No-Code is Hitting an Inflection Point. Are You Ready?

No-Code is Hitting an Inflection Point. Are You Ready?
By KP • Issue #23 • View online
Here’s a long-form article I co-authored on the state of the no-code that I thought you might enjoy. Let me know if you have any feedback or questions :)
Much like Shopify ‘armed the rebels’ by allowing anyone to build an e-commerce store, a slew of no-code tools are empowering people to build anything.
No-code is a marketing misnomer though. There’s always code – but in no-code tools, it’s hidden for users, who use drag-and-drop interfaces and simple workflows to accomplish things that would have previously required a degree in computer science, and hundreds if not thousands of hours in front of a computer screen, typing away. 
No-code is a $16 billion market and is expected to grow to over $84 billion by 2027. And with good reason. No-code tools have lowered the barrier to creation, enabling the 99.7% of people who don’t know how to code to build everything from websites to complex web apps with little to no capital or outside help. 
Quicker idea validation
The no-code movement isn’t only empowering founders or indie hackers — it’s also sweeping across every function within tech-enabled businesses. 
Many founders, for example, are turning towards no-code MVPs for validating their business models and testing the market. It’s easy to see why. No-code is cheaper and faster than native development, and the time and money saved can be put towards marketing your product or talking to customers.  
No-code MVPs make it easier to stress test ideas and determine whether you have the foundations of a sound business. They shift a founder’s focus to why and what they’re building and away from how they’re going to build it, reducing friction in the critical validation phase of an idea. 
These twin advantages result in more efficient product execution and quicker time-to-market, both invaluable for fledgling companies. 
Take Otter, which is tackling the broken childcare market and helping stay-at-home parents make money. The company’s thesis of an Airbnb-like marketplace for stay-at-home parents was validated using no-code tools. Its success led to a $4.8 million seed round from a16z, and $23 million in Series A funding from Sequoia. 
Another example is Qoins.io. The app helps students pay off their debt faster through financial coaching and automatic payments. It has processed over $20 million in transactions and its backend infrastructure is built entirely in Bubble. 
No-code is enabling companies to move quicker
A 2020 IDG survey found that 70 percent of employees don’t have the tools to creatively solve complex problems or to change archaic business processes on the fly. No-code is changing that. More and more, instead of waiting around for IT, employees are leveraging no-code to build solutions themselves. 
The potential of the enterprise no-code use case is reflected in the rise of startups like Retool, which comes with a set of building blocks that can be used to speed up the creation of internal tools like admin dashboards and custom CRMs. Retool raised $75 million earlier this year at a valuation of almost $1 billion. 
At startups and enterprises alike, no-code tools are streamlining workflows. Notion, which just raised $275 million at a valuation of $10 billion, is a great example. 90 of Forbes’ Cloud 100 companies have a Notion team workspace, and about 28% of global startups on Crunchbase that have raised over $1 million are also using the platform.
The rising adoption of no-code is only going to accelerate. Gartner estimates that over 50 percent of medium to large enterprises will adopt a no-code tool by 2023. 
Criticism against no-code
With every trend come people who strongly oppose it, and no-code isn’t an exception. Detractors have argued about security, scalability, and other problems with no-code tools – and while it’s important to know limitations, it’s also important to know when they actually apply. 
It’s also important to note that the no-code ecosystem is quickly reaching maturity. The validity of many of these criticisms is melting away. Let’s run through a few of the most common objections. 
No-code tools don’t scale
The clearest counterpoint to the ‘don’t scale’ argument are companies that have successfully scaled using no-code. 
Take On Deck, for example. It’s thanks to our no-code infrastructure that we’ve been able to scale from one fellowship to over fifteen in a year, supporting thousands of fellows in the process. At any point, our no-code stack is handling tens of thousands of potential applicants across twenty different business units. 
Here are a few examples of our no-code stack for a few common workflows. 
  • Applications: Typeform + Zapier + Airtable
  • Fundraising concierge: Airtable + Zapier + Integromat + Slack
  • Creating Masterminds: Airtable + Integromat + Slack + Google Calendar
Here’s a deeper look into how we scaled from 3 to 13 programs in a year by using Retool, saving us hundreds of hours of manual work. 
And we’re not the only ones. To give just one more example: Vensy Krishna, an On Deck No-Code Fellowship alum (ODNC1), built a no-code app in just two hours when COVID began ravaging India that successfully collected lifesaving resources to fight against the spread. This app was used by over 400k people. 
No-code tools are limited
No-code tools rely on abstracting away complexity. That, however, necessitates making the tradeoff with choice. 
Let’s take the example of a button. Either I could build it myself and have the option of selecting the color, its size, the text font, the padding and margins between elements, and so on…or I could use a no-code tool. 
To make it accessible, the tool hides hundreds or even thousands of lines of code behind a single ‘create button’. The result is that users can create a button quickly, but they have to work within the design and architectural choices of the no-code tool. 
We get lightning-fast speed of execution and user-friendliness, but trade it for optionality. 
So when we are building something that isn’t a common use case scenario (custom features or niche integration requirements and so on), the need for custom code arises. Hence the ‘no-code tools are limited’ objections. 
With the rapid pace of development within the no-code ecosystem though, this is becoming a shrinking concern. 
Many no-code tools recognize the need for flexibility and now offer low-code capabilities that allow engineers to extend platform capabilities. Others are built for engineers first and equip them with building blocks for quicker execution, while still being custom code friendly.  
These solutions reduce the risk of being locked into an ecosystem with no recourse if requirements change. Instead of a pale imitation, no-code becomes a tool to augment and accelerate native development. 
Now that we’ve addressed no code’s most notable criticisms, the question remains: what can you actually do with no-code? 
There’s a no-code tool for that
The answer is: anything. We’ve approached the point where ‘there’s a no-code tool for that’ is the new ‘there’s an app for that’. 
No-code is not about building simple software only, either. People have made everything from Facebook and Airbnb to Uber and Netflix in no-code to showcase that anything is possible. This fully functioning Twitter clone, for instance, was built entirely in Bubble. 
Here are some examples of what you can create in a single weekend through no-code: 
  • A responsive website with Webflow
  • Landing page with Carrd 
  • An ecommerce store using Shopify
  • Client portal with Softr
  • Internal tools and dashboards using Retool 
  • A mobile app with Adalo 
  • Complex web app through Bubble 
  • A backend infrastructure that scales using Xano
  • Paid newsletter with Substack or Revue
  • Turn your sheets into mobile apps through Glide 
  • Connections between tools and apps through Zapier
  • A user-friendly database with Airtable 
What does the future hold?
As referenced above, only 0.3% of the world’s population knows how to code. What happens when you enable the other 99.7% to build as well? That’s the potential of no-code. 
Over the next couple of years, we see no-code becoming the default first step in development because of speed and efficiency. What’s more, we predict this trend will accelerate further due to the acute engineering talent shortage across the world funneling more people into the no-code ecosystem. 
As more people use increasingly competent no-code tools to build solutions for the most common use case scenarios, we foresee a crunch at the bottom end of the market. 
A few years ago, if you wanted to build a simple landing page, you had to hire a developer. Now, you can use a no-code tool like Carrd and do it yourself in a couple of hours. Similarly, you can use Google Sheets and Glide to build a simple app in a single evening.
The bottom of the engineering talent market is full of people doing ‘routine’ tasks, such as building simple landing pages, which are easy to execute and don’t require a strong grasp of engineering principles. This bottom section of the talent market now is in direct competition (i.e. overlaps) with no-code tools that enable non-coders to do these ‘routine’ tasks at a fraction of the cost.  
This overlap could cause a massive crunch. As people DIY simple solutions themselves with no-code, low-skill developers will either have to upskill or lose their jobs.
That said, talented engineers won’t be replaced – rather, they’ll move upstream and solve more complex problems that require abstract thinking and engineering acumen. No-code building blocks will allow developers and engineers to offload time-intensive but common tasks, and help them ship much quicker and become more productive. 
Overall, we see no-code and low-code as democratizing forces for people who don’t know how to code, and assistive for those who do. 
Challenges and Opportunities
The no-code journey can be a lonely and overwhelming one. It’s still a nascent space so the onus of doing everything falls squarely on you. That’s why intrinsic motivation is so critical for success as a no-coder. 
A lot of people in the space are solo founders or bootstrappers, and they might not be as good of a marketer as they are a builder. Projects thrive when you can bounce ideas off people, get tailored feedback, iteratively improve, and get unblocked when you need help.
You could start alone – or you could find a community to help you. 
While there are a lot of communities springing up to support no-coders, the On Deck No-Code Fellowship is what intermediate and advanced no-coders can truly call home. Now in its third cohort, ODNC is tailor-made for: 
  • Founders who want to build and test their MVPs
  • Startup employees who want to automate processes at work with no-code
  • Bootstrapped founders looking to generate revenue from their no-code projects
  • People who want to land startup jobs by acquiring no-code skills
Over the last year, we’ve refined the program experience to address the most pressing problems no-coders face.
Whether it’s accountability (Mastermind Groups), feedback (Think Tanks), forcing functions to ship (Capstone Projects), public visibility and exposure (Demo Days), or a community that cheers you on every step of the way, ODNC has it all. 
Everything we do is underpinned by our community’s Build in Public ethos and generosity of spirit. As the barriers to creation melt away, the question becomes – what will you build? Or as we at ODNC like to pitch it: what will we build together? 

CLOSING THOUGHTS
Thanks for reading! As always feedback is welcome. Special shoutout to my co-author Talal.
Did you enjoy this issue?
KP
By KP

Build In Public is the #1 newsletter about the fast-growing movement of building in public on the Internet. Sign up to get the latest coverage on world-class creators, founders, and builders taking an audience-first approach in building products with a healthy dose of tips, techniques and actionable advice that you can use.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
BUILD IN PUBLIC LLC 4290 Bells Ferry Road STE#134-2199 Kennesaw, GA 30144

Key phrases

Older messages

Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Prakash Chandran) ⭐️

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hi everyone, welcome to the latest spotlight edition of the Build In Public newsletter. Every week, I Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Prakash Chandran) ⭐️ By KP • Issue #22 • View online Hi

Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Nate Washington)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Hi everyone, welcome to the latest spotlight edition of the Build In Public newsletter. Every week, I Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Nate Washington) By KP • Issue #21 • View online Hi everyone,

Build In Public: Spotlight Edition (Andrew Barry)

Friday, September 17, 2021

don't miss out on the coupon code that's inside 💰 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Build In Public - Community Edition (Sep 2021)

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hey everyone 👋 Let's open this edition with a powerful quote: Build In Public - Community Edition (Sep 2021) By KP • Issue #19 • View online Hey everyone 👋 Let's open this edition with a

How Twitter helped me with the 1st ever BUILD IN PUBLIC NFT 💎

Friday, August 27, 2021

Happy Friday everyone, Below is the story of: how I found an artist to collaborate and mint my 1st e How Twitter helped me with the 1st ever BUILD IN PUBLIC NFT 💎 By KP • Issue #18 • View online Happy

Solving Crashes & Testing

Thursday, September 30, 2021

One more thing... Hello, you're reading Infinum iOS Cocoa Treats, bringing you the latest iOS related news straight to your inbox every week. Testing iOS Apps Writing tests in Swift isn't that

📈 You Can't Eat Relative Growth

Thursday, September 30, 2021

In startup land, we talk way too much about relative growth. We'd do better to ground our thinking in absolute growth. You Can't Eat Relative Growth Read on My Site In 2006, Howard Marks, co-

Daily Coding Problem: Problem #542 [Medium]

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Daily Coding Problem Good morning! Here's your coding interview problem for today. This problem was asked by Dropbox. Given an undirected graph G, check whether it is bipartite. Recall that a graph

🗞 What's New: Facebook is the new Yellow Pages

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Also: The top self-management tools for indie hackers! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

hot tech men

Thursday, October 21, 2021

China venture $. Taking on SWIFT. Dank pie chart. VIEW IN BROWSER CBINSIGHTS October 21, 2021 Bed breakfast & beyond Hi there, Here is this week in charts. THIS WEEK IN CHARTS Source: CB Insights

📰 SaaS Tribune Weekly - 21 Oct

Thursday, October 21, 2021

SaaSHub logo SaaSHub Weekly - 21 Oct Our weekly list of useful, trending and featured products BeatSense logo BeatSense Discover great music hand-picked by real people, in a single click. FREE and in

Growth Bite: Increase the price of digital products as sales go up to invoke urgency

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Digital products don't lend themselves to scarcity in the same way physical products do. Consider increasing urgency and sales with pricing that goes up as more products are sold. Steph Smith made

We want to publish your story on Start it up

Thursday, October 21, 2021

9 writing prompts to inspire you to put pen to paper and share with us the importance of writing in your life. View this email in your browser Logo We want to publish your story Submission Call: Why Do

Serverless SaaS, Vaazo, Online Screen & Webcam Recorder, Hexane Technologies, and Pluddy App

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Build a SaaS product faster with Next.js & Firebase BetaList BetaList Daily Serverless SaaS Build a SaaS product faster with Next.js & Firebase Vaazo Web scraping and automation tool Pluddy App

20 business ideas that can replace a $100k salary

Thursday, October 21, 2021

+ new remote job opportunities ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Today's startups in 10 words

Thursday, October 21, 2021

10words.io Discover new apps and startups in 10 words or less Carefully: Give Care. Get Care. Exchange childcare with people you trust Warpdrive: Instant, shareable desktop automations for teams

How to impress investors during your fundraise

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Read actionable tips from VC Gale Wilkinson on the documents you need to fundraise, advice on pre-product market fit, and the State of VC. View in browser Not subscribed? Sign up here. seed report

Why Successful People Take 10 Years to 'Succeed Overnight

Thursday, October 21, 2021

There's a reason this 10-years-to-overnight-success pattern shows up over and over. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ the slice

You're invited to our Ecommerce masterclass,

Thursday, October 21, 2021

If you are having trouble viewing this email, click here. Hey , Have you always wanted to start and grow an E-commerce brand from scratch? One of the best ways to do that is by learning from someone