Slack Vs Yammer And The Coming Moment Of Truth

I couple of years ago I wrote that Slack may very well be the new Yammer. I meant that negatively — an overhyped startup that may ‘die’ just as quickly as it once occupied someone’s imagination. Do you know anyone still using Yammer in 2016? So, don’t be surprised if you won’t know anyone still ‘slacking’ in 2018.

I am not going to go over my arguments, other than repeating the obvious. Yammer user base then, just like Slack’s now was NEVER as big as you’d think reading all those articles and most importantly ‘real businesses’ still don’t use either. It’s still IT and newsrooms, no matter how many coffee shop cases are released.

Another big obstacle is that different companies collaborate differently. Very few businesses can collaborate via enterprise social network (Yammer) model alone, just like very few companies can be run on chat (Slack) alone or chat as the centerpiece for collaboration.

For some strange reason both companies kept insisting that ESN or chat are the way to go, other than trying to give users ESN and chat and tasks and intranet and CRM and calendars and other collaboration tools, which is the big bet we’ve made in 2012.

We know that Slack’s growth has decelerated three fold over the past year and is now ‘barely’ over 100% (which is still very enviable). But here’s something curious. Take a look at Android apps stat for Yammer and Slack

Essentially, they are identical. Even former Lync (now Skype for Business, has a substantially bigger install base, despite being totally unsexy).

This is where Yammer died. This might very well be where Slack will die. There’s nothing to suggest Slack’s death now or so it seams. They grew 130%+ last year, so if the growth rate is halved to 65%, this is still excellent, especially because the user base is substantial already. That’s probably what most analysts expect. My prediction is that by the end of 2017, Slack’s growth rate will be zero, and churn and retention will be the real problem. (The management may very well try to sell of Slack sometime between now and when this happens.)

What’s worse, it’s not going to be Slack’s problem and there’s nothing they’ll be able to do. The product is great. The assumptions were wrong.

Anyway, we just have to wait and see.

P.S. If you accept the premise that mobile installations are a good proxy of how many active user a service has, I think this conclusively ends arguments whether Microsoft Teams are a threat to Slack. Clearly not. Nobody is going crazy over Microsoft Teams.