Matt Slack has been on Twitter for 13 years with the handle @slack. Slack, the chat-based collaboration app, has been on Twitter for six years with the handle @SlackHQ. Last week the two met — not on Twitter, or Slack, but in person at a company event marking Slack’s public debut on the New York Stock Exchange.
For purposes of making this story less confusing than a rambling Slack thread, let’s just refer to Slack the man as Matt. GeekWire caught up with him Monday via — sorry, Slack — a back and forth on Twitter.
Matt is a web developer at a small consultancy in Holland, Mich., called Collective Idea. He joined Twitter in 2006 and easily secured his last name as his handle — about seven years before Slack became a software tool / company. He has just over 1,000 followers.
“Slack has never tried to get it,” Matt said of the Twitter name. “We’ve had a friendly relationship for maybe four years now.”
When Slack emerged as a company in 2013, Matt didn’t give it much thought, until a few years later when his own company started using the tool. That created a bit of confusion for a guy who likes to go by his last name.
But having a Twitter handle that most folks want to associate with a now-$20 billion tech company is not a huge deal most of the time. He gets a fair share of rogue mentions, and most of them are positive or at least neutral, he said, adding that an outage a few years ago that lasted a couple hours did spark some outrage.
“I try to keep notifications turned off anyway, so I only see them when I look for them,” Matt said. “I used to get a lot more, but then I started blocking business publications (they like to retweet themselves, so every accidental mention turned into four or five). So now it’s mostly regular people, which is pretty manageable.”
Matt said he’s become Twitter friends with a number of people who work for Slack and he sends a holiday card to at least one of their offices every year. Sometimes he even answers support questions if they get sent to him by accident.
“Mostly I’m just happy they’re a product/service that’s not opposed to my values,” he said.
Anna Pickard, Slack’s creative director of voice and tone and words, invited him to last Thursday’s direct listing event and celebration in New York City. Matt said he made his own travel arrangements before the company had a chance to do anything for him.
“It was a really good time,” Mat said. “I never really expected to end up on the floor of the Stock Exchange, so it was pretty surreal. Everyone I met was super happy to see me, and get a selfie, or talk. One person actually screamed when she saw my name tag. So I guess that’s celeb-ish.”
On Friday, @SlackHQ — with 397,000 followers — gave a shout out to @slack on Twitter, calling Matt a “patient and delightful human.” Images showed him in front of the NYSE, posing with Cal Henderson, CTO and co-founder of Slack.
Yesterday was very exciting *partly* because many of us got to meet @slack, a patient and delightful human who has, for many years now, answered misdirected tweets with grace and humor. Thank you Matt, for letting us drag you to New York. We were honored to have you there. pic.twitter.com/GlQnUmjtyF
— Slack (@SlackHQ) June 21, 2019
Matt flew into New York the night before the event. On Thursday, there was a street party set up outside the Exchange with snacks and music. He stayed for a couple hours. He was supposed to fly out the evening after, but his flight got cancelled. So he ended up with about 42 hours in the city and enough time to do some tourist activity away from the Slack debut.
He hasn’t bought any shares of Slack yet, but plans to eventually buy one, for the fun of it. And it doesn’t appear that Matt is in any rush to flex his web development or Slack support skills and try for a job at Slack.
“San Francisco is great to visit, but I’m much happier with the cost of living where I’m at,” he said.