Meet April Underwood, Slack’s chief product officer who is helping it get ready for a new cycle of growth

April Underwood Slack

After more than two years at Slack, April Underwood recently got promoted to be its chief product officer.
The Texas native has helped head up product teams at tech companies for more than a decade, with previous stints at both Google and Twitter.
Now it’s her job to help Slack prepare for its next phase of growth.

When Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield asked April Underwood to be the company’s first-ever chief product officer earlier this year, she wasn’t surprised.

For most of her time at the company, Underwood, who previously managed product teams at both Twitter and Google, had worked side-by-side with Butterfield to oversee Slack’s product teams. But the company had reached a size where it just didn’t make sense for its CEO to be so deeply involved in what gets shipped.

“When I joined three years ago, Stewart was still actively involved with managing the team of people,” said Underwood, while meeting with Business Insider in a conference room at Slack’s San Francisco headquarters. “Now the business is 1,000 people, a lot more complex than it was, so he has a lot more hats that he has to wear these days. So over time he has entrusted me with more responsibility with what we ship, what constitutes good-enough to ship, and how we ship it.”

Underwood’s promotion comes as Slack is growing rapidly and preparing for more growth to come. Last week, the company announced that its number of daily active users has hit 8 million, which was up 33% from September. Additionally, the company said it now has more than 3 million paid users, up 50% from September.

“Stewart asking me to step into this role is a sign of maturity in the business and also stability in the leadership team here at Slack,” Underwood said. “We think we’ve got a lot of the elements we need to really go for the long haul.”

In the near term, Slack is focusing on further expansion — growing its team as more people and companies use its service. Assuming it goes public next year — something industry insiders are betting on — the company will also have to start placing a bigger emphasis on fiscal responsibility.

If Underwood does her job, Slack’s long-term future will be intrinsically linked with that of its customers — it will be influencing how people work for generations to come.

Underwood taught herself to code, then it was on to Google and Twitter

Underwood first moved to San Francisco in 2005 from Texas, where she grew up and got an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She had taught herself how to code in college in order to escape a bad tech-support job. Eventually she found herself working as a software engineer at Travelocity.

She had just accepted a promotion to be a product manager in Travelocity’s San Francisco office when she found out she was accepted to the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. From that point on, she was in San Francisco to stay. …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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