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Using Slack To Run Your Business? Folks Are Confused.

by Nathan Kontny
Photo by Pankaj Patel
How good are we at actually running our businesses and organizations over email and Slack? In 2005, researchers from New York University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign devised a series of experiments to understand how well people can communicate using email. In one experiment, they had participants pick from a list of sarcastic statements 10 things they thought would be easiest to send and understand over text. They wrote their emails of humor and hit Send. How well did the receivers of those emails understand that the statements were sarcastic? 56%. A coin flip. That email or Slack message you sent today that had some humor, or nuance, or complexity to it? There's a 50/50 chance the person you're trying to communicate with has no idea what you really meant. We suck at communicating over plain text. So what do you do?
My wife, Lynette, recently joined the 1Password team. Just in time for the annual cruise the whole company takes to the Caribbean. I've been using 1Password since 2009! So it it was a fortunate opportunity for my daughter and I to be able to tag along with Lynette, to meet her new colleagues and the folks who started this tool I've been relying on for so long. What impressed me so much about the cruise was the effort the company makes to put together a meetup like this. It's not easy. There's a ton of coordination from everyone to pull this off. And I'm sure it's not an insignificant expense. But the founders of 1Password clearly realize what these researchers found. We can't just run our businesses remotely relying on text alone. Emails and chat rooms are super useful, but fail us incredibly often. We need higher bandwidth opportunities to meet and communicate with the folks we work with. The more in-person the better. Look, I'm a fan of Slack. I rely on it daily. I'm even a proponent of doing some job interviews over Slack in order to see how well a candidate might do in a remote work environment that spends all day in text-based communication tools. But there's an incredible ROI for in person meetups like 1Password's when you realize how bad we are at actually using our technological advancements to run our businesses. We all need the reminder to get out of our text convos. Make it a priority to use phone calls, video, and good old fashioned hanging-out-in-person so that people aren't confused half the time about what you're trying to say. P.S. If you're looking for more good, affordable help building or marketing your projects, please reach out. We've been doing this for two decades. We'd love to help. This video wasn't sponsored by 1Password. My trip wasn't free. I'm just a fan of the tool and the company behind it.

Nathan Kontny is the CTO of Rockstar Coders. Previously: CEO of Highrise, 2 time Y Combinator alum, created Draft. You should follow him on YouTube: here.

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