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My 2013 Zapier Nerd Alert

You may notice from the content on this blog, and my other one, that I'm a technology nerd. Since the first time I booted up an original Macintosh 128k in school, I've been hooked. The addition of dial-up internet to my life in 1996 added fuel to my nerd-appreciation fire.

So, it was fun to stumble across this literal <Nerd Alert> I posted on Facebook in January 2013. I was on the Marketing API team at Facebook then, so my guess is I was trying to get my team excited about products beyond Enterprise Social Ads Management tools (our staple, at the time).

The Nerd Alert was about Zapier, who happened to be running a $39 Appsumo deal.

The thread of comments from teammates makes for interesting reading, 8 years on. Here's a few:

"Fairly amazing alright, I have no idea how they can integate so many different apps..."
"Isn't this ifttt.com just prettier?"
"really i thought ifttt was there long ago and has a shitton of integration, no?"
"I liked it for the amount of work that went into it, but I'd rather see one strong integration for what I need rather than 116 'meh' ones. The fact that it only supports sync-ing Facebook posts from a page (taking only the body of the post, the comment count and privacy description) says a lot."
"I bet that you'll find something that does an awesome job doing whatever you actually need rather than a one-for-all service."

A mix of themes, but two major ones stand out:

  1. For less technial commenters, a sense of joy that the apps they already use can work together, like some sort of mythical Zapier-powered magic ("APIs" were less than top-of-mind for most people back then).

  2. The engineers and product peeps on the thread didn't really see the point of Zapier.

8 years, a $5 billion valuation and 400 employees later, who was right? The less technical commenters, of course.

And, that's the point.

There are more non-engineers in the world than engineers. Yet, engineers often take their skills for granted. When your primary language of work is HTML, JavaScript, Ruby - or any coding language - you don't think twice about it. Just as we don't think twice when we utter and mutter spoken words.

Zapier - and no-code tools like it - gave non-engineers the power to build and connect software together without needing to learn any new languages. "If this, then that" became a new and normal way to think and speak. If you can read, you can read a recipe. Everyone can cook up anything.

Makerpad is like a Larousse Gastronomique for no-code. Zapier is like a connected thermomix.

So, it made complete sense for them to join forces. Wade and Ben wrote about it here and here.