The Carousel Culture Podcast

We work hard to create an amazing company culture. Listen as we explore the subtle details of what makes Carousel an amazing place to work!

EP004 - Slack - The good, the bad, and the ugly with Joe B

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JJ Parker: All right, Joe, let's talk about slack. I want, I want to talk about how you use slack. What a noisy about slack, what you like about slack. And I want to hear some tips about using this tool.

Joe Bailey: Slack is a lot. Remember when it first came out, how it was like, oh wow. This is like, is it email?

JJ Parker: Yeah. Right?

Joe Bailey: room? is it? Yeah.

JJ Parker: cool. Let's be in here all the time. And now we're in there all the time. We're like, how do I get out of

Joe Bailey: do I,

JJ Parker: trapped?

Joe Bailey: how do I oh my God. I'm I'm in a hundred channels. What do I have to look at them all, all the time. like,

JJ Parker: like I think Slack's stated mission was to like replace email, but as far as I can tell them, like, yeah, you replaced email with something way more intrusive.

Joe Bailey: All right. You replaced it with like almost the feeling of being in a personal space. With everybody, you know what I mean? That's like,

JJ Parker: Yeah. So

Joe Bailey: new virtual office.

JJ Parker: in, I mean, obviously we're all in psych all day. It is the number one thing that connects us. So like mission accomplished, right? Like that is how we all feel connected to each other, but there's a, there's a, there's a dark side to that connection.

Joe Bailey: duck set of slack feeling the need to compulsively, check it all the time. Like, I mean, I, sometimes my thumb will just start doing this whether or not I'm holding my phone and I'm just like looking at slack of my head, checking for updates.

JJ Parker: Imagine you have like fantasy slacks. Well, Okay, let's go over the good of slack. Okay. We'll start with the good, cause we're positive people. Slack. I can hit up someone get a quick answer. Yup.

Joe Bailey: Instant communication.

JJ Parker: I can kind of like spy in on different channels and kind of get a gist of what's going on. Right. Without having to be like completely part of the conversation.

Right. Funny stuff happens,

Joe Bailey: Funny stuff happens. Yeah.

JJ Parker: know, funny memes and stuff.

Joe Bailey: and integrations with other stuff. So you don't have to be, you know, like that's a huge one. I mean, I don't need to check everything because everything integrates with it already,

JJ Parker: Oh, right. So yeah, you've got channels for your job. Probably set up to like notify

Joe Bailey: oh yeah.

JJ Parker: things happen, servers go up or,

Joe Bailey: the robots tell the robots and then slack tells me,

JJ Parker: yeah.

So who's really in charge here is that you are the robots.

Joe Bailey: we haven't decided yet. It's a point of contention between us. Yeah.

JJ Parker: So there's like less a good ad. And I mean, like I do almost all my, yeah, all my talking with people while they're typing or, or slack, you know, huddles or whatever, and groups, group work and everything works great.

Joe Bailey: Some of those struggles, you know, like I said, like I noticed before, like, you know, like it's hard to keep up cause they add new features all the time. Right. So where it's like, oh my gosh, like, I didn't know I could do it. I didn't know. I could look at two channels at once in a split-screen view, which you can

JJ Parker: Oh, you can. Oh, I had no

Joe Bailey: yep. So you can open the whole channel just in a sidebar. If you want to keep an eye on two channels at once. It's neat. It kinda like brings the concept of a thread. And visually for you.

JJ Parker: no, that's cool.

Joe Bailey: Another cool thing. When I was like, oh, I have so many channels and they're all lighting up all the time.

And I always just do a quick check them to the point where it's like, I just want the light to go out. I don't even read, you know, it's

JJ Parker: Yeah, right? No. Yeah. Right. You just got to get the

Joe Bailey: take a deep breath. Yeah. So I started grouping my channels. You can group them in nest.

JJ Parker: Oh, seriously.

Joe Bailey: area. Yeah. So like, you can have, you know, I have one for like funny stuff, you know, not, you know, the whole, when one channel gets a notification or not even a notification, just like lights up a little bit, the whole group of light up, and then you can uncollapse the tree and then drill down to what you need, which is

JJ Parker: Oh, cool. I had no

Joe Bailey: Yeah. So yeah, I've got like six different groups. So now all of my channel groups, like I have my main starred ones, which I'm checking all the time and then I've got all the groups that are like optional.

JJ Parker: Got

Joe Bailey: Yeah. So that's neat.

JJ Parker: Oh, you're also talking earlier. You're talking about like delay, delaying a

Joe Bailey: yes. Yes. If if you're like me and you're thinking about carousel at midnight laying in bed and you're like, oh, I should really talk to that person about it. But I know I'm going to forget,

JJ Parker: you don't want to forget. And you also don't want to look like a psycho that's like laying

Joe Bailey: Yeah, right. Which everybody does like it doesn't make you crazy. It doesn't make you crazy.


JJ Parker: They got me tested it. Doesn't make you crazy.

Joe Bailey: There is a little button next to the send button where you can schedule messages to go, to send that.

JJ Parker: Oh, like a delayed

Joe Bailey: delayed sat in the app, so you can schedule it for nine o'clock, 10 o'clock you can, you know so if you're really just like, okay, I need to talk to all these people tomorrow morning and I don't want to forget, but you know, you're going to forget, then you can queue everything up and send. it right then.

JJ Parker: that's a good idea because I send like S like ideas to Amber at all hours of the day, but I don't really intend for her to do anything with them. I it's almost like I want you to talk to me about this. Later. So if I could just send it later, it'd probably be way better because then we could just chat about it like the next morning, but you're right.

But I use it to not forget.

Joe Bailey: And you can cancel if you read the, if you, if you you know, like queue up something and then you change your mind, if you can, can't cancel it too. It's not like, oh no,

JJ Parker: Yeah.

Joe Bailey: I made a huge mistake.

JJ Parker: What what generally annoys you about slack?

Joe Bailey: Loss of context, you know, and tone like sometimes like like, well, there's a couple of major things. Like,

JJ Parker: like like tone from the other

Joe Bailey: From the other person, right? Because it's like, oh no, the punctuation, Like are you yelling that? Cause there's an exclamation point or

JJ Parker: is JJ being such a Dick about

Joe Bailey: right. One word answers. Oh no. Is that, there's a, if something really important is unfolding there's this?

thing that happens is I call it this like.

Where you've got a whole lot of really important information that is slowly disappearing, like the star wars credits, right? So like, oh no. How am I ever going to find it? Cause it doesn't have like a lot of keywords and it's really common keywords. So like Having, you know, like a real, you know, sometimes when there's something exciting going on, like if there's an outage or a customer problem, it turns into a telanovela and people sit there with popcorn.

And every once in a while they chime in, it's like, is this somebody doing something about this? Like, this looks really serious, you know, when it's like, no, I know it's exciting, but.

JJ Parker: So that's interesting, a bit interesting. Like if we're like maybe a physically in an office, like he'd maybe be like in a meeting room,

Joe Bailey: be in a meeting

JJ Parker: the workout, but it's like actually allows other

Joe Bailey: Everybody's in the meeting room,

JJ Parker: like It's like, it's like it's like a, one of those like surgery, like

Joe Bailey: operating theater. It's the operating theater for sure. And people chime in and like, Hey, don't stitch that up yet.

JJ Parker: Yeah. You dropped a junior

Joe Bailey: Right. Are you sure you're going to surgery like that? That's not how I would do

JJ Parker: The other thing I don't like about slack is in that, in, in, in some of those situations where there's like a lot of stuff happening. I'll forget. Or like someone will actually, if someone sends me something in slack and I have to take action on it and I read it and then I go do something else in slack, then it's like gone, like it vanishes into like the black hole of slack.

And it's like I don't mean to ignore it, but I just simply forget because it's like stuff in slack is so temporary. It just doesn't even make an impression in my brain.

Joe Bailey: And marking is unread is not, you know, not as effective as email, you know? I know, I think there might be a way and I'll do a little more research on it, but like to turn messages into reminders too,

JJ Parker: I that's my trick. That's oh, that's a trick I'll share with you. Yeah. You can take a message and you can click a little dots and say, remind me

Joe Bailey: Yeah, there you

JJ Parker: in 30 minutes an hour tomorrow, I use that all the time. It's like really the only way I can remember to do anything and.

Joe Bailey: nice. I should replace my tiny notebook with, because that's what my tiny notebook is. As a reminded me later, it works. And when I can read it, I've got the handwriting of a doctor, but oh,

JJ Parker: The other thing that I think is interesting with slack is like the expectation of how fast you should reply to it. Like, have you been replying to slack messages while we've been on this, on this

Joe Bailey: I've been pretty good. Only a couple, just a cup

JJ Parker: Only emojis,

Joe Bailey: when I was pointing down when I was pointing up.

JJ Parker: but there is like, I feel like there is like, for us, there's a cultural norm around like this thing is you respond to her immediately. I, I don't know that that's the healthy way to use that.

Joe Bailey: I don't think it is. I mean, I think there's certainly

you know, for the situations that warrant a quick response and expectations should be set there, but like if somebody just floats a question in, you know, like, It is kind of hard. Cause I'll check, I'll check something, I'll be eating my lunch and I'll notice something in slack and be like, oh, I have an answer for that.

And so I'll set my sandwich down and then pretty soon I'm like right back, you know? So it was pressure to respond right away. And then there's like an expectation that you'll get a response right away. Which I think the only thing is to like, you know, within your teams or to set expectations just be really like, open about it.

It's like, how quick do you want answers for this stuff? I understand if, you know, if the Hindenburgs on fire, we're going to need to get some buckets of water out there right away. But if it's sales

JJ Parker: that's a, that's a super good suggestion. Like have a discussion with the people you work with the most about the expectations of how fast you respond.

Joe Bailey: Yeah, definitely.

JJ Parker: I do think it's ironic that the name of the thing is slack, which, which to me like gives an impression that, that there would be like a variable amount of time.

You know, it's a flowy thing. It's not, you know, they should have called the like, you know, Respond right now,

Joe Bailey: urgent.

JJ Parker: like yeah, emergency everything's an emergency. Well, it was a good conversation because I love the idea that everyone should work with their own team and set like the cultural norm around how you use slack as a tool.

And I would say that we should, we should watch our, like, from. We should wash ourselves about like being too responsive to slack. Right? Like, let's make sure that we are using the tool like that serves us best and not sort of being manipulated by the like pings and notifications and see me in urgency that the tool kind of like makes us

Joe Bailey: Yeah. Use your, do not disturb. Like I started doing that, like pausing notifications at night. Like, you know, like, cause I know I'm a compulsive compulsive checker. I'm always like, you know, if I'm on my laptop, it's like, Oh I may as well just have slack open. I may as well just having an email

JJ Parker: Yeah. Yeah.

Joe Bailey: when reality I should just go outside like

JJ Parker: call. Yeah. I turned slack notifications off on my phone, like completely, because I was like, this thing is too. It's like it's grabbing my attention way too much and it's not even healthy and I didn't even do anything with it. I'm just going to like,

Joe Bailey: I'll be looking at slack on my phone while I'm in front of my computer to like, there's no reason for that, but I definitely am guilty of that. Yeah. That's a good takeaway. I, shouldn't do that on my phone as well.

JJ Parker: Cool. Well this was awesome. And I'll see you on slack.

Joe Bailey: Yep. Sounds good. I'll slack. you right after this.