If you’re looking for a career with a great young company, you should consider Slack, who are soon going to be hiring in Vancouver.  Never heard of Slack?  Time you did, because according to a recent post by Gabe at MacDrifter, “Slack just sucked the oxygen out of the collaborative work-room”.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Slack is an app launched last February that provides a collaborative working environment with a neat chat service and search capability.  The company was founded by BC born Stewart Butterfield, who was also a co-founder of Flickr, which was sold to Yahoo in 2005 for $35m.  A recent valuation pegged Slack at somewhere in the 1.12 billion dollar range, and yeah, they’ve got something to substantiate that valuation.  People are going crazy for Slack.

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield

I’m not looking for a job, because I’m happily employed working for slave wages here at CEO.ca, but we started using Slack a couple months ago and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. Slack has, absolutely, changed the way we communicate with each other, and if you’re getting bogged down with email, or not communicating effectively with your team, you ought to give Slack a try too.

We are a small team at CEO.ca, composed of writers and editors. We are all in different locations, and we were struggling to communicate about daily content and timelines through email and chat until Tommy, our CEO, suggested we give Slack a try.  So we all downloaded it and set out tentatively to see if we could make Slack work for us.  After all, Ebay, Expedia, Paypal and Yelp use Slack. Surely there was something in Slack for CEO.ca.

Getting everyone signed up was easy and the Slack lite version of the program is free. (Naturally there are higher level Slack versions, but we’re finding that we manage well with the free version of Slack.)  Within a week we were all communicating on Slack, both on our desktops and our mobile devices.

At CEO.ca we have a constant stream of communication going between our writers and staff as we update the site daily. Slack gives you the option to create different channels for communication, which include private one on one conversations, private group conversations, and general group conversations.

In our case, we have an editing channel where the lads and I chat back and forth (in real time) about when submissions are ready for edits. All our writers are members of that channel so that they can collaborate on topics they have expertise on before a post is published. We also have a general channel for discussion about stories we’re going to cover in the future, and a random channel that ends up being the place we crack most of our lame jokes. Perhaps the most valuable Slack channel for us is #stocks, where the CEO team discuss trading ideas in real time.

Slack integrates with Google docs and Dropbox (and a host of other platforms) so it’s easy to share files to work on together, and you get to control who sees them. All you do is drag and drop the files into your messages. Files like PDFs, text files and Word documents are indexed for searching, and they’re not just embedded chat links, they are working documents. Images can be pasted into Slack from your clipboard as well, where they are archived along with every single conversation you ever have on Slack.

And did I mention that the real time chat feature is feels super fast? I hear a little ‘ding’ when there is something in Slack relevant to my ‘to do’ list, and it’s sounds almost instantly.  By the way, you can also hook up Twitter, Github, Asana, Facebook and a host of other services to automatically aggregate information into a channel, so that notifications (tweets, posts) will be archived there along with your other stuff.

Plus Slack has this groovy, self-deprecating robot named ‘Slackbot’ who is like a help buddy for Slack users.  I had a little fun chatting with him when I first started using Slack (he helps you set up your account and establish your profile).  And he’s very good at reminders, if you remember to set them up.

It should be obvious by now that Slack is intended for teams to communicate in house.  You’ll still need to plow through email for communication with outside clients, which in comparison to an ongoing instant conversation now feels really slow and ponderous.

And Slack is not really meant for something like family communication.  I set up a channel to chat with my husband, who is also using Slack in his business, (and loving it) and he still never listens to me.

So back to a career with Slack – word has it the Vancouver offices of the company are undergoing renovations right now and that when they are complete, there will be jobs for new employees. Based on how candidly Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield talks about his wildly successful company (he says it’s shit and there is much work to be done in this MIT Technology interview) I’m guessing it would be a very interesting work environment.

And there should be lots of growth potential.  As Butterfield says in the above referenced interview, “We’re probably about halfway through the list of things we wanted to do when we started two years ago. We still have a long way to go”.