Stewart Butterfield: From Failure To $8 Billion Slack

This is the story of how Stewart Butterfield built an $8 billion company by refusing to let his failures define him.


The man walks into the room — before starting his talk he looks around. Everyone is here: his employees and stakeholders. He can feel the nervousness in the room. He stands up and with a heavy heart he starts talking. He doesn’t even get to the first sentence and he begins to cry.


A little over a year ago his team successfully raised $17.5 million in funding. The money was used to develop his massively multiplayer game. Unfortunately although they managed to build an enthusiastic community around the game, it failed to attract a sufficiently large audience. He had the unpleasant task of announcing his decision to close the game down. The investors wanted to keep the game going; the other co-founders wanted to give it another shot. But it was apparent to him that continuing wouldn’t ever result in something economically viable, or even sustainable.

It was his second attempt to develop an online game. He started his first project 8 years before, but the game didn’t take off. One night, while trying to recover from food poisoning in a hotel, he got this novel idea: what if people could share photos with other people? This feature was already built within the game. It only needed a few adjustments and it was good to go.

Soon enough, his online photo sharing platform became increasingly popular and was acquired by a large internet services company only a year later after it launched.

Although he managed to pivot his failure into a new successful product, he didn’t give up on his dream of building a multiplayer online role-playing game. Talking to his employees and stakeholders, he realized it was time for him to acknowledge that it was never going to happen. Not in the foreseeable future anyway. He ends the meeting in a shaky voice and everyone leaves the room. He looks out the window and lets his mind wander.


Forty years ago he was a seven-year old boy staring with curious eyes at this new thing his parents had just brought home. It was a computer. Two years earlier he and his parents were living in a log cabin with no running water, in a small fishing village in British Columbia called Lund. His parents had managed to earn a little more money, so they afforded to move to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada.

Getting a computer was a life-changing experience for the young boy. Thanks to his first computer, he taught himself to code and fell irrevocably in love with tech. While in college he earned extra money designing web pages.

As a young man he created a contest called “The 5K competition”. The contest encouraged people to design websites in under 5 kilobytes. The contest took off and became unexpectedly huge, in every country in the world.

Standing in his office, wondering what to do next, he remembers the immense pleasure and sense of fulfilment he felt while working on his first computer. That’s when it hit him! The idea for his next project came naturally because it was staring him in the face. His second game may be a flop but the app his team had developed while working for the game had all the makings of a successful product. He jumps from his chair and almost runs out of the office looking for his team colleagues. He had a strong feeling that his idea would be a great success.

The man in our story is Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr and Slack.

Slack, the instant-message-based team communication tool was launched in 2013; 8,000 customers signed up for the service within 24 hours of its launch. As of May 2018, Slack has 8 million daily users, 3 million of whom have paid accounts. According to Forbes, Slack is now valued at an estimated $8.3 billion.

And it all started…when education happened.

Stewart Butterfield is a world-changer. The next one could be YOU!

This Christmas take one step closer to the future you want for yourself (or for your beloved ones) and invest in education!

Get your ticket for BRAND MINDS 2019 here and enjoy the BRAND MINDS Success Box for Free!


sources: businessinsider.com, forbes.com, moneyinc.com, medium.com

10 things you might not know about Lenja Faraguna

She was declared one of 12th World Changers by the New York Times Bestselling author Roy H. Williams and one of 40th most influential radio personalities under 40 by the Radio Advertising Bureau USA. Lenja Faraguna believes that “for your marketing to be supremely effective you don’t need a degree in marketing but in humanity.” This thought is the biggest lessons she’s learned in the last 12 years as an entrepreneur and coach and it is the DNA of her mission in life.

More things about her that you might not know:


1.The old marketing, the screaming one, discount throwing and narcisistic one is dead, because it yells, lies, undervalues and is loathed by most people.

2. She has a Bachelor degree in Philosophy, English and American Studies and Semiotics of Advertising at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria.

3. She is the founder of Worldchangers Slovenia – the embassy of Slovenian entrepreneurs who are brave, give a damn, make money and change the world. A melting pot of knowledge, opportunity, ass-kicking environment and the first marcareting academy for smaller Slovenian entrepreneurs called “Crazy diamonds”.

4. She believes that everybody is unique in the world and she supports that. “There is no one like you. There was a 1: 400 trillion chance for you to be born. Even if someone has the same product/service, all the other components that make up a (PERSONAL) BRAND are unique to you! ONLY YOU! Yet most of the time, you do not show this uniqueness through your marketing = your communication with the outside world,” she write on http://ilovemarcareting.com/.

5. Success starts with yourself. Say YES to yourself and customers out there who are waiting for you to make their lives better. You will re-brand your MINDSET, re-brand your (personal) brand and finally give you tools to do marketing the modern way as marCAREting – so you can achieve a game changing success.

6. She believes marcareting works only when you CARE. About yourself and the others.

7. She is “nakedly” honest. “I’m real, raw, honest and I will call you up on your bull**it, spin your mindset and you will have to put in the work and go into action. Why? Because I believe that “ACTIONS are the endangered species in the world, not IDEAS”.

8. She doesn’t hide anymore. She admits her failures and learned from them. She had a major personal and business collapse in 2012 and when it couldn’t go lower it went up. She has risen like a phoenix, from her own ashes. She went from “bribing” her friends and dad to come to her seminars in 2011 for free, … to speaking to thousands all over Slovenia and Europe, at TEDx and on May 22nd 2017 with Gary Vaynerchuk, Robert Murray, Dr Kjell A. Nordström and Dr Jonas Ridderstråle (Funky Business)Julian Treasure (multi TED talk speaker) at Brands Minds Summit in Bucharest in front of 900 people!

9. She has worked with 134 start-ups as a mentor. She co-founded Club 466 International, where she sharpens the business diamonds of women leaders.

10. She loves the weather before the storm and Madness’ song “How can I tell you” and Xavier Naidoo song “Bitter hör nicht aud zu Träumen”, because they sum up my values about life and communication.





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