sensitive corporate information.

Oddly though I don't recall any major email company losing gazillions of emails to a hacker either, but I could be wrong.

It's an existential risk for Slack, but not unlike most other SaaS companies as well, so it's just part of the cost of doing business a per the industry.


It's important not to forget that this isn't about whether Slack is something a company should adopt. Any such risk you can attribute to using Slack will be multiplied a million-fold with a nascent service being developed by a single person or startup. All of these are reasons to continue using Slack instead of switching to Level.


Big difference with Corp data. Even FB never leaked that.


Actually it makes perfect sense for all the reasons you stated.

"Funded businesses die all the time. Google cancels products all the time. companies are acquihired and products end of lifed."

So it makes perfect sense to avoid Google offerings (especially consumer side ones, which Google kills whenever it wants) and avoid "funded businesses" and newcomers that in danger of being acquihired and EOLifed.

Letting the careless early adopt those kinds of services, and using only mature ones (that have proven their longevity and aren't going anywhere even if acquired) in your company, makes sense.


Month-to-month, a new project by a single developer has many times the probability of folding than a company like Slack does. Shack is a significantly lower risk.

Further, there is much higher trust that Slack would give a reasonable notification period of they decided to stop existing, compared with a single dev's project.


I don't think that's the kind of "mature" they were talking about. From context, I think it's pretty clear they were thinking about product maturity. If customers are suspicious of organizational stability, they use a different set of excuses. E.g., they'll ask about funding, large customers, track record.


That's correct, I was referring to feature-richness.


But it's also true about presentation. If you're selling B2B, you have to be a business - preferably a convincing full-fat business with employees and an office and a reputation (for something, at least).

Otherwise you're a jumped-up contractor with a hobby project. And you're not going to be taken seriously as a business partner.

I learned this the hard way in the early 00s. It's one of the fundamental marketing elements in B2B, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the product, its features, its ability to solve problems for a convincing price, and anything rational.

You can even say that anything above the very lowest levels of corporate B2B marketing - excluding the trades and very small mom & pop SMEs, who are a separate market - is about projecting business charisma and potency, not so much about solving actual problems with any efficiency or effectiveness, and certainly not about solving them at an affordable cost.

It's entirely tribal. And if you're a one-person shop you're an outsider - effectively just a potential employee or remote temp - and not part of the tribe.

IMO no amount of marketing and validation can overcome this bias in B2B. You're just not going to be considered a worthy equal, no matter how you spin it, or how good your offering is.


Harsh, but completely true


Every company has a "first customer"


It is hard to entertain a messaging product for which the author says they’re explicitly intending to stay solo.




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