The messaging war has hit meltdown temperatures. HipChat may have been first to this quirky new paradigm of internal messaging, but the product kinda…stunk. The UI was awful, and it just “felt” terrible. It wasn’t warm and welcoming. Slack is winning because they redefined the experience (if not the tool) and quickly claimed a roaring lead over their competition.
But no great product goes un-copied. Google responded boldly, adding yet another messaging tool to their periodic table of too many tools, and did so by chopping Hangouts in half! They created Hangouts Chat (their Slack killer) and Google Talk (phone/vid conferencing). Then there’s “Me Too Microsoft”, and now they’re in the game with Teams (their Slack killer) and Skype for Business (also chat, but not very slack-ish, and vid conferencing). This isn’t to mention the other players in the space, like Rocket Chat, Discord and others.
Valiant was an early Slack adopter, and we’ve loved how smooth, easy and extensible it is. We admired how easy Slack was to use and to learn. Most of all we loved how Slack got us ALL out of our inbox and got us back to work. No more Reply All, CC, BCC. No more read, unread. No more filing mail, emptying trashcans, dealing with vendor spam in the middle of dealing with work. Slack was our private paradise. The place that clients couldn’t hear us, that vendors couldn’t find us. Slack, in brief, was our safe space.
But as much as we love Slack (we really do), we must NOT be blindly loyal to any product. We believe deep down that all of the tech stuff we use day to day are simply TOOLS. We couldn’t be pro-screwdriver any more than we could be anti-hammer. Different tool, different job, right? To continue the analogy, we aren’t pro-Apple, or anti-Windows, or pro-Linux or anti-Google.
If we recognize that these software packages are just tools, then we have to put them to the test. There are sub-categories within each tool. Ball peen hammer, framing hammer. And then there are different levels of quality available with tools. Snap-On versus Harbor Frieght.
So, its time to learn how to use a new tool, and see what level of quality the experience will be. As long time Office 365 users, it’s time to put Microsoft Teams to work for the tribe here at Valiant. We are going to publish weekly digest “experience updates” on our time in Teams, comparing and contrasting how Teams measures up. What we love, what we hate, what we miss about Slack.
And we’re not just running a parallel passive minimal test. No ma’am. We’re jumping in with both feet! Teams is live, and we’ve deleted our Slack team, like a Viking burning his ships on the shore of an invaded land. We’re saying it loud and clear: WE ARE HERE FOR KEEPS.
Stay tuned for our Friday #teamsvsslack reports. We’re gonna have fun with this.