In this months interview series i'm joined by Tobias Hikari(@Toomaime), founder of Made Without Code.
I first discovered MWC during my daily routine of checking Product Hunt. Tobias has created a great platform for showcasing products built by non-techs as well as creating a community through his MWC Slack channel.
I love the concept of Made Without Code, not just because it serves a similar type of end user to NoCode, but due it serving the purpose to show off what can be achieved with little to no tech skills and secondly, due to the fact it helps connect established makers with non-techs. Tobias is also continuing to be transparent with his journey creating the platform which is fascinating to watch unfold on twitter. If you haven't already, check out Made Without Code!
Basically the idea came up by watching my twitter timeline. I noticed more and more tweets about products made with tools like Carrd, Bubble or Zapier and I thought it would be cool to have a platform to showcase these products and also connect with other makers. So while I was sitting in the library in Bologna working on indieteachers.xyz, I started to hack together an MVP, started to tweet about the idea and get, early on, very positive feedback.
Some of the problems you face by choosing to build a product with third party tools are similar to the problems you have when you code something from scratch. First of all, you need to find the right tool/tools for your idea and workflow. So you need to ask yourself questions like do you need a database from the beginning on, how do you handle user input etc. These thoughts are very important because every tool has advantages and disadvantages and it depends totally on what you want to build. The landscape of third party tools can sometimes be as confusing as the landscape of programming languages. Because of that, I started to work on a little mind map to get a better overview of what’s out there and what purpose it has.
Carrd is really a great tool and I think the founder is doing a great job. Nevertheless it isn’t a solution for more complex ideas. I think it is great to build a MVP quickly, a Landing Page or a Portfolio. In my case, I wanted to build something quickly and launch it, but now, for example, I am struggling with the limited functionality especially with automation and database. But if you want to build something quickly, and functionality isn’t the most important thing, then Carrd is a great pick.
When it comes to the backend and functionality you often need to improvise and use a combination of tools. The best example is the recipe site of madewitoutcode.com. To let the user submit new recipes to the site I used Carrd, Airtable and Zapier to achieve this functionality. If you want to read more about it, I mentioned the workflow in my article I wrote about How to build a startup without code.
There are really a lot of great tools out there. But I think one of the most useful is definitely Zapier which I use for a lot of workflow and automation. Furthermore I work a lot with Typeform to handle user input.
To speak honestly I have an ambivalent opinion respect to Product Hunt. It is definitely the best platform to get early attention for your product, a great community and absolutely a great product. It gets you a lot of traction and great feedback from makers around the world - if you make it to the frontpage.
If you don’t make it to the frontpage - and I am not sure always if it is only the product or also the followers you already have on twitter etc. that push you to the frontpage - nothing really happens. But perhaps I am also wrong and the products which didn’t make it on the frontpage are just not as good/ interesting for the community - but I have my doubts sometimes.
Twitter! Although I don’t have a lot of followers I started to tweet about the idea and progress from the beginning on to get some attention from other makers. This feedback helped a lot and I think Twitter is really a great tool for that.
Currently, I am building the hire network for Made Without Code where you can hire makers for your product ideas, as advisor or to get early feedback. Because I needed from the beginning on a Signup function and a database, I picked Bubble.is as the tool to go. I can totally recommend it for now, super powerful, easy to build. Another promising tool is Sheetsu, which is also my first sponsor for madewithoutcode.com. I think they are doing a great job for solving the database problem and I am planning to use it for the recipe site in the future.
Monetization is always one of the first thoughts you should face if you want to bootstrap a product. In my case there are some obvious options. For now I offer sponsorships for third party tools.
I didn’t want to charge the user so I decided to first offer the possibility of sponsorship on the site. In the future I want to try out Affiliate partnerships and also Subscription plans.
Currently I am working on new features for the site. In the next few days I want to launch the hire network for makers and integrate it into Made Without Code. Here is a little preview:
I am happy to receive feedback :-). Hit me up on Twitter (@toomaime)
Furthermore, I want to try some growth hacking tactics and work on the monetization model. I really like the membership option on Nocode. Perhaps this could also be an approach I can adopt with Made Without Code.