Slack’s Threaded Conversations , or Why ‘Fail Fast’ Isn’t Always the Best Strategy

Earlier this year, Slack rolled out their long anticipated threaded conversations feature. The business case for this feature seems obvious — work conversations can diverge into many directions, and a linear timeline isn’t the best way to present that information.

So why did it take them + 2 years to ship a feature that has been highly requested? Why did it take Simple so long to release Shared Accounts, another highly requested feature?

Fail fast” was an early/mid-2000s motto turned ethos turned best practices that basically advocated for shipping MVPs at breakneck speeds so that if your product doesn’t have legs, you’d find out sooner rather than later. But at some point, the conventional wisdom slowly and quietly began to shift.

In an article about Slack’s product philosophy, Fast Company says:

“The company has never operated under the guiding principle that Mark Zuckerberg once famously summed up as “move fast and break things.” Instead, it has thrived in part because it aspires to offer tools that feel fully baked from the get-go. Its fit and finish resemble those of the slickest consumer apps, in a world in which many business-centric tools still don’t feel like they were designed for use by human beings.”

Threaded conversations for Slack and Shared Accounts for Simple share one thing in common: Both features are so highly requested and speak to the core of what these companies offer that they needed to be done right the first time. Silicon Valley wisdom like “fail fast, fail often” didn’t make sense in either of these cases.

Or, in other words, there is no one right way to ship successful products. You have to develop a product strategy based on the context, business case, user base, and the brand’s existing value proposition. That’s why we’re tool and method agnostic at Nothing Gold. ✨