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I think slack’s secret sauce isn’t actually the day to day team work stuff but the cross team communication and fun aspects of it. I’m on a slack team at work that has 50k people in it spread across 5 cities and sometimes multiple offices in each city. There are topics to talk about almost anything you’re interested in from board games to parenting to woodworking to whatever. I think it makes the whole company feel connected to each other as people in a way that email or face to face meetings or phone conversations or regular instant messenger could never accomplish.

And that ability to make spontaneous connections extends to business related topics as well — I spent about an hour just randomly helping someone on a team that I knew only from slack design a kubernetes deployment and took a project from struggling to get off the ground to going full speed ahead. I switched to a machine learning team here despite having zero work experience doing machine learning because I spend time in the machine learning channel and demonstrated that I had interest and knowledge of the topic.

It works _because_ it’s fun and distracting, not in spite of that, imo.

My actual team never uses it because we’re all sitting next to each other, usually, and our support channel is only ever manned by the engineer on call. It’s all the so-called non-productive uses that make it great.






>> 50k people in it spread across 5 cities ... I think it makes the whole company feel connected to each other

It may help make you feel this way, but what type of connection can you have with superfulous interaction in such a large population?

Maybe you mean it helped you identify very small, niche subsets with which you have subsequently built a relationship? That makes more sense, but I'm highly akeptical that even those relationships are built in an IM network, more likely triggered by...

You side-band, async focus is not how the vast majority of organizations use slack. They explicitly adopt it as the required (i.e. everyone participates) tool for immediate, synchronous communication.




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