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In the past couple of decades, a majority of startups are on the internet. Inevitably they need tech to run or support them. That's not going to change in the future - if anything, it is only going to increase.
This has made us see developers as magicians. They are the messiahs who can make our entrepreneurial dream a reality. Well, not anymore. Enter No-code - the ability to build products and power processes without writing code.
This movement has been in the works for a couple of years. I also caught onto this a bit late - you might remember my brilliant failure in building our product at the very beginning of Flexiple. However, ever since, almost the entirety of Flexiple runs on no-code/minimal code.
So, I thought I should write about it. This should motivate anyone who believes their lack of coding knowledge is the roadblock to building a quality startup. If you already have a startup, you can now stop relying on your developer(s) for everything tech.
I share this because despite knowing how to code, I feel no-code should be chosen wherever possible. And the great thing is that the ambit of "where it's possible to use it" is increasing each day.
The advantage of using no-code is:
Firstly, this is not meant to be a no-code tutorial. Rather an illustration of how an entire startup's tech can be powered by no-code. And as a result, to inspire you.
Here's the overview of how our tech is setup. So that you understand this in context, Flexiple is a premium tech freelance marketplace.
This is set up on Unicorn. Unicorn is a simple landing page builder that offers predefined templates. I think for all static pages - where all you are doing is displaying information - such builders should be used.
Earlier we only had our google ads marketing pages on Unicorn and had custom coded other pages. Now we have shifted all our pages here - just took me a week to do that.
For Flexiple, we had the following reasoning:
Our intermediate database is Airtable. Let me explain: freelancers apply to join our network. This involves filling a form and we need to capture those details.
For this, we have just embedded Airtable's form: Check it out here. So, whenever a freelancer submits their details it gets seamlessly stored in our Airtable database. No custom coding for this.
We use Zoho. To be honest, there are probably better options out there. However, we started using Zoho and have all our processes set around it. That's the B2B stickiness for you 😑
You see Airtable is great for storing data. But when multiple people access it, its easy editing interface puts the data at risk - a careless edit and field values can be changed, new records can be created, etc. So, Airtable isn't a great place for the entire team to be sitting on.
With so many different applications in the picture, we need a service that connects all these to one another. Here we use Zapier and Integromat.
As you can see in the above image, Zapier enables Airtable to seamlessly talk to Zoho. We have such automation flows set up. We also send standard mails automatically based on certain conditions being met in our database - for e.g. scheduling of calls with freelancers.
So basically it doesn't matter where the data sits. We always have the ability to connect our applications easily and execute any use case we want to.
Our client form is set up such that even partial form fills are recorded in our database - which is again Airtable! This required a custom-coded solution and is the only part of our entire system to be custom coded.
In this database, any person in our customer-facing team just needs to click a button to receive the first set of shortlists for a project. Airtable launched a new feature called script blocks and we wrote a simple code snippet for this. This does get into the "code" arena but, frankly, it was very straightforward.
We had multiple intermediate processes before, which has now been replaced by a singular button! This singular automation is probably going to save us an hour of work each day.
So, that's a major part of our tech ecosystem at Flexiple explained. So, are you wondering how you can use no-code to power your startup? I am happy to help :). Just reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to discuss your use case!
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