Is ‘Slack’ing The Newest Trend? The Growth Story
Is ‘Slack’ing The Newest Trend? The Growth Story
What do you make of a product that has over 500,000+ daily users and was able to achieve this feat after a year of their product launch? Tremendous right? In a time when startup ideas are sprouting each day, it’s hard to miss the ones that have shaped well and are disrupting growth, in their own unique manner. Slack is one such product story that needs no introduction, which is evident in the manner in which small and big teams are picking it as their favorite amongst the ‘team collaboration’ tool category.
Slack’s growth is not another run of the mill story, in fact, their growth encompasses various finer elements such as exceptional product strategy, understanding customer feedback and of course growth hacking that has made it worth a second glance!
Product Strategy- A Potent Mix Of Features And Experience
As users, we are insatiable and demand quite a bit from each product offering that hits the market. Smart product developers understand that an excellent product strategy today has to be a potent mix of features and experience to be able to “trap” users. Slack has been able to justify itself on both these counts.
•The Friendly Features
What “extra” can Slack offer us? This is a pertinent question in the minds of most users today. Moving from the comfort of one product to another isn’t simple, but being a part of three Slack teams, I can say with authority that it does offer features that may not be explored by others. For example, Slack pop-ups the links that are shared which includes title and images (if any) making it hard to miss them during lengthy team conversations. The chat rooms can be easily bifurcated and can help team-mates to raise a topic in the desired channels, without disrupting the normal flow of conversation.
Grabbing attention of each teammate may not be easy within larger teams. A simple@everyone followed by a message is what it takes to do it swiftly! The best part of Slack is its ability to integrate with major services of your choice including Dropbox, Asana and many more.
Another interesting feature that Slack offers are the Slackbots, which are “built in robots” that can be used to create notepad and file repository, share automatic responses and provide a convenient product walk through.
The USP Of Slack- Experience
One of the obvious reasons that have led to the growth of Slack is the fact that these folks haven’t lost or compromised on the human touch in their journey towards growth. It still feels that this company truly believes in ‘for the people and by the people’ motto. This aspect is quite evident in their design interface and the user on boarding process, which is both electric and playful.
Andrew Wilkinson, the force behind the design of Slack, says in his (famous) post that
“I felt the problem had already been solved. It was a crowded market and knew it would be difficult to make his product stand out from the crowd”.
However in this post he goes on to explain the three essential elements behind Slack’s massive popularity. According to him these are- the way it sounds, the way it looks and the way it feels different from its competitors. All of this is focused towards creating an experience for the users. Unlike other communications product that we have used in recent times (HipChat etc.) Slack provides a platform that resembles “a teammate” with an awesome sense of humor!
I agree with Andrew here, when he says that-
“ With Slack, a bubbly, bright UI, delightful interactions, and hilarious copy-writing come together to create a personality. A personality which has triggered something powerful in its users: they care about it. They want to share it with others”.
Takeaway: While Slack has set a benchmark of sorts, the key takeaway here for others is to focus on creating a personality for their product. Slack may not provide any additional features to its users (in comparison to its competitors) but it undoubtedly provides an experience that lingers with each login, thereby ensuring faster growth.
Investing In Understanding Customer Feedback
The early users of Slack were limited, and the feedback came entirely from friends (with teams) according to its founder Stewart Butterfield. In an exclusive interview shared on Firstound, Butterfield states that they got valuable feedback after running Slack with small groups and realized that they had a long way ahead and had to invest more time in making the product better. Adding the description field was one such change.
This strategy has not only enriched user experience but has also propelled Slack’s growth many-fold. A lot of people may debate that Slack was ‘at the right place at the right time’ and that’s the reason behind its monumental growth. But the truth is that the same platform was available to its competitors as well.
Takeaway: When it comes to growth, it is always prudent to validate the product with your customers first. Many tech-startups have failed solely, for this reason, which is ignoring the requirements and inputs of its users. Creating a product that lives up to the expectations of an end user will ensure that half the battle is already won.
The Final Thoughts
More and more start-ups are working towards striking the right chord with their users, and it is hard to miss Slack’s growth. While Slack’s approach is quite well composed, the takeaways as mentioned above can be incorporated into any start-up story. The idea will be successful only when these tips are used as an inspiration and not as a prescription. Coming to think of it, we don’t sight a Dropbox, Airbnb or Hotmail growth hack every day. Do we?
What do you think of Slack’s growth and which part of their growth story resonates the most with you? Do let us know in the comments below!