I tend to look at all of these services as a free and enticing pathway to innovation success and happiness only to be [eventually] followed by sadness and disappointment. :winking_face:
These companies all appear to be in a race to the bottom. Integration adhesives from these glue factories are inching into commoditization status and that spells trouble because there will be consolidation and when it happens, the costs will change abruptly.
I see no risk in using these services in the prototype phase of a new business or service. In fact, I celebrate their existence if only to provide a pathway to new innovative ideas. However, you should make plans to transition from these Goldbergian monsters to code and low-code integrations that you own; that you control; that form the IP of your system and provide defensible competitive advantages for whatever you are good at.
The biggest advantage will be noticeable performance improvements as latency updates evaporate and your apps begin to feel like real-time solutions. The hidden advantage is the benefits that will ultimately accrue to Airtable and it’s tenuous performance when 200 Zaps start firing at the same time.
I agree with you. Eventually the venture capital runs out and IT staff leaves. They all hope to get high before that happens and pray at users hoping once users get entrenched, it is difficult to move out. You have dozen’s of workflows, and while they do break down (mostly due to 3rd party like Google changing their authentication process), they work 99% of the time. Good enough for critical infrastructure? No way. But good enough to not to have to worry 99% of the days. What is making them so attractive for the new entrants in this space is the availability of capital. VC companies are buying these like hot cakes because the returns on invested capital are much higher than many other business ventures. No they don’t care about sustainability but about share value. Still, I believe we are in the early stage of automation on the web and this is going to explode even further. There is still plenty room of growth of everybody, hard to predict when there will be consolidation in the automation space.
In applications such as start-up companies where the idea is going through rapid changes within hours, having a flexible tool like these automations is a reasonable way to go at least initially when not much IP and risk is involved. If I change the whole idea upside down and I would need to hire a programmer every time things change upside down, it would require not only tremendous expense, it would be ineffective and I could imagine, also frustrating for the programmer. However, because things things tend to become a liability as the time goes, a business should look at more mature solutions well before reaching a stage when it has to do it. So , consolidation - maybe. But there is still enough space for big and small. The big and small can survive and thrive just fine in a happy co-existence or in a constructive competition.
So my concern is less 99.99% availability. My concern is more around security and the implications of it and that could be a much bigger problem if trouble troubles them.
Integromat was recently acquired and we’re waiting for the new owners to change the playing field. Could be soon; could be later. With Sequoia and Steadfast on board north of $5B, Foster and team at Zapier will soon tire from the effects of being a unicorn - they’ll likely ponder their own futures as well.
Sure, if you can justify high latency and pummeling integration processes that reduce Airtable performance. You do realize that every Airtable instance shoulders 100% of the polling requests from the glue-factories, right?
I think these services need to rearchitect - polling must end; it’s neither sustainable nor is it cost-effective for them. And what does it mean to end polling? The biggest impact is the ability to integrate from a single UI. That entire concept falls down and this is precisely why these integration saviours that make everything effortless are not doing it - they know that their business model is at risk if users are forced to think in terms of webhooks - i.e., both sides of the integration process.
I need to introduce you to a few startups that grew successfully. Life was good. They also didn’t care much about tomorrow. Zapier and Airtable almost killed their business in 72 hours. Life was good until it wasn’t. And as soon as it wasn’t, there wasn’t much they could do about it.
I get it though - if you’re not really scaling seriously, these tools are wonderful. But if you’re not scaling, a competitor soon will be.
Let’s not read too much into my comments. :winking_face: Sometimes, consultants need to be harsh; no varnishing of the future that lay ahead. We all have blind spots, but we can learn from others’ mistakes.
Decided to give it a more purposeful name for other’s to find benefit when discussing this. The points highlighted by @Bill.French are very important, and yet, there are cases when using internet glue option is entirely OK within a controlled scenario. While Integromat offers by far the most value and quality of services, there are a number of other tools out there besides Zapier. Some examples are on the attached image which I have stolen from Stackby, since they steal everything from Airtable anyhow, so who cares…