I very rarely add new tools to my toolbox. I like having a few tools that I understand very well that can do the majority of what I need to accomplish. Today that stack is Airtable
filling holes every now and then when I need to sync two tools together. I rarely hit a snag in my tiny sized business (aka this newsletter, my website
& my stream
) that I can’t solve with that toolset.
Invariably, whenever I stream a new tool, I get asked “Should I replace Zapier/Parabola/Integromat with this new tool?”
This happened recently when I streamed how to Sync Airtable and Webflow in Autocode
(yes, another tool to do this!).
I’d answer yes if you fall in one of the two following two categories: 1/ you have an unnatural ability to learn new tools, aka you’re Tom Osman
or 2/ people expect to learn new tools through your streams. Otherwise, my answer is no, you shouldn’t switch tools.
The overlap between Zapier
is quite large to be honest. Now, yes the breadth of use cases you can accomplish increases as you get into more complex cases, and yes it also gets cheaper as you get to more complex automation tools. The catch is that breadth and cost savings rise proportionally to the time you need to invest to learn the tool! That 50 dollars a month may seem very interesting to save, but is it worth the 10 or 15 hours needed to learn Integromat
? Or the hours you’ll spend learning about arrays and when to add async
in front of your functions in Autocode
? What about the few days wrangling your processes? Probably not. If it is, you’re probably the type of user that these tools should target!
Everytime someone asks me that question I think about “Est ce que le jeu en vaut la chandelle”, the literal translation of which is “Is the (card) game worth the candle”? It originated from 16th century card players asking themselves if the wagers in their final card game was worth lighting another candle. Today, it’s used when wondering whether the risk reward profile makes sense in a given situation.
What I’m trying to say here is that when you see a new shiny tool, the answer is no: the candle isn’t worth the card game. Unless you’ve got a very specific use case in mind. In that case, light a candle and stay up all night figuring out how to automate whatever it is you’re automating!