Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in early-stage startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the PNW

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What It's Like To Run Slack Right Now

Cool thread from Stewart Butterfield (CEO of Slack) on what it’s like to run a public company and make decisions on what to share on an earnings call during a crisis. Long-ish read, so here are some of the highlights:

  • Mon, 3/2 - Fewer than 100 COVID cases in US
  • Thu, 3/5 - Board meeting. Approved fiscal year budget, target, and forecasts. Felt confident for next week’s earnings call
  • Fri, 3/6 - Decided to ask all employees to work from home
  • Mon, 3/9 - After the S&P 500 dropped 7% in six minutes and markets are halted, revised their earnings script and guidance
  • Wed, 3/11 - Prepped again for media interviews and earnings calls. Decided to adjust guidance again.
  • Thu, 3/12 - Earnings call day. Markets plunged again. Metrics looked good, but impact of COVID was still unclear. More customers need Slack than ever before, but enterprises are sure to cut spend, and smaller customers are likely to go out of business
  • Instead of averaging out the best and worst cases to draw a line in the middle, Slack guided to the downside, and the stock dropped 20%

Since then, Slack’s stock has recovered to pre-COVID levels, and they have added nearly as many users in half of Q1 than they did in all of Q3 and Q4 of last year, but wow - it must be quite a roller coaster over there right now!


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