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Enterprise Startups

Stewart Butterfield and the Changing of the SaaS Guard

Slack’s listing got a lot of attention for its unusual structure. No underwriters, as is standard in a traditional initial public offering. No weeks on the road pitching the company to investors in hotel meeting rooms. Just let the shares float and see what happens. (As an aside, it seems like the banks were quite involved behind the scenes, but that’s another topic for another day.)

And amid all the attention, I couldn’t help but think how Slack is unusual in another way. While a number of startups like Uber were rocked by scandals and cultural issues on their path to rocketship growth, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield—and by extension his company—has been remarkably controversy free.

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