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Businesses Software Technology

Billionaire Brothers Want to Build a Cheaper Rival to Slack (bloomberg.com) 93

Saritha Rai, writing for Bloomberg: A teenage entrepreneur who became a millionaire by 20 before sharing a billion-dollar fortune at 36, Bhavin Turakhia isn't afraid to think big. Now he's putting $45 million of his own money into building a rival to Slack and other office messaging platforms. Flock, a cloud-based team collaboration service, has attracted 25,000 enterprise users and customers including Tim Hortons, Whirlpool and Princeton University. It's a market that has already drawn interest from global technology giants Facebook, Amazon.com and Microsoft. This time last year, few had heard of Bhavin and his younger brother Divyank. That changed when they sold their advertising technology company Media.net, with customers including Yahoo, CNN and the New York Times, to a Chinese consortium for $900 million. The all-cash deal catapulted the duo from mere millionaires into the ranks of the super-rich. "I want to make Flock bigger and better than anything I've built before," Bhavin Turakhia, wearing his signature dark Levi's T-shirt and Puma sweatpants, said at his Bangalore offices.
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Billionaire Brothers Want to Build a Cheaper Rival to Slack

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  • by oldmacdonald ( 80995 ) <<johnasmolin> <at> <aim.com>> on Thursday August 31, 2017 @02:48PM (#55118031)

    That's cheaper than slack

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2017 @02:58PM (#55118093)

      I think you meant "IRC is still free IIRC."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      although it really needs the format converted to JSON and support for SCTP for doing voice and video applications with it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        HIPSTER ALERT!!!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        msgpack is more efficient.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Jabba, xmpp. But regardless, Social media has become the new Internet Explorer to the internet. I'd say all communication platforms should comply with open standards that allow for extension and growth. The problem is that none of it is. We have IRC (rfc1459) we have xmpp (rfcXYXYX) and then the populated platforms run on totally un-standardised closed platforms. I'd say both Apple and Google would welcome such an initiative.

      Social media should be decentralised it should interconnected and controlled by cho

    • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:08PM (#55118189)

      Mattermost is also free, self-hostable, and *very* Slack-like. I like it better.

    • by Afty0r ( 263037 )
      Sweet, what's the API like?
    • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:35PM (#55118365) Journal
      IRC doesn't let you see history without special bots and shit, it doesn't have built-in screen sharing or video, etc. I wish peolple would stop bringing up IRC as if it was really a competitor.
      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        The easiest way is to have an archive on a webserver somewhere and just a normal IRC client. If that isn't sufficient - congratulations you turned chat into email. Have fun.
        • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:58PM (#55118585) Journal
          Oh please. People go with these new systems because it provides all this without hacking together 10 different systems and holding it together with ducktape... not to mention their app support is actually good, they meet business security practices, integrate with existing IT infrastructure, handle 2-factor auth systems, etc. It's nothing like email give me a break. Even fucking gmail has a separate chat option and it's the best email client out there.
          • Yahoo Mail is better than GMail at this point.Gmail hasn't added any quality-of-life improvements in years. I'd be curious as to what all the engineers that support GMail actually do since Marissa Myers left.

          • by Luthair ( 847766 )
            People went with Slack because its trendy, no other reason. A number of good tools already existed in the space.
      • IRC doesn't let you see history without special bots and shit, it doesn't have built-in screen sharing or video, etc. I wish peolple would stop bringing up IRC as if it was really a competitor.

        Indeed. These are all reasons why it's better than Slack [he wrote, stroking his grey beard and frowning at the children frolicking perilously close to his lawn].

        'round these parts, we use RocketChat, which the Slack fans claim is a pale imitation. But I've seen some Slack demos and don't grasp the attraction. I'd take RC over Slack, IRC over RC, and Usenet over IRC. I've never found live messaging very useful.

    • by Ayano ( 4882157 )
      Ham Radio is also still free. Why don't we all use that? Hmm.
    • Only if you aren't hosting a server. It would still probably be $2-$3 a month to host a micro VM in the cloud.

      What really cracks me up is this comment:

      Criticism about being a copycat doesnâ(TM)t faze Bhavin and neither does Slackâ(TM)s high profile investors and lofty valuation.

      Copycat? Of what? Slack?! I like slack but Slack is just a copycat of AIM groups.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Indeed what we need is yet another communication/messaging platform. Preferably one that is closed/proprietary and a walled garden.

    Hooray.

    • Actually, considering how big of a resource hog slack is, I'd love some competition.
      • by jmccue ( 834797 )

        And this is when I wish I had mod points.

        It is pretty sad when accessing slack via firefox uses less resources than the slack client. Makes you wonder what that client is doing :)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    what would you need billionaires to help with?

  • I'm glad that TFA granted the courtesy of letting us know what Bhavin was wearing, as this has very important technical relevance.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    With Mattermost there is also an open source alternative to slack which companies can host on there own.
    The pricing model for enterprise users is also very competitive.

  • by martiniturbide ( 1203660 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:06PM (#55118157) Homepage Journal
    Check Riot (Client) and Matrix.org
  • Discord [discordapp.com] already exists, and is free. It is a service meant for gamers first and foremost, but I, along with a lot of my colleagues, use it for a lot of non-gaming conversation, with Discord "rooms" for programming, organizing events, etc..
    • My kids have been using this for a couple years now, this is the first time I have seen mention of it online anywhere.
    • Dont fall in love with Discord, its only a matter of time until it becomes a massive ad-platform. Anything like this that is run from a centralized client is doomed to suck. If you want voice chat, pop up a self-hosted server, its absolutely trivial to do.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:09PM (#55118195) Homepage

    And then we'll cash out once you suckers feed us enough of that info.

    I don't get it, why would large companies not control this kind of service themselves for security reasons?

    • by nnet ( 20306 )
      because your workers are not in the office, and when your companys network goes down for any reason, the workers/mgmt can still communicate with each other.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    MatterMost is free, it looks and feels exactly like Slack. Problem solved.

  • Mattermost! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @03:14PM (#55118235)

    I use Slack daily at work, and a self-hosted Mattermost instance daily for personal projects with other remote participants. I much prefer Mattermost.

    At work I'll frequently make the mistake of trying to format my messages with markdown, because I'm so used to Mattermost offering this feature.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are three viable alternatives to Slack that are pretty much the same thing.
    Rocket.chat even offers it's own hosting on a server basis, not a per user basis, making it significantly cheaper.

    These guys didn't do any market research before they thought of their idea eh?

  • Oh, good. Because if there's one thing missing from the world, it's another messaging app.

  • No Linux client? Would it really be THAT expensive? There are big companies, especially in the software development business, where engineering department runs Linux as their desktop OS. For such companies luck of Linux support is a deal breaker.
  • by shellster_dude ( 1261444 ) on Thursday August 31, 2017 @04:31PM (#55118815)
    There are already a million other options: Hipchat, Mattermost, Rocketchat, Lets-Chat, Discord...
  • We've already seen how Slack is a POS because it consumes resources like nobody's business - they just can't code crap.

    I mean, I hated it because it consumed 30% of the CPU - both in the browser and the "app" (which was just a browser on its own), showing me they can't code for the web worth crap.

    Doubly so when Discord I can have it open in a browser and it idles at 0%.

    So all you need to do is make it friendly on lower end machines and consume few resources and you will wonder how Slack gets away with their

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