The world stopped Friday when Amazon announced plans to acquire Whole Foods. So you could be forgiven if you missed Slack’s announcement that it was raising $500 million for a $5 billion valuation. Impressive for a company that didn’t exist four years ago.
Slack has gone unnoticed for the internal communications revolution that it is. It reduces email volume and improves productivity. But it also changes the decades old practice of internal communications. There are thousands of people dedicated to developing and communicating messages to their companies’ employees. Things like company strategies and initiatives. For example, Nike may tell its employees that the company is going after the lacrosse market.
Until now internal comms technologies were very Web 1.0: Email, electronic newsletters, YouTube videos, podcasts and similar outreach. Email, in particular, has become egregious for internal comms, with some organizations sending more than 300 internal messages per week. Not effective.
Slack gives IC teams access and transparency to everyone in the company. The message is shared openly across groups. There’s open feedback. Slack puts the onus on IC people to communicate and engage in a compelling way. The peanut gallery is watching and may react viciously. Much better than the opaque and one way communication of email.
The creative opportunities are what make this so interesting. GIF, JPG and WAV files are far better than 300 word emails. And the quality and sophistication of the message goes up. IC teams will be judged the the quality of their content and the response will be immediate.
The response to Slack’s funding request may be just as swift. If it doesn’t get funded it may get acquired. Amazon is the most recent rumored suitor. Just as soon as it digests Whole Foods.