Is Slack revolutionary?

No, says Betteridge’s Law. But there are some who will argue it is. For example, Ben Thompson recently wrote “Zoom is in some respects a more impressive business, but its use-case was a pre-existing one. Slack, on the other hand, introduced an entirely new way to work”.

I don’t see that Slack introduced an entirely new way to work. What it did was take existing ways to work and make them suck less. When I joined a former employer, they were using consumer Skype for instant messaging and calls. It worked fairly well from the telephony side, but as a team IM client it was…bad. Channels weren’t discoverable, there were no integrations, and search (if it even existed, I don’t remember now) was useless.

When we switched to Slack, it was so much better than the way we had been working. But none of the concepts were new, they were just better executed. Many tools have attempted to address the use cases that Slack handles well. They just didn’t succeed in the same way. Does that make Slack revolutionary? Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but I could see an argument that Slack had a revolutionary impact without being revolutionary itself.

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