Disruption in Chat

  • September 20, 2017
  • Scott

I recall a day not so long ago when instant messaging seemed like a bit of a sleepy space. There were a few attempts to revive it:  Yammer, for example.  But it had settled into free services:  Yahoo, Gtalk, ICQ, and AIM, etc.  And it didn’t feel like that would change for a long time to come.

Then along came Hipchat and Yammer for more “corporate” messaging.  That was so long ago that a recent article on Atlassian starts (emphasis added):

“Hipchat, the venerable team communication app owned by business software maker Atlassian, is making way for a sequel.”

Hipchat started in 2010.  Along came Slack in 2013 and disrupted this market:

Slack launched in 2013 and rocketed to 5 million daily users and 1.5 million paying customers — a speed of growth that is all but unheard of for business software. Its success has attracted challenges from large competitors including Microsoft, which launched the Slack clone Teams last year, and Google, which reimagined Hangouts as something closer to Slack this spring.

And now here we are again, Atlassian launching Stride – a new take on corporate instant messaging:

Steven Goldsmith, who oversees all of Atlassian’s communication products, says Stride is designed to solve three big problems with team chat apps like Slack.

Steve is an old friend, and Atlassian runs Hipchat and Stride out of their Austin office downtown.  So I’ll be rooting for them for personal reasons and for Austin-pride reasons. These tools are game changers for collaboration in the enterprise.  Communication channels during conferences and events have not only allowed teams on the ground to coordinate better, but have also allowed others to follow along at home to keep apprised.

What I find most interesting is Atlassian having to, and being willing to, disrupt itself 7 years into a product lifecycle for Hipchat.  That’s the world we live in now. Digital disruption and transformation are not just challenges to old school brick-and-mortar companies – it’s a real issue for all of us in technology as well.

Taking a big step back – if there’s a sleepy corner of tech, watch out. Someone is gunning for it.  Instant / Corporate messaging is a great example, but there are many others.


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