April Underwood

Head of Platform at Slack

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 16, 2015


April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
Hello! I'm April Underwood, head of Platform at Slack. My passion for technology started at a young age when I realized I could catalog and sort my baseball cards in Microsoft Works. I love working with engineers and designers to build and launch great products that people want to use. Last night, we announced some exciting news at Slack - the launch of an $80M Developer Fund and the Slack App Directory. Ask me anything!
Nikolay Bezhko@nikolaybezhko · http://mcfly.aero
Hello April! Nice to e-meet you. We have a large (2.3k) Russian-speaking community of creatives (designers, developers, entrepreneurs etc) on Slack. We love it and we veeeeery need a paid account for free. Is it possible to get it? 🙏🙏🙏 Cheers, Nik http://creativerussia.co P.S. My previous comment was banned :(
Dhruv kumar@dhruvakumar · Founder,icliniq.com
Hi @aunder - Its nice to hear about The launch of an $80M developer fund. Can you tell more about the kind of apps you look to fund?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@dhruvakumar We're going to be looking at both apps that are designed to be “Slack-first”, and enterprise tools that are making Slack integration a core part of their offering. We will be supporting developers who want to join us in our our mission, which is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive. While our App Directory is a big step toward helping developers reach an audience of 2M daily active users and growing, the Slack Fund is yet another way we can help developers take the leap to tackle problems for teams at work.
Dhruv kumar@dhruvakumar · Founder,icliniq.com
@aunder @dhruvakumar Awesome. We have always embraced the "messaging app as a platform" approach. It is based on the premise that the top used app on a phone will always be a messaging app. :) In fact, we got banned for looking at whatsapp as a platform. But we got back on telegram and that was hunted here on PH by @erictwillis. Also let me spill the beans. We have made the first ever slackbot to get answers from real doctors. You will hear about it soon. :)
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@dhruvakumar can't wait to see more!
Dhruv kumar@dhruvakumar · Founder,icliniq.com
@aunder @dhruvakumar - Hahaha. https://www.icliniq.com/apps/slack or www.slackdoctor.com is the link. Kindly give your feedback if possible. I have read about your healthcare investments cue.me and hale.co. Your feedback will help us to do improvements before we launch it officially tomorrow. :)
Abhishek Chakraborty@coffeeandjunk · UX Designer
Hey April, can you describe your typical day in Slack office?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@coffeeandjunk it sounds cliché, but no two days are the same. I lead teams of product managers, business development, and developer relations, so I alternate between internal meetings to set our priorities and resolve decisions about product design and execution and external meetings with developers and strategic partners. I try to set aside a few hours per day in the office to be unscheduled, because we're growing fast here and I need time for the unexpected!
Jason Shah@jasonyogeshshah · CEO @ Do (Do.com)
Hi April! Extremely excited for the /launch! Clearly Slack is a unique platform, but how do you envision the Slack App Store evolving differently than other business platforms like Salesforce AppExchange, Google Apps Marketplace, (Microsoft) Office Store, and the App Store?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@jasonyogeshshah we're excited, too! One of the key differentiators I see for our platform is that we're focused on teams at work, and helping make people's working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. While that sounds pretty broad, it's actually quite focused in that we're focused on work use cases. Meanwhile, communication is such a foundational aspect of any person's work - who can get anything done without communicating with their team? If we can build a great communication layer for teams, then there are limitless work applications which can be built on top of Slack. One way I think of our goal is to reduce context switching between applications people use for work. So if you're in a design tool, you should get the benefit of being a Slack user by being able to share your designs into a Slack channel without having to copy+paste a URL and switch to Slack. Conversely, people should get the benefit of being Creative Cloud, or Lyft, or Github users while they're in Slack. If we can make the experience of using both Slack and other applications for work even just a little bit better, then I think we'll be helping users. So we view our relationship with developers in a very big-picture way focused on our core mission and I think that makes our approach unique.
@aunder Hi April, what's your design process like at slack?
Mike Melanin@mike_melanin · Co-founder @ Statsbot.co
Hi April! How many applies to Slack App Directory do you have in first day and how long will it take to review? Mike http://brobot.io
Kingsong Chen@kingsongchen · Dev
Hi April, what are some interesting things that helped Slack achieve such fast growth?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@kingsongchen Word of mouth has really been our strongest growth driver. Our users see less e-mail, fewer meetings and are more productive - which makes them happy and they tell their friends and colleagues. Our Wall of Love on Twitter (http://twitter.com/slacklovetweets has been one of the most interesting phenomena -- not many enterprise software companies get marriage proposals 😉
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
@aunder What are some of the events/conferences that you really like to attend and recommend others to join as well?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@arpitgupta I recently attended and spoke at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference and was inspired by the other speakers - from athletes to entrepreneurs to operators - and everyone I met. As a Texan, I'll always have a soft spot for SXSW but I always lose my voice by the second day!
Teresa Hammerl@colazionearoma · Socialmediapreneur
Hi April! What's your favorite emoji on Slack?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@colazionearoma I love this question! My most used one is probably 🙏, which I use alternatively to mean "please", "thank you", and "one can only hope!"
@aunder @colazionearoma I always interpreted that emoji as a prayer ...
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@satpanesar @colazionearoma it seems all emojis are in the 👀 of the beholder.
Cobby Amoah@cobbyamoah · CEO, Peach
@aunder How do you coordinate engineers and UI Designers? Do your UI/x people come up with designs and have engineers develop it or vice versa?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@cobbyamoah I would say it's a collaborative process and it depends on the individuals involved. Ideally, product, engineering, and design put their heads together around a user problem and each group has a voice in the final product.
Mike Melanin@mike_melanin · Co-founder @ Statsbot.co
Could you provide any information how to apply to Slack Fund?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@mikemockup Absolutely! Reach out to us at slackfund@slack.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Michael Qin@legendqin · UX Lead @ Battlefy
@aunder Hi April, Nice to meet you here. Few questions 1. what's the product pace in slack? do you iterate fast, test fast? 2.how do you guys do feature priorities, how to decide which one is going to build next? 3.how do you balance biz goal, product goal and design goal. Thanks 🙏
Louis Svugr@louis_sugar · I make and market stuff.
Hi April, thanks for doing this. What does it feel like to work at Slack? What's the atmosphere like? and most importantly, how do you keep up productivity in your team?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@louis_sugar our core values here include both craftsmanship and playfulness, and that comes through in both our office space and how we work with one another. Oftentimes, it's remarkably quiet here at Slack as we're all working hard to do the best work of our careers and doing so most often inside Slack! Most of all, we are all very passionate about the problems we're trying to solve, and eager to build a company that's uniquely suited to solve them - that means building the right team of diverse perspectives and being thoughtful about how we do our work.
Nicki Friis@nickifriisw · Entrepreneur. Former Partner @ Ideanote.
Hey April, we want to be #Slack for Idea management. So excited to talk with you. You guys are our idols. You focus on the young talents inside companies and we try to do the same. We are trying to pull off the same tone of voice - but we're having some troubles when C-level try out our platform and don't fall in love with our tone of voice. Do you recommend focus on a different customer, changing our language, creating different versions/levels of voice, wait for them to adapt - other suggestion? I believe you have find some similar issues.. How do you solve them? #lovefromideanote
Hi, April. How will you divide your time if a user gives you one hour to solve his/her problem? Thanks!
Travis Northcutt@tnorthcutt · Partner, Member Up
April — what's been the biggest *surprise* as you've worked on helping Slack evolve into a mature product? Or, if you'd like, the biggest surprise, period, in working on Slack?
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@tnorthcutt I would say the biggest surprise for me is how often someone I meet is visibly delighted when I tell them I work on Slack. I'm lucky to have had that experience before - when I joined Twitter in 2010 I would often see the same reaction! - but it never gets old to hear that people love your product. It's a big responsibility for us to help keep our customers so happy! ✨
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey April! Thanks for joining us today I imagine it's a busy day at Slack :) I see the intro of the Slack Platform Launch, which includes Slack App Directory and Botkit, as an example of a company that is growing tremendously keeping an eye on innovation... how do you see it?
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@aunder thanks so much for joining us today, I would love to hear what the most challenging aspect of your job is as slack turns into a global powerhouse? Thanks so much again!
@aunder Hello, thanks for taking the time ... what processes or filters has the team developed/created to make sure that the Slack App Exchange/Store does not end up looking like a dumping ground for thousands of me-too or barely discernable/usable apps ... ? Cheers ...
April Underwood@aunder · Investor, #Angels
@satpanesar Great question! We're incredibly focused on making sure that our customers have a great experience using Slack, so we review Apps very closely. The main things we're looking for are: does the app work as intended? Is the app description helpful for customers to understand what it's for? And, does it adhere to our API policies to ensure that it's safe and useful to Slack customers. Bottom line - we want to help developers build great products on the Slack Platform so we dedicate time and attention to providing feedback to developers to ensure Apps in our Directory are 💯!