Slack - Don’t believe the hype

First a little background. Until about two months ago the company I work for, which is called Dara Creative, was using Skype as its primary means of rapid internal communications. But as useful as Skype is it’s also quite limited and recently we began to feel those limits. Eventually, we succumbed to hype surrounding Slack and we have been using it ever since.

Yet after two months of daily use, I think that I can safely conclude that I don’t - and probably never did - buy into the hype surrounding Slack. Please don’t get me wrong. Slack has some really excellent features. It’s great for sharing files, it supports the integration of many, many 3rd party services and I can’t recall ever having any technical problems with the Windows app or loss of service. All told it’s a smooth operator. So the reason I’m not sold on Slack isn’t due to some glaring issues with the product itself. Instead, the problem I have with Slack boils down to their business model.

As a company Dara Creative falls between the cracks of their free and paid plans. On one hand, there is enough staff in the company using Slack that we reach the 10,000 message history limit in a matter of days. (In the free plan messages get deleted after this limit is reached). On the other hand, Slack’s basic payment plan is too expensive for a service we primarily use as a way of instant messaging each other and file sharing. 2K a year to send animated gifs is a high price indeed. Even if it is quality stuff like this:

JCVD in Action

So we started searching around the interwebs for something that was better than the jaded Skype but also better priced than Slack. Happily we came across Glip. Admittedly it’s very early days in our trial period (as in it’s the second day of the trial) but it seems to do nearly everything Slack does and so far I think it does these things nearly as well or maybe even better even better. There are exceptions of course. For instance, Glip has fewer 3rd party integrations available and the Windows desktop app crashed three times in two days. Nevertheless, the interface is very clean, it has a native calendar, tasks, notes (with version control), integrated video conferencing using Zoom (which I have to say is great fun), easily searchable conversations, files and links. It’s also free. (Note: It has recently been acquired by another company so I hope that doesn’t mean a change in business model.)

Despite my shameful click bait title Slack remains a very good service that many people will be happy with. However, if Slack doesn’t quite scratch that itch then try Glip instead.