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Building a Business Without Writing a Piece of Code - AMA with Madhuri

Alright! Continuing with our series of blogs where we cover the AMAs we hold over our Slack channel. In case you missed it we regularly host Product Managers and talk about everything #product.

We were super excited to have our AMA with Madhuri Maram, Co-Founder of Xperian and Nocoloco on a rather interesting topic "Building a Business Without Writing a Piece of Code".



Here are some key takeaways:


No-Code being the new gimmick and trend rolling out and gaining more eyeballs due to the reason that non engineers can now build tech platforms and scale it.

So can you answer on how much scalable these systems are. As No-Code could possibly restrict the customization going on. What's your take on this and how does the technology you are working on works in handling the level of customization the systems of today's world expects?

No-Code is not new for designers, we’ve been implementing mockups, workflows using google sheets, Zapier and design prototypes using Just in Mind, etc. However, in the recent times great code has now enabled not just simple prototypes you can actually push out end to end workflows complete with payment systems without writing a piece of code. The correct term, in my humble opinion should be Visual Development.

Scale is often the biggest question asked by everyone, IMHO I would say its contextual because it completely dependent on your project. Also, there is a time and place for no-code.


Let's take an example if we try to build something like Slack now a feature enhancement like automatic content post so how to plan for this accordingly?

As a Product Manager of Slack, One hypothetical option is that I could test and see if I enable a Zapier workflow or of automatic posting of content on a time the user mentioned.

I could work with a developer and ask if a Zapier API can be setup. (BTW, this can be done right now). Build a quick google form that on submission of a message at a specified time can be taken and tested with a small set of people.

Once that is done, I can then deploy and test it with more users.


As someone who's on the fence, would you share your thoughts on how to go about exploring No-Code?

Back in 2018, we (Oghma) started looking for a way to launch my website without developers as we had huge issues working with them. One simple website took, 6+ weeks to launch and was barely done according to the design given. Thats’ when my team found Webflow and we launched our pixel perfect website in less than 4 days (http://oghma.webflow.io) and the rest is history. Over the next 20+ months, I found that exploring no-code without a problem statement to actually derailed my progress. But if you are razor focused on the problem statement, you will actually learn faster and better.

One primary thing you need to keep in mind is also that:

  • No-Code platforms are not made for design, they are only made for execution. You need to be ready with design, workflow and product strategy before you even jump into No-Code.

  • No-Code Platforms are designed for work with how technology actually works like, you need to be aware of basics of Interfaces before you jump in.

If you are learning to be a no-coder full time i.e., consulting with No-code, then your path is different. For that read this article, I wrote on hacker noon: https://hackernoon.com/how-to-apply-the-pareto-principle-to-learning-any-no-code-platform-m04b3ezq


Some people say "No-Code Is a Necessity, Not a Disruption", what are your thoughts on it?

There is a time and place for using No-Code.

Starting to test an idea? Use No-Code, reduce risk, time and money spent on it.

Testing a feature in an already built product? Then use no-code.

Optimising internal workflows? Use No-code and free up your teams workflows & timelines.

We've documented a few case studies up on our YouTube channel which also feature the amazing Suhas Motwani & Aditya Mohanty on how to leverage no-code for different context and business types:

Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUxVtnk1gzCzQvYyoDCB4EQ


What was the idea behind starting Nocoloco?

Nocoloco started as a talk on a Google developer summit in Hyderabad in Sept 2019. Nocoloco is in fact No-Code, Low Code. shortened to Nocoloco. The official url is nocolo.co


Can you please share your experience wherein you tried to implement a project with No-Code but it failed?

A project that technically failed: I tried to run a verified leads platform for freelancer and clients in design. It was cross between recruitment and toptal. The edge being we were focused on a cream of freelance designers. The project failed not because of no-code but because of the fact the % commission business is something we did not want to pursue that model of business at Xperian. We had glowing reviews and great listings of freelancers from the project. :)

The website still exists: http://hireworthy-refer.landen.co

I wrapped up this MVP in less than 1 month using the following stack:

  • Notion for clients to see verified list of designers for their projects.

  • Notion for designers to see a verified list of leads they can reach out to.

  • Calendly for scheduling.

  • Zapier to log new leads into Airtable and ready to make pdfs sheets that can be sent as attachments via email to clients.

  • Collected payments using Instamojo.

  • Email for communications

  • Landen for website (Free)

Total cost of the project: ₹3000

Total money made: ₹25,000 (Subscription fee paid by freelancer and % commission from project)

Learning experience priceless!

Here's how the freelancer accessed the leads


We have seen people building amazing and super interesting things with No code tools. Could you please share where one could start learning about No code tools from basics? Is there a repository of sort anywhere?

On getting started onto No-code and where to learn them. I recently started to compile them on to Instagram posts check them out here: https://www.instagram.com/teamnocoloco/

Also, here's a quick list of no-code tools: https://www.notion.so/No-Code-Resources-for-ProductFolks-51c53a59417c4d8ba97ee8deee925264



FIN

Want to join the next conversation? We’ll be having another Product Chat soon, get your invite to our Slack community to get all the details. See you inside.

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