The Benefits and Pitfalls of Email Parsers

Imagine if a technology existed that could read your email for you, and use that data to trigger a workflow, or automate something. The good news is that it already exists, and has for some time. It’s called an email parser. The bad news is that it is at best kind-of helpful, and at worst, wildly inaccurate.

Although email is rapidly becoming an outdated tool, it is still widely used and email parsing does have a place in the automation toolbox.



The way email parsers work is that they use the structure of an email (usually text or HTML) to look for matches to pre-defined fields. The two email parsers I would usually recommend are Zapier Email Parser, and Mailparser.

So, using the Zapier parser as an example, you set up a template by highlighting and naming the data that you want to look for in the email. Then, by some dark magic (actually, some code) the email parser will return the data it has found in usable format (e.g. for...

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What the Industrial Revolution Really Tells Us About the Future of Automation and Work

automation employment Mar 15, 2018


As automation and artificial intelligence technologies improve, many people worry about the future of work. If millions of human workers no longer have jobs, the worriers ask, what will people do, how will they provide for themselves and their families, and what changes might occur (or be needed) in order for society to adjust?

Many economists say there is no need to worry. They point to how past major transformations in work tasks and labor markets – specifically the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries – did not lead to major social upheaval or widespread suffering. These economists say that when technology destroys jobs, people find other jobs. As one economist argued:

“Since the dawn of the industrial age, a recurrent fear has been that technological change will spawn mass unemployment. Neoclassical economists predicted that this would not happen, because people would find...

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What is Business Automation, Anyway?

Business Automation might seem like a complex or difficult topic, but even if you have never consciously done so, you have most likely used an automation tool.

Do you know what this object does? You have probably never used one. I certainly haven’t, but it was revolutionary in its time.

slide rule

It is a slide rule, and it is used for simple or complex calculations. We don’t use them anymore, because desktop calculators came along. A desktop calculator takes some numbers (variables), performs a function, and gives you an output. So, slide rules went by the wayside.

Now, I usually just ask Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa to calculate something for me.

Those examples – from the slide rule, to voice enabled helpers, are all types of automation.

There is a good chance that you run your business with apps. Whether that is mobile apps (e.g. Instagram), or web apps (e.g. Airtable), they are now fulfilling a huge number business of functions like accounting, marketing,...

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Automation as Minimalism

automation minimalism Mar 05, 2018

Minimalism has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years, and with good reason. It’s more than just a passing phase in the design industry or self-improvement sphere – minimalism can be an incredibly effective approach to help individuals and business owners find focus, streamline processes and eliminate things they don’t really need.

We’ve helped many clients streamline their businesses through various automation systems, decluttering their lives so they can spend their valuable time where it’s needed most. But what exactly is minimalism and how can automation help you achieve the minimalist lifestyle?


If you’re not familiar with the concept of minimalism, it’s a movement that revolves around the “less is more” philosophy. Inspiring a popular new lifestyle movement, minimalism aims to rid your life of excess so you can focus on what’s actually important. Think of it as a fancy term for...

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Taming Your Tech Stack

apps automation tech stack Feb 20, 2018

Apps are essential to your business, but are your current business apps overlapping and costing you too much? Would you like tech stack that could take care of all the jobs in a better and more organised way? Before you start signing up to apps to automate your business, it’s important to take a strategic approach.

In this digital age apps help streamline business processes and enhance their overall performance. A decade ago, a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) were the two most popular software technologies were able to addresses majority of an organisation’s needs. Add Content Management Software (CMS) to that, and all the organisation’s technology needs were met.

In the past decade, the world has seen yet another significant shift in technology. New software, from analytics to marketing automation to project management are being created by renowned software companies on a weekly basis. Due...

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Automating Business Show - Episode 1 - Wave with Rob Maurin


On This Episode:

We talk to Rob Maurin from Wave , a free small business accounting package trusted by three million companies across the world, and counting. In a crowded market of accounting apps, Wave stands out a serious contender, even though it is free. We talk about the interesting tech wave is exploring in machine learning and AI to make accounting less of a burden for small business owners.

In this episode we cover:

  • Why it's free - what's the catch?
  • The challenges Wave has faced since inception
  • Internationalisation issues
  • Who Wave is suitable for
  • The importance of integrations and why 2018 is the year of the API
  • How Wave caters to makers with an inbuilt Etsy integration
  • Wave is growing, and recruiting!


Links Mentioned In the Show


Full Transcript:


Rob Maurin, welcome to the Automating Business Show.


Thanks for having me. Great to talk to you.


You're from Wave. Tell us, if somebody landed on Earth today, [00:00:30] how...

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How Automation Helped Me Live in Italy for Three Months

automation general Jan 15, 2018

It is around 11pm, and I am inching towards a project deadline for a client.

The home internet connection won’t work, and I am over trying to fix it. I revert to my mobile internet connection, which is patchy where we are in the Euganean Hills (seems to be influenced by weather, the tides, and lunar patterns), and fails to work properly. I try my wife’s mobile connection, which thankfully works. I get the project finished, and submitted over an internet connection that is sometimes slower than what I had at home in 1998.

And this little story is perfectly representative of life in rural Italy. Sometimes the electricity works, and other times does not. The sounds of goats interrupt my calls. Almost everything is chaotic, and over-engineered—even getting a prepaid mobile number here was a drama.

It was over a year ago that my wife and I decided to relocate to Italy for three months with our very energetic three year old in tow. I had just handed over my recruitment...

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7 Compelling 2018 New Year Automation Resolutions

automation education Jan 10, 2018

The New Year is the perfect time to take stock and make resolutions for the coming 12 months.

Automation adoption went ahead by leaps and bounds in 2017 and 2018 promises to be another year laden with growth opportunities. So, what do we need to do to position ourselves to take advantage of these growth possibilities in 2018?

Professionally, many of us hold mixed feelings about making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, it seems like a natural time to identify important changes we would like to implement. It’s like an annual “reset” button.

So, now is the time to make some clear resolutions, sweep away any lingering debris from 2017 buckle up and get ready to jump-start the new year.

Here are 7 ideas for New Year automation resolutions to make for your business in 2018 that will make you and your organisation more creative, more productive, and generally more content at work.


  1. Reduce Email

Eliminate overflowing email and regain command of your...

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5 Things to Consider for Your First Website

education web development Sep 21, 2016

Before I started building websites, my first site (for a recruitment business) was a complete mess. If you remember the time Homer got a job designing his own car, and it turned out something like this:


If my first website was a car, this is what it would have looked like. The web designers listened to everything I asked for, and tried to include it all at once. It didn’t work so well. Is was visually unappealing, had poor function, and the user experience was terrible.

Fast forward to now, and there are so many fantastic online resources to help you get your first site up and running. The thing is, without some help you risk making the same mistakes Homer (and I) did. Here are some points to consider:


1. What is the purpose of your site?

Ok, this sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s not. Imagine you’re a martial arts school owner. You have lots of cool photos and videos to show of your classes, and you probably want a social media feed running on...

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Can That Be Automated?

automation education Sep 21, 2016

One of the first things I do when I meet with a new client is to do a kind of ‘automations audit’. That is, I look at every single process in their business to work out what processes are happening that could be automated. Some are obvious, some are not. If this is something you’d like to do yourself, it’s relatively simple. The best way to approach it is to take the customer-centric approach by looking at their journey through your business. Throughout that process, I’m asking “Can that be automated?”.

Take for example a personal trainer (PT) who would like to systematise their new lead process, in a way that is unique to them. Before automation, their process looks like this:

  • Prospective client completes website enquiry form
  • PT tries to call client to book in a time to talk/meet
  • PT talks to client, takes notes on a piece of paper or a post-it
  • Sends client a new signup document and indemnity waiver to complete and email back
  • Takes payment...
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