FWD: Outlook — January 13, 2016

The top two stories in tech from around the web

a16z Podcast: Nobody Discusses Work Software Outside of Work — and Then There’s Slack
– Michael Copeland of Andreessen Horowitz interviews Stewart Butterfield of Slack

Normally not one to recommend podcasts, I couldn’t pass up this podcast on how Slack continues to grow at 15% month-over-month. This was an excellent discussion by Stewart on understanding users, addressing competition, and creating a community.

The only other community that I can think of that understands its users and builds a community this well is Product Hunt. Their market is completely different than Slack’s, and I wonder how they’ll get the “dentists in Northern England” that Stewart talks about — but I see a similarity to how the two are curated.


Facebook and How UIs Twist Your Words
Chantal Jandard

“The UI is part of user’s digital body language.”

Chantal ran a fascinating experiment on human behavior in chat. Given that 2015 was arguably the year of Messenger (and we’ll see what 2016 holds), it’s paramount to build with EQ as well as IQ.

The message on the left “was either shown in a Facebook Chat window, in Facebook Full Conversation window, or just pasted as plain-text into the survey (the “control” condition).”

According to Chantal’s findings from over 1300 respondants, “Chat had significantly (> p .05) higher ratings of awkwardness and desperation and significantly lower ratings of confidence.”

“Desperate” and “awkward” are not two feelings you want to build for when you’re building the next Facebook. Apps that leveraged those offline feelings made you feel the opposite of them online (see: Tinder). How will Facebook reconsider how to make the users feel better on chat, the new focus of the business?

Related: “Why you should build a Slack app (and Messenger soon)” by Matthieu Varagnat of Smooz


People Are Talking About: The Bubble

Jason Calacanis claims that “The Controlled Deflation of the Bubble is Almost Complete.” It’s the talk of half of my Twitter feed tonight. Not only are seed stage valuations back to pre-Facebook levels, he also points to the layoffs at unicorns, the unraveling of ecommerce, and the coming M&A-ageddon as harbingers of the end of the bubble. Hopefully he’s right.



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