1 min read

Stories worth telling

A photo of Ali Rayl, Stewart Butterfield, and Johnny Rodgers
Ali Rayl, Stewart Butterfield, and Johnny Rodgers in Slack's first San Francisco office. Somehow we don't have a picture of just the two of us together, nor one taken with a modern, good phone.

We're Ali Rayl and Johnny Rodgers, two of Slack's original employees. We both recently wrapped up our 11-year journeys with the company, which started with the first ideas for what Slack could become and ended roughly two years after Slack's acquisition. We both wore several hats throughout the company's history, which afforded us countless opportunities to build and shape much of what Slack became. We think many of these stories are ones that are worth telling.

One of Slack's evergreen goals — software for work that people can love — was also a strange one. We always existed in an uncomfortable middle ground, one in which we tried to live up to the user experience expectations of consumer software while also keeping business customers happy. Consumer-grade software takes time, care, craft, attention, and finesse; the enterprise market wants predictability and release dates. When it came to things that our users would use, we always tried to optimize for the former.

We mention this as a way of setting expectations for what you'll see here. We'll publish stories for you when we've written something good enough to be worth reading. This is a hobby for us and something we've wanted to do for a long time, nothing more. We plan to cover a variety of topics — product, design, engineering, supporting users, company culture, business, competition, strategy, growth, and so on.

Do we have an initial post ready to go? No! We don't. This is it. (Like we said, this is a hobby. Perhaps we should've planned this better.) But, subscribe anyway, and we'll actually put some content in your inbox soon. If there's a story you'd like to know or a topic you think we should cover, you can email us at buildingslack@gmail.com.