Few software products have ascended to the ranks of the billion dollar valuation club (or “Club Unicorn”) faster than Slack. The enterprise collaboration platform has found rabid fans in companies as diverse as WalMart, Adobe, and — ahem — Pando, thanks to its ease-of-use, wide range of functionality, and whimsical interface.
And yet throughout Stewart Butterfield’s chat with Sarah Lacy on the PandoMonthly stage in San Francisco, he repeatedly downplayed these very narratives, calling his billion dollar status “arbitrary as fuck” and emphasizing his disdain for the word “collaboration” — the word has been used in too many broken promises, he says, to dwell on it.
This is just a sampling of what he discussed in an epic but wildly entertaining and enlightening two-hour chat. In fact, considering he “made it” in the early days of the web, almost lost everything, and then rebounded to build what could become one of the biggest hits in the modern era of venture-backed companies, there’s little that Butterfield’s story can’t teach you about startup life and loss.
[photo by Geoffrey Ellis]