Three years later, he quit, writing one of Silicon Valley's most shared farewell notes. "And I don't need no fancy parties or gold watches ...
I will be spending more time with my family, tending to my small but growing alpaca herd and of course getting back to working with tin, my first love."A year later, Butterfield launched another company and was back serenading colleagues with one of his ukuleles and trying to make another video game. But his outfit had built a chat tool for the company's first eight employees and decided to make a go with that.
In 2005, Yahoo acquired Flickr for a reported million, a decision that Butterfield came to regret.
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, 42, says this makes the firm worth much more than its current valuation. (The social network's revenue in 2014 was .5 billion. "Every time we figure out the best way to do something, it becomes obsolete."There is something of a gold rush today for companies making not terribly sexy but potentially lucrative office software adapted to the way people work now--from their smartphones, around the clock, passing information back and forth through the cloud.
Slack's is on track to hit million this year.) Butterfield also wants Slack to do for the next decade what Microsoft did for the past two by dominating how millions work. Around the globe, companies will spend more than trillion on information technology this year, according to research firm Gartner.
Venture-capital darlings Airbnb, Buzz Feed and Blue Bottle Coffee use it. Teams at NASA and the State Department are on Slack.
(More than 2,000 people use Slack at Time Inc., which publishes this magazine and many others.) Not in a generation has a new tool been adopted more quickly by a wider variety of businesses or with such joy.
Sitting in a conference room in Slack's San Francisco office, it's fun to talk to Butterfield.