Slack Crack: A balanced critique of startups’ favorite drug

Breaking news: Startups love Slack! 64% of the Stacklist community uses the Slack and, as we’ve said before, they’re not afraid to sing its praises—integrations, sleek interface, overall simplicity, etc. In addition to using Slack for internal communication, about 10% of startups are also putting it to work for file sharing and project management, and even a few are using it as a customer service tool.

But there’s no perfect tool; even with its growing army of diehard fans, Slack does have its critics. In our quest to help startups select the tools that are best for them, we wanted to provide you with some of the more notable Slack critiques that have come to light. Let the people be heard!  

  • Disruptive: “As somebody who’s pretty obsessed with my own and my team’s productivity, I’m pretty frustrated by Slack. I think it solves a lot of big problems (like getting people out of unnecessary email threads) in a beautiful, easy-to-use, intuitive way, but at the same time it becomes a constant interruption with no real way to hit pause and come back to it when needed. There are a lot of simple improvements that would allow people to control it more, like being able to go idle, adding filtering capabilities, or implementing smarter notifications.” - Derek Flanzraich, CEO & Founder, Greatist
  • Search functionality could use some work: “Their search function is absolutely horrible! The search criteria is bad, even the location of the search box is bad. - Dennis Mortensen, CEO & Founder, x.ai
  • Not suitable for all teams: “Most of our team, especially the tech teams, love Slack, but it can be a challenge for the people who live all day on their email: the marketing and business development folks.” -Aria Finger, CEO, DoSomething
  • Not an email replacement: “I don’t agree with people who say Slack can replace email. I like email because I can check it on my own time, and the conversation is neat and all in one place. Slack makes this information a mess, even if you use the separate channels. It’s good if you need something urgent, but if it’s something that can wait, I use email because i don’t want to interrupt them.” - Sahil Parikh, Founder, Brightpod
  • Missing feature: There is a major feature missing in Slack. In HipChat, you can paste a JIRA issue in, and HipChat will show you the full issue. No one has to leave HipChat to go see the full issue. We miss that capability, - Paul May, Co-founder, BuzzStream
  • Limited freemium package (10,000 messages per month): “The biggest downside of using Slack is that the freemium package allows us to only search a limited amount of messages. You really begin to feel the heat of this after you pass 1,000 messages, and then when you try to search for a message, it feels like everything is lost. - Asaf Ahi-Mordehai, Co-founder & CTO, Spree
  • Lackluster training: “I really wish Slack had better training tools, since that would definitely help with team buy-in. Taking a webinar is not the same as getting a live training. Implementing it and getting everyone to jump in is hard.” - Jeanne Hardy, Founder & CEO, Creative Business Inc.

But don’t get us wrong: The vast majority of Stacklisters still consider Slack all that and a bag o’ chips. In addition to its simple communication platform, they love its integrations, most popular of which include Trello, Stripe, JIRA, GitHub, Google Drive, Help Scout, TypeForm, Heroku and Zendesk. The Favorite Slack Integration Award, hands down, goes to CoinTent, whose founder Brad Ross tells us: “The most important integration we have is a food truck park next to our office; Slack pulls in the list of trucks are going to be there each day, so we know exactly what our lunch options will be. We also integrate Slack with GitHub and Help Scout: Whenever we get a new Help Scout customer service request, it shows up automatically in Slack.” So there you have it: Slack users who have figured out how to have their cake and eat it too!