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Who is going to win syncing?

Who is going to win syncing?
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #44 • View online
Today 6PM EST on the stream I’ll be streaming What’s new in Airtable in February. We’ll talk regex, a new view type (!), new automation triggers, script templates or whatever else you want to talk about. It’s going to be fun.
You can add the stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) or follow on twitch to get notified every time I’m live.
Full stream calendar here.
You can watch last week’s replay of How to plan, manage, and edit video content in Airtable.
Special ask this week I heard your feedback: I’m going to move the stream earlier in the day! Let me know what time is best for you through this super quick form.
Onto the update…

It’s been over eight years since Zapier launched and revolutionized what’s possible to accomplish without code. It’s easy to look back today on its inevitibility – of course an app that connects other apps would be amazing! The company idea clearly resonated quickly with the cofounders:
How simple and intuitive Zapier’s idea was hides away all of the complexity that stems from the idea. Should we power complex usecases or connect as many apps as possible (which I talked about last week)? How do we get customers? How do we make sure nothing breaks? Zapier doubled down on its early customers – hobbyists and SMBs and built a $4B business out of it.
In doing so, they pioneered the trigger action framework that is now standard across the industry (IFTTT was similar but never focused on businesses). It’s the same framework that you’ll find in native automation functionality in Airtable, Monday, Asana etc. It’s not the only approach! Wokato, Hubspot, Integromat prefer the “scenario” approach with a canvas to visualize your automation.
Now since Zapier’s launch in 2011, our usage of cloud tools has proliferated. It’s no longer enough to connect this app to that app whenever something happens. We now want—nay need—information to be synchronized across applications. I need all of my video analytics information—from Wistia, Youtube and Vimeo— to be in one place or contact & organization details—from Salesforce, Intercom and Hubspot—to be in sync.
Sync is the new game in town.
And just like Zapier had, and has, its competitors, there’s no lack of entrants in the sync game: Parabola, Integromat, Polytomic, Alloy automation. I’ve toyed around and spoken to a few of the players in the space and what I marvel at every time is how everyone’s approach is different! I wrongly thought that this was going to be a pretty lame space: we’re all go to the same tool to sync all of our information. That is not how it seems to be playing out. Let’s look at some examples.
Parabola is a playground for power users with the option to leverage any API out of the box and put your business logic directly in the tool. The downside of giving users that power is that Parabola has a steep learning curve. Even if there’s a direct connection between the tools you want to sync, you’re responsible for formatting your data into a way that matches the output database’s schema.
Others like Polytomic are pure sync plays (for now). It forces you establish a schema upfront by picking the fields you want to sync from one (or multiple) tool to others. This establishes a new standardized schema that you can then map to other tools when information changes or on a schedule. It’s extremely intuitive to get a sync up and running. That simplicity reduces what you can ultimately accomplish. For instance, you can’t add business logic or sync from tools that do not have a direct connection (for now!).
Then there’s Alloy automation and a host of others who are deeply focused on one specific vertical (e-commerce in the case of Alloy). Their deep understanding of their vertical means no setup costs, they’ll provide tailored recipes/automations that you can plug and play.
And that’s not all! All these sync options all competing with existing automation players and native syncing functionality!
Sync feels like such a big space that I don’t really expect there to be one big winner. I’m excited to watch how it all evolves. And I’ll be there testing every tool along the way to find the one that fits my needs. With the way things are going, I’m sure you’ll find a tool that fits your needs perfectly too!
Help me decide when to stream
A lot of you have told me that the 6PM start time for the stream is too late. I’ve heard your feedback and the kind folks at Airtable have allowed me to host it during work hours!
Speaking of Sync
Airtable Sync truly doesn’t get the love it deserves! What I think is forgotten is that this isn’t a pure play sync—you can configure exactly what you want to share. Hide the fields you don’t want the destination table to know about (like salary!) and hide records using filters (only sync your team members!). It leverages views which most Airtable users already know and love. It’s an extension of shared views!
Another point that goes unnoticed is that you can publicly share syncs. For instance, here’s a view with a bunch of educational content on Airtable. Click the “use this data” button and you can include this as a table to any base you’re working on!
I’m surprised that there aren’t more syncable resources floating out there that you can keep up to date with resources from someone. To be frank, I should be better at making my content accessible via a sync’d view—a task for me!
Thanks to Stephen O'Grady (@orishnal) for reviewing this newsletter every week before it reaches your inbox!
PS There was a broken link in last week’s newsletter. The link for No code pros is not .com. Apologies! Thanks to those who let me know!
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Aron Korenblit

Weekly thoughts on the working smarter not harder using no-code tools + a weekly Airtable tip. Written by Aron Korenblit

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