In this week’s episode we’re delighted to welcome back one of our returning champions: Seth Helgeson from thatapp.io.
Long-time listeners of the podcast will have heard Seth a couple of times before, and Seth is well known in the Podio Partner community as a leading Podio expert. In this episode we focus on one of his core products: Sync. We talk about how Sync is, of course, an amazing tool to provide a real-time backup of all your Podio data (workspaces, apps, items, files, comments etc) but also how some of the more advanced parts of sync really make it an awesome tool to gather up and use your Podio data in other places.
This is a great opportunity to hear from one of the leading Podio partners (and our resident data scientist) and explore a real-time back up system!
Check out Seth’s awesome backup tool at thatapp.io
Please don’t forget to leave us a review and subscribe to the Podcast and if you’d like to be a guest on an upcoming show please register your interest at https://bit.ly/supercharged-guest
Welcome to powered by podio automation is everything. supercharge your business with podio. Get ready for another episode of supercharged with Jordan Samuel Fleming, your weekly dive into the awesome impact workflow and automation you can have on your business when it’s powered by podio. Join us each week as we learn from the top podio partners in the world as we investigate system integrations and add ons and hear from real business owners who have implemented podio into their business. Now, join your host Jordan Samuel Fleming, CEO of Gamechangers for this week’s episode.
Jordan Fleming: 0:44
Hey, everybody, welcome to this week’s episode of supercharged I’m your host, Jordan, Samuel Fleming, here to talk all about the power of workflow and automation, when your business is powered by podio. Now, today’s episode, welcome back, an old friend of mine, Seth helgeson, CEO of tech ego, as well as thatapp.io. Really someone who is a data scientist and really understands the fundamentals about good database interaction of good database creation, management, and about how systems should work in your business. And we really focus our conversation on one of his products sync, which is a backup tool on the face of things. It’s a way of backing up your podio organisation, your files, your comments, your workspaces, apps, all of those things. But it’s a lot more than that as well. And we dive into a little bit about how sync is really a tool that lets you play your data out and use it. In other instances, there’s a lot of technical jargon that I can’t even pretend I understand, around, you know, Mongo, databases, and all these sorts of things. But at the heart of it, we focus in on how Of course, sync is there to backup your podio to take your data out and to give you opportunities to use that data. And that’s a really fantastic part of the tool, I do recommend clicking on the link taking a look at sync, it’s a very easy process to log in and sync via your podio and get everything backed up. And of course, with his file vault edition, every single one of those files that you’ve got uploaded into podio is there as well. Check them out fantastic opportunity, he and I catch up on a number of things around podio and structures and, and life itself. As we’re both woodworkers and fans of barbecues, it’s a great chance to catch up for he and I, but also a way of bringing you guys a bit of insight into how his tool sync can really get your data moving inside and outside of podio. So let’s dive right in. So I will I will get to the woodworking bits. But you know, but yeah, I mean, what I’m really keen to really talk about, I want to understand about sink, I want to understand about, obviously, from a podio layman’s point of view, why sinks gonna bring them something good? Why, you know, I let’s really kind of dig into this. So, like, I’ve just started to use it, I don’t know that much about it. Give us you know, let’s let’s start the ball rolling with what the hell is sync?
Seth Helgeson: 3:29
Yeah, so while sync, I started out sync with sync, GS, back in 2013, it started a backup for podio. And it was MySQL, basically rebuilding my SQL database for, for podio. And it was just it was so laborious with trying to get all this data to fit into one system. And with that, we decided, you know, after address, one revision and multiple other revisions, I said, Okay, we actually need a big data database, and is back when MongoDB actually launched. And we started looking at these big data and went to a couple conferences, and we said, okay, this is the definitely the way we need to start storing things. And so, back then it used to be where people could just backup the data, and then hold it in the snapshot, right and just basically download a snapshot once a day, or once a week or whatever. And we just take a rolling snapshot once a day, or whatever, they set it as once a day, once a week, once a month. But then we said you know, we can actually get this to be live, given how fast MongoDB can actually take this data. So let’s go ahead and instal web hooks on on every single app and workspace in org. And, and literally as they fire as data comes in, we just store it we just take the the the JSON array, we just store all that data into the to the MongoDB database it’s so each client gets a MongoDB database is completely encrypted and secured. And then they’re able to backup all their org sort of backup and work for about $1 a day.
Jordan Fleming: 5:07
So so I’m just just because there’s a lot of people who won’t understand what MongoDB is, and I don’t want to get into the technical weeds here. But really from a, you know, we always hear backup solutions, you know, like backup once a day, etc, etc. really one of the core differentiators that I see here and one of the things that maybe Mongo allows you to do, but that’s not the, it doesn’t really matter about the Mongo part, except for the fact that it allows you to do it is this ability to, in real time backup data. So a better day I create a new item in podio. It’s backed up. Yep. Right. And so does that also mean, if I accidentally delete it? I can restore it? Or does it do by deleting it? Do I delete it from this Mongo database?
Seth Helgeson: 5:54
No, it’s, yeah, it’s all stored in the database. And so the second items updated or even created, sorry, created or updated. It’s, it’s in our system, as fast as putting a web hook can return it. So. But once we have that, yeah, if you delete that item, you can come right into the system and find it and then restore it. But it wasn’t enough for us just to build a sync, you know, the sync database of just saying, Hey, here’s your stuff. And here’s it all backed up, you had to put the GDPR settings so that you can actually set how long, you want to store deleted items from podio. Right? So it’s up to six months, you can set that in, or you can just turn it off completely. And then there’s other settings we wanted as people actually be able to update items instead of sync. So if they actually go into an item and update it, it would update podio. So the ability to restore, update, and then podio. Without going down occasionally, we started looking at it saying, why don’t we just start extending this to make this of if podio goes down, you can actually start working from your backup copy. And you have the web goes down or something like that, then you’re able to do that. And with the addition of our other products like Eva, we’re now adding in other platforms here and be able to start to data bind or bind your data together from other systems actually start backing up your data from other platforms as well.
Jordan Fleming: 7:18
And I mean, from your day to day usability point of view. I mean, I guess there’s there’s a couple things that people use cases that people think of, you know, the most, but one of the things that you guys also backup is you backup the files as well, right. So if I’ve got a load of if I’ve got a podio infrastructure where there is quite a lot of file elements being uploaded, or managed or tracked, all of those are safely secured as well.
Seth Helgeson: 7:49
Yeah, so every single file, every comment, every task, everything that podio creates and does is 100% stored inside the system, all your files are actually encrypted as they are downloaded, and stored in an encrypted database as well. And at that point, we can restore files to systems as well. So our file Haven is a part of sync file, haven allows you to backup all that data, but we’re extending that this year, to include being able to connect in your other, let’s say, Microsoft OneDrive, and set up file formats or, you know, folder format. So that way, as your data is being backed up, it will actually create the folder structures you need, and then place those files into the folders you want. So technically won’t need to have it stored on our system in the future. But depending on the right plan, which is really nice, and a lot of admins and business owners, even tech directors, we are able to give them database access with their higher plans, where they can then go into that data in the database. And then they can start to use it and manage it more efficiently and actually bypass the podio API because they can actually pull data directly from the database instead of pulling it from podio.
Jordan Fleming: 9:09
So there’s a there’s a, you know, as I understand it, and then I’m not the technical part of anything, but you know, you’ve got the sort of what I would classify as the lower end use case of of it, which is just like, I want to make sure my podio information is backed up. Like, I want to make sure I want to make sure it’s safe from a business continuity point of view. I’ve got to protect myself. And that is bang. That is real time. It’s not once a day. It’s not you know, it’s not like oh, by the way, your backups here, but you’re gonna miss everything. But that was done after 9am this morning, or last morning when we did our
Seth Helgeson: 9:51
Google Sheet. Yes, a spreadsheet of somewhere.
Jordan Fleming: 9:54
So that’s the core of core but at a higher level, you’re saying that there is technical capability of your system which gives you more, I would almost classes data, more, more database friendly tools to potentially extend and I know we’ve done some bits of it. But this where, you know, you were, we’re inside of your system, we’re grabbing a JSON feed, which, which is then giving us all the data we need, and we’re not having to go anywhere else for it. Exactly,
Seth Helgeson: 10:27
yeah. And we wanted to extend podio is functionality quite a bit better, the views that you have stored in podio, they’ll be available inside of our system as well. And even taking it a little bit further that you can now create filters and pivot tables on our data interactions, when you actually look you through your data, you can start to pivot on that data, create pivot tables, you load your saved views, and actually be able to create your own saved views with parameters that are not available inside of podio, for example, is not selected instead of you know, and a bunch of others that are really frustrating in there. So in that respect, it’s been, it’s been a fun journey. You know, we got a little bit of competitive competition from momentum tools there. But we’ve we’re seeing a big influx of users coming in that, you know, they bounced between we’ve lost customers to them as well. But at the same time, it’s just what customers are really looking for. Right? It’s it’s two good fits out there, that depends on what they want to be able to achieve with the systems.
Jordan Fleming: 11:34
Absolutely. And I mean, there’s never, it’s probably a good thing that there’s, you know, there’s an element of competition out there. I mean, you want, you want other systems out there to be pushing you and, and to make sure that the market, you know, it shows that there’s a market for, for the product and in a big bad way. Absolutely. Well,
Seth Helgeson: 11:54
yeah, a great product that they can get into Google Docs, that’s in Google Sheets, that’s something that we just don’t do. And so when customers do want that, it’s, it’s a lot easier for us to say, and said, Oh, we’ll build that for you a lot easier to say, Hey, you know, we recommend, you know, another system. But But, yeah, it’s been, it’s been a fun journey. And we’re excited for all the other things that we’re we’ve got going on, it’s, we’ve got Iris, that’s a part of this system. Now that we have all of your data inside of your system, you’re able to start tearing through, we have audit, which allows you to audit and see who’s making updates in your system across the platform, because you’re not going to receive those notifications inside of podio. Because you’re not subscribed to it. But then you can audit transactions, you can audit who has access to workspaces, and when they last received that data. And the beautiful part of it is when you do sync that we also subscribe to the push notifications. So those push notifications are how your calculation fields are updated. So one has, yeah, exactly. Or not. And, and in that sense, what’s really critical is right now, if you go and do a backup, you know, chances are your calc fields are gonna be wrong. And since there’s so many, are, they’re gonna be out of date. Right? pretty quick. So when you go to do index backup, it’s, again out of date. So every time an item is updated, we get the freshest copy of it. Sure. But if that items not updated, but there’s 15, calcs, on that page that updated, we’re catching those calcs and then putting it back into the JSON arrays. Really?
Jordan Fleming: 13:30
Yeah. And how does that work with the poor performance of you know, I mean, I, there’s not a day that goes by where the podio calc fields aren’t a just a, a joke, in terms of, of display? Well, I mean, it’s sorry, but it’s just like, Oh, my God. I mean,
Seth Helgeson: 13:51
you know, one thing we found actually, is that the Cal fields will process faster because they’re they they’re storing, I’m actually processing on a different server. But the, the API has nothing to do with the calcs. But the interface is actually the slowest part. So the calculation fields will actually calculate faster than what the interface will show. And you can then get when we get a push notification, it delivers the entire payload so we don’t have to go do a get item. It just says okay, here’s everything was just updated. And it sends it sends us that payload will get hammered with just, you know, 1000s of calc updates. And we’ve had to whittle that down to let’s just batch those per customer, right? Let’s just batch that because somebody goes and updates, you know, 50,000 items, or let’s see what’s globey flow capable of two items at once, right?
Just kidding. mean me. It’s only because
Seth Helgeson: 14:54
I know exactly. I was talking about the past. You know, it’s in the past now. But When those items update, you know, we’ll get our system we get hit pretty, pretty hard. And then at that point, we just, that’s where Mongo DB, and that big data database allows us to store massive amounts of transactions very, very rapidly. So it’s, it’s been a really good setup, it’s really smooth and, and allowing customers to, you know, ask for services that that we haven’t even thought of yet and start to build them into the system. And so big it comes, you know, it directors and and higher ups that are looking at data management, data security, right, if they ever decide to leave podio, they can literally just take everything out. And then we can push it to another platform, or people that are leaving Salesforce, we can connect into Salesforce back everything up, and then provision it into into podio. And to a system that’s already existing, so that sync, it used to be called backup for podio. But we’ve now turned it to seek because that’s really what we’re
Jordan Fleming: 15:59
getting to, it’s a more accurate explanation. And that’s, that’s, I mean, I, I’m not gonna pretend I understand the big database in the Mongo bit, but that’s I don’t, but, but I do. Well, you know, one of the things you’ve said there is, I think, really interesting in that one of the things that I’ve been thinking deeper about more deeper now than ever before, probably because I’ve been designing more things in smartphone. And I’ve been thinking about other systems. And I’ve been, you know, I’ve been dreaming and kind of experimenting, is let is where things are good, where things should be allowed to shine versus trying to force something that doesn’t fit. And podio I think still, even now, even with it’s not stellar performance at times, right now, floating up still does some things as an out of the box solution capability. Better than any system I know. Oh, yeah. Um, but it can’t do everything. Yeah. And, and so, you, given that, when you understand that you can think about podio, as, hey, this is what podio is going to allow me to do. It’s, it’s going to allow my team to easily manage a process and do this is not an automate this great. That’s what podio kills that. But then all of that data that that repository of information that you may want to use, you got to pull you ain’t good at that bit. So that’s where you’ve got to find something else to connect to. And it’s always struck me as we’ve started to look more at your, you know, I mean, full disclosure, we have integrated sync, we have integrated sync into our platforms now from a game changers point of view, where we’ve been, we’re migrating most of our support contracts over there, mainly because of this extendibility. Yep. It’s it’s not it’s not even the Yeah, the minute to minute second, by semi second backup is great. But most people’s data is not that like, like, it’s great. But it’s like, yeah, like, it’s so rarely a problem. But it’s that ability to then pivot quickly and grab the data and do something else with it. That I think is really what’s what’s very interesting about that, I know, you’ve talked a bit about Iris, can you like I obviously sync is sync is like, sync is the podio of this in that it gets the data in my opinion, right? It’s the hub. But you’ve got these other bits around and you’ve got Eva, you’ve got print, you’ve got the iris and this, um, from an iris point of view, what what is that focused on?
Seth Helgeson: 18:54
So we started out with, with Iris, inside of sync, because when we started working with poty organisations to tear apart their business processes, we needed to be able to see a snapshot and a proof of concept of this is how bad or inner lack of connectivity your, your, your actual organisation has with each other. Right? And back in the back in the day when polio was just beginning out, you know, starting out, you know, people were just building text fields everywhere, right? They don’t even know really what is screwed number fields, you don’t believe we can do everything in text fields. And there was no automation systems back then. And so we started looking at let’s start streamlining these things. So the way that we’ve we take Iris is we’ll pull in a brand new organisation that has come to us and we’ll take a snapshot basically backup their entire org. And then we can load Iris up and we can see the connectivity of basically how their brain looks right now Iris is like the brain of your organisation. And we can see how all of your data connects together and where it flows. through the system. So, and when we then start to revamp and re re structure your entire organisation, you end up with a, a system that is highly connected and fluid and communicates with all other pieces of data within your system. So you are able to see it as a, an allen interconnected brain of circuitry of how the system works together. So, when we look at it, and we’re doing this first assessment, we say, Well, look, you’ve got five different workspaces here that aren’t connected to anything else. And you’re talking about supply chain issues, let’s actually consult about how we can bring these processes in together and start connecting the data together. So it started out was really just a consulting to get an insight really quick for us, of what can we do to help this customer be able to work faster, more efficiently? and Iris? Was that answer?
Jordan Fleming: 21:00
Hmm. I have not really played I’ve not. I’ve not had much of an experiment with it. But I think I I’m, I’m fascinated to continue to see where, you know, where, where sync continues to allow the externalisation and manipulation of data? I mean, I think I think that’s gonna be a really interesting thing. And I agree, you know, when you say, you know, the change from the the even just the name the bow, you know, backup for podio versus sync, it does make a great deal of sense in that, for that. What, what do you find, I mean, right now, from a sync point of view, if I’m a lay person, and I just kind of, I’m just getting into this, so chances are, I may not be able to dive straight into like, you know, nutso capabilities, right? I mean, I may not have that quite that much. But what, what do you see as the the first good steps from a sync point of view.
Seth Helgeson: 22:07
So the first steps are just going to be coming in and securing the data by backing up coming in, logging in and backing up your org, and right now, it’s completely free. Because we’re revenge, revamping everything, it’s our prices gonna be $1 a day for one org. And, and then let’s say a buck 50 a day for, you know, files, to include files for an organisation. So it’s not going to be horribly cheap, or horribly expensive, sorry. But as we get into, you know, just backing up the data, boom, that’s all you have to do is secure, and login, you know, once a once a month, or to make sure your your access credentials, don’t, your, your podio API credentials don’t fail on us. But all your data is going to be backed up non stop, and you’re good to go off the races. But if you want to get more into let’s say, I want to build a custom portal, and I want to feed data into it, if you want to do data science and data management, or if you want to do really anything more about leveraging that data, or getting access to a data lake or us building a data lake for you from you know, 15 or 20 different connected platforms. That’s just taking a phone call and then building your strategy and say, Okay, let’s, let’s this is how we’re going to put it together. And then, you know, setting up the plan and, and making sure that we’re helping you get that in place. There’s been a couple companies that have done it before on on other systems. They actually were using MongoDB themselves, but they came to us and said, Look, you’ve got all the connections to the platforms through Eva, you’ve got all the ability to know how can we just have you build all this for us? And then, you know, create these aggregation pipelines out systems and answers. Absolutely. That’s what we’re really here for to to help leverage it to help customers get what they need done.
Jordan Fleming: 23:59
And, and how do people obviously we’re gonna put the links into the podcast page, podcast description, how do people go out and find this? How do people get started? You said it was free to get going right now. The price is gonna come into it. How do people get started? Where do they go?
Seth Helgeson: 24:15
That app.io so sync dot dat app.io and pretty ambiguous name, but it’s print dot that up.io eva dot that app.io so it’s just that app.io and you can authorise with your podio and you can kick off with print sync or Eva.
Jordan Fleming: 24:39
Excellent. Well, Seth, thanks so much for coming on. I’m gonna put the link to all the products down on the page. So people who have a one click to them, although of course you can just go to that app.io io. I do encourage everyone to take a look at it go head over and connect your podio and see what it can do because it really is pretty amazing. Pretty The impressive and you know, the ability to actually see some of the data and and manipulate it in that ways is if you are more development, developer inclined, I think it opens up a huge amount of capabilities.
Seth Helgeson: 25:15
Yeah, I really do. Thank you so much for having me. All right. Well,
Jordan Fleming: 25:19
thanks for myself and have a great week.
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