As Intruder scaled, they realized a need to write things down, but they lacked a central place for knowledge to be stored. Instead, critical documents and plans were hard to find, and questions were often repeated by new hires and tenured employees alike. Without a place to store knowledge, the team wasn't motivated to document—because they knew stuff would just fall into the ether. As a result, it was often the longest-serving team members who fielded such questions. In order to empower his team and scale, Chris Wallis, founder of Intruder, knew they had to document knowledge.
Chris chose Slab because it's easy to use and intuitive, and adoption happened naturally and without training. With Slab, the number of repeated questions asked has decreased from 2-3 per day to fewer than one per week, and the team is more knowledgeable because they can discover information that was previously hard to find. Using Slab to run meetings and share the company's vision with the team has broadened their use of the tool and added even more valuable information to their shared knowledge base.
Intruder helps organizations reduce their cyber attack exposure by providing effortless cyber security. Customers choose Intruder because of its ease of use—there are lots of solutions in the cyber security industry, but many are complicated, difficult to learn, and hard to maintain—Intruder offers a simpler solution for companies that might not have cybersecurity expertise in-house.
Early on in the business, the founder of Intruder, Chris Wallis, and his team made many decisions—as growing companies do—but didn't document them. "These decisions—why we did something with the product, directed our focus to a specific area—lived in our heads, which meant that people who joined us later didn't always have visibility into those decisions," he explains. As they scaled, however, they discovered the need to write things down.
"I've realized that the brain of a company is something that people don't necessarily think or talk about, but it helps to have—it can give people insights into the decisions and knowledge that shaped the company and got it to where it is today."
Before, when a new hire joined Intruder, they'd ask a few questions in the office and get told what was going on. But when the company went hybrid (relying more on Slack) and continued to grow, Chris began noticing the same questions being asked again and again in Slack. He also noticed that every time he tried to find something that had been shared in Slack, he couldn't. "Knowledge is useless unless you can find it again," he says. I started thinking, "This isn't going to scale. This isn't efficient."
Chris and the team had previously used Office 365 to store shared spreadsheets and Word documents, and Slack to pin notes, but there wasn't a central place for knowledge to be stored. Without one place to search, learn, and reference important documentation, knowledge was passed around in Slack and became increasingly hard to find.
And because there wasn't a place to store knowledge, the team never gathered momentum around documenting and sharing information, either. "If people didn't know where to put it, they'd just keep repeating themselves instead of writing it down," Chris says. The team existed on word of mouth—knowledge lived in conversations, individual team members' heads, and Slack.
"Addressing long-term communication, cohesion, and alignment might not be an exciting problem, but it's a foundational problem that can eat up time without realizing it."
Today, Intruder relies on Slab as the cornerstone of its long-term communication.
After evaluating several solutions, Chris chose Slab because it's easy, quick, and uncomplicated. "As a founder, choosing software that's intuitive and people naturally gravitate towards makes my life easier," he says. "If a piece of software is going to work, people have to be able to use it without friction or training. That's why we've seen such an explosion in our usage because anyone who logs into Slab just gets how it works."
Thanks to Slab's ease of use, everyone can start using it immediately, often relying on its powerful search to find the information they're looking for quickly and intuitively. "We started using Slab so quickly because it filled in such a massive gap that people just started loading everything in there," Chris says. Quickly, their approach to sharing knowledge could be boiled down to: "Either it's in Slab, or it doesn't exist."
Now, the company's handbook, onboarding documentation, and team-specific documentation live in Slab. Every team has a topic, too, which they use to explain what they do and the structure of the team. They also use Slab for strategy and planning across the company.
When a new hire joins, the first thing they do is sign up for Slab to get started. And with access controls automatically in place, they won't see information that's not related to their work or department—which also makes search more accurate and helpful. For example, they store customer support documentation in Slab, but if everyone were to see this information, it could confuse search results and employees alike. This curated experience is critical early on as people get familiar with Slab and the company.
Recently, Chris wrote down his full vision for Intruder in Slab. "We used to be small enough that I could just say our mission or people would be around enough to know it," he says. "It wasn't until we got to a certain size that it actually needed to be written down, and Slab is a great place to do that."
As a founder, it's one of Chris' key responsibilities to keep everyone aligned on their goals as an organization, and having as many tools and reminders of that is critical for ensuring alignment. By documenting the company's vision in Slab, Chris has helped create cohesion across the team and get everyone aligned.
"Slab has become the glue that brings the team together and onto the same page."
For Chris, documenting his vision has also created effortless coordination. Effortless because Slab doesn't create friction, and coordinated because people can find information and know where the company is headed because there's a centralized, easy-to-use knowledge store.
In addition to repeating the drumbeat of the company's vision, Chris knows that people can find it, understand it, and reference it for clarity at any point in time in Slab—he now has multiple ways of ensuring the message is clear and available on demand in addition to him sharing it with the company. There's also the added bonus of casual exposure to it as employees look up other things in Slab. "It's always there, a subtle reminder when people visit Slab," Chris says.
With Slab, Chris has noticed that work is shared faster because it just looks good. "When people create posts in Slab, they are happy to share them because they look good—documentation is literally easier to read in Slab," he explains.
Plus, as more folks share documentation, team members discover other information because it's easy to click through and see other topics, linked topics, and subtopics. This journey of discovery would never happen in a single Word document, but it happens naturally in Slab. And, with more documentation being added to Slab and better ease of discovery, the team is able to retire other storage tools they no longer rely on.
A lot of teams fire up a PowerPoint deck for their weekly meeting—everyone has a slide, and after the meeting, the deck disappears. As a result, teams lack access to these decks, don't know where they are stored, and can't search for them easily. What's more, slide decks typically comprise of visuals or bullets that the speaker talks to—they aren't really made to be reviewed on their own after the meeting concludes. Instead of slides, Intruder uses Slab for interactive parts of their work they want others to be able to access after the fact, like their weekly team meeting.
They start team meetings with someone sharing their screen and walking the team through their team meeting post. With weekly meeting notes stored in Slab, the team also has a running history of past meetings, which provides historical context over time, too. And because they don't rely on someone to present with slides, their written notes in Slab are a more reader-friendly format that can be reviewed during or after the meeting without any need to guess what the visuals or bullet points mean.
Using Slab saves Chris' time as a founder—to whom a lot of questions often bubble up if they aren't documented. With Slab, people have access to information, so they don't have to ask him for it.
"I know I'm saving a lot of time by not only putting stuff in Slab but encouraging other people to put stuff in Slab as well. Doing so means our channels aren't awash in questions all the time."
When people ask others for answers to their questions—which might seem like small questions (What can I expense? Who should I invoice?)—it ultimately slows down the company. Now, people tend to go to Slab before they ask a question to the rest of the company, and when someone asks a question that can be answered in Slab, someone on the team replies with the link to Slab. This reinforces the message that they can find answers faster if they go straight to Slab.
In their Slack channel for questions, aptly called Ask Anyone, Chris has noticed questions asked go from 2-3 per day to fewer than one per week—thanks to the fact that knowledge lives in one place.
While Chris' search for a place to put the company brain started because of repeated questions, he's seen the many benefits of sharing knowledge beyond a decrease in questions posed. The company is more aligned, the team has more transparency and access to information, and they're better able to scale because information is available and discoverable for all.