One of the most heartbreaking aspects of being a tech savvy person working in the entertainment industry is all of the almost but not quite right software on the market. For example: you have Asana’s anti-freelancer friendly pricing. Misguided attempts at analytics. And shoehorning Trello into an indie documentary productivity tool.
Airtable offers neither the design flexibility of a spreadsheet, nor the customized reporting of a full featured database.
Here is an example of the dashboard I use to manage my shows:
And here the best Airtable can do with its Record List “block“:
- No ability to hide the Year in date fields.
- No ability to color code… anything.
- No ability to change the fonts or improve read-ability/print-ability.
- No ability to use my favorite time saving Excel formula.
I was hoping Airtable would make it easier for me to keep a Dashboard version of the schedule in-sync with a Calendar view. And it did show potential. Changes made in the calendar show up on the record list block. And changes made to an episode record, show up on the calendar. (See the embedded example “base” below) But without design tools to provide contrast and emphasis, Airtable can’t make the cut into useful. The per user pricing doesn’t help either.
I have a few more complaints about Airtable, as a company, as well:
- They advertise Airtable as a spreadsheet alternative, but on their community forums repeatedly say that Airtable is not a spreadsheet when users ask for features that Airtable can not do.
- One much requested feature is a “record updated” trigger for Zapier. Despite an employee saying that this feature is “coming soon“, there is now just radio silence on this front. Just say that it’s not on the API roadmap anymore. Your silence is deafening.
- Glacial response from the support team. Plus blocking a paid user for 1,000 years seems like an excessive and silly policy.
I’m extra hard on Airtable because I’ve never wanted a service to work SO badly.
The potential to save hours of work each week is sooo close, but too far. Perhaps if Airtable engaged with their customers as opposed to ignoring them, they’d create a product that would appeal to even more users.