Happy Melly’s New Global Water Cooler

watercoolerCommunication is the key to successful communities.

At Happy Melly, we’ve struggled for a long time with communication between our community members. Sometimes it seems that this is actually the hardest problem for us to solve!

How can we get people to collaborate toward a shared purpose when they all prioritize their own projects and their own businesses?

We’ve experimented with all the usual approaches:

  • Email group/list: Failed. People don’t read emails because they feel they are getting far too many; and having conversations over email is a major pain in the backside.
  • Newsletter: Failed. For announcements and broadcasts, the success of email newsletters is beyond any doubt. But they are a bad solution when it comes to engaging people in a community.
  • Blog: Failed. Blogs are great for inspiring people with good stories. Many of our posts are shared and retweeted well enough! However, for having conversations around topics, blog posts don’t work.
  • Hangouts: Failed. Hangouts are great for interviews and team meetings. But for casual encounters: not so much. Very often, people sign up for hangouts and don’t show up, because “something else came up”.
  • Social networks: Failed: There is plenty of chatter on Facebook and Twitter, but the communication takes place around individuals, not communities. And on LinkedIn and Google+, most groups seem to be dead.

So, how can we have casual conversations as Happy Melly community members, when we are spread around the world, working hard on our own projects and businesses? How can we share jokes, statuses, frustrations, tips, successes, and a general good vibe?


As the Happy Melly One team, we’ve started using Slack and we’re quite happy with it. Slack is like a global virtual water cooler, where each of us can bump into any other team member and have a quick conversation about work, play, life, and everything else. Slack seems to be the backchannel we’ve been missing for the last two years.

We tested it, and we like it.

Do you feel part of Happy Melly? Are you involved as an entity owner, customer, supplier, friend or fan?

Join us at the watercooler! (invitation required)

image: (c) 2008 Quinn Dombrowski, Creative Commons 2.0Blog Footer


  1. I started using Slack a couple of months ago and it is a real delight. It was the missing link for me, as I try very hard for a few years now to reduce the amount of emails I receive every day to less than twenty.

    I discovered Slack through this post https://medium.com/@stewart/we-dont-sell-saddles-here-4c59524d650d, which I consider one of the best piece of internal communication I have ever read.

    Comment by Joseph Rossi on November 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Leave a Reply

This article is written by Jurgen Appelo on November 13th 2014.

You can connect with Jurgen Appelo in Google+.