Slack’s eroded value proposition

Over the weekend, I read We Don’t Sell Saddles Here where Stewart Butterfield outlines how Slack plans to take over the world. It’s a great piece and worth reading if you’re planning on launching a new product. It really captures the dynamism that Slack had in the early days.

This part in particular stood out to me though:

The best way to imagine the reward is thinking about who we want our customers to become:

* We want them to become relaxed, productive workers who have the confidence that comes from knowing that any bit of information which might be valuable to them is only a search away.

* We want them to become masters of their own information and not slaves, overwhelmed by the neverending flow.

* We want them to feel less frustrated by a lack of visibility into what is going on with their team.

* We want them to become people who communicate purposively, knowing that each question they ask is actually building value for the whole team.

As someone who uses Slack every day, I had a visceral reaction to each of these propositions. I never feel relaxed when using the app and I almost always feel overwhelmed by the flow of information.

The app became what it set out to fix — in many ways, the reduction in friction, which made it so addictive, made many of the problems it set out to solve worse.