Slack has partnered with footwear brand Cole Haan to launch a unisex sneaker in the four colors of the Slack logo. This is the first time Slack—or really any major tech company, to our knowledge—has collaborated with a fashion brand.
Will people want to drop $120 on Slack-branded sneakers?
The partnership first came about in the lead-up to Slack’s IPO last summer. Cole Haan decided to create custom shoes for Stewart Butterfield and Cal Henderson, the company’s cofounders, as a surprise. That day at the Stock Exchange, Slack had little booths featuring products that companies had created entirely through the platform, including ice cream flavors and these sneakers. (Slack and Cole Haan created a Slack channel together to discuss all the details of the shoe and provide updates.) As Slack fans gathered to show their support, many wanted to know where they could buy the sneakers. In the months that followed, Cole Haan decided that a full-on collaboration made sense.
Over the past few years, Cole Haan has tried to stand out in the footwear market by investing in technology. Associating itself with Slack allows it to deepen its identity as a tech-forward brand.
Why it’s hot: This is an unexpected partnership that is mutually beneficial to both brand’s missions — a fun way to display the capabilities of Slack, and differentiating Cole Haan in the fashion landscape. Although it does seem like a miss that the shoes don’t have any unique capabilities beyond just slack-themed colorways.
Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield recently spoke to MIT Technology Review about the ways the company plans to use AI to keep people from feeling overwhelmed with data. Some interesting tidbits from the interview…
When asked about goals for Slack’s AI research group, Butterfield pointed to search. “You could imagine an always-on virtual chief of staff who reads every single message in Slack and then synthesizes all that information based on your preferences, which it has learned about over time. And with implicit and explicit feedback from you, it would recommend a small number of things that seem most important at the time.”
When asked what else the AI group was researching, Butterfield answered Organizational Insights. “I would—and I think everyone would—like to have a private version of a report that looks at things like: Do you talk to men differently than you talk to women? Do you talk to superiors differently than you talk to subordinates? Do you use different types of language in public vs. private? In what conversations are you more aggressive, and in what conversations are you more kind? If it turns out you tend to be accommodating, kind, and energetic in the mornings, and short-tempered and impatient in the afternoon, then maybe you need to have a midafternoon snack.”
Read more at MIT Technology Review.
Why It’s Hot
The idea of analyzing organizational conversation to learn about and solve collaboration and productivity issues is incredibly intriguing – and as always with these things, something to keep an eye on to ensure the power is used for good.