It is one of the stereotypes of modern startups – no matter what technologies they use, or what domain they’re in, they all seem to run on Slack. An overwhelming number of startups have switched to Slack for their internal communications, and the company has flourished. Thanks to its easy interface and a host of features, Slack today is worth $3.8 billion, just three years after it was founded.
So when software giant Microsoft launched Microsoft Teams, product that competes directly with the chat company, Slack chimed in with some friendly advice in the form of an open letter. And the published it on the front page of the New York Times, no less.
That feeling when you think "we should buy a full page in the Times and publish an open letter," and then you do. ? pic.twitter.com/BQiEawRA6d
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) November 2, 2016
“Dear Microsoft,” the letter begins. “Wow. Big news! Congratulations on today’s announcements. We’re genuinely excited to have some competition.”
It then goes on to say that even though Microsoft tries was trying to build something “just like it”, it had some advice. Slack says that features don’t matter, but thoughtfulness and craftsmanship. “You’re not going to create something people really love by making a big list of Slack’s features and simply checking those boxes,” it warns.
Slack also plays up its integration with other software, something Microsoft has traditionally not been known for. “We know that playing nice with others isn’t exactly your MO,” it taunts the software giant. “If you can’t offer people an open platform that brings everything together into one place and makes their lives dramatically simpler, it’s just not going to work.”
Slack brings up the thoughtfulness it brings into its customer service and concludes with a suitable mic-drop: “One final point: Slack is here to stay.“
Now that’s a welcome that Microsoft couldn’t have anticipated. With Slack’s loyal user-base on one side, and Microsoft’s engineering and financial resources on the other, this promises to be a engrossing battle. And if these companies could play it out on the blogosphere just like Slack’s opening salvo, we could be in for some entertainment.