Startups panic as dictionary runs out of cool monosyllabic company names

I’m joking of course….but there does seem to be a pattern emerging here, whereby a hooky, logo-ready, single-word company or product name comes to stand for something immediately recognisable as defining and leading a product category.

Taking up the Slack

Slack is yet another office collaboration app – or is it?

slack1The company has already been labelled “the fastest-growing workplace software ever.” with recent press articles suggesting that “users send more than 25 million messages each week,” and that the company is, “adding $1 million to its annual billing projections every six weeks.” Sensing opportunity, investors just propelled $120 million into the company, giving it a $1.12 billion valuation.

Our subscription revenue is growing about 8 percent monthly, before we add new sales,” says Slack’s business analytics lead Josh Pritchard. “This is, as far as I know, unheard for an enterprise SaaS company less than seven months after launch.”

More to the point, especially in this age of the 48 hour ‘load it, try it, bin it’ cycle of app adoption, Slack’s user retention stands at an astonishing 93%

Outwardly, nothing seems to mark Slack out from the pool of collaboration and project tools in your app store of choice. However, the model described in Nir Eyal’s excellent book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Product’, identifies the psychology behind the numbers.

I am avidly experimenting with both the product and the ideas in the book and recommend anyone with an interest in workplace and product innovation does the same.

So – in that case does the World need another voice and messaging app?

The answer is probably “YES – if its beautiful and habit-forming enough….”wire1

Developed by a European team of former Skype developers, Wire offers voice calling and 1:1 or group messaging, and users can share photos, SoundCloud and YouTube. As with other nascent communications services, Wire could possibly be described as a social network.

The voice functionality currently uses in-house technology that seems to deliver very good quality, though the platform is also compatible with WebRTC, the plugin-free technology that is starting to empower more in-browser voice, video and messaging capabilitiess – perhaps even Skype itself at some point in the future. There is also no denying that it is easy on the eye – and seems to know its demographic with moody shots of bearded Old Street types and sleek Berliner frauleins.

Wire CEO Jonathan Christensen said in a statement. “We asked ourselves how modern communications could look and work. How could we take full advantage of the latest devices and advances in cloud computing to deliver something that is really simple, very useful and truly beautiful?”

In my opinion they have managed to do just that – but can they get to anything like the habit-forming status of a Slack? Only time will tell…..

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