Airtable Support Goes Bye Bye

The square peg that Airtable has been and continues to be is misshapen for the round hole that is enterprise.

Note: This is the first article I’ve penned specifically about the hidden side of no/low-code economics. I’m an armchair economist and self-anointed No-Code Economist. I hope you like it and the many stories I’ve got queueing up for this new category in my Substack. If there are specific stories you’d like me to explore, drop a note in the comments or reach out anytime (

It’s easy to get @ScottWorld wound up on topics like this, but his reaction to my sneak peek at the article made me blush a little.


UPDATE: This article, which is just a historical rewind of Airtable support, was censured on the Airtable Community. It’s possible it was unintentionally marked as spam, so I’m not ruling that out - Khoros is known to do goofy stuff like that when it freezes on a save.

This is a great article. Sadly, I can’t find it on Airtable’s Community page, except for your comment linking to it.

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Correct - it’s still marked as “spam”. I’ve requested an appeal, but no response. Ironically, support for the community is sometimes equally absent. LOL

In any case, you can read it in full here. If you are not a subscriber, just become a free subscriber, and you should be able to see this and a hundred other premium content articles for a week. Holler if you have problems.

They did censor my opinion post. But then they recapitulated when I pushed back. Airtable needs to understand that policies that tax small users and constrain innovation have consequences. I’m simply telling the story of policies that have economic impact to certain classes of users.


UPDATE: Unicorn Startup Airtable Lays Off 27% Of Firm, Shifts Focus To Big Clients

How many times can they shift focus to enterprise?

I tried to post this link on the community site, but it was taken down. Maybe it’s something to do with the name Bill.

2 Likes … Interesting, thanks for pointing that out. They are just a few blocks from where I live. Probably should look at their job board.

Had you not put your well-intended effort together even with this money-earning scheme of yours, you would not get even a single peep from them. I applaud attempt to mobilize the attention of their support in the hope this will pass the sentiment analysis of Khoros but this reaction of theirs just confirms how blunt and cruel the AI tools can be when it comes to understanding between ruffling the feathers of a angry distressed cat or extending a saving, helping hand to a drowning distressed cat.

It may be gone. Massive layoffs as well.

Actually, a human kicked my article to the curb, and then restored it after we spoke. They are still not happy about it but apparently tolerating it.

They are acting like Classic Twitter; censoring anything that doesn’t meet their tightly wound policies. This is a mistake - it will only make matters worse. But I think we need to keep a perspective - there are far bigger issues at the moment.

So, in the wake of this layoff news, and in the shadow of the pricing fiasco, what have we learned?

  1. If you thought it was tough getting questions answered before, the future is likely to be far worse.
  2. Cash-positive is a pleasant euphemism for unprofitable. Anticipate another round of layoffs in early 2024. 320 workers will get the axe by New Year’s day 2024.
  3. Airtable may have to recast its enterprise vision and move back into the SMB category to become profitable and avoid the next round of layoffs. I predict we will soon see a marketing campaign - “Great for enterprise and perfect for innovative teams of all sizes.
  4. They will not replace Khoros in 2024 as they seek ways to fix support. Rather, they will probably add a new support feature that attempts to lure in experts to assist.
  5. TableForums will announce a paid support plan in late 2023 and share revenues with the brain trust.
  6. At least one rumor will surface before 12-31-2023 when Airtable is in talks with a big buyer.
  7. You have to imagine the board is not happy about Howie’s performance, and they may be looking for a new CEO and possibly a parachute from a big tech player who can offset the enterprise’s weaknesses. I’m almost certain that Howie is going to have to move sideways. He’ll remain on the board but likely occupy a C-level innovation role or something like that.
  8. Salesforce is the most likely candidate to rescue Airtable from a series of career-ending moves by Howie, the board, and the money backers.
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Great article! I wonder if even today management at Airtable realized how much they have shot themselves in the foot introducing Khoros…

They were really riding on a wave of free support from the community, which they just decided to throw away.

I think similar long tail effect is happening now with changes to pricing plan. Nobody had any idea how important API side of the equation is to the Airtable users. They might be really in the dark, how widespread API adoption and usage is. It is not only via Make/Zapier but so many native integration Jotform, Shopify Apps, Softr etc…


I can’t help myself but feel sad for what Airtable is becoming (has become?). You summed it up nicely:

The core constituent that made Airtable what it is today, is no longer interesting to them.


Generally this happens when VC’s asking for profit. But sadly they abonden the users. For the small startups this becomes a chicken egg problem.

It’s hard to abandon users who were never embraced in the first place.

The point of this article is that the vast brain trust of Airtable support began and remains to this day -external to the company. The VCs are not asking for profit [yet], but the company remains aloof as to why its customers chose them and how they actually use the product.

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Hi Bill,

Have you been following SmartSuite at all (working with software, following webinars, etc)? If so, do you happen to have any feeback? I know you have been a wealth of knowelege for may years with Airtable, so interested in hearing what you think about Smartsuites future. I am looking to switch our business over.


Yes, closely. I also published this assessment of its AI capabilities (which are limited) and used it as a good excuse to understand its REST API. You can find more of my thoughts in this thread here, here, and here.

Overall feedback?

  • I have a lengthy assessment in the works at Impertinent; no publish date yet.
  • I like the team and the leadership. What’s not to like by a team that has created roughly the equivalent of 60% of Airtable without borrowing $1.4b?
  • They need an integrated scripting capability; rumors are that it’s coming. The dependency on glue factories is concerning.
  • The REST API is quite good; impressively performant.
  • Their community software is crappy (like Airtable’s).
  • SmartDoc is refreshing.
  • I think they understand automation in ways that Airtable never did.
  • EasyPortal is both good and bad. On the upside, buyers need portals. On the downside, this sends a clear signal to the aftermarket portal providers to forget about competing for this segment.
  • Performance is not zippy; many have reported lagging and sluggishness.
  • The hallmark of a great development environment is the opportunity for others to create extensibility. I’m not seeing a clear roadmap about their intent to make SmartSuite extensible by customers and aftermarket opportunists. Templates are possible, but correct me if I missed it (@Avi) - there’s no other extensibility pathway (at present).

The remainder of 2023 will be pivotal for SmartSuite and I’m looking forward to their next few steps.

I created an article that’s still in development (No-Code Market Correction). This link provides a backdoor to the latest draft. There are some passages that are relevant to your question.

@bfrench - You mentioned here and in your article that SmartSuite is 57.5% of Airtable. Are you referring to its feature set, valuation or something else? And how did you come up with that figure?

Feature set.

In the famous words of Apple, There’s an App for That. Specifically, an app I built in Coda.

Serving in an advisory role to a client on Airtable enterprise service, I arrived at 57.5% (really, 57.1% in this sharable version). I can’t expose the exact values applied for the various features because of NDAs and characteristics in beta that I cannot disclose, but I can give you the general methodology.

In this analysis, it’s important to realize it is designed for one purpose and to answer one question -

If moving from Airtable to SmartSuite, what are the anticipate deficiencies?

This means that SmartSuite gets no credit for exceeding Airtable’s features or providing features that Airtable lacks. Another disclaimer is that each instance of Airtable as utilized by any business, may need very different features in the comparison matrix. Which is to say - if these features matter, SmartSuite coverage is about 57%. I invite anyone to come up with better measuring sticks and I’m sure there are better methodologies.

Thanks for clarifying @bfrench! I’ve been enjoying reading your posts and articles.

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