Just as much as our job is to build something genuinely useful,
something which really does make people’s working lives simpler, more
pleasant and more productive, our job is also to understand what
people think they want and then translate the value of Slack into
In order to reach product market fit we should work both on the
product end and on the market end:
- Doing a better and better job of providing what people want
(whether they know it or not)
- Communicating the above more and more effectively (so that they
know they want it)
We are setting out to define a new market. And that means we can’t
limit ourselves to tweaking the product; we need to tweak the market
What we are selling is not the software product — the set of all the
features, in their specific implementation . We are selling the
valuable result of adopting Slack. That’s why what we’re selling is
organizational transformation. The software just happens to be the
part we’re able to build & ship (and the means for us to get our cut).
Think about an hypothetical Acme Saddle Company that could just sell
saddles. Or, they could sell horseback riding. Being successful at
selling horseback riding means they grow the market for their product
while giving the perfect context for talking about their saddles. It
lets them position themselves as the leader and affords them different
kinds of marketing and promotion opportunities. It lets them think big
and potentially be big.
all products are asking things of their customers: to do things in a
certain way, to think of themselves in a certain way — and usually
that means changing what one does or how one does it; it often means
changing how one thinks of oneself. To get people to say yes to a
request this large, we need to
- offer them a reward big enough to justify their effort and
- do an exceptional, near-perfect job of execution. We need to make
them understand what’s at the end of the rainbow if they go with
Slack, and then we have to work our asses off in order to ensure
they get there.
There’s no point doing this to be small. We should go big, if only
because there are a lot of people in the world who deserve Slack.
Going big also means that it will have to be really, really good. But
that’s convenient, since there’s also no point doing it if it is not
really, really good. Life is too short to do mediocre work and it is
definitely too short to build shitty things.