No Code and Low Code
A world where anyone can make anything easily and cheaply online
What is No Code and Low Code?
It's software and tools that one can use to build software products and automation without having to write any original code or write only a minimal amount of code. The implication is that anyone anywhere will be able to use these tools to build a product. The cost of development will go down significantly.
What are some examples?
Zapier. Allows you to connect all your apps together and to automate actions. For example, every time I heart a Tweet, it creates a record of that Tweet in a Google sheet with the details. You want to try it for yourself? Jeremy at Automatter describes you how you could do for a venture fund flow here.
Webflow. It's a website creation tool that requires limited-to-no coding expertise for most functionality. They have super easy tutorials. Delivery Associates webpage runs on Webflow.
Carrd is an even simpler version. I built Declarative Statements on Carrd.
Airtable. I describe it as a more improved, more functional, better UX/UI version of Excel. That's an old person's description.
Airkit. Builds low-code customer engagement tools for the enterprise. No-code/low-code took off early on the consumer side. The enterprise and back-end is just getting started and potentially much bigger.
Why am I convinced no-code is the future?
It's a clear trend to those in the startup and tech communities because it's ubiquitous. It's part of the furniture. It's embedded in the mindset. It's tables stakes. In other communities or ecosystems, people seem completely unaware.
The big market research firms get it. According to Forrester, in 2018, the no-code/low-code segment had a market size of $4B and was projected to grow to $21.2B by 2022. That's a ~50% CAGR.
MakerPad is at the center of this community. It most notably has a full suite of training programs on all the big no-code tools and has become a hub of growing activity demonstrating the economic opportunity that belies the demand.
GenZ/Digital Natives lead the way and the on-ramp to this thinking lies in the gaming platforms children use today: Roblox (150M active users), Mindcraft, etc.
How's it going to play out?
Three megatrends will coverage. First, the usability of the no-code/low-code software and products will increase. Second, more GenZ and Digital Natives will enter the workplace, and they think naturally in these environments. And, third, market competition will intensify. As the companies and individuals that adapt to the trend and implement it effectively will thrive, those who do not will flounder. The difference between those will be stark.
Shopify allows employees to expense subscriptions to the game Factorio. I can attest personally that it is fun, addictive, and makes the advantages of automation stark.
The differentiator will be seen in mindsets: Can you figure it out? Can you learn as you go? Can you adapt to new situations and see the potential of what you can build?
I continue to be impressed by DS member, Janel, who writes a newsletter calledBrainpintand ships no-code products including a recent operating system for newsletter management.
What are the implications?
Those that can effectively use the tools of automation and automated analysis will get smarter and faster and thus drive value on a non-linear basis. For children and young adults, the risk of being on the wrong side of the digital divide or lacking access to the right nudges to sharpen your skills with the best tools is real.
My first job after college was as a business analyst for McKinsey. On one of my studies, I was helping a mid-level executive with modeling. We sat in front of his computer and opened Excel. I watched him pull out a calculator and start making calculations manually and entering the results in cells like it was a paper notepad. I've never feared for my employability since.
However, given the accelerated pace of change, it is not enough for professionals to think they can count on their 'management skills' or 'domain expertise' to stay relevant without continuing to learn and adapt to emerging tools. It seems wise to have a reasonable paranoia of unplanned obsolescence.
Fast forward to today, I constantly ask myself "what are the things you are doing that seems like using a notepad on Excel"?