By David Adkin | Co-founder of Adalo
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When did you get into no-code and what made you want to start your company?

I think I got into no-code before I really knew what no-code was just by playing around with no-code tools maybe like five or six years ago. My intro was Zapier, the holy grail of integrations. I've always been at this intersection of technical and non-technical and I've always found no-code as a beautiful mix of those things. 

No-code is really, really part of the tech stack that I use on a day to day basis and teach amongst even my own team, so I thought why not join a company like Voiceflow, who's gonna make a really big impact in the voice space and the no-code space?

What’s your definition of no-code?

I think for me, I have a pretty loose definition of no-code. I think some people are very binary around it, where no-code equals zero code, ever. I view no-code as you can get the majority, maybe like 80% done without really having any basic knowledge there with the option of being able to get a little bit more custom and open that up. I would say my definition of no-code is a platform or a software that makes it easier for people to expedite how they can get to an MVP.

When did we start calling it no-code and who started that?

I can't pinpoint it to an exact moment where I was like, “Oh, yes, this must be no-code.” And I think the way that it was introduced to me was really more of a problem that actually exists both in startups and also in large orgs: just alack of resources, and also lack of time to learn on yourself, on your own time. And so it was introduced to me unofficially as no-code by one of my mentors at a company. It basically got introduced to me because I wasn't on the technical team, but was building out new things and was constantly stuck waiting for something to happen.

Can we settle this subconscious debate… is it No Code or No-Code?

No space code. Hardcore.

On the larger org, what I kind of found was that it helped to expedite a lot of even, let's say, project validation that you're trying to get. So people could get to a prototype faster to make a more convincing pitch for something. People could potentially get things procured faster because it wasn't living within their database, it was something that was a little bit separate. So you're seeing this workflow optimization that comes into play, and also just like how easy it is to understand and get going, and it makes onboarding a lot faster, especially if you're playing around with new people on the team.

But for smaller orgs, it makes so much more possible with a smaller team, especially even now where all of our teams are separated, and resourcing is always going to be an issue no matter what size you are, but when you have people who are trying to level up or trying to learn, who are trying to cross collaborate, these tools make it so much more possible to get everyone on a level field that I think that it really, really helps to let companies get more out of the team that they have.

What does this mean for developers, designers, & PMs?

In terms of developers, I think about this as expediting everything and no-code, in a lot of ways, is the bootstrap of trying to get something done. It doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be your final product that you're doing. But it's going to be so much freaking faster to get that structure out there that you're going to be able to play more, do more, and maybe try that thing that would have otherwise taken a really long time to learn.

With designers, I think that no-code has been an incredibly empowering movement for them. Where like, for instance, myself, I come from a design background and I loved being able to make these like beautifully comprehensive designs on my computer, but they didn't breathe. There's something a little bit special about seeing how those movements, how the actual interactions play, and it kind of sucks sometimes to have this thing and not be able to fully communicate it or be kind of left behind when you're trying to get that to come to life. So I think no-code tools have really made designers supercharged when it comes to being able to animate a lot of the stuff that they're doing, make them live, create websites, web apps, marketplaces; there are so many things they've done.

With PMs, or non-technical members on teams, it has totally opened up not only in more ways for them to be able to bring MVPs to life, get their hands dirty on things, but also build empathy towards other people on their team. I personally find that by diving into no-code tools, I've actually learned more about the logic and expectations and complexities behind what I'm asking for, which has made me, I believe, more empathetic as a leader but also in terms how I manage or expect what can be accomplished in the scope.

What does this mean for dev shops, freelancers, & consultants?

We've already seen huge interest and huge spikes in terms of freelancers and consultants, starting with voice. I think that the consultants and the freelancers that get on the space now are going to be in that sweet era that happened with mobile not too long ago, we're going to see more and more that the early time they spend in the space now is going to pay massive dividends later.

What does this mean for our personal lives, our kids, & economic disparity?

I am a really strong believer that no-code really, really helps make this type of building, this type of work, really accessible for people. And one of the beautiful things that I love about having such a strong community and being so connected with our no-code and our Voiceflow builders is being able to see people like this — who can hop on the platform, the same platform that large teams and enterprises are using and be able to build something really meaningful.

I think that, more and more, as no-code becomes on the front lines of things and more accessible to younger kids and even older generations, you're going to see more innovation happening in that space, and even easier ways for people to be able to get jobs or jump to different career options. Not only because it's more accessible, but now because they can do a lot more learning at home. So I think it's gonna make a huge difference moving forward.

When is it going to be as common to make an app as it is a slide deck?

I've already started to see people shipping like very rough MVPs or skeletons using no-code, but I would say, maybe give it another two years.

When will most colleges & grade schools start offering no-code classes?

My inner optimist wants to be the second that schools are back in there. What I'm seeing is that education is a tough one, because curriculums are really, really hard to innovate in, and that's the truth. But we've already started to see no-code solutions be kind of slipped into curriculum, like, Voiceflow happens to already be taught in a few universities. Which is super cool. And I love that. But I think in terms of mainstream, and I would hope, like maybe realistically, five years, where no-code could be in the title of the curriculum.

When will there be more products built with no code than coding?

I feel like it's already pretty on par with that right now. I want to think that it's already pretty there on Product Hunt, and so maybe like a year.

When will we see a product at the level of popularity of a TurboTax built with no-code?

My inner optimist wants to be like tomorrow. I would say maybe, and hopefully two to like three years.

When will the first product built with no-code IPO?

I'm gonna be pretty conservative on this one — like twenty years...

When will there be more agencies & dev shops that use no code tools that don’t?

I'd say there's already a lot of agencies that kind of build both. I think to outweigh maybe like, six, eight, a little bit longer. I think it will take a while.

When will global leaders (i.e. presidents, politicians) start talking about no code?

I would say probably more openly, maybe like, a year, two years.

What’s the best story of something you’ve seen built because of the no code revolution?

What really keeps me motivated is hearing a lot of stories of people who felt stuck in their current jobs or were waiting for that opportunity to transition into a PM or a technical role for years at a company and then discovered one of these tools and started to build these things. And actually, were able to make the move where they were able to support themselves full time and even build a team around no-code tools.

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Max Lind
GM of 8020
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About The Interviewer
About The Interviewer
David Adkin
Co-founder of Adalo | I love design, dogs, & basketball.
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