Last week Parabola
announced that they raised 8M
. I’ve been a huge fan and power user of Parabola so lets talk about Parabola.
What is Parabola?
Parabola makes it easy to automate your manual, repetitive data tasks.
Its power comes from the realization that most API call responses can be reduced to a two dimension table. Once you’re working with tables, it’s easy to sync them! You just say take this column from Google Analytics and append it to this Google sheet I just imported (into Parabola) and export it to a new google sheet (or an existing one). Note that the actual process requires a little knowledge about how to merge tables which we’ll cover in today’s livestream :)
What Parabola is not
Although it uses spreadsheet type logic and language, Parabola is not a spreadsheet! It’s not where you house your data. It actually assumes nothing about your workflow except that it’s disparate (which isn’t wrong). You can start from any tool and end in any tool (as long as both tools have APIs). This differentiates Parabola from say Actiondesk which also connects disparate tools but your workflow has to end/start/happen in part in Actiondesk. Parabola works in the background.
Parabola is not an if this then that type tool. It assumes you’re working with rows of data that need to be synced with somewhere at a certain frequency. They aren’t mutually exclusive however. For instance, you can accomplish the same outcome in both Parabola and Integromat using loops but the interface and logic in Parabola makes it much more intuitive.
I compare the same workflow in Parabola and Integromat here
. I lay out my process for deciding between Zapier, Parabola and Integromat here
Focusing on one use case
Like all no-code tools, Parabola faces an adoption challenge. It’s useful for so many use cases spread across so many different industries that nailing down that initial audience is difficult. Not to mention the fact that before you can do anything with the tool, you have to learn how to use it!
It seemed like Parabola honed in initially on the no-code community–hobbyists who enjoy discovering new tools. Although willing to play around with it, the no-code community is a small audience with little money to spend. It’s great to seed your forum with experts but does little in the ways of recurring revenue.
It’s why I’m excited to see the shift in their language towards small e-commerce shops with a deep Shopify integration
. Shopify merchants seem like a great fit:
- A large addressable market (500K+ stores)
- Security isn’t a number one concern
- Most stores have little to no tech team
- Every aspect of the business (marketing, email, catalog, web analytics, shipping, inventory) is potentially managed in a separate system
- Merchants have a strong willingness to pay for replacing manual steps & automating the mundane
What I expect–and hope– is that Parabola focuses deeply on penetrating the e-commerce vertical. It won’t be easy! There are a myriad of Shopify plugins that do two way syncs extremely well (e.g. shopify to Airtable
or Mailchimp to Shopify
). How do you convince a user to eschew these plugins for a general purpose tool that can sync anything (but that you first have to learn to use)?
It seems like Parabola has found its temporary niche. From there, it can explore other verticals that have the same problems (of which there are no lack).
As for me, Parabola has been a game-changer. It’s why I’ll keep rooting for em’ even if their new focus isn’t a focus of mine!