By David Adkin | Co-founder of Adalo
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What does this mean for our personal lives, our kids, & economic disparity?

One analogy that comes to mind is Zoom. Right Zoom, very much focused on the enterprise on like, large scale meetings, etc. Now my kids are upstairs using it as a preschool right? And we're using it to hang out with friends. There's a lag to when that sort of business value is realized and it moves to a more social context. The same is going to happen with no-code.

I think for kids it’s going to become a basic skill almost like literacy. Right now my daughter runs this Animal Facts site where she collects fun facts from her friends, and they're all like, you know, filled with puns and stuff. And she adds new facts where she sort of chuckles as she enters it into the CMS, and then sends a text to her friends saying, like, ‘Check out the latest one!’ No economic value, right? But already understanding the principles that hey, the internet is my playground.

As far as economic disparity, it takes a long time to get a computer science degree. It takes a lot of money to go to these boot camps. You have to have a lot of both resources and luck and privilege and specific kinds of past experiences to even participate in something like that and have the chance to learn something as complex as code. And that keeps a lot of people out. And I think no-code levels that.

I think the more people that can build stuff is good for society. If the internet was sort of like a first wave of enablement, it's like, hey, some random person who learns how to code in the middle of Missouri, can now spin up a website and start making some money. No code, I think, just adds another order of magnitude, because now it's not about learning code. It's you just have to learn some simpler tools. And so it just adds a whole swath of people [who] now are able to do a whole set of new things.

I can tell you this, it feels like it will be a foundational shift in how work happens, and I feel pretty confident in that.

I think it'll mean a lot for underserved populations. For example last year at Apps Without Code, we had our curriculum at Illinois Tech, at Stanford, and at Wharton. And on their campuses, we had high schoolers come in for the summer, and they were able to not only have college experiences but they were also able to learn how to build apps without code, and even augmented reality apps, using our curriculum.

And that program was primarily for Black and Latino young people from high schools. And  it gave them a whole other world of opportunity and leg up.

I'm obviously optimistic about this topic. I think that automation in general is not going to replace people. It’s just going to make people not have to spend time going through emails, putting things into spreadsheets, and doing repetitive things in their personal lives.

With kids, I've seen it firsthand. We had a workshop recently. And there was a middle school teacher and we were just watching her teach the kids how to build a mobile app. Just knowing that these kids are learning these tools early on is amazing.

I think it’s positive for everything, economic disparity included. You can automatically build things to help charities and automations to help manage these things, those things and all that sort of stuff. So, yeah, I'm obviously very excited about how it will positively affect everyone.

I believe that no-code tools will give us back more time. So if anything, it's going to enrich our personal lives because we're going to spend less time building one off things that are highly custom to validating ideas with some type of underlying framework. And ultimately, to have time back I believe that's the most impactful thing that anyone can, can get.

The sky's the limit. As these tools become more robust, kids will be the future entrepreneurs and they're gonna have access to tools and I don't think they're going to be technically kids anymore. I believe what we're gonna see is the 18 year olds in the next 10 years operate at the business level very much like a 30 to 40 year old now. I believe what these tools are going to do for kids is enable them to kind of live a different life, not go down the traditional path. Kids are just going to be able to create their own path and lane and be able to make cool stuff at a very early age.

I believe these tools are going to enable financial inclusion. I mean, you're going to have a complete leveling of the playing field, people in third world countries are going to now have first world tools and what that does is it changes lives.

I think that this is a great example of something that can provide a way for smart, creative people to work, where they didn't previously have a way to actually make a reasonable income. Previously, you could be an entrepreneur and if you wanted to be in technology, you could either make a billion dollars, or you could make zero dollars, and most people made zero — so you kind of had to choose. Now, you can make $10,000 a month and really support yourself and your family but not have to be raising venture capital or on that kind of level of constant uncertainty around the next phase of your business.

I think that we've already definitely seen that kids are some of the people that pick up Adalo the fastest and I'm sure it's true with the other platforms, as well. When you grow up around technology things that are little builders in themselves, you just have a deeper understanding and each next generation will be better at it. I think that now people in high school have the opportunity to make money and try things and do things of their own that are totally entrepreneurial and unique.

I think that no-code enables more people to build more products that serve smaller individual customer bases. So rather than having Facebook and Google that each have billions of users, I think you're gonna see a lot more companies that have a few thousand users, and are a two person team that built that product. And I think that does really help the economic disparity part of it. And it also just helps a lot more people actually take themselves out of poverty or kind of provide a career for themselves and generate new ways of working.

I'm so excited by this — the ability to build personal apps and tools is something that's never been possible unless you were a software engineer. So that means we'll see people building things like small group apps, or a family app that just helps your family stay organized and have fun together, etc. Things like that.  I think those capabilities are really compelling and interesting, because it lets people create the tools they need to solve their problems instead of wait around for somebody else to create it for them.

Re: Kids —  I think you'll see people creating toys and games, new social networks, and new all kinds of interesting things that, frankly, are hard to predict right now.

Re: Economic Disparity — I think the ability to create software is something that is super important for everyone. And because software is going to touch everything, it shouldn't just be available for an elite group of people to be the ones building — it should be possible for everyone to have access. The tools we create for humanity needs to be accessible to everyone. I think more people will become software developers, but I don't think you should have to become a software developer to build an idea.

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.

I use Notion for a number of things in my personal life to keep tabs on things I want to watch, or eat, or purchase or this or that and you know, it's not like I'm automating my entire life. I think that's sort of a misnomer sometimes with no-code is things that are built have to be some crazy complex thing. Like it could just be the way that I use Notion, it's just mapping some tables together and doing some things that make my life, my personal life, easier. So I see a lot of that becoming more of a thing.

Kind of a joke, but kind of serious, like the idea of maybe I should start getting my daughter to learn coding, you know, as quick as possible. But I would argue that today getting the younger generation or those folks that don't understand code to go the no-code route as well, just because it's just as important from the standpoint of problem solving and ultimately kind of putting puzzle pieces together that they wouldn't normally probably have an opportunity to do so with other projects.

Now, the disparity between, like, here in Iowa and the Bay Area is quite obvious but the more that these tools start to be the norm, the more that things that are designed and built from Iowa being roughly the same as things that are designed and built from California — they could more or less be the same and you wouldn't know otherwise just again, by proxy of being able to have access to these tools and all these new doors being open.

[Lacey] I wish that I had learned to code when I was very young, because it's such a great skill to have. So I think that for children, learning how to start using this method of no code building blocks and using those kind of things, to allow them to start thinking creatively. 

In my own personal life I love that I if I get an idea, I can just start, I can quickly spin something up and start playing with it and start validating even just to myself, would this work? Would this be a good solution?

Economic disparity is probably the biggest one to me and the biggest driver for me personally, why I'm in this space, why it matters so much to me, is because it allows people to do something that otherwise they would not have the opportunity to do. Getting a computer science degree is expensive, going to coding boot camps is expensive, learning to code, even if you go through, can be a long process, and that assumes that you have access to a lot of platforms. [Anyone] can become problem solvers, and they can then start making a difference. And that to me is the biggest thing — that people have the power and the ability to impact positive change within your community and within yourself.

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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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