It does my head in.
Every software company head I talk to loves their own product, and I'm sure they're all good, in themselves.
But the problem for we end-users is that every time you remember someone has sent you a message, or shared a file or a conversation thread, that's only the start of the journey.
Was it a txt? An iMessage? WhatsApp? Your work Outlook account? Your home Gmail account? Was that file sent as an email attachment, or on Drive or Dropbox?
Conversation and collaboration apps like Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams are designed to be a one-stop shop, but in reality often just add another layer on top of everything else (a family member works for a large organisation that uses all three, adding to the fun).
The lay of the land keeps getting more complicated, and Microsoft has done its fair share of confusing people. The tech giant bought Yammer for US$1.2b in 2012 but recently introduced the similar Teams. Many people use a third Microsoft product, Skype, for messaging and collaboration.
I raise the general proliferation of messaging and collab products with Slack co-founder and CTO Cal Henderson when he calls the Herald .
His answer - unsurprisingly, I guess - is to adopt a Slack-centric approach, using his company's app for all internal communication and collaboration.
I let him know that Herald publisher NZME is a Slack user.
Henderson recommends Slack is used for all internal communication, replacing email ("Do you know you can now invite someone to a Slack channel using their Outlook address?," he asks. I did not).
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And a shared channel feature is now in beta that lets two organisations who work closely together share a Slack channel. Henderson says there should be an official launch before the end of the year.
Henderson also encourages organisations to use take advantage of the way that Slack now tightly integrates with various third-party applications - the likes of Outlook email and calendaring, Dropbox, OneDrive video calling app Zoom and so forth.
He says in most cases only power users need to use a standalone piece of software, while others can use it via Slack. He gives the example of expense management programme Concur. The bean counters at his company use the full version of the software. Others can click a button in Slack to, say, approve an expenses claim.
It's a grand vision, and NZME does do a lot of messaging and file sharing through Slack. And we do Slack integration with our web publishing software, Twitter, Google's Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and a dozen other apps.
But many people - including me - often use regular email, among many other standalone messaging apps and collaboration apps, including Workplace by Facebook and Atlassian's Trello. We won't become one big happy Slack family - at least no time soon.
The official reason for Henderson's call is the latest upgrade to the six-year-old Slack, which has been rolled out over the past month. There were few new features, but a big emphasis on speeding everything up by around a third.
A pep-up is needed in broader terms, too.
Slack now has more than 10 million users, with half outside the US.
And the number of organisations that pay to use its software increased 50 per cent last year to 88,000 (including 65 per cent of Fortune 100 companies).
But that's still dwarfed by the 500,000 or so who use the free version of Slack.
There are $0, US$8 and US$15 per user per month tiers, with restrictions on the number of third party apps that can be used by those in the cheap seats - which is probably starting to give you an idea about why Henderson wants to plug all your apps into Slack.
The San Francisco-based Slack listed on the NYSE in June, with its shares soaring 50 per cent to just under $US38 during its first day's trading to give it a market cap of more than US$24 billion - making Henderson's stock worth US$792 million, and the stake held by co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield made him a paper billionaire twice over.
Since June, the stock has been mostly on a downhill slide, however. Shares were recently trading at US$31.39, valuing Slack at US$15.8b.
In the grand tradition of tech IPOs, Slack is still in the red. It lost US$138.9m last year and says losses will "significantly increase" over the next few years as it prioritises growth in subscribers over profit.
Revenue has increased from US$100m three years ago to just under US$400m last year.
To keep up that clip, Slack will have to fend off competition from Microsoft, Google, Facebook and other Big Tech players. Microsoft recently claimed its two-year-old Teams product now has 13 million daily active users and is now bundling it with Office 365 (which has around 155 million paying users) for good measure.
The Financial Times recently labelled Microsoft Teams a "copycat" version of Slack.
That might be satisfying to Henderson and Butterfield, but to reach profitability they will have to out-run the Redmond giant.
Yet our dynamic duo are nothing if not adaptable. Slack actually began life as the messaging platform for a now-defunct online game called Glitch.
In technical terms, they're angling to out-manoeuvre Microsoft by positioning Slack as a front-end for Office 365 apps.
But more broadly, they have spread beyond their avid base in tech and media and convince general business users that Slack is worth its salt.
Which is where we came in.
Wayne Kurtzman, an analyst at IDC, said Slack has to prevent workplace messaging from being drowned by its own success, like email before it. Slack adds yet another communication channel for workers who may already feel overloaded.
"People worry you're just shifting problems from one channel to another," said another analyst TD Ameritrade's Denise Karkos.
Henderson, meanwhile, will continue his campaign to promote Slack as a one-stop-shop.
A part of his pitch is that in the fast-moving information age, companies need to respond rapidly - and if you have all of your staff using one messaging and collaboration app, it's a lot easier to change course quickly.
Cal Henderson's top five Slack tips
Set up Slack for your workday
You can manage your settings to only receive notifications during working hours. This minimises disturbances when you've clocked-off. Also for those who travel (something which I do often) you can adjust your timezone so that your teammates around the globe know your local time. Set customised statuses to let your team know what you're up to – for example if you're working remotely, in a meeting or on holiday, so they easily see your availability.
Emojis aren't just for personal use, they have business benefits too. In Slack we use a lot of emojis, they add tone and sentiment to written communication, as well as allowing us to pass on feedback quicker. For example, reacting with a green tick is more efficient than typing out separate lines of approval.
For users that are in multiple channels, muting those that are either rarely used or perhaps that contain non-urgent information can be a great way to focus on the ones that are of the most importance.
Pinning posts is a great way to store important messages sent in the channel. Similarly, starring messages provides an additional way to highlight and keep track of useful information.
The quick switcher
Slack is full of keyboard shortcuts, but my favourite and most useful is the quick switcher. Use this to quickly toggle between different channels or conversations. On Mac hit CMD-K and on PC its Ctrl-K.