Inspirational Quotes from Stewart Butterfield

By | March 7, 2017

You can take a team of absolute all-stars in terms of their native abilities, but if they are not working together, they are much less effective than a team where there is less native ability but a higher degree of teamwork and cohesion.

Stewart Butterfield

About 80 percent of the photos on Flickr are public and searchable by everyone. In one sense, it’s a place where people upload snapshots from the family reunion, wedding or the birth of a baby or something like that, but it’s also a place where people go to show what the world looks like to them.

Stewart Butterfield

The scale of revenue growth is unprecedented. If you look back over history, whether you’re looking at the railway robber baron era or the 1920s or the ’50s or the ’70s, it used to take a long time for a company to get to the point where they had tens of millions of dollars of revenue. It was almost never an overnight phenomenon.

Stewart Butterfield

The element of teamwork is perhaps underappreciated.

Stewart Butterfield

There are a lot of things that Slack gives you that email doesn’t when you think about internal use. Switching to Slack from email for internal communication gives you a lot more transparency.

Stewart Butterfield

There’s a lot of automation that can happen that isn’t a replacement of humans but of mind-numbing behavior.

Stewart Butterfield

I love cities. New York, Montreal, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, L.A… but, I do choose to live in Vancouver. It’s home.

Stewart Butterfield

Hard numbers tell an important story; user stats and sales numbers will always be key metrics. But every day, your users are sharing a huge amount of qualitative data, too – and a lot of companies either don’t know how or forget to act on it.

Stewart Butterfield

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there has got to be a reason for what you’re doing. You actually have to care about what you’re doing. The business has to be about something. Whatever the point of it is does not have to be inconsistent with making money, but usually if that’s the sole reason, it is not very successful.

Stewart Butterfield

I see all kinds of people work hard all over the world, and some of them are barely making it. I don’t just mean subsistence farmers. I mean people in the developed world who work multiple jobs, and because the cost of health care and child care eats up almost all of the living they make.

Stewart Butterfield

I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. My dad became a real estate developer, and that work is usually project-based. You attract investors for a project with a certain life cycle, and then you move on to the next thing. It’s almost like being a serial entrepreneur, so I had that as an example.

Stewart Butterfield

There was a lot of dialogue between the people who were developing Flickr and their users to get feedback on how they wanted Flickr to develop. That interaction made the initial community very strong, and then that seed was there for new people who joined to make the community experience strong for them, too.

Stewart Butterfield

Email has the virtue – sounds like a bad thing, but it’s the virtue of being the lowest common denominator messaging protocol. Everyone can have it. It can cross organizational boundaries. No one owns it. It’s not some particular company’s platform.

Stewart Butterfield

Email is the lowest common denominator. It’s the way you get communications from one person to another. There isn’t really an alternative. Sometimes people will have Facebook messenger turned on, but 99 percent of the time, if you’re sending a message to a human you don’t know well, you’re using email.

Stewart Butterfield

I was pretty entrepreneurial as a kid. I had a lemonade stand. When I was 12, I arbitraged the price of 7-Eleven hot dogs; I’d buy the ones that are pre-wrapped with the bun and then sell them on the beach.

Stewart Butterfield

The experience of being able to search back over all your team’s communications for, in our case, millions of messages, is super-valuable. But you don’t know what that’s like until you actually have it.

Stewart Butterfield

It’s very difficult to design something for someone if you have no empathy.

Stewart Butterfield

A lot of companies lock up for a few weeks once a year for performance reviews. But there’s a way to collect feedback in real time from Slack so that by the end of the year, you’ve already stored up all of this information.

Stewart Butterfield

I no longer file expense reports, so I no longer experience the pain of it. What if everyone had a virtual assistant to do that kind of effort… like approving time off or submitting time-off requests? We want to really encourage developers to create cool things for Slack.

Stewart Butterfield

In software design, it’s all about making a guess, trying it, and then learning from the experience.

Stewart Butterfield

Flickr was designed partly to market itself. There are a lot features, in place early on, that let people take their photo, upload it to Flickr and post them elsewhere, on their own Web site or their blog, which meant a lot of incoming links.

Stewart Butterfield

I think we are reluctant to move people out of an organization when there is not a good fit. It is typically not because someone is stupid or lazy or incompetent; it is a lot more subtle than that.

Stewart Butterfield

We created materials to explain Slack to individuals – what it was for, how it worked, what you’re supposed to do – but we also built resources for team administrators. We wanted to give them ammunition to help convince the team.

Stewart Butterfield

I think tech lives inside of a society that still has a lot of systemic racism and doesn’t stop at the boundaries of the tech industry. But neither is it especially exacerbated by being around technology. But it is maybe exacerbated by the irrational decision making of people who are trying to make money.

Stewart Butterfield

I related to the whole hippie, acid-test confluence of the early Internet. The idea that we should be open and interoperate with our data resonated with me.

Stewart Butterfield

I had hippie parents, and I found it difficult to figure out how to rebel against them.

Stewart Butterfield

I related to the whole hippie, acid-test confluence of the early Internet. The idea that we should be open and interoperate with our data resonated with me.

Stewart Butterfield

I had hippie parents, and I found it difficult to figure out how to rebel against them.

Stewart Butterfield

What motivates me is just to do a really, really good job at something. If I were a better musician, I probably would’ve ended up as one.

Stewart Butterfield

I have a couple of things I do to clear my head when I need it. The first is exercise, the kind of exercise that makes me lie on the floor afterward gasping for breath and wonder if I’m actually going to be able to breathe enough to not die. The other one is playing music.

Stewart Butterfield

Inside a company, you can mandate that everyone use the same technology, which means you can go a little bit, I don’t know, higher fidelity than the lowest common denominator technology.

Stewart Butterfield

I learned so much in the year after Flickr was acquired. People forget, but Flickr launched in February 2004. And a year later, the deal was done with Yahoo, and we closed it in March of 2005. It was really independent for a relatively short period of time.

Stewart Butterfield

You may be trying to drive in a particular direction that people don’t necessarily understand at first. In our case, we knew the users we had in mind for this product. So in the early days, we looked at our customers, really just testers at that point, and we paid extra attention to the teams we knew should be using Slack successfully.

Stewart Butterfield

In Slack, you create channels to discuss different topics. For a small group of people, those channels are relatively easy to manage and navigate.

Stewart Butterfield

It’s hard to overestimate how much the perception of the quality of the V.C. firm you’re with matters – the signal it sends to other V.C.s, to potential employees, to customers, to the tech press. It’s like where you went to college.

Stewart Butterfield

I think of myself more as a designer than a serial entrepreneur. As a designer, the easiest way to see that something happens is to start a company and then be the boss, and then people have to do what you say.

Stewart Butterfield

When we first started Glitch, there were four co-founders of the company. We built Flickr and worked together at Yahoo and then started Tiny Speck. We were split in Vancouver, New York, and San Francisco. So we used an old chat technology called IRC. Almost nothing went through email.

Stewart Butterfield

A company like Adobe, there are dozens of different teams that are using Slack. Each of those elected to use Slack independently.

Stewart Butterfield

All the people on the Flickr team are committed to what we’re doing, which is to be the eyes of the world.

Stewart Butterfield

Slack is gratifying to work on in the same way that Flickr was. The mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant, more productive.

Stewart Butterfield

People sometimes forget how early Flickr came. Facebook didn’t add photo sharing till a year after Flickr was acquired by Yahoo.

Stewart Butterfield

For the first five years of my life, I grew up in a log cabin in coastal British Columbia in a very small town, like 300 people, mostly hippies. No running water, no electricity. When I was 12, I changed my name from Dharma to Stewart. At that age, you just want to be normal.

Stewart Butterfield

There’s a lot that’s wrong with the way we work – bad habits that develop around control of information, people hoarding information as a means of preserving their own power. When you’re using Slack, everyone can see what’s going on because the default mode is public.

Stewart Butterfield

From the outside, Yahoo was extremely successful. It was making money; it was still bigger than Google. But when I got there, I learned what a disaster of a company looks like from the inside. There were a lot of vice presidents, and it was basically a turf battle between them.

Stewart Butterfield

I tend to be a lot more honest and transparent with employees than most bosses are. But I’ve had people tell me – even those who love working with me – that I’m terrifying, which is hard for me to imagine.

Stewart Butterfield

People think I’m smart because Flickr was successful. I’m lucky. Maybe I’m smart, too. But, I’m lucky.

Stewart Butterfield

One of the advantages of something like Slack is that I tap on the app icon, and it’s just the people at my company and just the people I work with. There’s a strong boundary there which aids in comprehension. It’s one less molecule of glucose in my brain to manage it all.

Stewart Butterfield

At my first job in the mid-to-late ’90s, almost every product was from Microsoft. Everything was designed to work together – Windows for workgroups, shared M drives, etc., etc.

Stewart Butterfield

We’d never make Slack an email client, but it’s good to support sending emails into it. There’s quite a bit of formatting you can do. When I get an email from the outside world that I want to share with team, I cut and paste it into Slack. But really, I should be able to import that email as an object.

Stewart Butterfield

I rarely in a working day go more than 10 minutes without looking at Slack.

Stewart Butterfield

Those moments of play that we do get in meta-life, like playing music, or golf, or word-play, or flirting – those are some of the best parts about being alive.

Stewart Butterfield

The useful part of Microsoft was that everything worked together.

Stewart Butterfield

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