Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Prakash Chandran) ⭐️

Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Prakash Chandran) ⭐️
By KP • Issue #22 • View online
Hi everyone, welcome to the latest spotlight edition of the Build In Public newsletter. Every week, I interview one prolific creator or founder and unpack insights and actionable advice from their story that can be helpful in your own journey. 
In today’s edition, I wanted to feature Prakash Chandran, co-founder and Head of Product at Xano.
Full disclosure: Xano is one of the startup partners of our ODNC program that I run but over the months I’ve gotten close to Prakash and learned a ton from his perspective, product thinking and willingness to just help/elevate others without any expectations. So this feature on him in my personal newsletter is my way of extending an appreciation and not affiliated to On Deck.
Now, if you’re in the no-code universe, you may have heard about tools like Webflow, Adalo or Bubble. Well, think of Xano as the backend tool that helps your product scale once you hit a certain volume or ceiling after building on those tools. I’ve used it several times and enjoyed how versatile and powerful it is. I love it so much that I decided to help hunt it on Product Hunt. Check it out here.
Well, on that occasion, here is my interview with Prakash.

KP: Hi Prakash, why don’t you give our audience a quick intro about you?
PC: Thanks for having me KP, I’m grateful to be here! I’m Prakash Chandran and I’m a Product/UX guy. I started my career as a UX designer at Google helping to design products like Picasa, Google Calendar, and Workspaces. I then left to build my own startup which was really just 4 years of hard knocks and lessons. With those lessons, however, I was able to start a consulting practice that successfully helped dozens of small startups and large enterprises convert and retain their customers through better product experiences. Today I’m back in the trenches as a founder working on Xano.
KP: How would you describe Xano? What do you do there?
PC: I am currently the co-founder and head of product for Xano, which is the fastest way to build and deploy a scalable backend for any application using no code.
KP: What’s a recent milestone you’re excited about?
PC: We recently launched the ability for our users to easily share snippets of backend functionality with one another. To my knowledge, this has never been done before. Think of it like Code Pen but for the Backend. As an example, if I wanted to share a workflow that showed someone how their users can sign in with an email link (like Slack does for workspaces), I can simply click a button in Xano and have that backend published to the world for anyone to either learn from or copy into their Xano workspace for free. It’s pretty awesome!
KP: What specific inflection point led you on this journey? Why are you building what you are building?
PC: While No-Code tools for the front-end have really come a long way in the past few years, there hadn’t been any real innovation on the backend. The backend is critical to any software because it’s where all the business logic and infrastructure resides and traditionally to build a scalable secure backend to time, a team of engineers, and a lot of money. We wanted to create a solution that not only made backend development accessible and understandable to everyone but also allowed them to build, launch and scale without constraint or worry.
KP: Who does your current project help/serve the most?
PC: While we are always trying to make Xano more accessible to everyone, we currently serve founders who are on the more technical side. They understand the dynamics of Databases and how the API works. We see a lot of users graduating into us from tools like Airtable and Appsheet because they have either hit storage limits or limits in capability that they want to overcome. We also serve people who might use great tools on the front-end like Bubble or Webflow but want a powerful, flexible middleware layer to integrate and transform the data from all the APIs their working with.
KP: What are 1-3 killer features/selling points that you believe make your offering quite unique and valuable as compared to the alternatives?
  1. Store data with no record limits on a powerful, flexible Database
  2. Build APIs and workflows in our No Code API builder that connect to any platform or front-end.
  3. Scale to support millions of users without worry
KP: You’re been actively giving back to the fellows at On Deck No-Code fellowship. In what ways do you believe the no-code fellows have surprised/impressed you? What was your key takeaway from helping fellows bring their ideas to life?
PC: I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the ODNC fellows, but I think my biggest observation is that they have an amazing desire to not only learn, but to support one another to get their products out the door. We have seen a few examples of fellows go from only a baseline understanding of the backend, to becoming extremely proficient and in addition to launching impressive apps of their own, have become mentors and the go-to experts on no-code support forums!
KP: How has the principle of “build in public” played itself in your story/journey? In what way has it helped you?
PC: I’ve found that when I’ve been candid and transparent about where we are as a company, I always get positive feedback from others about how it’s helped them not only calibrate but feel better about the struggles their facing. I really hope to see us adopting the “Build in Public” philosophy even more as we grow and mature as an organization.
KP: What is one tip on building an audience you’d give your younger self from 4 years ago?
PC: The one piece of advice I’d give is to provide as much value as humanly possible in your area of expertise for free. I think my younger self was much more about selling and using specialized information as leverage instead of teaching and empowering others without agenda. What I’ve learned is that when you do the latter, the audience comes naturally, the trust you build is stronger and the sales you make are almost always from buyers that are appreciative and stick around longer.
KP: What is one tip about no-code you’d give someone who’s a PM/designer/founder getting started in their journey?
PC: There are A LOT of no-code tools out there and I’ve seen so many people get stuck on picking the perfect tool without making any progress at all on their business. My advice is to find a tool you feel comfortable enough in, and focusing your energy on getting the core of your idea (even if half-baked) to market as quickly as possible so you can validate with real users. It’s inevitable that you’ll need to iterate and add features, but if you’re testing your idea with real people, it might turn out that all the things you were worried about not being able to build aren’t what customers were looking for in the first place.
KP: Where can people find you on the Internet?
PC: Twitter is probably the best place. I’m @prakawesome
KP: Where can people find your startup/campaign?
PC: We are on Product Hunt today and would love your support!
Twitter: @nocodebackend
Thank you for reading! Please share this with your friends on Twitter/Linkedin or if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to hit reply :)
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