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What Slack’s search for feedback can teach us about sharing our ideas with others…

Last Updated:

March 22, 2024

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Did You Know? with Gorick is the weekly newsletter by Gorick Ng, Harvard career adviser and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of The Unspoken Rules, where we deconstruct the untold paths to success — of people (or things) you know!

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Did You Know? You should share your ideas with others!

(1) A story from the past

Did you know? Slack was acquired for $27.7 billion by Salesforce after only two years of operation.

How? Because its founder “begged and cajoled friends at other companies to try it out and give us feedback.”

The result? Slack’s founder, Stewart Butterfield, learned that small teams used Slack differently from larger teams—which was a blind spot that could have halted Slack’s growth had its founders not asked for feedback.

Stewart Butterfield, the founder of Slack, in 2019. Image via TechCrunch.

(2) A strategy for your future

Did you know? You aren’t doing yourself a favor by keeping your ideas to yourself.

Looking to improve your ideas like Slack? Try this:

(1) Think of something you’re working on (whether it’s a school project, a work assignment, or an idea for a side project).

(2) Think of the next person you’re about to text or talk to.

(3) In your next conversation, ask them, “By the way: Could I get your opinion on something?”

I know it because I’ve experienced it: This is what I did when I wrote The Unspoken Rules! I literally asked everyone I met for feedback, from colleagues to friends to even Uber/Lyft drivers.

My favorite line? Towards the end of the conversation, I’d ask, “Sorry, I’ve talked a lot and I’m not even sure if anything I said even makes sense. Could you please repeat back to me what you think this idea is about?”

Getting others to explain my idea in their own words is one of my favorite ways to figure out if my jumbled thoughts even make sense. The more the other person stumbles, the more work I know I need to do. The more the other person uses a certain word, the more I know that that word (or phrase) is what’s most memorable.

Ask around!


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