According to recent reports Slack is raising another funding round that would value the company at $4bn.
By any standards Slack's growth has been phenomenal. In little more than two years since its launch the company has grown it's daily active user base to 2.3m. Even more impressively is that more than 20% of the user base subscribe to the premium service that you have to pay for - their current annualized revenue stands at $64m.
And users love Slack. It has this kind of power and hold over its users. The service usually bubbles up at a grass roots level and can rapidly take over how an organization communicates. The company's Twitter feed is called their 'Wall of Love.'
I don't want to suggest that Slack is not a great product or is not universally loved by its users. It is.
My point is more to question this idea that we have finally found the savior of communications and that bright and shiny Slack will replace old and boring email.
We are all frustrated with email. It it not live. It's not good for collaboration. You can never find anything etc. etc. But by far the biggest source of frustration is that email just takes over too much of our day, too much of our lives. We just get too many emails and there is this pressure to respond within a certain timeframe. It's overwhelming.
Email is by far the most widely used channel for digital communications. It's a victim of its own success. I would argue it's principally a volume problem not a channel problem.
Email is by no means perfect. But put this kind of volume on any channel and it will lead to a very similar set of problems.
Slack is great for team communications. it is live. It is searchable. It is really intuitive and nice to use. But will it do a better job at handling the kind of load that email carries? I doubt it.
The problem is the volume not the channel. We all have mobile devices in our pocket and our volume of communications just goes up and up using an ever-increasing range of tools. It often makes us more distracted, more dependent, more obliged to respond and be 'always on.'
Good communications is central to any organization. Indeed it is central to any healthy relationship. It is the glue that binds us together. But It is not the substance. It is not the real work.
I would argue that a far bigger challenge that fixing or replacing email it to reduce our dependency on digital communications of any kind and make sure we give ourselves the time and space to think, to talk, to create. To do the real work.
Slack Technologies Inc., which runs a messaging service for businesses, is seeking an investment that would value the company at $3.5 billion to $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Slack is looking to raise $150 million to $300 million as part of the round, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the terms aren't finalized. The talks are ongoing, and a lead investor has not been selected, the people said.