Question

Has anyone switched off of Slack?

Saw the below tweet. We're not experiencing those issues specifically, but after many years of defaulting to Slack I'm super curious if there's any other product that folks are starting to use instead.

Mentioned
#Slack #Discord #Basecamp #Twist
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AndyDentPerth's avatar

I have been looking at Twist from the company behind the popular ToDoist app.

Their blog post talks about the typical Slack problems and how they, as a remote company, wrestled with the real-time distraction.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AndyDentPerth )
14d

Twist is interesting as it's specifically designed to try to be a calmer Slack focused on purposeful discussions. Seems nice during a trial, but I haven't actually used it with a team so far.

1 point
sowenjub's avatar
16d

Yes.

We built an internal tool for our own communication and after talking with some of our customers, we decided to invite some of them in January.

On April 6, as an experiment, we decided to try and replace Slack with our tool entirely.
We haven't used Slack since; not once.

We're working on a new iteration of that tool. Our goal is to help people minimize interruptions while making sure nothing falls through the cracks.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @sowenjub )
16d

That's fascinating! What's the best feature your team has built into your internal chat tool, versus what Slack offered? And is this built on an existing chat service API, or fully custom?

1 point
sowenjub's avatar
@sowenjub (replying to @maguay )
14d

I should clarify that it's not a chat, it's closer to something like Basecamp.

I don't think there is a technical feature that is game-changing in itself. It's more akin to how many small habit changes will make you a completely different person.

Our communication is both calmer (less noisy) and more enjoyable.
We (re)learned to separate the important from the urgent; or " I want to talk about that now" vs. "this is the best time to talk about it for my coworker"; or "listen to this podcast: link" vs. "here are the highlights: (…) and the link"; or "I just had a new idea" vs. "I had this idea and after giving it some thoughts…".

I'll follow-up when I have more to show; no strings attached :)

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @sowenjub )
14d

Gottcha, makes sense!

On your point that it's not technical features that are the game changer, I think that's a common thing with productivity software in general (notes apps, to-do list tools, and chat). It's more that the design and way the features are thought out can make a product better for specific needs.

Did anything specifically help your team learn to separate important discussions vs urgent messages, or was it more of a mindset reset?

Are you planning on spinning this out as a new product? If so, would love to see it when you're ready!

1 point
sowenjub's avatar
@sowenjub (replying to @maguay )
14d

You are right about the features, and it's something I realized only recently. For a long time, I thought that you couldn't build something valuable that wasn't worthy of a patent.

Now to answer your question, the articulation of all those tiny opinionated features enabled our mindset to reset.

When it comes to separating important vs. urgent, one thing that helps is the weekly unroll: every Monday morning, we receive a long email with everything posted. You discover all at once (although you can decide to sneak peek before if you want).
This has three effects:
1/ we know that the things we share will be seen. It changed our communication mindset from "this is a piece of information I need to share" to "do I need to share this information right now, or can it wait?"
2/ we know things we post there are going to be consumed at a moment we have no control over. It makes us question whether we genuinely need to control that (it's urgent) or not (it's important).
3/ it also helps us filter non-important and non-urgent things out.
When we post something, we make sure it's not noise because we want that email to be meaty, not a mess of random thoughts.

I'm in the process of extracting it. I'll be happy to send you an invite!

2 points
sbickley's avatar
16d

Many companies are just defaulting to Teams because budgets are under pressure and Slack adds an incremental, premium cost where Teams is already paid for. #Slackiller #Slackquisition

2 points
unxrlm's avatar
16d

We are currently still on Slack. I see the competition for Slack going two possible ways:

1- Discord. Discord is very popular with gaming folks and younger techies. The UI is almost identical to slack and the feature set is very similar. Free Discord offers more features than free Slack IMO. Making it an interesting contender. One major difference, the credentials are yours and allow access to multiple "servers" instead of the Slack Workspaces with each their own authentication. This is good, for an environment where keeping things open and collaborating with partners and outside people is key. I could see Academia, Science Research, and startups pivoting away from Slack to Discord.

2 - MS Team. Other areas, where secrecy, security, encryption, and related features are central, will never go for Slack OR Discord. These players are likely on neither platform right now, relying on emails and other tools. I'm thinking of Pharma, large corps, and finance/banking here. I could see these people opting for MS Team which is trying to develop a feature set to match.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @unxrlm )
16d

Interesting note on Discord having individual accounts that work across multiple chat workspaces. That would especially be helpful with free chat workspaces in Slack, where instead you need to create a new account every time. Almost makes you think Discord could make a social media play from that base—while Slack is, perhaps, poised to make a intra-business communications play from their new shared channels.

On Microsoft Teams, one interesting development is how much Microsoft has customized Teams for specific vertices, especially Teams for Education and Teams for Healthcare. Those industry-specific versions may make Slack an even harder sell in those industries.

2 points
el_delongo's avatar
@el_delongo (replying to @unxrlm )
16d

I find that a lot of SaaS companies focused on collaboration and workflow are adding some form of messaging component to either their platform or as a separate offering, thinking Zoom, GoTo, WebEx to make their offering more attractive with a half-hearted "you can use us instead of Slack" proposition.

Even a company like Diligent Corp., which focuses on modern governance tools, has a messaging tool with a value prop of being the most secure for sensitive messaging versus the mass communication of Slack, Discord, or Teams.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @el_delongo )
16d

@el_delongo Interesting point on other products building chat into their offerings. Quite a few project management tools have at least some communication tools built-in, especially Basecamp with its Campfire team chat feature that used to be a fully separate product. That makes you wonder if team chat could turn into just another feature in larger software offerings.

1 point
alexjmedick's avatar

I've toyed around with this with not perfect solution. Not to be a massive Basecamp advocate, but for work, organization, and thread finding, this is perfect for what I do.

I only use Slack now for communities where I don't necessarily need to follow threads.

I tried Teams and Riot, but I just wasn't feeling Teams and no one else used Riot, so until there's more adoption, I didn't stick with it.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @alexjmedick )
15d

Does Basecamp Campfire now support threads—or did your team come up with some workaround for more detailed conversations (just using Basecamp’s forum-style discussions instead of chat perhaps)?

1 point
alexjmedick's avatar
@alexjmedick (replying to @maguay )
15d

I use Campfire more as a quick chat/casual updates back and forth per-project, then use the "Message Board" with custom message types as ways to make threads about particular topics regarding that specific project. It was just easier that way to track discussions and break things down.

Especially with Clients. It was easy to share a public link to remind them of topic-focused conversations and notes in case they "forgot" 😂

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @alexjmedick )
15d

Sounds like a great setup—and since the chat doesn’t have threads, you’re more or less forced into using the long term threads for more meaningful discussions.

Great point on clients. Can’t imagine a client (or a new team member, for that matter) trying to make sense of older chat threads.

2 points
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