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From Rags to Riches: How Slack, the Start-Up Became a Silicon Valley Hit

Back then, it was called the ‘Tiny Speck’, which had once failed miserably with an interactive game – Glitch. There was a period of unfortunate employee sacking after that and Tiny Speck had become even more tinier, shrinking more into only a group of handful of workers.

So, what really was this start-up doing all this while?

It was, well, silently developing something which had actually been kept aside for its own use – the internal chat system, that later went on to become the SLACK. And now, we know, how damn famous it is, having joined the billion dollar start-up club already, within just a short span of time since its launch in August, 2013. Today, Glitch is just a fading memory, but Slack is making golden history.

The app was made public in February, 2014 and had, monumentally, managed to collect more than 10,000 users each day with more than two million messages hovering over the platform per week. The numbers are growing even more huge and so is Slack’s fan-base. August, this year, the company had a massive 128,000 active users and a while back, went on to grab a huge $120 million from its investors. Slack is now valued at $1.12 billion – the highest for a start-up so far. The big-shots, too are joining in. AOL, PayPal, Adobe, Quora, Dropbox, the list is huge.

And surprising enough, there wasn’t any marketing strategy behind the immense hype. It was simply word of mouth, which, Butterfield calls ‘viral socializing’ and which, we know, had taken the entire Silicon Valley by storm.

How does Slack work?

Founded by the Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Flickr, Slack is a chat-room-like tool targeted at easing business communications. It was made public only nine months ago in February, 2014 and had caught the attention of everyone almost immediately.

The idea, no doubt, had sprout out from earlier technologies like the Internet Relay Chat or simply the chat rooms we used to have years ago. But, Slack has walked a mile ahead to improvise the old concept in bringing in facilities like automated messages from other services, including bug reports, tweets or even server updates. And the cherry on the cake is that all the conversations done over Slack are searchable through a SaaS-based multi-tasking platform.

And it’s killing e-mails already!

What’s Slack doing now?

Well, Butterfield just shifted the Slack office to Folsom Street in San Francisco. The office, per reports, is yet to be furnished, like the other office in Vancouver, Canada, which still adorns rented furniture. As for memories, there still is the large Glitch glow-sign hanging from a wall and also Ali Rayl, one of those few people who had hold on to Tiny Speck even when the ship was sinking.

Over there, it simply is all about some serious, quiet work. With, yes, a lot of coffee sipping too. Congratulations to the entire team.


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