Categories: Life

Notes on “Transforming Team Communication” event from Slack

Taking place at restaurant in Toronto distillery district, cocktails and drinks, RSVP free event, first speaker is Slack VP of Eng, Michael Lopp. After that is showcase of Slack features, and then a customer panel. More networking afterwards.

Michael Lopp – Showing off Slack and how it’s managed day to day

Evolution of collaboration starting with email and it’s drawbacks. Slack in contrast has searchable history, “amazing from an onboarding perspective”. Moving on to intranets for documentation. Then evolving to wiki which allows people to update anything out of date. But the drawback is people leave, which means wiki pages don’t have champions for it. People were constantly maintaining and not realizing the value.

Social came along, micro transactions of thumbs up and thumbs down. In the business world we still are stuck on email.

Slack has learned from history of email, intranet, social. Slack gained broad product adoption from the builders (low level employees). Chart showing how slack adoption has completely outpaced competitors like hipchat, Yammer “most popular collaboration apps – messaging”, NPS.

Slacktualization: messaging is where it starts. The next inflection point is moving messaging into channels; giving context to the conversation. Record keeping and productivity is going on within the channel. The channel starts to organize all your people and projects. Integrations into slack to do quick approval of expenses. Then managing workflows within slack. At the top is “AI”.  All the conversations within slack have signals such as reactions and search. Using data to surface more value.

Measure engagement, not accounts. Stickiness, communication, workflow, power users.

Users recognize the benefits: 72% say slack reduced length of projects; 76% say slack is easier.

Adoption is amazing even during Christmas.

Slack described as operating system of business. You are able to use slack with as many existing systems as possible. They’re a platform company trying to be neutral even integrates with competitors.

Slide showing a lot of clients and brands using Slack.

Demo time / Slack Showcase

Slack is a set of communication primitives. Your configuration will be different, different users and companies will configure differently.

One workspace is easy then you later want to segment into others. Social channels, executive channels, project channels.

Starred messages are used as todos, starred channels are used for regular checks.

Easy to mark as read for everything, changing focus instead of worrying about information, you can use search instead.

2 weeks after he got to Slack, he emailed Stewart Butterfield CEO of Slack. Stepping back from learned behaviours with email, so many different ways to use slack.

Quick switcher feature is one of the coolest: command K, searches through contacts and channels.

Emojis are also a cool future, the sentiment analysis from the reactions, alternative to asking each person of the team what they think. Emoji for eyes used as reaction for unread messages to say “I’m looking at it”.

Slash command helpdesk opens a dialog for creating an IT ticket.

Go into the channel details, Slack has started to show highlights of the channel based on emoji reactions and other signals.

Customer Panel


Communication density, email would not be effective. The alternative chat app was not effective. New employees and emails used to email realize how important slack is.

What drives adoption vs organic usage. Smaller company led to quick change. Larger company has to look at trajectory of the tool, how does it look at scale, chart out how the tool will grow with us.

Explored data decoding to figure out which integrations are useful what questions are being asked.

We could not have done the automation of information without Slack. Having information delivered to us rather than opening multiple tabs.


How are people adapting to Slack? Traditionalists have to be moved over to new concepts. Forward thinking people like new application development are using Slack. Predominantly IT departments using Slack.

How have you seen people react to open transparent communication? The tool markets itself, training is built into the tool, great for adoption.

How do you think about machine learning as a component of Slack? Starting with search and highlights and the usability is much better.


Any team can be spread across many different sites and offices. Using Slack to make up for lacking face to face communication. Slack wasn’t a mandate, it was a movement. The workers at Bell asked some startups what they’re using and wanted to try it out. 16 month trial period to try Slack. Organic adoption within the company. Lots of workflows depend on slack.

Examples of integrations: Built up a lookup bot to look up corporate directory for phone numbers. Tracking status with bots for JIRA. Single point to interact with multiple systems.

Weather information affects wireless systems.

We could not have done true community building across multiple site. If you search the word community, you will see many channels come up.


Good event to learn more about Slack and their plans for the future and mainly to see the advice that Michael Lopp / Rands In Repose gave on how he uses Slack, and to see how a good networking and promotional event is run.