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Episode 1: Building a SaaS Flywheel: How Zapier integrated with 1000 apps

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All Xero Developer Podcast episodes

Hosted by Nick Houldsworth and Dan Young

Meet Cody Jones [@codyjayjones], head of partnerships at Zapier. Cody’s learnt some pretty interesting lessons, as Zapier grew to 1000-plus integrations, over a million customers and became a favourite with developers.

Zapier connects the apps their customers use every day, allowing information to flow between the apps automatically, enabling their customers to be more productive. But they found out early on that it wasn’t sustainable to continue building their own integrations and Cody shares what they learned moving to a model where almost every integration is now built by their partners.

But when you’re releasing 1-2 integrations every business day, how do you ensure you’re continuing to build an ecosystem your community loves? In this episode of the Xero Developer Podcast, Cody talks life at Zapier and how the team has maintained a personal touch at scale, successfully certify a growing number of apps, and build a brand their community loves working with.

Plus, find out what a game of API chicken is and hear Cody blows Nick’s mind at the start of the episode!

Episode transcript

Hosts:
Nick Houldsworth [@nickhouldsworth] – ( NH )
Dan Young  [@dethklok66]– ( DY )

Guest:
Cody Jones – ( CJ )

NH: Welcome to the Xero Developer podcast. My name's Nick Houldsworth.

DY: And I'm Dan Young. Cool.

NH: This is when you'd talk about what we're doing.

DY: This is when I ... talk about what we're doing.

DY: For everyone's benefit who's listening in, so we've been doing Dev TV stuff for a while now, but we came to talk a bit more widely with some experts and friends around ecosystems and about SaaS platforms in general.

NH: I'm a big fan of platforms. Going back, probably 2009 when I remember my first experience of connecting a couple of solutions together. I think it was MailChimp and Shopify, and I was setting up for a client, and I just realiszed the power of what you could do when you connect these two solutions together. Really sparked a whole journey for me. I'm really excited to be working in it for Xero, but I'm really excited with all the great partners that we get to work with and to hear their stories and their lessons, too.

DY: Totally. And speaking of great partners, we're joined today by special guest, all the way from Phoenix, Arizona. It's Cody Jones, who's head of partnerships at Zapier. Welcome.

CD: Hey, thanks guys. Thanks for having me today.

NH: So, Cody, for those that don't know ... Zapier's a really big brand amongst developers, so hopefully all developers know who you are, but would love to hear a little bit more about what Zapier is.

CD: Yeah, Zapier is the easiest way to connect your favorite tools for getting work done. So for example you mentioned like Shopify and MailChimp, Zapier has over 1100 at the moment integrations, and we allow you to automate the interactions between your favorite tools.

CD: If you want to capture leads and type form and send those to MailChimp, and then have those go into HubSpot, and send your sales rep a slack message they've got a new lead, Zapier helps you automate all of those things.

DY: Awesome, and just to clarify as well, Cody, for those listening in, is it Zapier or Zapier?

CD: Good question. Little bit of Zapier trivia, in the bottom of every one of our e-mails because nobody can figure this out ... including myself before I knew the team. It is actually Zapier, and we say at the bottom Zapier makes you happier because we think that people will catch it. Nobody does. And I called it Zapier for the longest time as well, so no harm, no foul that's a common question .

DY: Well, that's a game changer for me, actually.

NH: That's massive. I feel like we can just call it off right now. But of course, they're called zaps, they're not called Zapes. How did I not realize that before, but thanks for clarifying that for me, Cody.

CD: Oh, you bet. Honestly, one that we get all the time, In fact, next time we name a company maybe we'll throw two P's in it. We wanted to have the API in the middle though, we thought it was cool.

NH: Oh my god.

DY: Another game changer. You're blowing my mind.

NH: Mic dropping the whole time here.

CD: Right? The lesser known secrets of Zapier, but anyway.

NH: So, Cody, tell us a little bit about your story. How long have you been with Zapier and what got you interested in this space.

CD: Yeah, sure. So Zapier, known about these guys from, I think since about 2012. So, I worked at, previously, at a company called Infusionsoft. And it's it was there from start up to about 700 employees. But in 2012, I believe it was 2012 ... We have a big giant user conference that we used to hold, and as part of that we had a hackathon, and Zapier came out with this new integration to Infusionsoft that allowed you to connect all these cool tools. They entered in the hackathon. The grand prize was $50,0000 and they lost, they were runner up to like a scheduling app. Looking back I wish that maybe we would have gained it for them.

CD: But that's when I was first introduced to these guys. Really kind of a cool concept, and at Infusionsoft, I headed up a lot of our integration strategy and some of that, and as you guys probably have experienced, and you build an open API, you expect the world's going to build to you and you hope that they do. And sometimes they do ... a lot of times they don't. But your users, I mean it never ceases to amaze me, the number of questions, "Hey do you guys integrate with this?" Or, "Hey, I need you to integrate this brand new tool that's only existed for three weeks. But I need you to integrate to it before I'll buy your product."

CD: So we heard that a lot. And it seemed like this never ending stream of "Do you integrate with" so at one point, we finally said, "You know what? Yeah we do. Zapier does that for us." And it seemed to fill a lot of the pain points we had there, so I've been a fan of Zapier for a long time because I really got involved with Infusionsoft's platform strategy, it just ... The more I saw the pain points, I kind of saw where I guess that the market was headed, and I said I've got to be involved with this Zapier thing. It's just too cool. It's kind of a fun problem to solve, what an opportunity to work with every SaaS company under the sun, and helping them normalize the way that software connects with each other and automates things.

CD: So in 2016 I finally made the jump, and it's been a couple of years here at Zapier, but just tons of fun. And we've grown to over a thousand integrations now, which is kind of landmark for us. But, yeah, kind of picking up steam.

NH: Awesome. I'd love to know a bit more about how you kind of built that stack, in the early days I guess when they were building those first few integrations, they were probably doing the work themselves. But then maybe over time you developed an API strategy, do you have much you can share around how it looks today versus how it looked a few years ago?

CD: Yeah, this is always the challenge of any ecosystem, right? Like, "Hey, we're gonna make this API, and the world will beat a path to our door, and they don't. Which is cool. As you guys know, right?

NH: Yes.

CD: Xero, you guys kind of have a really cool story, too. We've got one of your old teammates on our team over here who's been helping us with our strategy. Tony Rule, by the way, if any of you Xero fans are out there.

CD: So yeah, in early days with Zapier, it was really kind of a ... We had to build everything. This is something that the co founders were kind of doing. In the work that they were doing on the side, kind of side projects, this happened to be something that they were running into all the time, was connecting these tools.

CD: And so, we launched to market with a dozen or so integrations. I think it was like 45 was the big number that we were all excited about, where we started to see some really good traction. We got some of those early customers but maintaining just even 45 integrations with a small team is hard. We started to see smaller tools starting to build to us, right. It made sense for us to have some sort of a self-service or exposed way for developers or third parties to develop to the standards that we were doing internally.

CD: And so, Zapier's platform has taken many different shapes and sizes over the years. But right around 100, 120 integrations we kind of realiszed hey, this fly wheel's working, and we don't need to really do the integrations anymore. There's enough value for our SaaS partners that they can integrate to one platform and get 120 integrations. That's amazing.

CD: So, that's kind of where the inflection point, I think, was for us, was we could lay off any integrations ourselves, and the value was enough for our partners to build to our platform.

NH: And so do you still do some integrations outbound yourself today, or is it predominantly you focused on building the developer platform and the API's and allow people to build to you.

CD: Yeah. I would say there's maybe a few, a handful a year. We're releasing one, if not two, integrations every business day. And those are all developed by third parties, at this point. So we've really had to double down on our platform, make sure that we've got the right tools, documentation, so very rarely do we ever do integrations unless we're kind of hacking on something ourselves. We do actually do quite a few integrations as part of our onboarding for new employees. We kind of have a list of like, hey these are some cool apps would be cool to have on the platform. Why don't you build an integration as part of your onboarding?

NH: Shit, that's a great idea.

DY: Just quickly note that one down.

CD: Yeah. No worries, not my idea. Some of our much smarter people at our team, but-

NH: And then they are responsible for that integration for the rest of their time at Zapier?

CD: The rest of their lives, we actually have a pair of handcuffs. No, it's kind of a group effort. In fact, what's been interesting is that there's enough brand goodwill that we can have one of our teammates start something and we can hand it off. For example, that happened with, I think the Patreon integration that we did. We did a really simple, easy version of it. They were like, "Hey, this is really cool. We wanted to do this anyway." So we handed out to them, they improved on it. Same thing with Bitly and a few others out there.

NH: Cool, so with so many integrations and so many things happening on your platform, how have you managed that over time, in terms of like your app certification process or developer relations? How's that scaled over time?

CD: Yeah, it's tricky. You kind of learn by your hair get set on fire and you realize hey, we probably shouldn't do that again. Maybe we should put some safety checks in place. It's something that we're still learning, honestly.

CD: So, in the early days it was kind of Mike or one of our co founders kind of building stuff and I guess all three of them kind of built things here and there. You kind of had an early gauge on oh, this is good enough. People are going to figure it out. But then you get an integration out in the wild and you start to get feedback. And one of the things that we do here is Zapier, it's kind of unique, is that every employee at the company does support, at least four hours a week.

CD: So for me, if you release a crappy integration, you're going to see the tickets, and you're going to have to answer those tickets. So early on, we kind of realiszed that man, we've got to do really good work, and we need to encourage people to create really good integrations. And that's taken various forms over the years.

CD: Recently, one of the things that we do is Zapier, we've got a very specific process. All private apps you can develop, we don't really talk to you. You've got all the documentation we've got no support or answer questions here or there, but if you want to take your app public we have a very specific track and we've got all the documentation and requirements. And that's evolved over time as we have learned certain wrong ways of doing this.

CD: But one of the things that's really interesting for us is standardizing and normalizing off across Zapier, getting rid of just WebHook integrations, right. It's just not enough these days moving to at least the API keys, or [inaudible 00:11:13] off for some of those things. So really, actually there's a lot of people or a lot of platforms out there that only support WebHooks, and it's tempting to say  what? Let's just let this one through. But these days we've had to pull that back and say hey look at the type of user that we're attracting. They're not going to be used to setting up web hooks to get the value of this integration.

CD: So there are simple tweaks like that we've made over time. We've started doing what we call kind of like a UX review, where we're kind of going through the experience. We've actually asked our partners, our developers to adhere to a style guide. So, standard naming conventions for certain things. If you're a CRM, there are certain things that you just need to call a certain way. You can still continue naming that your way, but let's speak a common language across platforms that people can understand.

CD: And so we've built a lot of these different teams, in fact, Tony, as I mentioned, who has a past, used to work with you guys at Xero. He's been instrumental in forming a lot of these checks and balances that have helped us normalize that process.

CD: Other changes that we've done is implementing an actual alpha and beta period, whereas in the past like, "Well, the integration looks good, let's just get it out there." So an invite-only phase, where you can privately invite users to test out the integration. A public beta, where we know that it's technically solid but we want to see you get some traction with it.

CD: So we can actually, over time you can ask your partners to do more and more. That's one of the small secrets of building an effective flywheel. So we're always kind of discovering okay, actually maybe we can have our partners do this instead of just doing it for them now. And so every day it's just a little bit more refining that process, making it a little bit smoother, improving the documentation. Hopefully putting in place some automation, checking tools that will kind of find things before they become issues, and then keeping a really tight feedback loop to those partners so that we can tell them, "Hey, thanks for building our platform." Give them feedback in a timely manner, and help them progress.

NH: A lot of that really resonates with us. I think, one of the threads that stands out from there is how much do you apply human touch versus how much do you automate? If we think about the Apple App Store and how many hundreds of thousands of apps, that whole process is fairly automated, but actually when you're dealing with business integrations, you need to maintain some quality control. You want to make sure that people are following your conventions, and I think we think a lot about automation, and certainly content, and providing SDK's, but we I think that the human touch is so really important to help your developers get started.

NH: I wonder if there's any lessons you have in that space?

CD: Yeah it's a struggle, right? We're kind of getting to the point where we actually need a little more automation. I think that we've leaned a lot on that personal relationship, we're answering a lot of questions. Our platform development support teams are growing, our app reviews teams are growing. Our partner launch teams are growing, and so for us we're actually trying to figure out how do we maintain that really great relationship with our partners? Because it is, it is all based on relationship, but how we also inject a little bit more automation, more style guide checkers, or things that when you try to move it to the next phase that kind of warns you, and we've done a little bit of that. We're actually trying to do a little bit more.

CD: But to your point, for Zapier, and for most people that are doing integrations, the minute you launch this integration you get access to an entire new ecosystem that potentially could be using your product. And for us, we realize that the development experience is just the tip of the iceberg. So, maintaining a really great relationship with those partners throughout the life cycle of our relationship is crucial.

CD: The other thing that, I don't know about you guys, but you jump from team to team through that process. So, we have the development team, maybe a Product Marketer, kind of found Zapier, and say hey, we need to add this to our roadmap. The development team then takes it over and does the integration. And then we move to a marketing team, who's going to now talk about it to their users, right? So there's many different personas that we're working with throughout the process, and that relationship is key.

NH: So you mentioned that you guys still occasionally do your outbound integrations, but the majority are inbound today. I guess, I don't how involved you getting some of those outbound integrations, but do you have the experience of going through building to somebody else's platform? And do you ... is it like when you're driving a Mini and you see other people driving Minis, and you wave at each other.

NH: You're constantly looking at how others are doing. Do you see anybody that's doing it really well out there, anybody you'd like to emulate?

CD: Yeah, good question. You know we do see a lot of really ... I mean, for us we see a lot of APIs. And we're so familiar with our platform and when we see really good documentation, it's one of the things that just ... it's like our heart has little nerd butterflies that start flying out of, right?

CD: As far as anybody that's doing it really, really well out there ... Might have to ask my teammates this. And we're in the thick of redesigning a bunch of our stuff right now, and so I don't have a good answer for that. But we do have good examples that we point to. For example, we sped up a CLI on our end to do the integration, we got some samples that are kind of pulling for you.

CD: Yeah, for us, cleanly documented end points. Oh goodness. Yes, please. Rest hooks. Thank you. Things like that are the things that we get excited about.

DY: Yeah. Fair call. I always think about this, when you think about great API programs and kind of where we've come in the last eight to 10 years, and Tony will definitely be able to tell you a little bit about the early days. But having a really nice, stable, feature-rich API, great support, and a really killer UX around that. If you've got those three things, then you've kind of got it made from a attracting developers perspective.

DY: And now, kind of for us at least, where we're moving to how can we really grow the discovery of these amazing apps that people are building and kind of grow the demand for that? So it's a new phase for us. And so, yeah, it's really interesting.

NH: Yeah we've talked about this a little bit in the past I know, Cody, and now you have 1100 integrations and one new every couple of business days.

NH: How do you help your customers make sense of all of those solutions and find the right one for themselves? Is there any lessons that you guys have learned around that?

CD: Yeah. We don't have it totally figured out, but we've learned a lot, and I think this is something that we're all trying to figure out. But for Zapier, one of the things that is really cool, we kind of have this marketplace syndication play. Zapier is inside of hundreds of SaaS apps that are out there, in one of the things that we have as basically in our usage algorithm that suggests to users of those apps the most common pairings or the most common ways to connect that app with x y or z out there.

CD: And so, from our side, what's really cool is that we see all the data. We break things down into triggers, actions, and searches. So basically, from your end points, there's things that users are going to see happen in our system that they want to trigger off something in another tool. They're going to want to search or look at things, and then maybe retrieve that data and do something, and then we have actions where something might happen in another tool or Slack which you might want to have trigger a To Do list reminder of some sort.

CD: So from our side, we actually can not only buy a tool but actual use-cases of, "Hey, every time you get a new typeform entry I want to add a person to this mailing list." So what's cool is when we're inside of these different products, we're actually surfacing real time top use cases which ebb and flow with the usage of those products out there.

CD: And so, it's pretty cool because, for example, in any SaaS tool that you're looking at out there, we've got this little engine it's a little JavaScript widget that you, 30 seconds to embed within your product. But it's a dynamic list that, based on the real time numbers of the popular use cases. Those are ranked towards the top and less popular ones fall off the list, things like that.

CD: That's one of the ways that we're trying to drive discovery of either new use cases, or even sometimes new apps to those users are that other tool, that they can leverage based off of what's popular on the Zapier platform to either gain ideas or new ways to automate their workflows.

DY: One thing I've been sort of thinking about for quite some time is around the innovation aspect. We love innovation on our platform, and we have people building integrations to things like fax machines and can machines.

DY: To can machines, to Minecraft.

CD: Nice.

DY: So I just, yeah, I keep thinking about how platforms can encourage the ecosystem developers and partners to not only innovate in the first place, but actually innovate together. I don't know. It seems like something cool that could happen, but I'm not sure how.

CD: Yeah. I've been thinking about this yesterday, like what's what's a good example of a really well-defined API, clean documentation UX experience, and here's what I realiszed with Zapier, we catch a lot of products that are either new API, they're exploratory APIs, or they're something that's not even ... they're not even public endpoints, right.

CD: And so, for us, I'm realizing because we're running into this issue recently. We do a lot of collaboration with big name partners that are thinking about or working on releasing a new product into the world, and they want to have a Zapier integration, and one of the challenges for us is that a lot of times the documentation isn't there.

CD: We can collaborate, which is cool because it means you can create anything, but sometimes the end result is not totally there. So for example, like Google Hangouts chat just launched their official platform today, and it's something that we've been working with them on for probably the last year and a half.

CD: But Zapier did not make it into the initial launch, and it's kind of like a little bitter sweet, right, because we've been devising and informing them for a year and a half, helping them to kind of come up with these cases. But sometimes the API or the end points, or the authentication layers in this case, didn't come together fast enough to enable us to kind of be one of those launch partners.

CD: The biggest thing for me is that collaboration is key. But how do you get companies to trust each other with product ideas that aren't even real yet right? Like that's kind of a sensitive spot for people. For Zapier, it's cool because we're Switzerland, and we don't have a horse in the race, you could say. So we're kind of a neutral third party that is pretty easy to collaborate with. But I really do, I would love to see quite a bit more of that across the ecosystems that are out there. I mean I'd be curious how you guys are seeing that or encouraging that on your end.

DY: Well, actually one thing for us, I was going to actually jump in and say there's also the kind of, when there's a bit of a standoff.

CD: Oh, yes. Who's going to who's going to build it, yeah.

NH: What do we call this? Like is it the game of API chicken?

CD: Yes. It's the who's the who's the bigger dog game. "Well, we've got this many customers." Okay, goodness.

DY: Yeah, it's weird, and we want to we want to work with heaps of people. It doesn't matter like how big or popular or whatever, its just about doing some really cool stuff. Sometimes it's just really hard to get it on your roadmap, although you really, really want to partner with people and build really awesome things.

CD: Totally.

DY: That's something we think about quite a bit.

CD: The old who's going to do the work. I'm so glad that we're past that, because it really is hard. You guys have a good number of apps yourself, remind me, you've got how many hundreds of integrations there now?

DY: Yeah, with just over 600, right?

NH: Yeah.

CD: Yeah. Roughly 600, right? There's nothing better than having some good solid numbers on integrations, to say, "Yeah, there's 600 integrations on our platform, we're excited to see you start yours."

DY: Yeah, that's true. That's true, and we do spend quite a bit of time ensuring that those apps are of high quality as well. So, some platforms out there, they have quite a different kind of certification process, which may let apps in which aren't as high quality potentially or maybe they're just more widgets so they don't need to spend so much time certifying them.

NH: I think one of the ... So, we do have the benefit of being a reasonable sized platform now, and that's part of the discussion, and the things we're keen to explore is what's it like when you're at that size, but also how do you get to that size? Because it's that it's that chicken and egg game where you talked about before, you reach that tipping point at 100 where suddenly people wanted to start building to you.

NH: So, like yourself, I think we have a, probably every few days we have a new app listed in the marketplace, and a really great opportunity for those build with us. But we still come up against that point where actually customers want us to work with a solution. It could be Google Hangouts chat, or they want us to work with maybe Slack. And when you're a similar sized company, that's where you get into that game. I'm just throwing up cliché terms here and hoping one of them sticks.

NH: Yeah, but I think one of the things that we've noticed with the companies that work with us is you can't just kind of one and done your integration. If you're building a proposition for your customers, you have to think about what you're building and how you make sure that it solves a problem and how you support it ongoing, and I think some of the mistakes we've made in the past is doing that with our own integrations to other partners.

NH: And one of the things we're really keen to explore is how do you make integrations part of a product focus? How do you make it part of your core set? How do you how do you think about the ones that you work with and ensure that it solves use cases, and then you can handle a feature request that comes through and you can support it ongoing, so for the lifespan of that integration it works.

NH: There's another interesting angle, which I've seen some companies do, which is which are the integrations that aren't working? I think there's really bold product companies, when they can switch features off, so they can prioritize the ones that they really want to work on. So yeah, I think that we're still trying to figure that out ourselves. But if you believe that integration's important to your proposition, and you can't get everybody to work with you, then and how do you prioritize that in your business?

DY: Yeah, cool. And how do you sort of go about just kind of going back to the beginning or actually top of the funnel, how do you actually build a brand? And anyway, this question out for you Cody, and for you, Nick, as well, and those listening. Building a brand that developers and partners really love working with.

CD: Yeah. This is a good question I think, for us, the thing that's kind of cool about Zapier is that it's free. I'm just I'm going to throw this out there: There are all the weird API models that will charge you to access their API. Every time I see that I just literally ... you can't see this, but I'm doing finger guns to my head, right now.

CD: So, very first thing: just have a free API. Second, have really great ... we talked about this, but really great documentation, really clear use cases, endpoints, good design around it. Usability, right?

CD: And this is ... we're a little bit of the cobbler's kid here, because we've released our first API last year. It's not for creating Zaps, but it is for putting Zapier in to your product. So, we were excited about that and finally in the API game, which is great. We should know a thing or two about that.

CD: The other thing is that there is going to be kind of this champion for the developer experience. For Zapier, we grow in two ways. SEO, which we do zero money on paid advertising, that is not how we grow. And the other part of it is directly from our partners. So, every time we launch a new integration, that is a brand new customer set of, what, 2 million users or whatever their user-base looks like, that we get access to. And so for us, it's really important to make sure that we are a neutral and very developer-friendly company.

CD: The third thing that we do ... I don't even know what number I'm on here, probably four or five, but were product-first company, right. That's important. There are so many companies that are sales and marketing focused, and when you get into the product its either crappy or its kind of an afterthought, or there's a giant list of bugs on the backlog that haven't been addressed. I would say that Zapier, we are very much a product-first company. I've been that other company before, and it sends the wrong message to your users, to your developers, to everyone. And the market picks up on that pretty quick.

CD: And so those are some quick lessons from our side that I can clearly see that seemed to drive that experience for the developer, but I'd be curious from your side, what you guys see there.

NH: Yeah, I think a lot of that resonates. I don't think you can fake it. And to your point, you need to be a product first company, it needs to be core to your strategy and your brand.

NH: I think we're quite lucky at Xero with Rod Drury, from day one he wanted to build a platform, he wanted API, he wanted an open ecosystem. He's still a huge champion of that in the business. In the products that we build today, we focused on building the API's first, so we can surface those to the community at the same time as we release the products, which it takes a lot of effort to do that. And again we don't always get it right, but having the support of the CEO and having it part of the company strategy really helps.

NH: And then it's just kind of translating that into the features and the products you present to the community. Our brand at Xero is really about helping small business and having accountants and bookkeepers but we are a technology company we're a product company and we have a very strong developer brand because of that.

NH: I think part of the, I guess the motivation, to do this podcast series was it seems like everybody wants to be a platform today, and we see that banks become platforms and telcos want to become platforms, and you can buy a marketplace off the shelf and put it on the on your website, but to be a platform has to come from the core of your company, I think, and to come from your strategy and your brand.

NH: I think if you get those things right, then you can find the channels to reach the developers and the community, and you've got to have good APIs, you've got to have good content and so forth. And so I think we're lucky in that regard, having it coming from the top down. And certainly with Zapier, if I think about Zapier and the core proposition for you guys, it's definitely there and people understand that and look to that for working with you.

CD: Here's how you know if you're developer friendly: Is the API and the support of it, is that an expense for the business, or is it an investment? And the companies that really get it right, they see it as an ecosystem, a flywheel, something that can help them propel growth.

CD: The companies that are probably having a hard time with it see it as an expense, and I've been on both sides of that coin, and it's challenging when you're not on the investment side. So, love that you guys set up that way, and for us it's similar, just it's so refreshing to see this as a ... I mean, obviously it's core to our business at Zapier. But from the very beginning, it's product-first company for both developers and our users, so totally agree with you on that.

NH: Yeah, I'd love to ... As much as you can share, what does success look like for you and your team? Is it having 10000 apps? Is it having great apps? What are some of the things that you define as successful on the space?

CD: Yeah. Early on it's like, "Let's just get a bunch of apps on the platform." And that's how you know you've made it. And then you start supporting those things during your all hands support shift, and you're like all right, quality is important, too.

CD: So one of the things that's really unique about Zapier, so we ... not only do we, so our partners develop to our platform, but we do frontline support. So if there's any questions about integration, we're skilled at supporting questions about a thousand something different apps. But what's interesting about that is that we capture all the bugs, the feature requests and whatnot. And so, at a certain point we're going to hit a saturation point.

CD: We've gotten most of the business-centric SaaS apps on the platform. Is that 5000 apps, is that 10000? I'll be honest, I want to see 10000 apps on the platform. You kind of hit my number. Well done. It seems we read the same books. But no, but outside of that though, we've got a good moat, Zapier. Who else has a thousand something different integrations, that's pretty impressive, right?

CD: But we've got this moat that's three miles wide, and 10 feet deep. It's time to deepen the moat. So, one of the things that we actively do with integrations when we have them launch, we actually tell them to keep it simple. We want no more than a few triggers, a few actions, when you launch integration, because we don't want you to overwhelm or confuse users.

CD: But over time, once we kind of got that going, and we can prove user demand, we actually go back to those partners and say hey, look. There are your top feature requests. These are how many people want this versus that. We think that you should invest a little bit more in deepening integration.

CD: So it really is that we care about quality. I will say that, that is a number one thing that we care about now that we're at the size that we're at. But now that we've got the moat, it's time to deepen it. So we are. We're actively working on ways to help our partners understand the value of adding these additional features, maybe even suggesting.

CD: Sometimes, what's really cool about Zapier, is that we can see use-crit cases not only for one individual software solution, but across a category. So, for example, if you're Xero and I can see QuickBooks over here, and maybe you guys have a few more actions and triggers, or use cases that are available to you or to your user base, and QuickBooks over here doesn't have them, we can start to suggest to those other partners, "Hey, look, this leading partner in the category has these things, and if you want to be in the same realm you should probably consider adding these different things, as well."

CD: So we're finally getting that point where we can start leveraging the data that we see, not only for suggesting things to our user base but also to our partners to be successful on our platform, which is kind of a fun spot to be at. So we're excited about that this year, there's a lot of initiatives around that.

NH: I could keep talking about the stuff for hours, I got to be honest. We're not really sure how many people are going to listen to this podcast because it seems like there's a small group of people that love this stuff. We're going to stop ... we're going to pretend to stop recording soon, and then we're going to keep talking so we can capture some really good stuff.

NH: But before we do, I guess for the next 9900 apps that you're looking for, where can they get started with Zapier? Shall I just put your phone number up at the website?

CD: Let me give you my direct cell. No, if you go to Zapier.com/developer we've optimiszed for anybody to take advantage of the platform. It's free. We'd encourage anybody to use it, obviously.

CD: But whether you're going to develop an individual app just to help you automate things within your own company, or you want to bring in integration public to our two and a half million different Zapier account holders out there, we've got different paths for you, so just go to that URL and we should be able to take care of you from there.

NH: Awesome. It's been great chatting. It's been awesome having you on the show. Love hearing insights, so much resonates with me. So much sounds familiar, hopefully with our three or four listeners as well.

DY: Including your kids are about to wake up-

CD: Exactly, yeah. We'll have a few more listeners here in just a few minutes. No, I love it. Thanks for having me, guys, and I'm excited that you're doing this to your point. I don't know that there's a ton of people that are in the space, but if we're ever able to help, feel free to reach out to us. Happy to answer any questions around that.

CD: Thanks for having us again. Awesome.

DY: No worries, and if any of our listeners want to get over and find out about the Xero developer program, just go to developer.xero.com and it's all there ready for you.

NH: Great. Thank you very much. Good morning, and good night.

NH: I'm not actually hanging up the call-

CD: I love it. Good work, guys.

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