Imagine…a world where apps magically talked to one another, giving you superhuman abilities to get things done efficiently.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
The folks at Zapier thought it was high time that we stopped imagining such things, so they made them a reality. Anyone, anywhere now has access to technology and workflow that were once only available to people with serious programming skills.
When I happened across their website, I was totally geeking out. Like, BIG TIME. I reached out to the company and after some chats back and forth I had the honor of conducting a virtual interview with Alison Groves, a Community Manager at Zapier. She’s as nice as can be, and I am super excited to share the interview with you! Let’s dive in:
JM: Tell me the story of how your company started.
AG: Zapier came together out of Startup weekend in Columbia, Missouri. Wade, Bryan, and Mike, the three co-founders, were then accepted into Y Combinator and moved out to Mountain View, California to start the program. The idea itself was born from a place of frustration…working for clients, why was it so difficult to help them connect all of the data in their apps together?
JM: A. What is your company’s UVP – i.e. what is your special sauce? Oh, and if you could sum up your core value/mission in 10 words or less, what would you say?
AG: I would say, “Your time is invaluable. Let Zapier give you time back and do the tedious work for you.”
JM: I LOVE that you saw a need and then decided to meet it – what was it about existing tools that didn’t “get the job done” for you – so much so that you opted to create something from scratch?
AG: The data was accessible to anyone via API’s, but getting to and using that data required a developer or programming knowledge to extract that data and connect it to other things. In creating Zapier, we gave *anyone* that superpower. Now, you don’t need any programming skills or to hire a developer to get your data and get it working for you, you just need Zapier.
JM: Your team is 100% remote, which is awesome! What are the top 3 remote work tools that your team can’t operate without?
AG: We use a lot of things, but these are our go-to tools:
Slack is #1 in our book. We’re in it all day, every day, it’s how we communicate with the entire team, anything we need from someone else, we just hit them up in Slack. It’s allowed us to cut 99% of internal emails out.
Hackpad helps us keep all of our internal documentation in line. When we have a new teammate join, whenever we need to document a process for all of us to refer to, that is all done within Hackpad. If anyone ever needs to know anything operationally about Zapier, they can find it there.
Our other big communication tool is a WordPress blog we use for when something needs a bit more than a Slack message, but not quite so evergreen or operational it belongs in Hackpad. We document what we each accomplished in any given week so that we can share with the entire team, leave notes about when we’ll be out of the office, write up ideas to get feedback, etc.
JM: Tell me more about your company culture and how it has set you apart from your competitors and created a killer work atmosphere?
AG: Remote work affords us to have an extremely positive culture and happy work place. For the most part, we are all left to our own devices to get things done, and we can collaborate with teammates when it’s really needed. There’s no office politics, no distractions you’d have in a physical workspace, just 25 people getting work done in the place that makes them the happiest. Calling your own shots leaves you happier, and that only leaves you with positive experiences with your teammates and culture.
JM: If you could step into a new product offering tomorrow, what would it be?
AG: I’m not certain we would, there’s so much still to be done with Zapier!
JM: What informational blogs or articles would you recommend to people that are new to Zapier?
AG: We have over 400 apps that integrate with Zapier, and they all bring their own great blogs and content on a variety of topics. If you’re looking for great content on just about any topic out there, check out an app connected to Zapier, and chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for.
JM: Where do you see the future of virtual work/remote connections going?
AG: It can only grow as more companies go remote and find success with it. The cost of living in the tech hubs in America is rising too rapidly, and with remote work you can make better choices for you and your family on where it makes the most sense for you to life. That is a very attractive recruitment and retention tool for any company, and the more that we see companies find success there, many will follow.
JM: What advice do you have for other companies looking to implement telecommute/remote work options for their team?
AG: Ensure that you have a good support system around you. Remote work can be a bit isolating, so it’s a good thing to have support outside of work. Anyone that can take initiative on their own to get things done, and has a great system of support outside of the office will be great in a remote environment.
Thanks so much, Alison, and the entire @Zapier team for chatting with me about your company and your experience working as a remote team. Keep up the awesome work; I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!