Do The Work You Love In Your Business. Automate Everything Else.
Andy Wingrave is a Certified Zapier Premier Expert, a Make Expert+, an Airtable Consultant and a lover of APIs. He runs SaaStronomical / ConnectMySaaS. His Twitter: @andywingrave
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Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:07
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling. Every day they wasted time, effort and money on repetitive tasks that added no value. One day, the better automation podcasts by process CEO came to help them find the way. Because of this, these businesses grow, save time, reduce costs, innovate and make better decisions. Because of that, these businesses scale and use human creativity the way it is intended to be used to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz and I'm your host at better automation podcast by process co where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes, and life. My guest today is Andy Wingrave. Andy is a certified Zapier Premier Expert, and Make Expert Plus and an Airtable Consultant and a lover of API's. He runs ConnectMySaaS, which makes it easy to discover how to integrate software apps you're already using, and seek out new ones so you can automate your back end and boost your business. Andy, how are you ready to go?
Andy Wingrave 1:31
Wonderful. Thanks for having me. It's really is really nice to be here. And chatting with you. And I, I am flattered by your introduction. The fact that anybody thinks of me as an expert at anything is, is hilarious to me. But But that's very kind of you to see.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 1:56
Thank you. And well, we will speak about so many topics that I'm sure everybody will be surprised even yourself by the depth of the answers and how fascinating they will be because they will be true to you. And that's what matters. And therefore I will ask this. Why automation? Like, what's the story that made you begin working in this field? Why does it matter to you? Why is it important to help people in this way?
Andy Wingrave 2:29
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:55
Thank you. That's fascinating, as I said previously, so If you're someone who you understand how your brain works, and you understand that, that's your power, because otherwise, if you're not following how your brain works, you're being inefficient. You're someone who demands excellence of yourself. You're someone who has a disdain or resistance to authority as well. And you're living your best life. It sounds wonderful to a lot of makers, or people in the no code community, who might decide and think I want to be do the same thing as Andy. But as you said, there are things about you that made this the best career for you. So imagine someone new is watching right now. And they're thinking, Okay, do I have what it takes? What would you describe and say, Okay, if you have these characteristics that will make you a great solution architect or automation expert, or whatever it is. And if you were to not meet, like, if someone shouldn't meander all over the place to get those skills? What would you recommend as a plan for someone to get really good at this? What should they learn first? How? And in what way?
Andy Wingrave 21:13
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 30:55
I love this. This is a wonderful recipe. Yeah, also know how your brain works. That works as well. And okay for you, because you were mentioning how you have your own way or your own approach to automate. Let's say someone wants to understand and follow that method. How do you do it? Especially for example, you mentioned like, you create an optimized workflow, on your own words, there are some other people who say, actually, creating a theoretical workflow doesn't really work in reality, take what is already there, and then begin to tweak and improve it as it is, rather than creating something from scratch, or whatever. But to you, how do you visualize or bring a solution or create a whole automation thing? I don't mean in the details, but like your approach your perspective, how do you think about it?
Andy Wingrave 31:53
Yeah, so it took me four years to codify this. And I only codified it yesterday. But I codified it very effectively. Because I was really struggling to help a customer. They came to me and they were like, I've got all this stuff. There's like, just too many departments and people and companies and software. And I don't know any of this. And they were really stressed out. And I was like, Okay, guys, let's like take a pause. And what we need to do in order to in order to create an automation, what we need to do is, first of all it is a combination of two things, or one or two things is either determine what admin tasks or tasks that you're currently doing, that you could automate, right, determine what you hate doing, right? And explore whether it can be an automated, right, particularly things like invoicing and things like that are really boring to most people as they should because they are boring tasks. No, you can maybe think about that. Right? So like, okay, so we, we, I teased the room that he actually wanted, like, he ran it, he was an HR. So you wanted like basically when somebody got given an email and their company, that they are added to the HR platform and that their onboarding started. So the first thing, the way that I tease that out of them was to was to get him to ignore all of the surrounding all the surrounding noise that that that he was tuning into, right? And distinguish the disk or determine what you want to happen right now. In that case, what we wanted to happen was we wanted user to be added to the HR platform and their onboarding cadence to start. Great. That's, that's 50. Honestly, it's 50% of the job done. No, all we need to do is define when we want that to happen. And we say, okay, we want we want it to happen when somebody gets an email or once or when or whatever, right. But yeah, when somebody hasn't even so when somebody gets an email given to them in Google workspace, they get granted an email, we want to, we call that the trigger. And then what we do is we, we apply that as much as we can, if possible to the action, right. And you start there, that's when this thing happens. Another thing happens and that's it. And that is the most powerful thing that you can explain to somebody because from there, you can also say, but when this happens, and it has this criteria, we want to do something else. I And then you can say, and then when this happens, we want to do this thing. And then we want to refer back to another thing. And the automation can just grow and grow and grow and grow and grow. But ultimately, it goes from a very, very simple starting point when I want this to happen, and I want it to happen when this happens, so I have a trigger, and I have an action. And we combine that combine the two, and you tease that over client. Then you are starting, you're starting to get in the mindset of how to build workflows, and ultimate
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 35:48
Thank you. That's very helpful. That's very useful. And you said you entertain people. Does it mean when people you know, get on a call with you they get entertained? Or are you speaking about your social media? And if so, also share? Okay, tell me, how do you entertain people? And why is that important? For a freelancer? Is it just fun for you? Or does it add value to the experience?
Andy Wingrave 36:15
So we'll go back to what we talked about before when I was at sorry. So so we'll take us back to Singapore 2016 2015. And like I said, my life was a bit in turmoil. I was I was not very happy, it was struggling. So blind in Singapore, like, quite honestly, just like the most depressed I've ever been in. I don't think I've ever been at the presses, and definitely haven't actually, but But yeah, it's really, really having a tough time. And, and another time, when you're having a tough time, it feels like the world is ending. Now, I'm sure there's a lot of listeners out there that have been through tough times, or even going through tough times. And I, I struggled with that for a couple of years. And I applied a lot of the approach that I that I just talked about, again, your first question to my personal life as well. So not only my professional life, but my personal life. So in my 20s, I was smoking a lot, I was drinking a lot. I was being an idiot, basically, quite honestly been being a reckless, being reckless with my life and being reckless with like the gift that had been given. I didn't really acknowledge it. But what I did was I came back from Singapore, and I was really overweight, huge. It was like double the size I am now. And I was I was really, like depressed, I was drinking a lot was smoking. And why do I say it was I was going to cut those things out. So around about 2930 No, maybe 31 Actually 30 along with all the stuff that I said about my career, but what I did was I read a book called An easy way to stop smoking, which if you smoke, read it. It's amazing. It's the best book as it is the best book I've ever read. Because it changed my life. And it changed my life because it gave me a technique. That is the best technique I've ever learned in my life. Which is, again, this is spoiler alert. So if you want to go read the book I do, just kind of covering your ears here. But the thing that that book taught me was start with a feeling of elation, right. And what that means is like when you're drinking or smoking or like you've got any addictive behavior you tend to rely on as a crutch. And getting over that habit can be can feel like a downward spiral that you'll never go off. And when I was doing that, I was alert, I read the book. And immediately I stopped smoking and I never smoked again. So I was walk since I was 30. So I thought right? How can like this is really interesting. That worked really well. And I don't have any, like, I don't have any craving for a cigarette, none at all. And I was like, right, how can I? How can I apply this to other parts of my life? And I applied it to alcohol. I didn't have I wasn't an alcoholic per se. But I did I have a problem. Like I was like I did have a problem where like I couldn't say no to going out. That was that was my problem. Really. I had just made your formal, and I was like maybe a bit insecure. So I guess everybody's insecure, but maybe a bit insecure. So like feeling like um, it wouldn't be supported by and quite honestly, I wasn't like when you give up drink, you are going to lose friends. Just a fact. I lost probably about 70 80% of my friends since I stopped drinking so I stopped drinking around the same time. exactly that same way. And stop gambling was being eliminated with gambling and stuff like that. Just I'm just being really honest here. But like I really struggle with all this stuff. And I got rid of all the toxic stuff in my life and I was like, wow, I've got energy. What the hell am I going to do with all this energy and waking up at seven in the morning or so? I already, this is unreal, like, I've got, I'm not waking up feeling like, the world is against me. I feel like everything's wonderful. And those, like that feeling was amazing. And I took that energy and I played it to other other hobbies, right? So I actually Googled at that point, I was like, Okay, well, I'm not drinking. So I'm kind of bored. And I'm not smoking, so I'm not getting funded in my hands. So I googled hobbies for adults. And I like it. And obviously, you can imagine some weird things came up when I looked at that. But the two, the two are actually the three hobbies that I that I stuck out, I chose, I did some intro courses into like languages and and jujitsu and things like that. But the three things I took up three hobbies around at the age of 3130. And those were number one meditation, one of the best things I ever did. I have, I've lost my practice a little bit. But overall, that was my amazing, amazing choice to do that I used to go to Courses with people, like actually go to the courses, don't just download an app. And know that we live in a technical world. And know that that's great and everything, but there's only so much you can truly immerse yourself into something if you're not going along and doing it with people have a network, build a network, if you don't have one, it's super boring, regardless. And that means personal life and professional life as well. build that network, nurture it, because it will come back and it will be very, it'll be very beneficial. But the other two hobbies that I took up were board games. I've got like, I've got a bit of a problem with board games. I've got like, just far too many of them. But that was amazing hobby, because it really works with my mind, right? Like, I'm very, I like to talk to people. I like games. And I love automation. I love like workflows, like board games is basically all of that combined into like, this really amazing social thing. I'm a massive, massive Board Game Nerd. And then finally, which is again, seems like I can't answer a question without going to ramble. But the fail bit, but the final hobby that I got was was or took up for about four or five years. And it was one of the best is maybe one of the best things I've ever done, again, is improv. I decided to do improv and I met amazing people truly truly, truly amazing people doing improv. And I know improv gets a bad rep. And I don't know why I assume it's quite cold tea. It's quite a it's kind of the thing that American sitcoms and things take the mecca of. But whatever. For me, it worked. It was huge. It was made me It helped me be present. It helped me find joy. It helped me find joy in other people's joy. And it helped me really understand people. And and also the, the getting laughs from people was secondary in improv, but it was it was very did feel good. And particularly the most important thing about improv it's not about you, is total ever group mind. So. So like when somebody else gets a laugh, it's everybody's life, right? You can come in and like and use you deliver a line, but you can come up with a light, everything that came before led to you coming up without laying. It was everybody's contribution that got that laugh, or even if it's everybody's contribution that made you bomb, but it didn't matter. It was just so joyful. And I got a lot of always got a lot of satisfaction out of that and, and the way that I run my sessions is basically an improv improvised automate automation is like hey, what do you need to automate? Great let's get started. And the way that I make people laugh or the way that I feel take joy of that is we're building something together right? So I'll be asking questions and things like that. But I'm also very much myself right I don't try I don't pretend to be this professional fucking douche. I'm just like a very I'm very much myself and people either will relate to it or you wouldn't. But the majority people particularly because I've as I try to try and coach people into knowing what they're going to get when they meet me, but people tend to come with like ready to automate and all of that kind of stuff and it overall 95% of it works. But when when I say make people laugh, I'm like, like when when you need to sit and watch somebody build an interface. It can be quite dry, right when you're waiting around to answer a question, which is like I said, how I run my sessions as well. proposals, it can be quite dry. So the way that I do that, the enjoyment I take out of it, it's just been quite animated as I'm building it telling people what I'm doing and being openly frustrated with the software I'm working with, but, but also, with the acknowledgement that I very much revere the software I'm working with. But I knew that was gonna happen. And usually these don't have any problems falling in my ears, but I don't usually use them when I'm talking. So it's just pushing them out. But yeah, the idea is just keep them engaged and laughing. And like it can be at you don't mind that, because for me is an intentional thing. Like, it's not like, I don't mind if they are laughing at me because. Because, to me, I'm making fun of myself, like I'm in on the joke. And even if they know I even if they know who I am, then that's an absolute added bonus to see them laugh that they know that I'm self aware. And that's part of the joke. And if they don't know that the like, Yeah, sure. I've had some people being like, who is in front of me, I have no idea what I'm watching. And that's okay, too. Like, I can't you cannot be. can't please everybody. You can't be everybody's cup of tea. And you can do like, yeah, it's just impossible. You can hold yourself to everybody's standards and meaning you can be okay with just being yourself. And sometimes it align really well and take the moments to relish them. Sometimes people will think you're an absolute Nutter, and that's okay, too. I am an absolutely nothing. And that's fine. I'm okay with that. I'm just just being yourself. Is is okay. Providing you're not a mass murderer. But like, being yourself is, is the best thing you can do. And it's the best thing I've lowing myself to be myself, regardless of whether it gets me in trouble and it can do and it has done. That doesn't matter. It's like being true to yourself is far more important than other people's opinion, other people's opinion or, or their own to have. So like, yeah, my entire job is just waking off and trying to help people but then also trying to make them smile at the same time and get a bit of joy while they're watching somebody help them. I hope that answers your question. I'm not sure that was like such a long way to get there. I'm so sorry. But it was the only way to describe like why it takes so much joy and getting people to laugh right and to working with somebody right like improv shaped how I built my consultancy. And with improv you build upon what came before you don't. You can like shut out right and totally you can ignore it you can forget about you can wrap it up. But building upon what works is the most important thing and that is that's that's not just an improv thing, even though it is very specific that improv right? Uh, yes. And, like, I mean, it's so much the concept of improv is so much fun, right? Like, the, the thing that they'll teach you when you go to improv, and I'm not an improv teacher, but I do love it, right? The thing that they'll teach you, I had a really good improv teacher called Chris meat he was so so good. Like, in fact, the whole of hook line one that if you're in London watching this, go to hoopla and hoopla.co UK, I think it is but they're just amazing bunch of people Steve Rowe, Chris Mead, Katie Chu, like all of these people who taught me really taught me the power of what it means to build upon what works and and be okay with things not working be okay with failure is liberating. And the candidate the whole way I work is in the whole of automation is yes and yes, this like this would be set up and then we want to do this or we want to do this be the first thing that featured improv is like when when you're trying to have a conversation with somebody, okay, let's, let's have a conversation, right? We're gonna, we're gonna do this. We're going to mean you what we're going to do as these together as a kind of the three scenarios, right? And we're going to decide which one's more fun. Okay, if you're okay with us, we don't need to I can answer questions, but I would rather talk to you more than just run. So, um, okay, so great. Great. So we'll do the first scenario. So the first scenario is, we're going to have a conversation, right? And we're just going to be two people. We're not ourselves for anybody we want to be. We're going to have a conversation. And what I'm going to ask you to do, is is is be stubborn, right? You want to do some thing, right? Like you've got something in your mind that you want to do. And you're going to try and get there, right? You're going to try and get to where you want to go where you want to go. But I'm me, and I'm going to try, I'm going to, I'm going to try to get to where I want to go, right. So we're going to have this conversation Raul star, and then I'd like you to just keep an open dialogue and maybe go on for 30 seconds, a minute doesn't need to go on for long, but but the idea is that you are going to, you're going to keep your agenda, front of mind, right, whatever that may be. And ignoring my agenda, and we'll see how fun it is. I don't know if it'll be fun. Sometimes it can be fun. ruining my whole entire teaching lesson. But okay, so hey, Steven, like, I had this really good idea. Last night, I was so excited to come around your house and tell you, like, I really want to go to this forest. I've heard that there's like pixies in it. It sounds amazing.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 51:02
You want to go no, but this earth is much more secure. So let's stay around here.
Andy Wingrave 51:09
You know, but like, space is infinite. There's stars. And there's wonder, and there's joy to be had who knows what's gonna happen on the planet? Like, we could discover a planet?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 51:22
No, but I love my routines. My grandparents and their grandparents are buried here. I like to be near them. Because I'm so loyal. Know that.
Andy Wingrave 51:32
You come here to bet. We're alive? Surely you want to go and explore?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 51:37
No, but exploration is overrated. I believe that if we forget where we're coming from, then we're not worth being alive.
Andy Wingrave 51:50
So you see, we got nowhere, right? Like, we got nowhere fast, right? And then, and we were in an agreement, it wasn't really much fun. And all of my joy was diminished with your response and your joy was diminished my response and, and overall, we got nowhere, right? And this can be quite a lot of corporate life, right? People cutting you down having to justify things having to make business cases for every single thing is arduous, right? So let's move on to the next but right, which is, so again, this is the second exercise, but instead of No, but I'd like you to say yes, but Right. So you're kind of committed. You're okay with it. You're you're ready to come along, but you got some reservations, and we might get we'll see how fun that will be. You can start a stem if you want.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 52:41
Jack, this is so exciting. I saw people down the range shooting bullets from this new machine gun. Let's go train. Let's go make some things explode.
Andy Wingrave 52:55
Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's do it tomorrow. Because today, I've just got too much work to do. Like totally going for it. Like, can you help me do a bit of work before we go?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 53:09
Yes, but people are there right now we're gonna feel the vibe, the excitement, they might not be there tomorrow. This is like an opportunity. You know, how things are quiet around here, usually. So let's go now!
Andy Wingrave 53:24
You will think is short. You're talking to humans. Who knows what we're having to click dangerous. It can sound really scary. And I don't know. Like, we, I've got work to do. I mean, I'm totally down for it. But But, but just like maybe later on or something like that. It's like there's always credits everywhere. It's okay. So you see, like, yeah, oh, we can go on, sir.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 53:53
Yeah, go through to the "Yes, And".
Andy Wingrave 53:56
Yeah, so yeah, exactly. So what we can see here is we reached the level of it, right? Like we were on the same page. We didn't necessarily, we agreed that in principle that we were going to go do something, but did anything really get done. And that's again, a lot of like, if you think about business environments, a lot of that happens at companies, right? Like, people get buy in for a project and like half asset because oh yeah, but I've got my priorities and nothing ever gets done. Right. And that's, again, detrimental to most companies. Which is why I think like there's so much business for improv stuff, right? Because improv is so important. Anyway, we'll come back to this in a second. We still have time to run over. I've got no I've got I can run. No, it's like five o'clock. So we're on our way good. Okay, so yes. And so let's, let's do the third. The third scenario. I don't mind starting and And the way we will build upon or the way we will respond to each other in this case will be yes and right. So Bobby, I are going to become a local consultant and you are going to join me on my journey. Would you say?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 55:22
Yes. And let's master all of the tools, even in new ones, let's become the expert of experts. Because we are like that.
Andy Wingrave 55:31
Yeah, yeah. And you can handle all the backend stuff. And I will handle all the front end stuff and the customer stuff, because I love working with customers. And you're amazing at these logic puzzles. And I think we could really treat something. What do you think we should be called on social? I think we should really create something.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 55:50
Yes. And let's call it the Board Gamers of Automation and no code consulting, because we are thinking like that. That's what we do.
Andy Wingrave 56:01
Yeah. And we can have a logo where we have like dice and cogs. And they're all like, combined together. And we create a website called board game alternators don't come let's just let's check it out on on Google the means?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 56:19
Yes, and let's buy the .io, the.com, the .co, the .net all of them so that we dominate this market, and I'm already tweeting about it right now. I'm so excited. Me too.
Andy Wingrave 56:32
We we just created a company as ease in about a minute, right? In 30 seconds, we created a company. So you can compare the difference between those three, those three scenarios, right? Like where you get to, and how and what the energy is like and, and what feels good. And it feels good to help other people achieve their their vision, right? Like and to help, it helps, it helps and it helps you right, like, it brings people closer together, when when there's openness to, to do something like in our in, in that with that mindset of I am going to make you look good. And forget your own ego, just get rid of it and like make other people look good. And or even if you're like a solo improviser, like I'm gonna guess in my consultancy, like, apply those principles and like, and double down on what works and cut out the stuff that doesn't work. It's exactly like that. So, so yeah, that's what I mean about joy and making people laugh and, and apply a lot of those improv principles that I learned to everything that I do and to my entire company and to my personal life as well. So so for me improv is how like, had a massive, massive impact on my life. And, and I think it is something everybody should should try like doing a course if they can. And yeah, shout out to, to like who'd love it? Like, I bet you if you work in a city, any city, there'll be improv around you and it's, it's life changing, and you get to meet amazing people, and we've not got COVID anymore. Most of us aren't living with that anymore. So it knows now's the time to get out and start yes anding.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 58:21
Yes. And as you mentioned, improv is something you recommend to everybody because it has changed their lives. So for me before ending, I of course, recommend to all the listeners to check out process view, which is competing with the market. I mean, you should check it out with Zapier with make with all the other people processes, the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and creating an enterprise grade back end. For your software. You can request access to a totally free account at processor dot app that will be very useful to you. And for those with higher needs. There is a very generous 50% discount code, which is better 50 of one word in capital letters. More information in the description. Thank you, Andy. This was my privilege, my honor. Such a wonderful time, the longest episode of the whole podcast and I wish you a wonderful day.
Andy Wingrave 59:21
You too. Thank you