Powering the Grid Event by Slack: SLI at Slack by Noah Weiss and Isaiah Greene


– Good morning everybody. We’re excited today to talk to you about our SLI team’s mission to make Slack smarter and
your company more productive the more that you use Slack. We’ve been making major investments in search machine learning,
and applying those to Slack so that we can make better sense of all the knowledge within your company and build a work raft of how the people and channels and topics
are all interconnected. We’ll make it fast to get answers to any questions that you
might have through search, and then, over time,
Slack should start to feel like this instantly responsive agent that helps you focus on reading
what’s most important first, catch up quickly, and
discover conversations you otherwise would have missed. But before we go into all
the details of the features, we want to give you a better sense of some of the motivating problems that our team is focused on. So in an ideal world, all
these knowledge workers sitting here today would probably
spend of most of our week coming up with creative new ideas, brainstorming with colleagues at a gratuitously large whiteboard
and moving projects forward. But in reality, we spend
so much of our week on the most mundane parts of work. About 30% of our time is spent just keeping up with
digital communication, email is a primary culprit there, and 20% of our time is just getting answers to questions internally. So what might that look like
with a simple question like what is my 401k matching plan? You’d probably start off
by asking your manager, who, maybe a couple hours
later, would get back to you and say “I’ve got to ask my manager.” And then a day later,
you’d finally hear back the name of the person
that you try to talk to. These games of telephone can take hours, if not days, to complete. We want to short-circuit that with the work that
we’re doing here on SLI. You heard Stuart talk about two decades of being able to find pretty much anything you want on the internet, but search in the workspace
has lagged far behind. We’re fixing that here at Slack. We want to augment your ability to get these every day, boring,
mundane tasks done faster so you can go back to doing your best, most creative work with your team. So what dos short-circuiting that game of telephone actually entail? We want to give knowledge
workers three main superpowers: first, getting instant answers
to questions internally, whether the best answer
is a relevant message, an expert within your company, an important file, a trending link, or even a third party integration; second, we wanna help you
be able to catch up quickly when you inevitably fall behind and focus on reading the
most important things first, directly tackling the problem
of information overload; and finally, we wanna make sure that you never miss out on
important conversation, getting you a better
pulse of what’s happening across your entire organization. Over time, this should make Slack feel like an increasingly
deep understanding of the people and topics
that you care most about. And now, Isaiah is gonna walk you through some of the exciting
features we have on deck for the year, powered by this foundation. – Thanks, Noah. In search, our primary
goal is to deliver a fast, personalized, and
universal search experience so that people in teams of all sizes can search through their
company’s collective knowledge. With the work we’re doing on SLI, people should spend less time
searching for what they need and more time getting things done. Recently, we launched Top Results, a feature that automatically
ranks and prioritizes relevant results and places them right at the top of your search page. It’s the start to Slack delivering instant answers to
questions through search. In the coming months, we’ll be releasing a host of search features
to help with our goal. The first is universal search. This is a unified search experience that delivers not just messages, but relevant results across
all types of information. So let’s say you search
“website redesign project.” With universal search, instead of just getting messages
that match those words, instead, you’ll get the people
involved on the project, the related files you’ve
all been working on, and channels where the
project has been discussed. All in a single set of results. The second feature we’ll be
releasing is smart filters, which intelligently suggest ways to quickly refine your search and narrow your results to find exactly what you’re looking for. The more you use these filters
the better Slack becomes at making suggestions to
help you find what you need. Okay, so that was search, now onto how we’ll help you focus and catch up. We’re working on an
intelligent layer in Slack to help you focus on the people, channels, and topics that
are most relevant to you. In August 2016, we launched personalized channel suggestions to help you discover new
channels central to your work and curate your channel list
to manage communication. We’ve noticed that these suggestions are accepted at an incredibly high rate, which shows us that people are looking for more ways to focus
their experience in Slack. The first of two upcoming features we’ll be releasing to help with focus and catch up is channel highlights. After you’ve been away
from Slack for some time, this feature highlights
key unread messages to help you quickly skim and navigate to important messages you
might have otherwise missed. And lastly, in the coming months, we’ll be releasing daily briefings. This is a single streamlined
view of the most important, relevant conversations happening in Slack, so you can quickly catch up and stay up to date on the
latest at your company. Imagine coming back to
Slack after a vacation or even after a really long meeting, which I know might start to feel like the same thing for some
of you, and that’s okay, but instead of coming back to Slack and simply seeing the
last channel you were in, daily briefings services the most relevant and important information so you can get up to speed
and get back to work. That was just a brief overview of a few features we have coming from the Search Learning
Intelligence team in 2017. – Thanks, Isaiah, for
walking through all of those. I know I’m at least excited
to start using them every day. So if we can really deliver
on this mission for SLI, then we can actually help realize some of the original vision for Slack, which was actually given an
acronym after it was named of a Searchable Log of All
Conversation and Knowledge. We can make sense of all the workflows that happen throughout your company, so we can build a work raft for organizations of all sizes, powering an ever more
personalized intelligent version of Slack for everybody at your company. Get instant answers to
even the hardest questions, built on top of the collective
knowledge of your team. Over time, we’ll enhance
your ability to keep up with all the information that’s
flowing through Slack. Imagine spending ten minutes
catching up when you get back from a business trip instead
of probably four hours. Imagine getting instant
alerts for the most important discussions happening in real time, instead of missing out on
critical conversations. Imagine how much time and energy Slack could save you every single day. These features are just the beginning of us making Slack
smarter, and your company more productive the more they use Slack.

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