Revisiting and Reframing Automation with Wade Foster


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On this episode, I speak with Wade Foster. Wade is the CEO and co-founder of Zapier, a workflow automation tool used by over three million people to connect the work apps they use every day. Prior to Zapier, Wade worked as a customer development lead for The Idea Works, Inc. in Missouri. He is an alumnus of Y Combinator and has degrees in industrial engineering and business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
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This episode is brought to you by the University of California Irvine Division of Continuing Education. Established in 1962, UCI offers education for adult learners in Orange County. But thanks to technology, their courses and certification programs in various fields are now available worldwide and online for just about anyone who's interested. You can get 15% off of one (1) course by visiting then enter the promo code timecrafting. Make sure you take advantage of this limited time offer when Winter registration opens up on October 25th as it is only valid until December 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm.
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I wanted to have Wade back on the show to explore the genesis of Zapier as well as how automation has worked for him over the years. We talked about his own to do list, who inspires and motivates him through their work and so much more during our conversation. I'm pleased to have him return as a guest on the show and hope you enjoy this revisited and reframed discussion.
Talking Points
  • Wade shares a bit about Zapier (2:29)
  • Where has Zapier gone since its inception? How has it evolved? (3:41)
  • Is there such a thing as "too much automation"? What trips people up when they are trying to automate? (6:07)
  • Here's what Wade thinks Zapier - and automation - is helping people focus on to help out with their productivity (8:56)
  • Wade shares how you can make time to automate - and why you should (11:03)
  • Here's one thing that you can't automate on the whole... but can automate in parts (13:55)
  • How Wade started automating - and how he keeps at it (21:24)
  • What automation has freed Wade up to do more of (23:23)
  • Does Wade keeps a to do list? Here's how he structures his weeks (25:10)
  • How Wade breaks down big things - like projects (27:02)
  • What about home or personal automation? What does Wade do on that front? (28:15)
  • Where does Wade draw inspiration from? (29:18)
  • These are the particular pieces of writing and content that Wade refers to consistently to stay on track (31:15)
  • We talk about scale and how Zapier plans to scale (33:35)
  • How does Jeff Bezos's quote "Focus on the things that don't change" play a role in Wade's company and his own life (36:30)
"The reality is that innovation and technology move so quickly that you always have to be looking for the next angle for yourself or you might find that your company is... innovated out of business." - Wade Foster
Helpful LinksThe thing about automation is that you need to think about not only what you want to automate but why you want to automate in the first place. Don't just automate for automation's sake. Software can help once you've made that call, but without making a smart and wise choice beforehand you may be setting yourself up for more work than you bargained for.
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