Image for post
Image for post
Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work

Below is an excerpt of my new baby Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work. In it, I set the table for the rest of the book.


I’ve have the pleasure of talking to dozens of authors over the years. During those often fascinating conversations, I have learned that a book’s backstory is often as interesting as the idea behind the book itself — if not more so. That’s may well be the case with my new book Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work.

Let me explain.

Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work
Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work
Reimagining Collaboration: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the Post-COVID World of Work

By way of background, my previous two books were Slack For Dummies and Zoom For Dummies, respectively (Wiley, 2020). As I was writing the latter, it dawned upon me how much the two internal collaboration hubs had in common. In point of fact, they were far more similar than dissimilar. To be fair, few readers of each book noticed that commonality. …

Image for post
Image for post

What’s my new book about in 82 fun-filled seconds?

Watch below to find out.

Slack’s flexibility is both a blessing and a curse. That is, there’s no one right way to use it — a point that I make in Slack For Dummies. (#shamelessplug)

I’m a member of plenty of Slack workspaces, and I observe subtle differences among them. What flies in one workspace doesn’t fly in another.

The other day in my Carnegie Mellon alumni workspace, someone posted the same message in three different channels. That meant all people belonging to those channels received three different notifications.

Seems excessive.

Channeling my inner Larry David, I called the guy out on it. He didn’t share my belief that cross-posting in channels was a faux pas. Since I’m a data guy, I decided to create a poll in the Slack Champions Network workspace and see whether others agreed with me. …

In 2008, something inside me was brewing. After a decade of helping companies implement new tech, it had to come out.

It did.

Why New Systems Fail represented my first full-length text. Since that time, I’ve penned nine more texts with a new one coming soon. Time for some personal reflection on what I’ve learned.

Writing a book of substance is hard work.

Sure, it’s not difficult to turn a blog into a book. Ditto for writing 70-page texts. Writing what you think is a quality book of any reasonable length, however, takes a great deal of time and effort. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But it gets easier.

I can’t speak intelligently about fiction. I am a non-fiction guy. Since 2009, I have improved my ability to assess what pages, sections, and chapters of my books are working, what needs tweaking, and what needs to be junked. On a different note, the Internet has made research easier–not easy. Finding out who runs any company is only a few clicks away. Contacting an expert, author, executive, or reporter isn’t terribly difficult either. …

I’ve been paying attention to Amazon since its inception — nearly 25 years. Researching my books, I’ve talked to ex-Amazon employees and yet, oddly, I have never set foot in an Amazon facility.

Last year, I decided to change that.

No, I didn’t stage a break-in. The e-commerce behemoth known for its secrecy offers public tours. Just sign up for one. Along with a group of 30 or so curious folks, I recently toured PHX6 — a building the size of 32 football fields yet hardly one of Amazon’s largest.

Image for post
Image for post

Fulfillment Centers Are Freaking Enormous

Allow me to state the obvious: the place is crazy big. According to our tour guide, PHX6 is one of the smaller fulfillment centers in the country but I still couldn’t wrap my head around its size. It would probably take me five minutes to run from one end of the building to another. …

Most people don’t think of collaboration in terms of hubs and spokes.

They should start.

In fact, hub-spoke model is the fulcrum of my new book on collaboration. Trust me: I’m not unique in viewing collaboration in this manner.

The top brass at Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom don’t look at their wares as traditional software programs. Rather, they view them as internal collaboration hubs. Asana, Jira, ZenDesk, and other third-party apps and systems serve as spokes. Even better, thanks to Zapier, IFTTT, and Workato, everyday employees can connect hubs to spokes without much technical proficiciency.

Make no mistake: This is a big deal. …


What’s it like writing for one of the most popular websites in the world?

Image for post
Image for post

I should know. For about a year starting in March of 2012, I wrote a series of articles for Inc. (Read them here on the Inc. site if you like.) In total, I penned 23 technology- and business-related articles for the site. In this post, I’ll distill some of the lessons I gleaned from this very interesting experience.

  • Writing for sites such as Inc. enhances your profile, brand, and SEO. Inc. isn’t like Medium or LinkedIn. On those sites, anyone can publish just about anything. Put differently, there’s exclusivity to writing for Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider, and the like. …

Image for post
Image for post

I’ve been on a reading rampage as of late, even more than usual. Blame or thank my iPad and a pandemic. That’s not to say that I read every business book that comes my way. Authors and publishers like sending me them because I write for some high-profile sites.

It’s not that difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. (I’d argue that the following list applies to public speaking as well, but I’ll focus on books.) I’ve come to the realization that most good business writing includes ample doses of each of the four elements:


I for one appreciate it when authors have done their homework and can tie current events to historical ones. Have we seen this movie before? Where? How is the present similar/different from the past? …

It’s been more than a decade since I could call myself a professional writer. #timeflies To be sure, writing has done more than help me pay my bills. On the whole, it’s been enormously rewarding and saved me thousands of dollars on psychiatrists. (Writing is far cheaper than therapy but largely serves the same purposes.) With ten books and oodles of articles and blog posts under my belt, I’ve spent more time writing than I can count.

Still, it would be folly to claim that it has all been puppy dogs and ice cream. In this post, I’ll explain a few of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced as a scribe over the years. …


Phil Simon

Keynote speaker, trainer, advisor, recovering college professor, and award-winning author of ten books. Latest: Slack For Dummies and Zoom For Dummies.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store