Buster
Cecilia Stallsmith

Cecilia Stallsmith & Buster Benson

PM's at Slack

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON April 12, 2017

Discussion

Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
And Hi! I'm Ceci Stallsmith, I lead the Slack Platform & Partner marketing team. Platforms are my passion, ask me anything - from deets on our recent launches to platform strategy as a whole and why platform matters so much to Slack. And I'm Buster Benson, I lead the Slack platform product team. Ask us about building for Slack’s platform and the recent message menus launch - or really anything about making your workday more productive!
Andy Cook
Andy Cook@andygcook · Cofounder - Tettra.co
Thanks for doing an AMA here Buster and Ceci. Also congratulations on yesterdays launch of Message Menus. Very exciting addition for us startups building on Slack and please send my thanks to the entire team :) Quick question about the Platform for you: I noticed in the announcement yesterday that 16 apps debuted message menus on launch day, so I'm assuming there's some sort of beta program for the Slack Platform because they had already all integrated the endpoints before the change was officially announced. Is there a place for other companies to apply for early access to Slack Platform changes? Would love to make sure we always have the latest and greatest built into Tettra.co for our customers. Thanks!
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@andygcook We spend a lot of time talking with developers and always need to validate what we're building with them before we even start implementing a new idea. But it's more of a program for API feedback than a scalable beta program at this time. We're still pretty small and scrappy as a team, but to people interested in launching with us, keep an eye on what's on our public roadmap and reach out to us with ideas for how you'd be able to support them. We also want to do a lot more marketing between launches, so if you build something great with menus, let us know so we can highlight it!
Andy Cook
Andy Cook@andygcook · Cofounder - Tettra.co
@buster Absolutely makes sense and thanks for the reply. For a small & scrappy team, you have ridiculous output 👏🏾
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Ceci and Buster! This might sound like a cheeky question but I'm actually very serious: Although early, we've seen products like Big Screen bring distributed teams together and inevitably I believe VR/AR will be a part of how we communicate remotely. How will VR or AR change Slack?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@rrhoover This is a fun debate amongst a few of us here. Speaking for myself, I agree with you and think that something like Minecraft VR + Slack will be a cheap alternative to expensive city living and office space. VR+AR will allow infinite whiteboards, group conversations, and displays for a fraction of the price. But resolution needs to drastically improve.
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@rrhoover How do YOU think VR and AR will change Slack?
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@buster I agree, and you're touching on an even broader topic: the future of living. When VR becomes nearly indistinguishable from real life, we can effectively teleport. Our physical workspaces often determine where we live. But if I can work just as effectively with a team remotely in VR and this becomes the new norm, we may see an exodus of people moving out of big cities like SF to cheaper, pleasant areas of the world.
Ayrton De Craene
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
What is the number one piece of advice you ever received?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@ayrton I’m a big fan of the Enneagram of personality. I’m a seven, so some of the top advice I’ve received recently has been to put space between my impulse and action. It’s very simple, but I love to be fast and move with excitement. Giving myself a little bit of space between impulse and action makes the quality of my actions or responses significantly better. Practically, I’ve found practicing meditating even for 5-10 minutes before or during the work day extremely helpful for slowing down and being conscious of my “7.”
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@ayrton A few that come to mind: Understand first, and then be understood (by overcommunicating). Have strong opinions, but weakly held. Make time for the important things. The best way to succeed is to lift up other people on your team.
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
What are the wildest custom emoji on the Slack team's Slack?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@nivo0o0 We have over 1000 custom emoji, from the entire alphabet in Scrabble letters, to a couple dozen party parrots. We also have custom emoji for most of the people on the team, as a fun way to tag people to a message.
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What are your morning routines?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@jakecrump My morning routine is to get my 8-month old breakfast, and walk my 6-year old to school. I then grab a giant coffee and have my own walk / BART ride to work where I think about what important things I need to make time for, and then block out time for those things (and move things around if necessary).
Holden Page ∆
Holden Page ∆@holdenthepage · EIC, WorkAfar.com
Hey ya'll. A couple weeks ago, one of my friends said they enjoyed Slack bots because it reduced the need for entering yet another password. Which got me thinking: Do you possibly see the Slack platform as enabling a future where logins are unnecessary? I also think this train of thought is interesting given the "magic link" that users are encouraged to use, and as far as I am aware, there are not many other enterprise or consumer apps that actively promote a password-free alternative.
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@holdenthepage 🌟 great question. Our mission at Slack is to make people's working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive. One of the ways our platform makes this true is by simplifying your workflows between conversations (in Slack) and the products you use to get the job done. This means reducing logins, lookups, context switching and overall trying to reduce the fragmentation we feel during the work day bopping around various tools. We definitely are thinking about how we can smooth out the process of using your products (with Slack) with fewer barriers, while maintaining and even improving security. We have nothing to share right now, but we're thinking about this as a team.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
How do you make Slack defensible?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@andrewett The platform is a big part of this. Messaging and communication is the heart of what we do, and that means connecting humans to other humans, but also humans to software/apps that they use. Our defensible opportunity is that we are a neutral party without our own productivity stack to favor or defend. We want to work with all the software, both big partners as well as up-and-coming new businesses. Our mutual customers can then choose what works best for the way they work.
Alex Willen
Alex Willen@willenation
Hi Ceci! Big fan of your work - what advice do you have for partners building Slack integrations to really stand out in your directory?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@willenation Hi Alex Willen, nice to meet you. Our App Directory has been live for about a year, and we're still getting our heads around how apps get discovered - so I don't have a perfect answer. But we do have a couple of simple ways to better market your app to our customers: 1. A guide on how to launch and/or market your Slack app: https://medium.com/slack-develop... 2. The end of that blog post talks about how you can join "partner briefings" to speak with the Slack Partnership and DevRel teams. I'd suggest joining these if you want to learn more and get connected! 3. We've put out a call for content on our platform blog. We'd love to tell more stories about how teams built their apps, so if you have a great story, send it our way: https://medium.com/slack-develop...
Patrick EMIN
Patrick EMIN@patriiick
Hi, when will #Slack be translated in french ?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@patriiick Here's our formal answer on this: https://get.slack.help/hc/en-us/... We plan to localize Slack for French, German, Spanish, and Japanese and currently we support other languages through messages, spell check, files and search. TL:DR - it's coming!
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What’s something about working at Slack that we might not already know?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@jacqvon All of the conference rooms in our original SF office are named after emojis. We're currently in 🙌 On a more meaningful note - one of our culture-shaping axioms is *Be the dog.* Stewart likes to tell a story about seeing a dog fully in its element: on a hike deep in the mountains, corralling the hiking party, barking at upcoming people, checking in on the folks at the back - essentially living in its purpose and and element. At Slack are trying to *be the dog* - to achieve flow, do work we find inspiring, and maximize our potential.
Tanner Elvidge
Tanner Elvidge@tanner_elvidge · Product Manager at WordStream
How did you originally get into product management?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@tanner_elvidge I've had a rather windy path. Liberal arts major in college --> customer service at Amazon --> web developer --> technical program manager / product manager (but I hated it, all I did was run failing A/B tests for a year) --> back to software developer --> then I left Amazon to do my own startup, learned that the real challenge is product/market fit, and eventually fell in love with that kind of problem (as a startup founder a few more times, then a PM at Twitter, and now at Slack).
Mircea Pașoi
Mircea Pașoi@mirceap · Co-founder Memo.AI
What's next in terms of platform improvements? Last I checked the Trello board was a bit outdated (also I missed the most recent Slack meetup)
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@mirceap We're updating it very soon! But more interactivity, more discoverability of apps from within Slack, and improved app admin/management tools for teams (especially larger companies where this stuff is very complicated).
Mircea Pașoi
Mircea Pașoi@mirceap · Co-founder Memo.AI
Great to hear @buster, especially the part around more interactivity! One of our product goals is to make the flow between the Memo Slack app and the Memo web app as smooth as possible, and having more UI elements (e.g. input boxes) and deeper integration points (for example the "+" button next to the message box) would be extremely helpful!
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@mirceap Our goal is to help you reach your product goals. :)
Seb Dancer-Michel
Seb Dancer-Michel@far0s · Creative developer Intern @ Your Majesty
Hey, have you already seen fun/interesting integrations with the message menus functionnality ? Even better, have you thought about any ? :D
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@far0s We launched with 16 awesome apps that have message menus!! Check out the category in our App Directory - we cover a whole slew of uses cases with them. From Survey Monkey and Polly the Poll bot to email triage with Mail Clerk and Front. https://slack.com/apps/category/... Even cooler - three apps that weren't in the private beta have already updated to include message menus. We love shipping new platform features that our developers love, and having three apps integrate menus within 18 hours was so fun for us. 💖 Shout out to BusyBot for being the first -- you can check it out here, https://www.busybotapp.com/
Chris Cichon
Chris Cichon@cichonship · Marketing at Baydin (Boomerang)
Hey Ceci 👋🏼 thanks for doing this. How do you think about what (partners, integrations, features, etc) to prioritize when your platform is new/just getting started? Did you have any helpful frameworks for evaluating opportunities?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@cichonship Hi Chris, thanks joining and asking a great question. I want to make sure I'm answering correctly - I think your question is about building your own platform (perhaps at Boomerang, which is in your profile.) The most important thing to consider and test when you are thinking about building a platform is to seed the opportunity to see if it resonates. We built our first 80 integrations ourselves. Our customers loved them, and we found that in our first year and a half "integrations" were always in the top 3 reasons for strong NPS (net promoter scores). This was the proof we needed to go all-in on platform. In sum: We knew customers would adopt apps, we had a lot of developer demand (in fact, developers were essentially hacking our platform to build apps that we didn't have yet), and we saw the potential for how our platform could shape the future of work. The rest is history and a whole lot of work that we need to do in order to get all the way there. This is one of my favorite topics and I'm always happy to chat more about it. In particular, platforms that require customer adoption are fascinating, and if you are thinking about how to consider and build a strategy I'm happy to talk more.
Chris Cichon
Chris Cichon@cichonship · Marketing at Baydin (Boomerang)
@cecistalls Thanks Ceci, I appreciate it. I'll ping you to chat more about it. Please say hi to Daniel for me too
Seth Williams
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What does success look like for you?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@sethbwilliams Longer term, success for us is a platform ecosystem that helps thousands if not millions of other businesses thrive. Ideally the total value we give to the ecosystem dwarfs Slack's own valuation. Shorter term it's all about finding the sweet spot between our customers' work and the businesses developers want to build. We track that with a number of metrics like app usage and developer activity.
Jake Crump
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What’s the best thing about working at Slack?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@jakecrump The combination of (1) amazing people and (2) incredible product. It's always a blast to work with a stellar team, but when you're working with a stellar team on growing a beloved product it is magical. I'm most motivated and excited by the opportunity to shape the "future of work" (as corny as that sounds) alongside an amazing team. The potential for our platform to become the operating system for work is real - and that gets me fired up every morning. The opportunity to work with a team that shares that vision is what keeps me going.
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@jakecrump Everything about the company is about empowering us to do our best work, so that we can help our customers do their best work. It's a bit of an ouroboros. This means we care a ton about diversity and inclusion, about becoming better craftspeople (whatever our specific role is), and are always looking for ways to do things slightly better than we were doing them last week. It's a happy company.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Ceci and Buster thanks for joining us today. What's the most interesting / shocking slack bot integration you've seen?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@ems_hodge I think shocking goes to a custom integration a small team with one restroom made to figure out if the bathroom is open. It’s hilarious but also practical and they named the bot "Occupado." They ended up making it into mac extension, but it’s also very use-able as a slack bot. You can read about it here: https://quickleft.com/blog/ocupa...
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@bentossell My gut reaction is Evan Speigel - I've been very bullish on snapchat for a long time and think that their potential as both a hardware and software company is really intriguing. Their competitive landscape is scary and exciting and I think it's a moment in time for them to ship a competitive strategy that will un-tangle them from being so neck-in-neck with Instagram. It's a significant moment in time for them and I think it would be super interesting, challenging and growing to be in his shoes.
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@bentossell First thing that popped into my head was Bezos. Purely for fun, I'd start a new team that combined Kindle's 3G wireless connection, Echo, maps, and cars. I'm fascinated by the long-term vision and patience that Bezos has always had... AWS, Echo, Kindle, are such magical products.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What is one thing you believe that few agree with you on? Similarly, what is the one thing in the bot space that few agree with you on?
Buster
Buster@buster · PM, Patreon
@bentossell I think the most controversial belief I have in the bot space is that the biggest opportunities in the short- to mid-term are about bringing quick, simple interactions into the message anatomy, and less about solving AI. Especially in the work software use cases.
Cecilia Stallsmith
Cecilia Stallsmith@cecistalls · Platform @ SlackHQ
@bentossell In the bot space: I believe that bots are *any 3rd party software that you interact with in a messaging interface.* Most people think that bots are purely conversational, or need to have some form or AI or ML in order to qualify as a "bot." I think the bot that runs with slash commands, message buttons and menus or send smart notifications into Slack to help you prep your day or complete workflows are ....bots! And deserve more love and respect. 💖🤖