By the way, why is Slack called Slack?

It is a discussion software very present in business, but whose name hides a little story. Did you know her?

Almost $ 28 billion. This is the amount that the American company Salesforce put on the table on December 1, 2020 to take possession of Slack, a famous collaborative platform. It allows you to create discussion rooms by topic, and to connect specific applications to them, to extend their functionality. Perhaps you are also familiar with this tool.

It would not be surprising: France is, according to Slack, its third European market. If the company does not specify the number of users in France (at the start of 2019, it announced 10 million daily users active worldwide), it says it provides its services for nearly two-thirds of CAC 40 companies, and for many other groups. Humanoid, which publishes Numerama, also uses it.

A label with the Slack logo, stuck on a computer. // Source: Flickr / CC / Giorgio Minguzzi (cropped photo)

If this work environment speaks to you, you may have already been taken aback by its name. For those who have some notions of English, “to slack” is a verb that is not very flattering and that one could translate as “to let go”, “to relax”. The word is sometimes even used in sentences in French, to invite someone to stir, to stop lazing: ” stop slacking ».

This connotation of softness and laziness obviously contrasts with what this platform allows to do. On the contrary, it seeks to improve the organization of work by structuring the chat rooms (one for the day before, another for the design, a third for the video, and so on). And above all, it is proving to be a practical tool for working remotely, especially in these times of pandemic.

Slack, moreover, has fun: in 2016, the official account of the company tweetait : « Our name might sound funny, but think about it: without slack there is no audience, no action, no flexibility, no learning, no evolution, no growth. “. In the tweet, Slack was written with a lowercase letter, so the tweet could also read: “glandless, […] In order to play on this double meaning.

Slack contains an acronym

Yet there is another meaning. “Slack” would actually be an acronym that by chance echoes a work or task that drags on, or even flirts with procrastination. This is what Stewart Butterfield, one of the founders of Slack, suggests. On Twitter, he indicated in 2016 that Slack actually means “Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge”.

This acronym could be translated as “Searchable logbook of all conversations and acquaintances”, which is not entirely absurd since Slack records in time all the private and public exchanges that we can have on this software. of discussing. This idea of ​​a name would have been imagined in November 2012, that is to say several months before its launch, in August 2013.

Obviously, Slack was initially envisioned as a code name, according to the excerpt from the chat shared by Stewart Butterfield. Previously, this project was called Linefeed. In the chat, a certain Eric, who is certainly Eric Costello, another founder of the company, was wary, as it spread an unpleasant image of the company and its customers.

The extract from the chat is still worth a look:

  • : I stayed up really late last night thinking about things and things.
  • : And it is no exaggeration to say WOW!
  • : Also, I have a better codename
  •  : Slack et/ou App Slack
  •  : Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge
  • : but, Slack is also just fun to pronounce
  • : I like it, but… it also has a kind of negative connotation.
  • : Our users would be slackers 🙂
  •  : Ta da !
  • : it’s just a code name
  •  : ah, cool
  • : But wait until Kuke draws the “slack” for you (a cute little eight-armed, fuzzy-headed, one-eyed thing that eats up ALL of your business communications and keeps it for you in a form that’s nice to look for… c ‘that is to say a poop)

Obviously, this logo never saw the light of day, as the company’s first visual identity was a colorful, slanted spider (or octothorp), with four colors, one per branch, and a blend at the intersections. This logo changed at the start of 2019, in particular because the company realized that it was too complex, which posed harmonization problems. The new one now avoids crossings.

The continuation in video

Source: Numerama by

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