Welcome to Snowflake’s Startup Spotlight, where we learn about innovative companies building businesses on Snowflake. In this edition, we’ll hear from Pipedream Co-Founder Dylan Sather about what it takes to build integrations right and how an engaged community becomes a powerful resource.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Dylan Sather, co-founder and Software Engineer at Pipedream. I lead our customer and data teams. Since our customers are software developers, I primarily help developers use Pipedream effectively, and I spend a lot of time evangelizing the product.
Explain what Pipedream does in one sentence.
Pipedream is an integration platform for developers.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We make developers 10x more productive when building integrations. In 2023, everyone provides an API, and we all connect our product with other tools. Pipedream simplifies the hard parts of integrations while still giving developers code-level control.
What sets your company apart from others in this market?
Pipedream provides a “low code” programming environment for building integrations, and focuses first and foremost on the developer experience. We offer over 1,000 fully integrated applications, so you can use pre-built components to quickly send messages to Slack, add a new row to Google Sheets, and more. You can also run any Node.js, Python, Golang, or Bash code when you need custom logic. And we offer most of the infrastructure that developers expect (a key-value store, queues, etc.). All in all, it’s the fastest way to build integrations.
How does Snowflake fit into the Pipedream stack? What role does it play?
Snowflake powers all analytics at Pipedream. Product usage, security logs—everything goes to Snowflake so we can query it with SQL and develop Looker dashboards on top of it.
Having data in Snowflake also allows us to build Pipedream workflows triggered from Snowflake data. For example:
- We run a Snowflake query to determine when users reach specific points in the funnel, sending them targeted emails to drive conversion.
- Since Snowflake stores our security logs, we run real-time reports to look for potential abuse, triggering Slack messages to our security team.
- Any time a new Snowflake task fails, we send the SQL and the error to ChatGPT, ask it to correct the error, and send a Slack notification with all the info (read more here).
We constantly experiment with Snowflake-powered integrations and automations to build better products for our customers. Its speed, security, and reliability make it a great home for our data.
Let’s say I’m a startup founder considering Pipedream. What should I be thinking about?
Pipedream is a highly flexible automation platform for founders and technical teams. You can use pre-built, no-code triggers and actions to help your team quickly handle common use cases: when you’re sending data from Stripe to Snowflake, for example, you can use the native integrations to build workflows in minutes. When you need custom logic, you can write any Node.js, Python, Go, or Bash code at any step of a workflow, and use any third-party packages from npm, PyPI, and more.
Pipedream also provides all the building blocks you need for robust integrations: a built-in key-value store, queues, error handling, auto-retry, and more. Anyone who’s built custom integrations knows how long they take to do right. Pipedream makes this simple, while still giving you the control you need to scale these automations into production. You can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks in minutes, allowing you to focus on your core business.
Today, Pipedream customers are running workflows to automate customer communication, streamline sales and finance processes, integrate with AI tools, and more.
Let’s talk a little about your experiences as a founder. What’s a piece of information about running a startup that you’d wish you’d known earlier?
Conviction is hard, distraction is easy. We might have a conversation with a customer and want to go off and build something to solve that problem. But we have many of these conversations every week, and we serve users across the technical spectrum. It’s impossible to build it all. Cutting through the noise and focusing on what we know will have the biggest impact is still the hardest part.
What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?
I’ve worked in some form of customer service since I was 16, and I crave the personal interactions with everyone we reach. But support is hard to scale, and it’s OK if we don’t solve every problem ourselves. We now have a thriving community that’s stepping up to help each other with integration questions. And they’re often better at it than we are, since they’re experts for the apps they use. You see this time and again with other projects: in the absence of a formal support structure, communities step up to fill the gaps. I wish we’d spent less time on 1:1 support in the early days so this system could have developed earlier.
Learn more about Pipedream at pipedream.com, and check out the Snowflake Startup Program today. And be sure to mark your calendar for the Grand Finale of the 2023 Snowflake Startup Challenge at this year’s Snowflake Summit in Las Vegas!