What's your hot take on automation? ☄️

Automation Empire

When the term Automation comes up in conversation, it can generally go in one of these ways:Automation will create mass unemploymentAutomation will liberate us from meaningless jobsIf you're not using automation, you're wasting time & moneyEvery time you have a repeated task, you could automate it - but a bigger question in society today is: “Should we?”

I'm currently reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. In the book, he explores the existential crisis that technology poses not only to our governments, but also to our sense of identity.  In his book, he states, “If you know what you want in life, technology can help you get it. But if you don’t know what you want in life, it will be all too easy for technology to shape your aims for you and take control of your life. Especially as technology gets better at understanding humans, you might increasingly find yourself serving it, instead of it serving you.

Thinking of automation as augmentation may serve all humans better. Much of it is inevitable and so it is up to the collective group to better leverage automation for all of society. 

Regardless of which side of an argument you take, discussing implications of Automation is an important cornerstone of shaping what comes next for humanity.

This post was originally published on 3/19/2021.

THE LATEST

🎰Automation as a platform - like IFTTT and Zapier
Integromat - The glue of the internet

Integromat, while newer than Zapier, has established itself as a workhorse for small businesses, enterprises, and individuals. The "scenario editor" is incredibly powerful, yet intuitive. Not an easy task.

n8n.io - Free and Open Workflow Automation Tool (OSS code based)
Released as open source software, n8n is a step forward in workflow automation with an impressive editor and an open ecosystem of integrations with the ability to create your own custom "node". Host it yourself, or join the beta for a cloud-hosted version.

Tray.io: The Best API Integration Platform for Leading Enterprises
Tray.io definitely leans toward enterprise and larger organizations. While pricier, it is more sophisticated than other offerings and has more universal connectivity for automating just about any business process.

Workflow — Powerful automation made simple. iOS
Lest we forget, a lot of work gets done on mobile. Much of it can be automated in some way with Workflow. With support for various services you already use like Dropbox, powerful actions like image manipulation, and advanced features like conditionals and variables, you might be surprised what you can automate on iOS.

🎬State of Design in 2021 - closing the divide between design and business strategy
Abstract
 — Much like the yearly anticipated State of JS, Abstract surveyed around 1000 designers to release a report on the State of Design in 2021.

A major theme was being able to track, measure, and report on the value that design brings to business. As Harrison Wheeler, Product Design Manager at LinkedIn says, “Our responsibility as design leaders is to move beyond thinking about our role as a core discipline and evolve into being strategic partners. This means thinking about the impact, value, and consequences of our decisions on the business, and our users."

Some of the highlights are:50% said the ability to quantify impact would make design more valuable to business strategy77% expect to add 1-5 designers to their teams this year42% plan to develop more technical skillsets in the future61% say that DesignOps tools are lacking most in reporting67% report that bringing visibility to their team’s work is challenging

🎨The Art of Automation
Jesse Frazelle
 — Some practical advice for your daily work. Jessie covers a wide range of tasks like email, home automation, onboarding new hires, etc. More importantly, a simple explanation for "Why automate?"

💸Automation valuation! Zapier’s CEO Reveals How His Automation Startup Reached A $5 Billion Valuation Without Jumping On The VC ‘Hamster Wheel’
Forbes
 — While it's not direct funding, investors have picked up equity from original shareholders. Even though Zapier won't get a direct monetary benefit (sounds like they don't need it), they will have access to the Sequoia and Steadfast networks to expand the platform's offering of integrations and its value to its customers. The CEO, Wade Foster, is predicting a large shift toward automation from smaller businesses, especially in a post-COVID landscape.

BONUS: The web explained intro
Kasey McCurdy
 — One of the single best rundowns on the modern web stack. From the foundational basics to the finer points of the latest technologies, this 12-parter covers all you need to know in order to wrap your head around how and why web applications are built the way they are in 2021. The course is well-written, humorous, insightful (the last 3 parts about working with engineers are particularly helpful. Love that Van Halen analogy), and best of all: free.


As always, special shoutout to Taylor Beseda for helping curate this content.
Follow him on twitter @tbeseda.