Being an agency.
Slack wasn’t our first love when it appeared back in 2013, but we’ve grown to love her. Deeply.
Ever since we banned internal email in 2005, we’ve used pretty much every communications tool in the box. Despite this, we’re not fickle or faddish, in fact, all new products go through an intensive evaluation phase.
We’re often an early adopter, and that frequently means we have to plough our own furrow – finding new and useful services and creating real-world applications for them. We did the same with Slack, we joined the very early US-beta and we were one of the first group of UK companies on-boarding Slack in Autumn 2013.
Looking back, our drive to improving internal communications (aka rid our company of internal email) has been long, bitter and sometimes political! In reverse order, we’ve used Slack (2013-date), Podio (2012-2014), Trello (2012), Yammer (2012), Basecamp (2007-date), Skype Chat (2008-2014), XMBForum (2001-2012) and Email (1996-2005).
All served a purpose, and most were useful and valuable. However good the evaluation period is, you don’t really get to see how good applications are until you’re elbow-deep in them day-to-day. In our experience, Yammer, Trello and Skype stand out as applications that promised so much and then fell short, whilst Slack, Podio and Basecamp went on to greatness and felt the full force of our love.
However, most universally agree that email is the most hateful, complex and time-sucking application ever used – We’re still amazed at the number of companies, clients and suppliers who still rely so heavily on a technology invented in the 1980s.
It really is more than a decade since we banned internal email. And we’re so much better for it.
We’ve been using Slack for 3 years, but it’s role at the centre of our communication world really only started to happen when we began adding external communication feeds to the service in the summer of 2014. We now support everything from WordPress support tickets (Zendesk), weather, tube news, HR, expenses, RSS, company announcements, website updates, server monitoring, cloud drives, event management and “bantz” (aka: our uniquely British blend of insulting whilst applauding in a light-hearted, witty manner).
Notable by its absence from Slack-integration is Basecamp, our key project management tool of choice for nearly a decade. But, interestingly, the whole area of project management is under review at the moment and that’s largely due to a lack of integration!
It’s notable that in the last 3 years, Slack has gone from being “a shiny new toy” to being the primary player on the block, especially in the marketing agency world. Slack has had a meteoric rise over the last year to eighteen months and caught the eye of the big boys. Most recently, Microsoft are launching Microsoft Teams with the promise of a more corporate, better integrated, less maverick version of Slack. Where this leaves their $1.2bn acquisition of Yammer is anyone’s guess.
It doesn’t stop here
Something better, more flexible, more usable and sexier will come along – that is inevitable. And we’ll be here to try it out. So far, 8 years is our record for using a single application, Basecamp (v1). But as we moved onto Basecamp 3 just a year ago, most of our current crop of applications are actually less than 3 years old and that’s useful as it avoids (for the moment) legacy issues that always occur when you continually use the same application platform decade after decade.
So, we’re always looking for the next thing and, no doubt, we’ll be first on the new bus when it comes around. Read more about the technology we use to glue our company together.