This interview with Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder and chief executive of Slack, a communication service for businesses, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
A. I was born in a little town called Lund, in British Columbia. It’s like a fishing village. My parents were hippies. They tried to live off the land, so I grew up in a log cabin, and we didn’t get running water until I was 4. The next year, we got electricity. Then we moved to the city, Victoria, British Columbia, so I could go to school.
I was pretty entrepreneurial as a kid. I had a lemonade stand. When I was 12, I arbitraged the price of 7-Eleven hot dogs; I’d buy the ones that are pre-wrapped with the bun and then sell them on the beach. When I was 14, my dad and two of his friends bought an art-house cinema. I worked the concession and figured out that it was better to take people’s orders while they were standing in line before the movie. Plus I got tips.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
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