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Salesforce completes acquisition of Slack (slack.com)
260 points by kalendos 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 268 comments

I think both Slack and Discord are good examples of products that entered already well established niches and still succeeded.

Slack launched in August 2013 as a plain text chat service without voice and video calls. Skype and HipChat already existed for a decade before Slack entered the market.

In just seven years Slack went from being an internal team chat app to making a $28 billion exit.

It helps that microsoft completely ruined skype and turned it into an unreliable piece of shit

I hope that case study is taught in business schools. That Microsoft did such a bad job is stunning to me.

And Teams is darn near unusable due to interface weirdness, but Windows 11 integration gives me hope that this problem can be fixed.

It's unbelievable to me how Teams can be this bad on pretty much all platforms. I'm not surprised that it's bad on Linux, but it continuing to record your microphone after you leave a meeting until it's closed is downright acceptable (if you don't believe me, open pavucontrol after a meeting).

On Android, I've had it crash twice this week when trying to expand a message I sent.

Not to mention the terrible and inconsistent UI of course, but I think that's already what it's known for.

I wouldn't mind teams being bad if we could just pretend it doesn't exist. However Microsoft find creative ways to shove it down our metaphorical throats, even for us using Linux, because many companies downright require the use of teams for communication in the corporation because it was sold with a bundled license.

It doesn't just record for too long, it also seems to record on multiple microphones. I have an Elgato Wave 3 microphone that has its own mute mechanism, but even when it's muted in hardware, Teams is somehow able to tell when I'm speaking and alerts me if I'm muted within Teams. It's pretty creepy – the Wave 3 seems to mute itself just fine, I've tested it again and again and it always works flawlessly, yet Teams always shows the alert. My best guess is that Teams probably records other microphones as well (my webcam has one, too). No idea how to verify that on macOS, though.

Every time I'm done with a Teams meeting, I `killall -9 teams` because I can't trust it to behave if I leave it in the background.

Heh, if I don't trust the app then don't install it. Maybe offline VM/docker/etc as option.

Praise Electron. I can't imagine the cross platform headaches Teams has induced on its developers. Sometimes you have to wonder whether Win11's new hardware requirements and Electron/Teams' crappy performance are related.

Considering Slack and Discord also use Electron, and not only have much more functionality but also do it pretty much flawlessly (to reasonable extents), I don't buy this argument.

Yeah it's fine to call Electron a little memory piggy, but there's no reason stable apps can't be built on it. A company like MS should be embarrassed that their app sucks so badly.

Electron works wonderfully and is quite fun to develop with. It's a shame that the performance is.. questionable.. but it's not hard to make stable apps with it. Seems to be a Microsoft issue at this point lol

We can't pretend Microsoft doesn't have the resources to do something like this right. They just don't focus on user experience.

This is not limited to teams. Azure Active Directory, Windows Servers, Sharepoint, OneDrive... they all have terrible UX.

Judging by how cross-platform was done before Electron, the macOS app would probably lag way behind and Linux users would get nothing at all.

> That Microsoft did such a bad job is stunning to me

Google also managed to do a similarly bad job. Google Talk was quite popular.

This, 100 times this. I don't think I'll ever understand how Google so horribly lost the "Chat Race". They were in early, had a product, let it flounder, then launched multiple other chat services that all were bad in their own way.

Teams is the worst UI I’ve ever used in an application.

The UI is bad, but I will take Teams over using WebEx for meetings.

You've obiovusly never used Azure DevOps. Nothing will make you miss Jira like moving to DevOps.

The fact that "Click to expand" / auto-collapse is the default for almost all conversations and there is no way to toggle it off is inexplicable to me.

There must be something they're doing right as there are so many people talking about how bad it is. (They all have it installed)

Microsoft included Teams with their offerings that most businesses already subscribe to. So, it's essentially "free." It makes it really had to pick other options. Especially because it has Active Directory.

Nobody was ever fired for choosing Microsoft. Same goes for some of Azure usage I've seen.

obligatory reading about enterprise software (apologies for it being a twitter thread)


I feel like this could be said about paid APIs as well? The ones purchasing/signing the contract (business) and the ones using the API (developers) have completely different 'needs'.

Seconded, yet my university chose it as the collaboration app for all employees.

For the same reason as most others: "its included for free in our existing subscription. Is your other tool free?"

Aren't there tons of free or even open-source tools?

Not that include hosting (with a SLA), SSO support, and integration with all of the other apps you already use (well, at least Office). And if you pay for a Microsoft license that includes compliance stuff, it automatically does Teams too.

Teams is not free, it's a free addition to the subscriptions that almost every IT department buys already. So you can think of it as a subsidized moat, or a loss-leader for new clients. Any competitor needs to figure out how to cover the not insignificant costs of running this service, plus to give them their due, Microsoft support is better than almost everyone else in the enterprise setting.

It's not even free in that it mostly just replaces the Lync/SharePoint interfaces. It's a feature people were sold that was rewritten and replaced, and the old feature removed.

Yes, but someone would have to be responsible for making the entirely reasonable choice to use them. No one gets blamed for buying into the status quo and following "best practices" (by popularity), even when they're bad practices.

With Microsoft's luck and finesse the Windows 11 integration will just kill Windows.

From 400B to > 2T market cap in the past 5 years. Not sure that's dumb luck.

Teams is terrible, Azure DevOps is painful, windows has a had a lot of misses; but .NET is awesome, Azure is my favourite all-round IaaS/Paas and lots of their new initiatives are pleasant surprises, so IMO Microsoft is at their best as any time in the past 10+ years or longer.

Hopefully, Salesforce doesn't repeat that with Slack

business school, is the wrong place to teach that. I can bet 90% that the acquisition was messed up by the suits. but anyways what can plebs like us do ? we didn't go to fancy mba school, but can bet we would've done a way better job.

This is a popular opinion that I tend to agree with on a personal preference level, but Microsoft's userbase across Teams and Skype is still much larger than Slack's... so they're certainly not doing a very bad job outside of the realm of HN opinion.

Salesforce is probably banking on a similar bundling tactic to 365, which makes the sale seem like a tactical move reflecting the reality that better doesn't always matter. Plus Microsoft is also working on a CRM to rival Salesforce.

Slack never went after schools during Covid - Microsoft did. My guess is that their markets are different and that's why the user count is so different.

Of course, Teams is free when you have Office365, so.... there's that.

I'd say the comparison to discord is the more relevant one

e: and zoom

I smell outsourcing, or trying to save money by hiring really green programmers and designers and putting them on something too big for their experience level.

Can't see this and not post this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI0w_pwZY3E - A message from Skype CEO

Thanks for the laughs :)

Are there any sites that attempt to describe exactly what's wrong with Skype? I've been using it for years and haven't observed anything outright wrong with it. Is particular functionality broken or something?

Personal Skype is annoying because it expires credits, so every couple months I have to log in and send a single text to spend some money.

All my other Skyping is just messaging and calls for free so it’s lame that they keep trying to expire the money I spent.

Skype for business is a giant ball of shit and perhaps the worse messenger product I’ve ever used, and I’ve used them all since IRC and text in 1993. Here’s how it sucks: -Calls and video consume large bandwidth -Client will peg cpu at 100% for unknown reasons while idling -Sometimes client will freeze in the background and not take calls or IMs -can’t drag and drop images into chat. Sends them as attachments -not reliable. Calls will drop. Individuals on calls will drop. Screen share works or doesn’t work unpredictably. Video works or doesn’t work unpredictably. -Messages aren’t delivered, sometimes with an error that says “prepend couldn’t be reached so message wasn’t delivered” even though the user shows as online and green -Sometimes that message actually was delivered -Mobile does not sync chats with desktop

Instant messaging is so simple and using Skype is worse than nothing. I’d rather email than have a tool that works 90% of the time. Imagine is SMS sometimes didn’t deliver messages. Who would use that.

Coupled with Skype being the reason why all other instant messenger apps were banned from orgs. In 2001, my company was using yahoo messenger, for free, without any of the problems above with 200 people IMing hundreds of times a day (although we never video or voice called). In 2021, my org pays for Teams and Skype and we use a mix of SMS/iMessage and a million other things because no one IMs any more.

> Imagine is SMS sometimes didn’t deliver messages.

SMS does not have a delivery guarantee.

It does not, yet it’s pretty darn reliable.

Comically, Skype does have an SLA including delivery and sucks at it.

I don’t need delivery guarantee, I just need reliability. If I could even predict when Skype works or doesn’t, I could at least plan around it.

I can only speak for myself, but I've had co-workers who've corroborated my experiences:

* Slow startup, slow everything

* File uploads work maybe 50% of the time

* Calls are frequently dropped

* Sometimes will just flatout stop responding and crash in the middle of chat or a call.

* Resource hog

No persistent chat, doesn't reliably report availability status / presences, tells you messages were sent when they weren't, messages don't always arrive on all devices, message with error that says "message couldn't be delivered" but they were delivered so you send them many many times...

the list goes on.

Oh man I completely forgot about the "message couldn't be delivered" error. I'll send a message to a coworker and it appears normally as if I sent it. Only 15 minutes later do I realize it never sent.

I have never had that experience with another chat application.

I wonder if those issues could be related to a poor network connection to the Skype servers, and maybe poor handling of lossy or high latency connections. I haven't seen any of these issues with Skype.

Perhaps, but I’ve never had these problems with Zoom or Discord or Slack or Jabber or anything else. So it’s a Skype problem as far as I’m concerned.

They could be but if network connection was a prime cause Microsoft would have highlighted that fact. Have they shown that is in fact the primary issue?

* File uploads work maybe 50% of the time

File uploads are blocked by company policy. And it fails with a cryptic error or no error at all when blocked, rather than giving a meaningful explanation.

Firstly there's 3 versions of skype backend: original p2p, microsoft's intercept all your calls, and Lync.

Then they renamed Lync to be Skype for Business, and now had to try to make those 2 systems work together.

Then Windows 8 comes along and they rewrite the client in Metro, but it doesn't do everything, so the Win32 client still exists.

Also recall that MS had MSNMessenger, so guns all pointing at each other.

Then they got social network jealousy, so tried to do something with Skype, then gave up.

I've still no idea if skype can call Lync/SfB/Teams or not.

I assume at some point they didn't bother making Android/iOS apps because they wanted WinPhone to be a thing.

> Also recall that MS had MSNMessenger, so guns all pointing at each other.

If anyone is wondering, I believe this might be a reference to this "microsoft organisational chart" [0].

[0] https://external-preview.redd.it/PUA8tCYtXm11ZBA1oLmqESSwjZn...

Both Skype and FaceTime abandoned P2P at the expense of privacy and (usually) call quality because there used to be a patent troll called VirNetX going after large companies employing P2P networking. They had some ridiculous patent on "having two devices talk on a network, mediated by a third" and won in the Eastern District of Texas of course. That patent is now expired.

My friend who worked at Skype at the time tells me the rebuild was because of the rise of mobile devices, and the limitations of mobile internet at the time. Skype's original architecture used peer to peer routing, ie network quality relied on there being always-on nodes in between the calling parties. Demand for mobile Skype grew, but no one wanted to use their expensive, limited bandwidth mobile internet to be a router in the Skype network. Not to mention, those mobile connections weren't stable enough to be useful for nodes anyway.

Hence the redesign around a client-server model, where MS could guarantee call quality a lot better, and which allowed for mobile to thrive.

None of which excuses the UI of course, or problems with the back end. Or lync, or any of the other problems. But it does give some context.

It’s the same with Apple’s FaceTime. It was originally intended to be P2P, but VirNetX sued them. Some believe that’s why Steve Jobs’ claim of it becoming “open” to non-Apple devices never materialized.

One of the contentions is that skype evolved from an utilitarian entreprisey chat/voice app into a wannabe social network.

I personally dislike the following:

* They replaced a reasonably fast (on Windows) or extremely fast and native (on Linux) application with a slow and bloated Electron-based client that was initially missing many of the features.

* They introduced multiple different types of chats as an attempt to transition from P2P to cloud-based. Depending on when and how you started a chat, it would use one or the other system with no obvious indication but many subtle differences in terms of supported features.

* The web client and desktop client (despite also being written using web technologies) had various differences, such as different parsing of chat message formatting, so what you sent differed from what the other person saw in many cases.

* Terrible/no tools for managing larger chat groups.

And for the mobile app:

* Mobile client is by far the slowest app on my phone (even today), taking easily 10+ seconds from tapping a notification to having the chat fully loaded. (Every other chat app this is <1s)

* Mobile client frequently misses or is late in showing notifications of received messages.

* Mobile client used to murder my battery life. Thankfully this was fixed a few years ago.

Last time I used it, it just flat out stopped working, and nothing I tried could fix it. I could type messages but would not receive any messages anyone else was sending, though on their ends it would show the messages as sent. Tried the web client, same thing. I told my friends they could now reach me on discord if they wanted to continue talking to me, and that's the last time I used skype, years ago.

Even before then, it was extremely spotty with occasionally refusing to deliver messages, not being able to hear the other person on calls, and other stability issues. But it's been so long, I don't remember the exact details anymore, just that it gradually went from a piece of software that I really liked to something that was giving me the most trouble out of any software I was using.

This comment will identify the core issue:

Feature creep expressing as bloat.

I think part of the problem is there are 2 different products Skype and "Skype for Business" the second one is basically a rebranded MS communicator.

is this a trend? Cisco webex started of relatively easy to use and then rapidly became unusable, Zoom feels like it's going in that direction, Google meet is arguably more usable than its predecessors, but (maybe because they keep changing their product name[0]? which is a key part of usability) nobody seems uses it anymore

[0] messenger? was it hangouts? meet? Is it duo now?

Zoom feels more performant than Meet, but Meet’s latest product update a month or two ago made it significantly better. Interface is cleaner and it feels much faster to the point that it feels almost as fast as Zoom.

yep, but like i said the the UX failure in meet is not technical but literally changing the product name. Who knows. Will it get replaced by duo in 1.5 y?

Makes me sad to think about how Microsoft also did this to Sunrise. They even shut Sunrise down and yet never brought the functionality to Outlook.

One of the best plot twists of the decade.

Atlassian feels like a Xerox or Kodak of the modern age. A lot of their products were for a while the only option, and never bothered to evolve.

Now we've got competitive options through Slack instead of Hipchat, Asana instead of Jira, and Notion instead of Confluence.

Heck even Trello became competitive enough for Atlassian to acquire them.

I know it's a favorite pastime on HN to bitch about Jira, but I actually commend Atlassian for "New Jira". IMO they had an incredibly difficult problem: how to simplify the app that had grown pretty monstrous over the years, but in a way where you don't piss off every company that has their own specific workflow so if you don't support their particular way of doing things, they crap all over your changes.

I'm very happy with the new jira that we've been using for the past ~18 months, and I think it strikes the right balance between simplicity and ease of setup while still supporting the features we need.

I could agree with you from a UX-flow perspective, but the tech is so shoddy that i loathe it. Everything is a "web 2.0" monstrosity of load times and popin. Open the wrong link and it takes you 40 seconds for components to popin, pull data, render, move to the highlighted component, it to popin, pull data, render, and finally you get what you want.

The UX-flow might be good, not sure, but the tech is so bad it actually inhibits users. The use of independent components might be neat when loading a Jira card from Bitbucket pull requests (which works), but it makes loading Jira cards from... Jira, terrible. Imo.

>>> Open the wrong link and it takes you 40 seconds

There's nothing in JIRA that take anywhere near 40 seconds to open.

If you really have pages that take double digit seconds to open (you can open your browser's development tools to measure), it's more likely administrator in your company that is to blame for doing a horrible setup running the web service on a toaster and the database on a NAS.

You're right, i'm sensitive to load times and exaggerated by approximately 4x.

I just (loosely) timed it, it took ~10-12s to open a backlog selected issue card _with cache_ from refresh. I used that example because it highlights the list i gave before.

1. The page loads, a bit slow in general.

2. The dom has loaded, so now backlog issues are loading.

3. The backlog issues are loaded, so now the selected component opens.

4. The selected issue component starts loading data.

5. Your data is now finally visible.

The ~10-12s is loosely evenly spread through the entire steps 1-5. This is on Jira Cloud, no "toaster NAS" unless you want to blame Jira Cloud for running a toaster, in which case i'd agree.

The problem in my mind isn't the servers. Opening the network tab, you see requests responding a bit slow, maybe 50-500ms, but not _terrible_. I'd like to see all requests below 300ms personally.

The problem is the UI design. Everything executes dynamically and sequentially. The URL indicates exactly what sort of page i want to see, but nothing is loaded until the JS loads, renders, makes a request for whatever data that individual component needs. Any sub-components to this then get rinse and repeat once they are actually loaded.

When you stack components on components on components that all need to sequentially load data a 1-2s load time starts to stack up, fast. And best of all, network requests are slowed down by how fast your DOM renders? Ugh.

What's the excuse for Jira Cloud? It sometimes takes up to 60s to open a popup window with an issue's details.

I am so curious as to what setup causes these horrific load times. I never, never have performance issues like these with Jira Cloud. A "slow" load for me is about 4 seconds, normally cards open in a second or two.

I gave an example here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27909949

But in addition to that, 1-3 seconds per click is horrible imo. I have to literally pause, and slow down my workflow, because every input (navigation click) takes 1-3 seconds to load? That sort of delay starts to drag on users, imo.

Wasn't JS based UI's supposed to _lighten_ the load? Make web pages faster because they could just ask for the data that changed? This feels like such a massive step backward from simple HTML, like HN.

1-3 seconds being good, or even okay, is abysmal to me. Especially when the full page isn't needed, just a handful of data. Something is fundamentally broken with this version of the "modern web". And i say that as a web developer who loves complex frontend technologies. But to me if the user isn't getting a faster response, the frontend tech would be better off as plain HTML.

I used to manage an on-prem Jira installation at $OLD_JOB, the amount of network traffic that the page to view an issue does is absurd. If you have a speedy connection or most of the page cached you won't notice, but switch to slower connections or a congested enterprise VPN and it's painfully slow. Open the browser's toolbox, disable the cache and reload. See for yourself.

We've had performance issues with cloud Jira / Bitbucket the last couple months. Doing simple merges can take 2 minutes in the background. I encounter 5-10 second slow downs multiple times a week with other parts of the UI. GitHub is instantaneous in comparison.

Yeah "new Jira" is a big improvement.

I recently had to setup a project and workflow for a new team, and was steeling myself for a configuration nightmare. But then I saw there's a new way to create projects. It is so much simpler to configure workflow, statuses, etc in these new projects. Because they're designed not to be shared across the whole org. The configuration is contained within the project.

So they've created a de-enterprised process for configuring Jira, and made it far more suitable for smaller companies, or for teams that self-administer. All the clunky stuff is still there, but completely separate and you don't have to use it.

For more than a year or so am unable to upload an image from my fairly normal linux desktop to jira (across two different computers). I've minimised my use of the tool because of this.

I either use slack as a "cdn" posting my image there and putting a link, or simply ignore it.

I actively avoid jira, as it is slow, and buggy.

Atlassian really needs to get it together. At my agency we're moving away from BitBucket because it has degraded so much over the past year. I was fine with the lack of features, but they've been actively making the product worse.

When they bought the company that now makes what they sell as Bitbucket On Premises, they should have literally thrown away their cloud offering, and just offered that... in the cloud.

This years long process of badly re-implementing bitbucket on prem into the cloud, feature by feature, while the rest of the world evolves passed what they bought years ago is absurd.

Stash (now called BitBucket Server) was built in house, it wasn't acquired. As far as I know, the BB Cloud and BB Server teams didn't have aligned roadmaps.

Source: I was an employee there when this was being built.

I'm no Atlassian fanboy but Asana is only a replacement for Jira in specific use cases. I've used Jira Server successfully on large software projects. Not amazing but I've now used enough other products to say "pretty good". Jira Cloud... not great for that use case. Fewer features and every click seems to require a 300ms minimum REST call. Asana, even more limited functionality. After years there is still no way to automatically remove completed work from the board. But the UI and flow are pretty good and snappy so for certain use cases like smaller shorter-term projects it can be good.

The UI lag is real. I checked why, and it turns out every ticket returns permissions for every single UI element on the component.

The 'fat app' if you're on a Mac is about 100x better than the browser version for some reason..

I still only try to touch it once a day though. :}

You can’t even CC someone ex a vendor) in a Jira ticket without them having to make themselves an account.

Atlassian and all Jira products are ugly, and have more menus and settings scattered around than microsoft.

> Notion instead of Confluence

Google luck replacing Confluence with Notion if you are a company of more than 100 employees

How come out of interest?

I’m not the person you asked, but when I looked at it, Notion was too expensive for large teams.

I work in an org with shifting project teams and the need for persistent docs and paying $100/user for thousands of people who will minimally contribute to material made by dozens of users was too expensive. I used to use hosted confluence but not use GitHub (for like $50/year) and GitLab community hosted (for a little devops labor).

There is not even an admin panel in Notion.

As soon as you have a lot of documents, the search is super slow. Search that is super limited regarding its filtering capabilities.

Not possible to impose a structure on documents, no review before publishing. The right management system is super unflexible, the folder system is too flexible, the UI overall is not built to support thousands of docs, almost no analytics...

So yeah Notion looks better at first, but I dont know any company of more than 100 employees that would trade it from Confluence.

(I'm building a competitor to Confluence that looks good and is UX friendly, but to me I'm not building a competitor to Notion, Notion is very limited in term of the functionalities companies need)

Indeed. The week Slack became available, I was asking around for recommendations for a service that was “HipChat but nicer to use” and got a lot of scoffing in reply. Eventually someone linked Slack and said it looked dumb but maybe I could try it and see if it was different enough. Of course it was exactly what I wanted and got the right bunch of people talking to each other at work.

I’m pretty sure every one of those scoffers had multiple Slack accounts within a couple years. :)

I have been using chat systems since ICQ. I really don't get the hype on Slack and Discord. Discord in particular is so crowded, and I like tight interfaces, that is overwhelming. Maybe it is the servers that I have, but I am sure that the app allows that, like at the time MySPace allowed crazy profiles.

too bad Discord doesn't allow 3rd party chat applications. Something like irssi for Discord would be awesome.

They exist, but they’re technically ToS violations, and mentioning that you use one in large public servers is taboo. Doesn’t stop people from using them, as discord has been lenient so far, but you’ll have only yourself to blame if discord does ban you.

I was on a team that was on HipChat that switched over to Slack shortly after it came out. One simple reason: reliability. At that time HipChat had frequent outages. It's certainly all over HN when Slack goes down but I think that's partly because it actually is down quite rarely, and because of this reliability people have built more and more mission critical integrations into Slack, like ChatOps.

A key difference is that Slack was worried it couldn't complete with Microsoft's entire business suite. They had big ambitions but ultimately had to exit.

A smarter play might have been to buy similar office services years ago and create a package of their own.

Discord is relatively safe from this and can continue to grow atop its gamer user base.

Great insights.

Any hypothesis on why they could pull this off? Better sales? Better product? Both?

HipChat had probably the best native desktop chat client for Linux. I really miss it.

Perhaps Stewart, Cal, and co will start work on a game next.

Yes, I'm excited to see what web service they will pivot into this time!

This hurts in the Glitch-shaped hole in my heart.

But also, if they did start work on a new game, I'd immediately start following it.

It's pretty frustrating how many OSS projects use Slack but there are no options available to pay for a discounted pro plan. We'd love to pay a flat-ish fee for the community but it creates a disincentive to grow. Their active user fair pricing helps a bit, but it's not great.

Please don't use Slack for open projects! It's a walled garden, search engines cannot index the content and registration is needed to even see the discussions.

What you put in there is basically closed from the public, complete opposit of openness.

In fairness discord has this same problem, but saying “don’t create a discord or a slack for your community” is kind of… not really realistic.

Does matrix / someone else solve it? How?

Zulip, which I lead, absolutely aims to solve this problem.

We provide our full Zulip Cloud Standard paid plan for free to open source projects (and various other worthy causes!). We also prioritize and build features specifically because OSS projects asked for them:


Hundreds of open source projects, including Rust, Julia, MariaDB, and Clojure, use Zulip as their team chat platform. We often hear from large open source projects that they substantially prefer Zulip's topic-based model to the user experience in Discord or Slack, or that they found it made their open source community work. See for example these tweets from the last few weeks:

* https://twitter.com/mojavelinux/status/1409702273400201217

* https://twitter.com/ornicar/status/1412672302601457664

Also in contrast with open core products like Mattermost, Zulip is proudly 100% open source software. You can learn a bit more about Zulip's open source model here:


Gitter seems to be indexable by search engines. My experience using it as part of open projects has been mixed—the UI isn't great and the notification system is, in my experience, unreliable—but if you're worried about your messages being discoverable, it might be up your alley.

I'm also curious about this. Gitter.im (which now is integrated with Matrix) is also an option, but not as user-friendly as Discord. With Discord at least you have unlimited searchable chat history (which is invaluable for OSS communities, and one of the top reasons you should avoid Slack). However, I can see Discord removing this free luxury in the future...

Well, there are plenty of open solutions that you can self host.

Personally, i find Rocket.Chat ( https://rocket.chat/ ) to be simple enough to set up in a Docker container and have running as a passable alternative to Slack/Discord. There are downloadable clients as well. The only real downside I've seen is somewhat bad support for calls because their WebRTC implementation is still new and integrating with Big blue button or whatever else they offered is hard.

Controversial take: We found that we get better responsiveness from our open source community on Slack at PostHog, probably as our users have it open for work already and are used to posting without too much thought, whereas making a post on a forum feels like a higher barrier to entry. This feedback helps us improve the product. Would love something that extracts all the content and pushes it somewhere indexable though, as we often end up manually taking conversations and converting into github issues etc.

Does Slack's terms of service allow for a plugin that can just export the contents of the Slack to a public site (like a mailing list archive)? Do Slack plugins have that kind of access?

I lead the Zulip project.

I'm not sure about this detail of Slack's ToS. At a technical level, you can certainly export your data from a Slack (which is we implement https://zulip.com/help/import-from-slack); I imagine it's easy to write a tool to format and publish it.

FWIW Zulip maintains https://github.com/zulip/zulip-archive, which is a configurable API-based tool for creating a static HTML archive from a Zulip organization, with tooling to update it every few minutes. A lot of larger open projects use it. (We're also working on a native logged-out access feature with less janky formatting, which has a working PR that we need to integrate).

I suppose you could export your data from Slack, import it into Zulip, and then publish that using zulip-archive if you didn't want to write any code, but I'm sure the formatting would be better preserved if one avoided the "convert Slack markup to Zulip markup" step.

why not just run a mattermost server instead?


One reason you already mentioned, you have to run it. Slack is run for you.

Hey, Mattermost PM here.

There is a hosted SaaS version of Mattermost as well. We don't have an established non-profit license for it yet, but you can contact community[at]mattermost.com and we'd be happy to discuss options.

That's a good thing, though. Get a VPS for 5$ per month, set up LetsEncrypt and launch the software in a Docker container - and you will have to do very little administration.

Then no one can limit the messages that you can have in the chat or make you pay for many of the features or suddenly take the software away from you or make you have an outage due to external factors of any software vendor.

Until you get spammed to hell, or the next vulnerability leaves your system broken, you're utterly owned. There's a lot more that goes into self administration then just "put a server up".

If updating a Docker tag every month or so after verifying that your backups are working is too hard, then it is probably indeed a better choice to rely on SaaS, however that line of thinking is dangerously close to falling into the trap of SaaSS: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-s...

And if you want automatic updates, then either use the :latest tag, use apt/yum/... packages with unattended upgrades or something like Snaps for Ubuntu. However, in my experience, updates should be done manually and only when you're ready to roll them back (unless there are non-breaking security updates which are only available for OSes most of the time).

As for spam, if you can't moderate your Discord or Slack Space, then the same will apply here, of course.

As for getting owned: if your passwords are simple enough to be guessed or you don't follow other best practices, then the same will apply both to SaaS offerings and the software you're hosting yourself. Basic common sense like not exposing DBs to the Internet and using your firewall to only expose the ports you want was assumed, but not explicitly pointed out in my post.

That's a lot of stuff to worry about and get right vs. just paying $XX a month for someone else to deal with it.

You know, that's a fair point.

On one hand, feeding a YAML file into a container orchestration solution takes care of some of those concerns, as does enabling VPS backups and using something like KeePass to generate passwords (which can also be used for everything else, should you so desire).

On the other hand, not everyone necessarily knows how to do that, or wants to do that. To that, i'll indeed concede.

It's just that claiming that these things are too hard for the average technically inclined person to do (regardless of whether they have 2 or 10 years of experience) leads to a mindset in which people rely on SaaSS for everything and never even learn how to run their own software, thus either paying too much for it (relative to the worth it provides them with), or just locking themselves into a particular vendor.

Lastly, by hosting your own software, you are a smaller target than the larger and more centralized SaaS platforms. If a large SaaS gets hacked, although unlikely, it will affect a large amount of people. If your own instance gets hacked, even if more likely (less visible to hackers, almost no gain to be had for hacking John Doe's Nextcloud instance, yet probably also easier to do), it will only affect the few people using it.

please do that and sell a hosting service.

I remember the pitch from Render.com, they are doing it because Heroku stopped innovating since Salesforce acquired them.

Although most of the time Salesforce just leave those acquisition alone and let them do their work. Which is sort of strange if there are no benefits and synergy, it is more like a long term asset investment.

I sometimes wonder if these sort of acquisition has something to do with low interest rate, ease of capital, and tax reduction.

> leave those acquisition alone and let them do their work

Exactly the fate every casual commenter is hoping for with every acquisition of a decent company. Specifically in gaming. The companies keep calming the public down by promising they'll let the bought company work as before, which of course never happens—otherwise there'd be no reason for the acquisition.

(Waiting for Codemasters to turn into regular EA trash, here.)

If Salesforce found a way to make this very model work, that's great. Personally I've become too jaded to expect anything good from any acquisition.

Heroku decided to sail against the Docker wave rather than sail with it.

They still have a "buildpack" OSS project that sort of competes with OCI image

Who needs Slack when you can use, as we do, Zulip?

Yes, OK, I need to use Slack to participate in communities set-up by others.

Thank you Kandra Labs and Dropbox: https://zulip.com/history/

There is also Mattermost

Good shout. Zulip happended to fit best at the time the decision was made. It would be Mattermost or Zulip, for us, if starting from scratch.

I cant help but feel sorry for Salesforce engineers who will have to work on figuring out how to integrate the monolith with Slack and figure out the user permissions and access control nightmare.

I can't help but feel sorry for the Slack engineers who are used to working at a nimble and innovative company, and now will be beaten down by bureaucracy only rivaled by large governments.

Speaking from experience, getting absorbed as a small nimble company into a behemoth is akin to slowly boiling a frog alive. Things usually start out as business as usual for quite a while, at least for engineering; other departments are heavily impacted immediately. Then... the beuracracy creeps and grows and soon you have some corporate IT nonsense on your machine that blocks DNS lookups to github.com so you don't "leak intellectual property" and now you can't build your software any more and your manager is a plant.

Based on my experience, Salesforce does leave acquisitions to do their own thing for a long period of time - Heroku, Tableau and Quip are examples of that. But yes, its a big bureaucracy and things can move at a glacial pace.

It sounds like they kinda ran morale for Tableau folk into the ground; and a bunch have/are jumping ship

This happened at Heroku too.

MuleSoft too.

> nimble and innovative company

Given slack has barely changed at all in the past... 6 years, I would hardly call it "nimble and innovative" any more.

What’s innovative in Slack? From my - purely user - point of view it’s just IRC, only worse in terms of functionality.

The idea that Slack is strictly worse than IRC in functionality is laughable. Maybe IRC does some things better, but Slack certainly offers improvements as well.

Slack and Teams have always been laggy for me, meaning there's a perceptible delay between the time you press the keys on the keyboard and when the text appears on the screen. This isn't an issue with GUI IRC clients or many of the older chat platforms that were in use in the early 2000s.

The UI issues, at least for me, are the problem.

They are laggy, their logging and search support is a joke, they are non-interoperable, lack scripting support, and the UI is less responsive than MIRC on a 90 MHz Pentium.

I’m certain they do have some advantage though, apart from marketing. I’d love to find out what.

Maybe lack of signing-in everywhere, but Jabber solved that and with Bitlbee or any CLI tool you could IM from that 90MHZ Pentium.

Easier account creation and file sharing, I believe.

AOL instant messenger, MSN messenger, Yahoo instant messenger, and Google talk didn't have issues with account creation or file sharing. You didn't really need an account for IRC and file sharing via DCC wasn't an issue in the dial-up days before firewalls were common.

Kopete. We could do everything Slack did (even with inline Youtube videos, LaTex and video chat) under an AMD Athlon XP and 256 MB of RAM. And with KDE3 in the background.

cc /u/spiderice

So can you give some examples?

Not actually as hard as you'd think; almost every new product in the Salesforce suite was once a separate company and they managed to integrate it just fine.

When the startup I was working for was acquired, we first integrated with Salesforce's SSO which was very easy, and kept having our clients use it as a separate product.

Then, we rebranded the UI to look and feel like Salesforce, and changed the product name to fit.

Only after all that did we start looking into moving to their url and fully integrating into the product suite.

2022: Salesforce announces Chat Cloud

I too am looking forward to migrating my Slack account to Salesforce CloudTeams™® Beta account

Salesforce already has its Chatter service. It UX is one of the weak parts of Salesforce, but the integration with the rest of SF is really not bad. I could totally see Slack simply replacing Chatter, using those integrations, and improving Salesforce. It also opens up the entire Slack ecosystem for upsell into SF products.

In other words, yes, I totally agree and think you are 100% correct.

I think you’re joking, but let’s be honest, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

and that is exactly when slack will die and something else will come in to take its place. an endless cycle

I saw Salesforce buy/eat Demandware. It's called Salesforce Commerce Cloud now. I bet something similar will happen to Slack.

I saw it too, and IMO the ecosystem is better than ever now. It took a few years of stagnation for SF to really dig their hooks in, but everything is nice and integrated now.


Will be rebranded to Messaging cloud in the Dreamforce after that

28b to get live message actually working

I just installed an XMPP server (ejabberd). It's amazing how much money is in things that are already solved freely. This is chat! CHAT! TEXTUAL CHAT WITH OCCASIONAL VIDEO CALLS! WebRTC is a thing! IRC/XMPP is a thing! Sad techops people running out of things to host is a thing!

Don´t worry, genz-ers coders don't know better but their smartphone-first fuzzed ecosystem. They are lost.

I've a dumb question as I don't use salesforce daily persay, however I feel our corporate intranet has been 'upgraded' to use a CRM style interface which may be salesforce SW as the backend, which I suspect purely as the url names have *force in them. To load the main home/landing page there must be 10 redirects, taking many seconds. It just feels so bloated to use - so is this the norm for salesforce SW, or is it the case we may be using something else entirely, that is itself bloated?

10 redirects is unusual. Is there an SSO in place? That said Salesforce log in process should not have more than two redirects from what I have seen.

SSO is in place, but that browser was already signed in, so should not require it again. Redirects are between things with names like visualforce. Maybe it's not 10, but it's a lot. Can Firefox developer tools be used to track the flow of redirects, I'd be interested to see what the exact flow is

That doesn't seem like a standard setup; probably there is some custom work done there as part of the login flow.

In my experience, Salesforce feels bloated and sluggish.

This matches my experience at a previous employer who was using Salesforce tools/websites.

Will get tough because Windows 11 has Teams integrated.

+1 reason not to upgrade.

Slack is better than Teams, imo.

That's the sort of brilliance of Microsoft's approach...Teams doesn't have to be better, it just has to be good enough, and only good enough in the eyes of the procurement teams.

Leadership folks buy O365 because it's the cheapest way to get Office, Sharepoint, Exchange and so on. Enterprise Teams comes with it whether you want it or not, "no extra charge".

Then, when someone wants Slack, the discussion becomes "We already have Teams. I see Slack does x and y a little better, but is that worth X dollars?".

While I agree slack is better, Teams is improving and slack seems to be devolving into a worse platform with lots of anti-features. The simplistic and focused approach that made me love slack have gone away.

The whole integration aspect of teams with office365 is also a huge draw.

>The whole integration aspect of teams with office365 is also a huge draw.

Ah, yeah, should have mentioned that. Attachments in messages go into OneDrive, MS Forms is used to post a Poll/Quiz, Click on people's names, and you can see org hierarchy from AD, Meetings from Outlook/Exchange are tied to Teams, and so on.

That's why IE never had any market share. It just wasn't any good..

oh wait.. it didn't have to be. it was bundled with Windows.

IE was far ahead of the competitors when it was launched. It maintained its lead for quite a lot of time, before MS stopped caring about it.

Agreed, but that is not exactly difficult to do. Teams is a total dumpster fire.

Apart from a few minor quirks (pop-under call dialog is most annoying), for me Teams just works.

Just today I had over a dozen different calls, most with screen sharing, several with participants joining and quitting during the call. Several included me taking control of the other's screen. We even swapped screens over a dozen times between participants in one call.

I chatted a lot with my coworkers (corona home office turned into summer home office) including sending screenshots and similar.

I participated in discussions on the team channels, again with attachments.

We used the Excel integration to edit a spreadsheet attached to a meeting in collaboration during the meeting.

I took a couple of calls on my mobile phone while I was making lunch, as well as chatting, continuing the chats seamlessly on my desktop when I was done.

This all just worked. This is more or less a typical Teams day for me these days. However based on the comments on HN, clearly it seems I'm an outlier.

Yes the UI is lacking significantly in some areas, and there are some annoying bugs, but "total dumpster fire" isn't what I'd call it.

Teams works great for meetings and sucks for chat and persistent chat. I never use Slack for calls, I use it for IMs.

Teams has problems with its UI, organizing teams/channels, notifying, and basic always on functions. At least every other day, Teams secretly signs me out and I’m offline until I try to do something and sign in again, just to get IMs and missed calls. That has never happened with Slack.

Also Teams/SharePoint sucks so hard for web site and doc collaboration. Search doesn’t work well and it’s hard to get users organized around content. I’d rather have a shared Word doc than a Teams site.

Word is worse but still the standard application in most companies.

How much money did the typical Slack engineer get out of this?

I actually find this to be a really interesting question. Founders do have significant sway in these kind of deals, in terms of advocating (or not advocating) for employees.

How are Slack employees doing financially?

The direct listing was good to most everyone I know (lots of former Twitterati at Slack), and this deal doesn’t seem to have changed that situation.

The post-acquisition exodus has started, which might imply folks aren’t interested in joining The Machine regardless of the money.

Someone please correct my ignorance, but is the core of Salesforce (the traditional sales application) essentially a glorified CRUD app with integrations?

> a glorified CRUD app

I feel like this can be said about most application development nowadays, especially anything web based. It's one of the reasons I'm losing steam as a web developer. It feels like no matter what project I do or company I work at, I'm really just doing CRUD all day. The only variations are the names of resources and the slight data manipulation you do between the HTTP request and storing it in the database.

Has anyone else experienced this same feeling?

It’s more of a managed database with a default scheme that is proven to be able to build sales tools around

So... yes?

Sure, CRM/SFM is just database stuff. The rest is merely software.

So is Facebook

Why every successful product has to be bloatware?

enterprise customers have large feature set requirements to support their enterprise scale, regulatory obligations, international presence + the tendency not to reject any feature request ask that could yield an additional customer combined with how unique feature requests often are between customers

Basically companies get bloated, then they need bloated software that supports all their bloat. They pay big money so they get what they want.

Because software developers selling software are (1) incentivized to offer lots of features, because different individuals and businesses have different needs, but also (2) not very strongly incentivized to either (a) make the program particularly easy to use/integrating those features well with each other (which is one thing you might be thinking of when you say "bloatware") or (b) make the program particularly performant (which is another thing you might be thinking of).

Open-source tools, while they might not always limit feature scope (e.g. Blender, Firefox, Emacs, Audacity, Krita) (although this isn't necessarily a bad thing), seem to be better at delivering good performance even for applications with larger feature-sets, partially because their developers are incentivized to optimize for performance due to their own pride.

Because it wouldn't be worth billions otherwise. Feature bloat is a key part of the "emperor's new clothes" strategy that 'simple' products like Dropbox are pursuing, now that they're public and are under pressure to show growth.

That's how you get stuff like Dropbox Paper.

Dropbox paper is amazing though if you need to create an "easy to collaborate that look decent" document. And it does not affect in anyway your experience with the "cloud sync" functionality

Salespeople love bloatware. The more features salespeople can speak about the more successfully they can sell the product.

Corporate compliance

I just sold all my $WORK shares on Monday. Curious, would my broker just have sold the shares and then issued some $CRM shares?

Whoever once the $WORK stock it will be replaced automatically with 26.79 in cash and 0.0776 Salesforce shares per share.

Probably the worst thing that could happen to Slack. The second least hip company in the world (#1 is IBM) buying a hip ChatOps platform. Time to move back to IRC or go to discord.

How could you possibly think that with amazing PR jibberish quotes like how they are going to "define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere." Or how they "have a once-in-a-generation opportunity" to "give every company in the world a single source of truth"? /s

These types of messages make me want to hurl at the self aggrandizing PR speak. I get positive self image and promotion, but good grief this is so over the top. I want a press release that says something closer to the truth, "we have no idea how to gain more users and the money from their wallets, so we're buying another company so we don't have to worry about developing anything on our own. This was the best idea we could come up with"

Not a single quote from anyone from Slack on how they felt it was a good idea and what made it so exciting for them to sell at this time to this buyer. I honestly feel like I need a shower after reading this nonsense.

Agreed. Corporate speak like this can't come across as anything but disingenuous, especially when they didn't even make the product they think they're going to "change the world" with.

My sister's company recently got acquired, and it's reminded me how bad it feels to be a regular worker suddenly finding out a company you really love is selling out. Of course, the execs get big bonuses while the regular workers get no say in changes to the business including cuts to their bonuses and perks...

I don't understand how anyone can stand that crap. Like what kind of person sees statements like the ones you quoted and thinks it's a good thing?

I thought op made those quotes up and found it hillarious. Then saw they were actual quotes.

I almost wish I was "clever" or "creative" enough to make up quotes like these, but then I realized in order to do that I'd just be another one of those PR asshole types. I'd rather just not exist than be that.

I mean, seriously, WTF is a "single source of truth"?

"Single source of truth" is pretty standard jargon in enterprises, at least ime. It refers to the fact that as an organization grows, the same information might be stored in different places in mutually incompatible ways. Ideally you want information to flow from one place that is your "single source of truth" so all systems agree on what data is correct. Otherwise you'll get systems that disagree, which is expensive to mitigate.

Salesforce is powerful because they centralize data collected from customer interactions like sales, they're the single source of truth for everything you want to know about your customers (which if you think about it is the most important thing to any business). Integrating chat with slack is an obvious move in that direction, since many people use slack as their primary customer interaction channel these days.

I'm sure plenty of folks on LinkedIn would lap it up and click on "thumbs up" or reply "Awesome!".

People who are paid to write it and their managers.

The un-hip companies tend to have the most money.

In any case, I never saw Slack as a 'cool' app, despite needing to use it at work for several years. I have only ever heard breathless hype about it, and often wonder if I'm using the same Slack as everyone else. Do people really get that excited about having a channel that updates with the status of your Jira tickets?

Salesforce is ahead of Oracle and SAP in non-hipness? How times change. :O (EDIT: Atlassian has got to be up there as well)

In any case, most of the world is not very hip but Salesforce does have a very trustworthy aura to most people not in tech. I think Slack being acquired by Salesforce will probably lead to more Slack customers overall, not less.

IBM is definitely more hip. Their CPU arch is called 'POWER', they beat Ken Jennings with a computer, and their CPUs powered game consoles. Salesforce is the worst with Atlassian being a close second.

What are the top complaints about Atlassian?

Slack still limits searches for free accounts, and charges per user. This basically excludes most community-based use cases. Not very "hip" if you ask me.

To be fair Slack is terrible to use and it probably at it's peak anyhow. Why not exit and let someone else deal with the downhill portion of it's existence?

Interesting that it was Salesforce that went after them

It does makes sense; Salesforce has been trying to be the operating system for work and real time communication was lacking.

When I was there, we used Chatter in org62 and it was awful. Yet a lot of time and money was invested into trying to make it work.

With Slack, they have a very easy upsell for their enterprise customers to keep them away from Teams; as well as inheriting a huge userbase that is very familiar with Slack – imagine getting feeds from Marketing and Sales Cloud on a slack channel, taking customer requests directly on Slack via Service Cloud, etc

Note that these are mostly things you can do today, but by bundling it into the Salesforce suite of products they will greatly increase adoption by cross-selling.

Salesforce also owns Heroku, which is interesting, I guess. I don’t full understand the game that’s being played, though. They own the way I deploy all my apps, and the way I communicate with my colleagues, but I’m not seeing the synergy. Both products will do better with enterprise sales and adoption and Salesforce does that well? Is that it?

Oh, Salesforce probably has some grand ambition of becoming a "platform" in which "salesforce" proper is "just" first among equals. Moreso than the degree to which Salesforce is already a platform, I mean. Eventually probably headed for being a Company in a Box.

For instance, this just went by on New: https://blog.zoom.us/start-using-zoom-apps/ Zoom, unsatisfied with being the dominant video chat app, now wants to be a "platform" for running apps.

While I understand the nominal business case, the business schools teaching MBAs to reach for this particular golden ring could probably stand to emphasize the importance of continuing to develop the core product as the foundation you expect to stand on in order to become this larger "platform"; seems like in practice, this sort of thing is also an announcement that their core product is now going to begin a long slide into a decaying buggy mess as it gets deprioritized internally in favor of the "platform" product, whereas the platform product usually fails, often non-trivially precisely because they got so excited about all that sweet, sweet lock-in walled-garden platform money that they let their foundation rot and all the wallets they meant to lock in their walled garden wandered away.

> Salesforce probably has some grand ambition of becoming a "platform" in which "salesforce" proper is "just" first among equals.

I think they started that in the late 2000’s and accomplished it by 2011 or so. Salesforce was the first business to prove SaaS was a viable business model and then launched themselves as a generic application builder that we now call PaaS.

I don’t disagree with your view, but to me, Salesforce isn't another wannabe platform. They’re the one who figured out how to make that path work. (Also, arguably AWS)

In the case of Zoom, this is probably a necessity. It is only a matter of time before the big companies muscle in on video chat now that the pandemic has shown demand and forced their hand.

If zoom doesn't have a strategy to either diversify or get bought out, they are probably doomed to a slow death.

Zoom still has the best UX from what I can tell though, and they already have wide adoption.

I've also started to hear Zoom as a noun in place of meeting, "let's do a Zoom", etc., even with people who don't work in tech.

They took over due to being the best offering. They seem entrenched to me now, but who knows...

> Zoom still has the best UX from what I can tell though

Can you explain how? To me it seems like the most clunky option that largely became big because people used its name in place of the concept. Some adoption is for latency benefits, but it's not like it's great at that either.

- It desperately wants me not to use the web app

- The desktop app opens a bunch of separate windows, largely without much of a purpose

- The desktop app for some reason requires audio to be enabled separately

- Only the host can share their screen by default

- The "leave meeting" button seems to confuse many people due to its weird one-button submenu

By contrast basically every alternative is just a single click to join, doesn't require extra permissions for core functionality, joins audio by default and just leaves the meeting when you press the button for it.

Zoom just works for me, but I use the desktop app. I don't mind that an additional window opens. After starting a meeting or joining one, I can close everything except the meeting window. If I want to leave a meeting, I just close the app. It does ask me to confirm if I want to leave, but I don't mind that either.

I do remember how unreliable WebEx was (dropped calls, bad audio, bad video, etc). That was also a desktop app experience, but it was a few years back.

I have used Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts recently as well, although only in the browser. They seemed clunkier to me, but it looks like Microsoft Teams has a desktop app, so maybe the experience of that is better.

I've also tried Discord video calls on their desktop app, but the audio and video quality just didn't compare to Zoom, but maybe it's better with a better plan. Slack calls seemed mostly OK but that was just for a 1 on 1 call, and overall I still preferred Zoom.

In my experience it also seems like Zoom handles low connectivity well, although sometimes it speeds voices up to catch up, but again, I don't mind and then I feel like at least I'm not missing what other folks are saying. Anyway, in general, the experience of Zoom for me has been better than anything other meeting software I've tried.

They mainly own a set of enterprise solutions. Salesforce is now a massive cloud ERP that has CRM, eCommerce and other modules - Heroku is actually pretty small within that universe.

It makes sense to me that they would want to own conversations in order to cross-sell and up-sell solutions in their portfolio, and also defend against Microsoft which has Teams.

Heroku has a good use case as being the quick default way to deploy Salesforce platform applications, so there’s definitely some synergy there, but the Heroku for everybody else is languishing a bit.

Slack, don’t know, maybe it’s going to be the default communications platforms for Salesforce products and integrations.

That's what I see it as - Salesforce defending their core product against encroachment by the Office 365 suite - if your company is already on that and Microsoft begins offering Salesforce-like products, selling Salesforce itself becomes a harder prospect.

Probably similar to how organizations go through the approval process for Google, Amazon or Microsoft. Once the company is approved, any of their services are green lit for use at the company.

I could see Salesforce approaching it from that direction. Good investment that gets them in the door of more companies.

I think there's some synergy in reducing management structure to save costs on Heroku and use it as a revenue stream. Also, salesforce has a large enterprise sales force, so this is another product that can be sold by the same team.

I didn't realize people were still using Heroku. Aren't there at least 3-4 cheaper and better alternatives?

Like what? Nothing I’ve seen comes close to the ease of use and developer experience. My only gripe is that they’re US and EU only, would like an APAC region.

Fly.io is a leap ahead, probably move there next. But what’s a better Heroku than Heroku?

Heroku is perfectly fine, and it's also squarely targeted at the small end of deployment. Why fret about $20/month vs $30/month when you have bigger issues to worry about?

Also, to their credit, they have kept the free tier still going, more or less. I'd have expected Salesforce to have killed that.

If you look out from Salesforce Tower, right across Salesforce Park you see the colorful logo of Slack HQ.

People don't think brand advertising produces sales, and it's impossible to prove for each individual transaction, but I'm sure it does work!

Neutralizing MS teams is probably what they ultimately want.

Great! I can’t wait for Slack to perish.

Wonder if Atlassian still thinks it was a good idea to retire Hipchat and take 10% of Slack.

HipChat was an unmitigated dumpster fire. The backend literally couldn't scale for many reasons, and it was a rats nest of different databases and random libraries. For example, each connection required a discrete process for managing the BOSH session (as in, one process had to be dedicated for the entire time someone was connected to HipChat)

Stride wasn't really any better, their whole strategy was to outsource the backend to PubNub

Stride had some really nice features though, like highlighting the final decision coming out of a discussion thread, and rolling those up into daily highlights. No one else seems to have carried that on.

Wouldn't they have been paid for their 10% and made a profit?

Probably, but going forward they no longer have a chat app and more or less either have to revive HipChat or refer people to a competitor.

They had already announced the retirement of Hipchat long before they made their deal with Slack. They agreed to stop development of their Slack competitor named Stride. IMO Stride had a lot of potential.

Stride wasn't really going well. There were some obvious, serious issues with technical and product management, for example the insistence on using Jira's javascript-based textbox rewrite ("Fabric") as the GUI element for composing messages, under the spiel of 'unification'.

As "Fabric" is a web component, this meant that mobile apps for Stride essentially had webviews for their input box, introducing additional latency (critical for typing), bugs, inconsistent editing behavior to native iOS/Android UIs, and performance issues especially across lower-spec android devices (it's just a textbox FFS!).

Plus, engineers were wasting time figuring out how to sort browser and webview compatibility issues, instead of, you know, implementing a textbox using native technologies which isn't rocket science. To make matters worse, the team working on Fabric was juggling between fixing INPUT BOX bugs on Jira, on Confluence, and on Stride, making it a gigantic mess that kept multiple product managers distracted for the wrong reasons.

WYSIWYG composers are hard to do well, though. They're certainly not trivial.

Is the input box technology choice really that insurmountable a problem to fix in the future?

30 billion dollars is so unbelievably high for such a basic thing, that it makes me think some kind of money laundering is going on.

Meanwhile, the most advanced robotics company on earth got sold for less than 1 billion.

My mind boggles.

It's almost all economies of scale and "rich get richer" type effects, much like the big social networks. You make something that catches on (in Slack's case it really did have an edge on the existing stuff) and from then on you've got your loyal user base for whom it would be too much of a project to move to another thing.

Slack is a great product, but at the end of the day it's a mildly more convenient way of doing stuff that you could do in 2002 with IRC and email. And Mattermost is a pretty good FOSS substitute.

(This isn't counting audio and video calls, but those have been pretty good since around the time of Google Hangouts, long before Slack had audio/video.)

It's really that the number of customers of these types of things is astronomical. Basically any business in the world might use Slack. And many, many do, especially high-value Western businesses.

Boston Dynamics is great but who is buying robots?

People spend more money on their electric bills than on iPhones.

Most of Boston Robotics' products are at least a decade away from being cheaper than humans for anything but the most trivial of tasks.

BR requires a lot more investment before they can become a worthwhile purchase.

It's a basic thing with getting on for $1bn in ARR. It's also a platform for hundreds of apps and integrations.

Hype-based valuation?

$27.7 billion. Seems quite high given Discord’s momentum. Haven’t really been spending much time on Slack for a couple years and most new companies/projects seems to be selecting Discord. I suppose Salesforce has the money, though. I wonder if they are going to try to reposition it.

Discord seems like a good choice for communities, but I've never seen a company use Discord for internal company chat, whereas almost everyone seems to use Slack or Teams.

Anecdotally, I see Slack as something I use for professional purposes, and Discord as something I chat with my friends on. I have Slack on my work Mac, and Discord on my personal Mac. I see Slack as an extension of Skype for Business/Lync/other business tools, and I see Discord as a better Mumble/MSN Messenger.

I think a good third of the engineering teams at my company tried out Discord at the start of stay-at-home because of the way it integrates voice chat right next to the text channels. It was probably the most similar replacement to an open-office floor plan we could find (very low friction to start conversations, and anyone watching can choose to hop in if they want).

We quit that after screensharing was super low quality compared to Zoom — apparently (even paid for a Discord “server boost”, but no fix. I think it was an issue with the Mac client or something). I think one or two teams still use it, but for the most part everyone’s back to slack + Zoom now.

> We quit that after screensharing was super low quality compared to Zoom

Zoom's screen sharing is really far and above all others. The quality is razor sharp (framerate suffers but who cares about that when sharing a terminal or document), the collaboration features are amazing (scribble on the content), it has so many useful niche features (draw on your ipad/iphone).

To add to anecdotes here, I've consulted in two companies that started using Discord this year.

They replaced Teams+Slack with Discord.

Discord could easily fix that with a more professional offering (perhaps under a sub-brand with slightly tweaked designs, but general UI familiarity).

Is Discord used in the enterprise? I've only used it for a gaming community a long time ago.

I'm an academic. Since the pandemic began I've used Discord on multiple occasions for work -- for example, if someone runs an online conference it's common to create a Discord and encourage chat among the conference participants.

But these are all fairly informal use cases, initiated by individual academics and not by "the university".

If you ask university IT about Discord, they'll probably tell you emailing .docx files back and forth is just as good.

My university's IT staff is surprisingly good. But they seem to be hamstrung by questionable decisions being made over their head.

To be honest, I’m not that in touch with enterprise. Despite Discord’s appearance as a platform for gamers it has pretty much dominated slack for a non-self hosted solution for the areas I’m familiar with. Small teams, OSS, cryptocurrency, strongly distributed WFH type startups, conferences, etc. Private channels are role based so the general public can integrate communication tightly with the main team while they work behind the scenes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Discord launches a professional de-gamer-branded version soon. Target markets aside you simply get more from Discord for most general use cases and it feels like Slack is playing catch up rather than leading (like they used to) on some popular features.

Also, Discord has capable APIs and a fairly open developer program. You can make some really amazing and useful bots.

I'd use discord over slack if they had account switching, but there's no way I'm going to cross pollinate my leisure communications platform with work.

I'm not even thrilled about integrating all of my leisure time stuff under one identity (you can have a different nickname per-server, but the underlying account name is still quite visible).

I posted a comment here about why this is a problem: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24832204

On the topic of Discord for professional use, does anyone know if it’s possible to have different display accounts for the same login? I’m in a few different Discord groups for real-life friends, an online-only game, and one for FOSS development. I’d like to have different display names and profile pictures for each one, but so far all I’ve found is having to maintain 3 email login accounts and log out and back in when I want to switch communities. Is this really the intended way to do this?

You can change your display name on a per channel basis after you join. They can still see your account tag if they click on your account, so there’s no way to disassociate accounts with a single login. There’s also no way to change avatars per channel, AFAIK.

Per-server* and only if that server has it turned on. Servers can disable the ability for users to change their name

Yes, per server, thanks for the correction. I believe it’s on by default, I’ve rarely seen it turned off.

When I freelance, I bounce around a lot of different Slacks. I've yet to see a company use Discord.

I don't think enterprises are using Discord. It's a gamer thing really isn't it? It doesn't have a very grown-up image.

Discord is used heavily by OSS communities and other such projects; but I've yet to see it used by companies.

It really doesn't target the enterprise customer, or even SMEs

Also Gitter?

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