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By the Workplace team
September 18, 2022

PRESENTED BY

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Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Hope you survived Zoom’s big outage of 2022. For me it was the most welcome 502 gateway error of all time. Today, some startup founders are wondering if Slack is worth the time we waste on it. Plus, designers are unhappy about Adobe buying Figma and more layoffs are coming to the tech industry.

— Meg Morrone, senior editor (email | twitter)

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Can your team survive without Slack? 

 

Slack is as ubiquitous as the fax machine and the printer were in the office of the ‘90s. Workers have even gone so far as to turn down a job offer if the company uses Microsoft Teams instead. But some tech leaders are starting to wonder if the emoji-filled messaging tool is getting in the way of real work.

  • “In the early days, it was fun, pre-pandemic. Post-pandemic, it’s become so exhaustive in terms of one’s own time, productivity, well-being, etc., because there’s just this constant need to get back to people,” says Vivek Sodera, co-founder of the $30-a-month email tool Superhuman.
  • Abe Winter, founder of the early-stage book meetup app Klerb, wrote a blog post in 2018 criticizing Slack as allowing “your worst people to overwhelm your best” by interrupting and distracting them.
  • The challenge is that Slack has bad “message discipline,” Winter told Protocol, which leaves users needing to read every message in a channel in order to monitor it for information that might be important to them.

Slack knows you’re stressed. Slack’s VP of product, Ali Rayl, has admitted that overwhelm is a real problem when it comes to the product, and the company is constantly iterating to improve.

  • “What have we done with the visual presentation of Slack activity that's making people stressed out?” Rayl asked in a June interview. “How can we change that visual presentation to just lower the temperature a little bit?”
  • Spokesperson Lauren McDevitt pointed out in an email to Protocol that the app is customizable to different work styles.
  • Users wanting a quieter experience can pause notifications, set Do Not Disturb hours and limit the channels shown in the sidebar.

Use Microsoft Teams because it’s boring. Amal Dorai, a partner at Anorak Ventures who spent over six years at Microsoft after it bought his collaboration software startup LiveLoop, said there’s an upside to Microsoft Teams’ relative unpleasantness.

  • “People get in and get out, said Dorai. “You need to send a message to someone about some service being down and you send it. You don’t go and hang out and talk about your weekend and stuff.”

Read the full story on Protocol.com.

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Designers are freaked about the Adobe-Figma deal 

 

Design Twitter was ablaze in the wake of the announcement that Adobe would be buying Figma. The news is divisive to say the least, and people have been posting memes galore. Michael McWatters, director of product design at HBO Max, said the deal makes sense to him, though it is surprising that the startup with the “Adobe killer” mantra was now going to become part of Adobe. He shares designers’ concerns about what this means for Figma’s customer strategy.

“While I love some Adobe products, Adobe has taken some particularly cavalier approaches towards their customers, in my opinion,” McWatters said. “Whereas Figma has always been particularly customer-centric.”

From the outset, Figma had ambitions to unseat Adobe’s design tools. But it built a very separate identity. Users quickly found CEO Dylan Field’s tweet from January 2021 asserting that “our goal is to be Figma not Adobe.”

“We want to retain our identity, our community, our brand, our platform,” Field told Protocol in an interview after the acquisition news broke. “I don't necessarily disagree with myself in January 2021. I also think it's kind of funny that people are amplifying it so much, but that's Twitter."

Read the full story on Protocol.com.

A MESSAGE FROM CIRCLE

USD Coin (USDC) is the institutional grade stablecoin. Monthly attestations show exactly what reserves back USDC, and businesses all over the world are using USDC to build the next generation of financial services and global payment applications.

Learn why institutions trust USDC at Circle’s Transparency & Stability Hub

Some personnel news

 

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We’re here to help.

⬇️ What are anti-racist layoffs?

⬇️ Google might need to “restructure teams” and “eliminate roles.”

⬇️ Get ready for the white-collar recession.

For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

A MESSAGE FROM CIRCLE

USD Coin (USDC) is the institutional grade stablecoin. Monthly attestations show exactly what reserves back USDC, and businesses all over the world are using USDC to build the next generation of financial services and global payment applications.

Learn why institutions trust USDC at Circle’s Transparency & Stability Hub

Around the internet

 

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

STAT: “Men in their prime working years, from 25 to 54, have retreated from the workforce relative to February 2020, while women have bounced back.” (Seattle Times)

“Must handle stress well,” and other phrases that you need to immediately delete from your job posting. (The Wall Street Journal)

Shopify wants to make compensation less complex. (Twitter)
 

The only Excel tip you’ll ever really need. (TikTok)

 

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com.

 

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