Feature Friday: Document Sharing In Slack

We use a lot of document sharing applications at USV. We use Google Docs, Hackpad (which was bought by Dropbox), Quip, Dropbox’ new Notes service, and a number of other document sharing apps.

But as we have moved most of our internal and USV network communications to Slack, we wanted a document sharing app that people in a Slack channel could use.

So the hackers at USV, mostly Nick and Brittany, built one.

We call it Quackpad, although we’d prefer to call it Slackpad, and you can use it here.

Just sign in with your Slack credentials and you are good to go.

If you, like us, use a lot of Slack for internal and external communications, I think you will find Quackpad really useful.

Nick blogged a bit about the history of Quackpad and how they built it here.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Marissa_NYx

    Neat tool. Congrats to the USV team!Just tried it on my iPhone and created a quick quack note (quick quack -gotta love that ). I connected the doc to one of my slack groups but can’t see the document. It should be straightforward. I’ll keep looking.

    1. Nick Grossman

      I just added a clearer “share this pad” button — a bunch of people have asked that same question. Haven’t looked at it on mobile yet but will do that

      1. Marissa_NYx

        Tried it again. Can’t see the share button on mobile . Here’s what I see.

    2. Nick Grossman

      another suggestion was a button to auto-post the doc URL into a slack channel, or DM it to someone at the user’s direction. I’ll think about that too. But for now, just making the simple link sharing is a start

  2. awaldstein

    Nick’s coinage of the term Human Router and the fact you are platforming this capability is a great story.And a very useful post for a problem all of us have at some level.Truth is that as smart as the platform becomes having a superstar human router is necessary blue to keep it together. Smart human glue that we are empowering with better tools.

    1. Nick Grossman

      totally. Brittany is amazing and this wouldn’t work without her. But we can use and build tools to give her (and the rest of us) superpowers.

      1. awaldstein

        Pls–superpower me!

    2. Joe Cardillo

      That’s a good point Arnold, one of the things that I think Slack reveals (and why it’s successful) is that what really matters is momentum. It’s a tremendous tool for getting out of 1-2 hour meetings and into actually working and moving quickly.I’m a believer & practice the lean startup approach, but as someone who’s project managed & worked w/PMs on some very corporate things, that’s true there too and not just in startups.

      1. awaldstein

        I need to try it.I will.Thanks.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Okay. Sold.

  3. LIAD

    I’m liking the vibe of VCs empowering and encouraging associates(?) to get down and dirty and hack together tools to be used by the firm. Keeps it real.Small partnership. Finger on the pulse. First hand experience of tribulations creating and iterating products. 3 forms of public transport to get to a meeting. I dig that stuff.

    1. fredwilson

      we do too

    2. Nick Grossman

      yeah totally. These kinds of projects are 50% because we need the tool and 50% because it’s really good to be actually building stuff and be hands on w web techs

      1. LE

        It is also really fun.

  4. Anne Libby

    I’ll try it! Curious (and I should probably ask this over at Nick’s post): what features does Quackpad give you that you don’t get in a google doc?

    1. Nick Grossman

      primarily sharing permissions that match the slack channel. Particularly important if membership in the slack changes a lot, and if there’s no other way to auto-permission the same group (e.g., through a gApps team)In our case there are ~1000 members in our slack, no existing google group for them all, and people are constantly coming and going. So we needed permissions that peg to slack membership

      1. Grace Schroeder

        How long did it take you to build it?

        1. Nick Grossman

          we built the basic functionality in a day, then cleaned it up and tuned it on and off for the next few weeks. Rough estimate of dev time, maybe 50 hours

      2. William Mougayar

        Ah! Now you’ve explained it really well, and I’m getting it.

  5. William Mougayar

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what’s wrong with using Google Docs and pasting the URL in Slack? That way, collaborators can use the standard Docs features. And sometimes, you want to share only within a Group and not the entire team.

    1. Guillaume Lerouge

      Or even Slack’s own “post” feature… Although I guess that one is not real-time.William: re Google Docs, I guess it’s an issue about access rights => there is no easy way to make your doc follow the same access rights as the associated Slack channel.

      1. Nick Grossman

        yep that’s right

        1. Guillaume Lerouge

          So, have you received an acquihiresition offer from Slack yet? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          1. Nick Grossman

            still waitingwill let you know:-)

          2. William Mougayar

            Seriously, Slack should make it a standard and take it over, no? This will be a support nightmare for you, I think, as it gets popular.

    2. fredwilson

      if you use quackpad, slack automatically manages the permissions. we tried to use google docs in the way you suggest and its a massive pain for large groups across multiple orgs/domains. slack makes it simple

      1. William Mougayar

        I see. thanks.

    3. Jess Bachman

      Personally, I hate google docs and avoid it like the plague. My myriad of tangled google accounts and documents from numerous companies and projects is really just a giant pile of dirty laundry in the basement.So Quakpad is great, as is Quip.com

  6. JimHirshfield

    Hmm, the Quackpad? You’ve beaked my interest. Built on Slack? That’s solid footing… webbed footing.(Duck. Here come the pun haters)

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I’m going to have to bill you for these terrible puns.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Can I pay in bread crumbs?

    2. karen_e


      1. JimHirshfield

        It is fowl, isn’t it?

    3. Joe Cardillo

      Documents of a feather quackpad together..

    4. Russell

      uh oh. Jim has been quack-tivated.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks, I needed that!

        1. Erin

          It’s nice to know you’re not alone, isn’t it? I don’t do puns but I never got the groaning that everyone does. Maybe a high five is the best response.

          1. JimHirshfield

            People groan because they didn’t think of the pun themselves…or that’s the theory I’m going with.

          2. Erin

            Ahhh, that makes so much sense now.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            There is a certain inner sense of dissonance that puns create mixed with a begrudging appreciation. But can’t quite put my finger on the source of dissonance. One of those things I will ponder. Or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

          4. jvill

            You do mean it’s something you’ll punder, right?

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Oh that hurts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    5. William Mougayar

      You’re certainly living up to your bio claim as “Stand-up commenter”.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I’ll be here every day. Don’t forget to tip your waiters.

        1. William Mougayar

          the Like Button should have a L$ke option, where it combines a micro-tipping via Bitcoin with 1 action.I’ve been encouraging Disqus and ChangeTip to do it….unless Nick decides to hack it prior to that ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. creative group

            William M: was the bit (Pun) intended?

          2. William Mougayar

            Indeed, Bitcoin takes micro-transactions like duck to water ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. John Revay

    “But as we have moved most of our internal and USV network communications to Slack, we wanted a document sharing app that people in a Slack channel could use”Assuming communications to Slack – assuming you mean you are weaning off email?

    1. Nick Grossman

      we do a TON of email. We are light-to-moderate slack users at USV HQ. The real impetus for this was moving our USV portfolio network from Yammer to Slack — it’s a huge group with a big need for shared docs

      1. Guillaume Lerouge

        By the way, what was the main reason that motivated you to switch from Yammer to Slack? Do you see Slack replacing ESNs more generally, or was it just of a particularly good fit for your existing use case?

  8. John Revay

    Side note – I am doing some work for an early stage company that is using office 365 for doc sharing / collaboration etc….1. I plan to suggest we try Slack2. Looking for a good – shared task list app that can be used across users internally and externally… re: Trello – Any suggestions

    1. Joe Cardillo

      Re: shared task lists, with or without dates / calendar? I find basecamp to be the best, when calendar function is included

    2. Grace Schroeder

      We’ve got this at http://www.idea2.com. We to a #td in a slack channel with an @grace to assign the task and it punches it into our app and returns a link to it. Let me know if you want a trial.

    3. Matt Zagaja

      Only shared task app that has worked well for me is Basecamp.

  9. JamesHRH

    Not Slackingโ€ฆโ€ฆany know this Eric Paley @ TechCrunch?Great article – http://techcrunch.com/2015/

  10. pointsnfigures

    Saw a company in beta Tribe.co. It’s in Chicago Techstars. Founders are sharp and the product seems similar. When is Nick going for capital? : ) (kidding)

    1. CJ

      Looks like this company is now defunct as the domain name has expired?

      1. Pointsandfigures

        No. They are in business and in Techstars Chicago. The autocorrect on my phone entered the incorrect address. Tribe.do

  11. Anthony Di Iorio

    Just tried setting it up and after authorizing our slack we’re getting this error:Whoops!Sorry, we encountered a problem with your login. Please try logging out and trying again. This is alpha software and we are actively bugfixing — apologies for the trouble!Thoughts?

    1. Nick Grossman

      Yep working on that right now — if you try again it should at least get you in and avoid the error, though there will be some missing information about your teamPls email me nick at usv dot com w any other bug reports — thanks!

  12. Pranay Srinivasan

    tried clicking on “log in with slack and got this error

    1. Nick Grossman

      Thanks — yes we’ve been working through a bug in the auth process. I believe it’s fixed now, so go ahead and try again. Sorry about that!

      1. Pranay Srinivasan

        will do, thanks!

  13. Twain Twain

    Bravo, Nick and Brittany, v. neat hack!This is especially interesting because Quackpad isn’t a USV investment?The Quack makes me think of Duck Duck Go and also doctors. So am wondering if this is something doctors could potentially use?Would be brilliant if USV actually ends up creating its own “unicorn” platform from this hack, haha!

    1. Nick Grossman

      Thanks twainThat would be something, wouldn’t it

      1. Twain Twain

        It’s really admirable that USV “eats the dog food” by using the tech you guys invest in and also experiments by walking in founders’ shoes to experience the challenges of making and shipping products.I’m an investor turned founder so have some context on the skills switch-over; assessing something’s value with the abstract tools available (comparables, DCF etc.) is different from the value building it and different from the value enjoyed by end-users.My team of strangers (2 pre-college, 2 freshmen and founder me) did a hackathon last weekend, won 1st place and got selected as “Staff Pick” by DevPost.We built a wearable called HOT GUARD for the 285 million visually-impaired as well as for kids who can’t yet read “Caution! HOT!” signs. As soon as they’re too close to hot objects (stoves, cars, naked flames), the wearable sends an audio alert: * http://devpost.com/software…I previously did another hack with the same camera lens to create world’s first-ever gesture=tweet. That hack’s becoming a startup.

  14. creative group

    Difference between Quackpad and Trello?

  15. Donna Brewington White

    So I read this post very early Friday morning and by mid morning had introduced a document to my small remote team on hackpad which I’ve only used in conjunction with AVC and forgot about.I have completely lost count of the number of things that I first heard about on AVC. Or the discussions that have influenced my adoption. Remember the Google docs vs. Dropbox post? Now Slack …and Quackpad! Love how and where the latter came about. My team will be on Slack next week.