Be a Slacker

By: Joe Ferrill, Product Director, Valassis Data and Analytics
Published Tuesday, Jan 3, 2017

Be a Slacker

I love Slack. If you’re not familiar with Slack, think texting meets Facebook, meets Pinterest. It’s a great way for distributed teams to communicate -- plus, it’s fun.

My friend Marti introduced me to Slack. She works at a software company with colleagues throughout the United States and Europe. She told me Slack changed how they worked together as a team, and how they almost never use email now. Marti’s enthusiasm hooked me, and I started Slacking later that day. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to have less email?

To be fair, I’m a pretty easy mark when it comes to new technology. I’ve been an early adopter of several communication and social apps: email, texting, FaceTime, Twitter, Facebook, Lync, Skype, Instagram, Yammer, Jabber, HipChat, Google Hangouts, LinkedIn, Nextdoor and AIM, to name a few. They all felt new and exciting at first, but my infatuation quickly faded. With Slack, I feel like someone finally got it right. It’s that feeling you get when something just works. I’ve found a handful of other apps like MobileDay, Concur, Uber, Venmo, 1Password and Dropbox that evoke the same feeling. The first time I used them, they allowed me to do something easily that was once cumbersome.

I started using Slack a little over a year ago at work. Slack is a great business app because I can communicate quickly and easily with other people to get things done. With Slack I use email less. Way less.

But my favorite thing about Slack is not in the product description. I’ve observed that it helps build and define team culture in a geographically distributed workforce. Communicating effectively with remote team members can be tough. We have teams in New York City, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle that collaborate daily. Some people work in offices, while others work from home. Slack has a democratizing effect that allows everyone to belong and participate, no matter where you are. You get an instant sense of your colleagues by interacting with them on Slack. Exchanges tend to be more concise, funny and interactive than you experience in email or conference calls. Further, the culture of the team is shaped and reflected in the conversations. People you may see once a year at an offsite suddenly seem like they’re sitting next to you every day.

In the end, the reason I love Slack isn’t because all the cool kids are doing it or because it’s an effective business communication tool. The reason I love Slack is because it helps people to connect, encourage one another, and get things done.

Be a Slacker -- you’ll see what I mean.