No, It has nothing to do with Slack being the fastest growing startup. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that Slack went from product launch to IPO in just five years.
As a product CEO, I have nothing but good things to say about Slack. Where do I start? Let's begin with its business model.
Zero Regulatory Risk
Slack has zero regulatory risks.
How many "disruptive" startups can you say have zero regulatory risk?
Airbnb has plenty of lawsuits and regulatory takedowns around the world as they challenge the concept of home and short-term leasing.
Or Uber, with their belief that any cars can be a taxi; challenging age-old regulations on taxis.
Or Bird, littering the streets with broken electric scooters.
Or Cryptocurrency startups challenging incumbent financial and securities regulations.
More often or not, if you are disruptive, you are disrupting a regulation. And Slack has no regulatory risk against it. Think of the amount of time and resources they have freed up not worrying about this.
A dumb product with the stickiest mechanics
Anyone can build a chat app. There are so many Slack clones. Internally, we have talked about moving out of Slack for the longest time, and yet today, I commissioned a task for my intern to build a Slackbot. Slack is super sticky.
Because Slack understood chat is a commodity, but the application ecosystem is not. So it has invested a ton of resources into encouraging extensive integrations with Slack.
And once you have enough integrations, moving out is too large a chore.
Sell sell sell! Raise money, do more ads, and sell some more!
Slack has its business development nailed. Have you seen their revenue growth?
"Our revenue was 105.2 million, 220.5 million, and $400.6 million in fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively, representing annual growth of 110% and 82%, respectively."
Our growth is global with international revenue representing 34%, 34%, and 36% of total revenue in fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.
This is how you build a company. I have to learn from Slack. A global product focused on sales and expansive growth.
What programmers do not get
As a programmer myself, reading the Hacker News commentary on Slack is a little disappointing. Because their gripes and complaints about Slack has nothing to do with Slack as a business.
One individual brought up the fact that Slack has an internal problem with technical debt. As a CEO and a Slack user, I say who cares? Because
- I have never felt that Slack was buggy
- Slack prioritized growth and nailed it without impacting user experience
Another individual quoted that Microsoft Team has a chat feature. So did Atlassian with Hipchat. Anyone can build a chat app. But there are no chat apps with deep enough cultural penetration that Slack has or the massive lead in integrations that Slack enjoys.
Slack is not a chat app
Slack is a marketing phenomenon, like Crossfit. And say what you want about CrossFit, CrossFit is disgustingly successful.