Last week, I had my old boss Emre on the stream. It got me thinking back to my first job in tech and how it influenced everything since. In fact, he introduced me to Zapier! Or maybe I googled connecting Google sheets to Hubspot? I don’t quite remember. One thing’s for sure is that it was his name on the credit card so in my books he was responsible for me discovering Zapier and then no-code generally.
Zapier was the first tool that made me feel like I had a superpower, that made me believe I could automate anything. A tool that gave me superpowers!
Looking back, it’s shocking how little Zapier has changed. Here’s
a blog post detailing the origin of the company. Two co-founders texting about an idea: what if we could create a tool that connects all the other tools. A straight arrow from an idea to a 4 billion-dollar company
However, it feels like we’re on the precipice of other trends that might not be so favorable to Zapier. But do they even matter?
Every tool now has (or will have) automation built-in
Every year, Zapier releases their assessment of the state of automation
that details the fastest-growing apps on Zapier. Looking across the years, you’ll notice that it’s mostly the same apps! Or at least the same types of apps. Email, chat, CRM, spreadsheets.
As categories develop clear winners, users will come to expect more of each app they use. That includes “if this then that” type automations! Salesforce
(some of the most popular apps!) all offer built-in automation. None of the in house automation offerings come even close to Zapier’s coverage in terms of apps
but every new app integrated natively reduces the probability of needing a third-party automation tool.
All of these tools building their own version of Zapier would love to shortcut that process by embedding a third party that already has all of the connections built out. Naturally, Zapier would never offer that since it would cannibalize its own clients at a much lower price point. I wonder if anyone out there is building the “white labelled” Zapier?
Is it crazy to think that one day most apps that we use will have automation built in? That probably won’t be the case. And if it is, it’s a long ways away, unless that is if someone makes it easier for everyone else to do so.
The market is much larger than we think
With that said, we’re still in the very early innings of the proliferation of SaaS tools. I keep hearing that no-code is just getting started and I agree. I’d even go so far as to say that we’re still in the early innings of software on the internet! Even with the threat of in-house automation tools from the most popular applications, Zapier has so much greenfield that it can probably continue growing for quite a while. What is surprising is that you’d expect an attempt from Zapier to target international markets! However, that doesn’t seem to be the case, none of their content is translated and they don’t offer any different plans by location. Maybe the market is so big that there’s no need yet to go beyond its initial market. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
With all of this said, I’m still a Zapier user! Maybe that should be the yardstick: as long as I’m still using it, they’ve got some road ahead of them.