Tech Entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield Built Flickr And Slack While Playing Video Games

Anyone who says playing video games is a waste of time has not yet heard of Stewart Butterfield, founder of Slack and Flickr.

According to The Inquisitr, Flickr, which was Butterfield’s first successful venture, was sold to Yahoo for $40 million and now he is set to make even more money with his new workplace communication software, Slack.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Slack Technologies raised $120 million in a mega-round of financing that values the young company at $1.12 billion.

According to the Verge, Slack has spread like wildfire in the corporate world. Before February, no one had ever heard of Slack. Seemingly overnight, it was being used in every business in tech.

There are now more than 30,000 teams using Slack, a number that has doubled in just the past six weeks. While you can use Slack for free, 73,000 people are already paying customers, either individually or through their businesses. This makes it the fastest growing enterprise company in history.

Butterfield started the service as a by-product of an earlier gaming startup, Glitch, as a way for geographically dispersed team members to communicate with each other. When Glitch didn’t work out, they decided to see if Slack had legs of its own and seems to be part of a much wider trend, in the words of Butterfield.

Glitch was being built by a company called Tiny Speck, which Butterfield founded. When Glitch failed, Butterfield transitioned some of Tiny Speck’s staff alongside some hard-learned lessons about onboarding new users to build a commercial communication tool that Tiny Speck had used to build Glitch.

Flickr actually emerged in very much the same way — while Butterfield was in the process making video games through another company he founded, called Ludicorp. The service emerged from tools originally created for Ludicorp’s Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project, and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved.

In an interview with Fourtune, Butterfield revealed that he does not intend to sell Slack based on his experience with selling Flickr.

“There are four other people working with me who were on the original Flickr team and it was very frustrating for all of us. I’m 41 years-old now, and I’m not sure I’ll have this large an opportunity again. We’ve got no motivation to sell when there’s so much opportunity in front of us.”

Butterfield does indeed have a big opportunity before him, thanks to his love of video games.

[image credit: ReadWrite]