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September 13, 2012 // 1:00 AM

Tech Profile: Zapier

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zapierWhat is Zapier, and how did you and your team get started in this field?

Zapier is for busy people who know their time is better spent selling, marketing or coding. Instead of wasting valuable time coming up with complicated systems, you can use Zapier to sync the web apps you and your team are already using on a daily basis.

How should the marketing/advertising industry utilize Zapier to create better end-results for its clients’ content and marketing strategies?

Zapier isn’t as much about strategy as much as it is about implementing those strategies. Being able to easily create segmented mailing lists in MailChimp from PayPal purchases is time consuming. Zapier handles that for you. Being able to easily monitor mentions of your brand on Twitter and get those alerts in HipChat is great. Zapier handles that for you. Being able to add users to a CRM from a Wufoo form is tricky. Zapier handles that for you.

Any time you spend importing and exporting lists, copying and pasting data and wrestling with multiple web apps is time you aren’t spending making money, getting your name out there or making your product better. Zapier handles all that for you and lets you get back to those important things.

What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Zapier would fill a void? Describe the void.

APIs are really valuable and let marketers do a ton more than used to be possible. But at the end of the day, a developer is the only person who really knows how to wrangle an API. We wanted to let regular Joes be able to wield the power of APIs without even knowing it.

How does Zapier work with other apps, such as Asana or Basecamp to increase productivity? Are there certain apps that will work better with Zapier than others? If so, what?

Zapier lets you create simple trigger-and-action workflows with 90+ applications. So you can create Basecamp to-do’s from a Wufoo form entry or add milestones to your Google Calendar events. Obviously, some apps end up working better together than others like Wufoo and Basecamp or PayPal and MailChimp, but Zapier puts the power in the users’ hands so they can decide what is useful for them.

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What are some of the challenges Zapier faces when syncing different apps? How are you working to overcome those challenges?

There are certain things Zapier doesn’t do well, such as two-way syncing or data migrating. At the end of the day though, we’ve opted for simplicity so what we do well, we do really well — which is letting you push data from one app to another automatically. That doesn’t mean we’ve written these challenges off completely, just that right now we’ve opted for simplicity.

What does the future of Zapier look like? Do you have plans to expand into other platforms or to build additional features?

Zapier is the easiest way to connect business web applications and will continue to be so as we add new features and, more importantly, new apps. Every day there are new tools that help users be successful at their jobs. Zapier is going to be the highway system that connects all of them.

Wade Foster is the CEO and co-founder of Zapier, a Y Combinator-backed startup. Zapier makes it easy for businesses to connect the web applications they use every day.

Topics: Productivity

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