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Episode #34 – Nicolas Sharp – Attio
September 17, 2020
Podcast

Episode #34 – Nicolas Sharp – Attio

Nicolas Sharp is the CEO & Founder of Attio, which is a fully customisable workspace for your team's relationships and workflows.

In this epsiode, Ben and Nicholas discuss...

  • How Attio helps you set up a notification system for your internal processes and team's workflows.
  • Remote work organizations and why workflows matter.
  • Where the no-code industry is going according to Nicholas.


Nick - Attio - Spotlight  Podcast

Fri, 9/11 9:02AM • 43:42


SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, build, workflow, tools, companies, code, zapier, rto, big, london, product, data, businesses, podcast, problem, email, office, work, relationship, team


SPEAKERS

Nick, Ben Tossell


Ben Tossell  00:00

Hey everybody, it's Ben here, founder of make fat, a platform teaching individuals and companies how to build custom software workflows and tools without writing code. This show explores the people behind the noco tools and the stories of folks using them to automate work and launch companies. Right. Welcome to the show. We've got Nick, who is the CEO of acid or wasn't he? We're good listeners of all intro to who you are and what ASIO is. Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thanks for having me on the podcast. Ben. I am a avid podcast listener. And this is actually my first time on a podcast. So I'm pretty excited.


Nick  00:38

Yeah, but I'll tell you a little bit about RTO. So we are a it is actually a very young product, but the company is slightly older. So we, we started building, building a company about three years ago and about a year ago, we sort of came to our a moment of epiphany or a realization of what we really wanted to do. And we pivoted towards Attia. And add to is a what we call a relationship workflow tool. So, typically, you know, everyone will be familiar with customer relationship management, but we kind of see customer relationship management as being a stack. So now you know it's very, very uncommon for customer relationship management to be one tool. It's many tools flew together. And so atto is the is the relationship workflow part of that. And the sort of secret sauce or the superpower of the product is its ability to build out your network of relationships from existing data sources. So all of us have got 1015 years of email and calendar data. And you know, when you add your whole team's calendar and email data together, you have a you know, you have a lot of really powerful information in there. And what Attica does is, it sits on top of that data, and it essentially builds your relationship graph and gives you really powerful no code visual visual tools to build out workflows on top of that data. And obviously, relationships are the lifeblood of businesses, whether that's sales, which is, you know, kind of bread and butter for all businesses. But it's also things like doing things like managing podcasts, and you're and all of your guests or it might be having relationships with the press, recruiting as another huge use case. And, and yeah, so we give people tools to build on top of that, that that data and then connect out to their other tools and sort of set inside of the CRM stack.


Ben Tossell  02:36

What so what would be like to give an example of a actual step by step use case? Maybe give this podcast as an example of like when we spoke about now on our team sort of emailed you back on things on Twitter with a link


Nick  02:53

the teacher Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So in that, so that's a really good use case and in that use case What would happen is as soon as someone in your team's amount sends me an email that's going to create me inside of inside of your RTO account. And then it will go off and enrich that data. So it will find my Twitter handle, it will find a description from LinkedIn or wherever it might be, it will create a really rich profile. And then you guys are going to build a workflow around that. So it might be okay. We were sending Nick an email. Now we need to ask him to go he got to go into the podcast. So you move that to the next stage, which might be invite sent. And then you might want to collect a bunch of data, you know, where's he based? What times can he do all that kind of stuff, and you move that you move me through a pipeline, an RTO will do a lot of the lot of the work for you. So it will connect to tools like Zapier to automatically send out emails through web through MailChimp, whatever it might be. But what it will also do is allow your whole team to have visibility over that process. So Mel can go in and see the messages I've sent you. And you know that we've exchanged you See the messages that are exchanged now? And yeah, so that that would be a really good use case. But more common for us would be something would be sales, of course, really, really important. And, and then also things like fundraising relationships with your ambassadors and being able to kind of pool that email intelligence amongst your whole team.


Ben Tossell  04:18

Yes, very low. Oh, I don't know what this person has said to you on a thread to go. Well, how can I pick this up? Exactly. Where else?


Nick  04:29

Exactly. So that's, that's a really nice use case when you're actually you know, you're in a process with someone. But let's actually extract that as a step. We'll take that step further. And imagine that I didn't even know that our relationship existed. Yeah. And or melda know the relationship existed and wanted to say, Okay, why don't we make a list of all of the founders that we've spoken to in London. Now, without anyone having done any data entry, that data is an RTO, because we're connected to your email. We're enriching that data We'll find out what we know, geography, all that kind of stuff. And you could really simply just search for tech found a London and and get up my profile. So so it's sort of Yeah, it's a very powerful data layer that you can then build on top of.


Ben Tossell  05:14

Awesome. So what does when I'm thinking of all these things, always think the spreadsheet is a spreadsheet somewhere in this, is that sitting in it? Or is it


Nick  05:24

a spreadsheet in it in the sense that, you know, one of the interfaces to that data can be a table. So, so, you know, we allow you to build really powerful interfaces on top of the data. So it might be a pipeline, it might be a table, it could be a calendar view. And yeah, so spreadsheet is very much one of those, you know, it's a table view, but actually, it acts very, like a spreadsheet. So you can kind of, you know, all sort of keyboard interactions and all the cells are editable. It it's a little bit more powerful than than a spreadsheet in the sense a lot of the sales are automatic, so we'll feel for you. But yeah, that's that's, that's definitely something we do.


Ben Tossell  06:00

Awesome. So you said that I mean, I think it's still in private beta or public beta that they said the company's been going for a few years. This product is more recent. When When did you start on this product? Do you say? Yeah, so we started, it was it was the end of last summer. So it's been about 11 months now.


Nick  06:20

Yeah, and for us, I guess the the, the moment of realization was, we'd built a product, which which did all of the email intelligence it did all of the network things for you. So we build out your network allow you to search it, but what we had sort of missed was the the visual building of views and interactions. And our customers would predominantly integrate with our API when they wanted to do that. And that was slow, you know, so someone say, Oh, we've got a great use case, but it's going to take us three months because we're trying to find a freelancer who will do it or whatever. And we just had this this sort of this little lightbulb moment where we were like, we need to build a visual way for people to build these these into these workflows and views on top of our data. And that was really a huge shift for the company.


Ben Tossell  07:12

Is that because he saw, so, yeah, 11 months ago would have been some prime, no movement happening. And everyone's talking about visual builders that that have anything to do with Oh, well, we can do the same thing. I mean, not to now having


Nick  07:28

Yeah, it's funny, because, um, I guess we kind of, we kind of came to the the sort of conclusion independently, but it seems like a lot of people did. And then when we sort of, you know, we were like, wow, this is, you know, this is a really cool thing. This is this is really working. So then we went down to, like, you know, other people doing this, and we came across this whole kind of community of no code. And we were, I mean, we're thrilled because, yeah, it's a we had this. We had this hunch, you know that this was this was a thing. And then when we kind of Yeah, it's like having a hunch that somewhere over the mountains is a is a sort of, you know, an oasis. And then you get there and it's there. And you're like, Okay, I'll let people know about it. Now that was good.


Ben Tossell  08:17

Yeah. Funny that is. It seems so obvious in sort of, in hindsight, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. Visually, so don't have technical skills or hire developer or whatever. It just seems like.


Nick  08:32

Yeah, and I think I think actually, a lot of the a lot of a lot of what gets missed in the whole sort of code, no code, low code. debate is actually that. I think sometimes no code is characterized as a as a sort of a lesser solution. It's like, Oh, you can do this, you know, quickly. You don't need to have X skills. But actually, it's a huge competitive advantage. And wherever possible, You know, not just, you know, helping our customers but in the tools that we build internally in the way that we build our products, we think of it as a massive competitive advantage to use no code tools as much as possible. And, you know, anything that we can do to not have engineering, you know, to dedicate engineering resource to our kind of core, very core of our product is a huge competitive advantage. Yeah, it makes sense on so many levels.


Ben Tossell  09:27

Yeah, I think people who really get it, get that like the argument. And I understand that that is the point is, yeah, don't spend time doing that repetitive work have a smaller things that you can get done. It frees up everyone to do the more creative stuff. The core thing, the bigger problems.


Nick  09:46

Exactly, exactly.


Ben Tossell  09:48

I think Yeah, I was just to another podcast today. I think it was the violin. But funnily those named Matt fringilla Billy from our how an innovation works is a giant in Actually, yeah. But it's not about automation. Everyone's always worried about automation and like, it always takes them shots, but it just creates other types of jobs. And it allows us to like, be more creative and stop what to do in the first place. But being given example of lorries only came around because you couldn't transport stuff. swiftly and now it's so refreshing berries with a sense of driving lorries, saying,


Nick  10:30

yeah, it seems like unfortunately, we are never going to get to that world where we can all relax and let the robots take over. The work the work two shifts.


Ben Tossell  10:40

Yeah, exactly. Before the return was taken by robots, we'll just sit and make phone calls ping both do whatever we wanted. Which will be good. So yeah.


Nick  10:55

I mean, yeah, we said we've done like, you know, all of our website is built in workflow which Been, which has been phenomenal. And obviously all of our, all of our alpha or early user program is run through attivo. With integrations to web flow through Zapier. You know, we use slack heavily for kind of triggering workflows or prompting different members of the teams about different things. So yeah, we've we've built out sort of behind the scenes behind the product, we built out pretty comprehensive. No code stack.


Ben Tossell  11:25

Awesome. So do you actually, with that workflow and how to combination? Yeah. What What does that look like? What do you take people from flow forms and do something with them?


Nick  11:41

Yeah, so what we do is we have a so the way that it works is that you basically create a collection and a collection is where you you you collect contact people organizations, with extra metadata. So for example, when someone signs For early adopters program, they will be added there, they'll be put into a combat stage, sign up stage. And then we'll send out using a trigger to Zapier will send out an email to get additional information. What kind of company do they work for? What do they want to use the tool for lots of stuff. That will then be a type form form. And when they fill out that type form, again, that will trigger another zap, which will put that data into a patio, so that when we jump on the call with them, they'll then move to a call sheduled stage, send out a calendar link. And when we jump on a call with them, we go into patio and we can see that they've gone through the three stages, we can see all of the data that we've collected, so we know what they want to use the product for. They know we know how many people are in their team, and we can kind of, you know, shortcut, the first 15 minutes of the call and make sure that we also we also sort of triage the course correctly so that we get to the customers who are going to be most helped by the tool first. Yeah, so yeah, so yeah, that's that's basically how we've set it up internally.


Ben Tossell  13:04

Yes, that's pretty good. I think, yeah, we'd love to do some stuff that I was. But that whole flow of signing up someone to like, do the demo is somebody people talk about and get through. Um, so what was what was the tool before? The aha moment? Was it just like?


Nick  13:26

Yeah, it was a very similar tool, but it was, it was focused on a much smaller sector. So it's focused mainly on venture capital, private equity. And the idea was that if the functionality was the same, it was just very, it was very rigid. So you know, you had a, a pipeline, that wasn't really very easy to change. You had kind of fixed attributes on each contact. So it's very difficult to sort of break out of that sort of investment workflow. And but the core Principle of the tool really just struck a chord with people. And that was this concept of building your network from your email, Enriching that data making it searchable. But people were just you know, clamoring for for more customization on top of that, that data layer. And so that's the that was, you know, we got the core of it, right. We just needed to, to sort of build the tools to make it more accessible. And that's what we did with that. Yeah. And then also, you know, with that, with that transition to RTO, we're also going through a larger market. So what we were seeing with the first tool was that a lot of people were trying to use it for things that we hadn't thought that they would do. And, you know, so we realized that the market was bigger than we had we had anticipated, and we needed to rebound to reflect that bigger opportunity. Yeah, we we scoured the internet for a five letter.com domain and the journey began


Ben Tossell  15:00

Yeah, that's why I did one set. So many people. So many companies, I guess, talk about that we try to solve this very small problem. Yeah, that was sort of that used to be true in a different way. I think it's I go after small problems, like smaller niches and solve that for a very small group of people. But I think there's so many people online, and suddenly different versions of everything that like those sort of groups can be larger, a lot quicker, I think. Certainly, you made like a small tool for a small subset of an industry we're familiar with. And then we realize there's a reason like, zoom out a bit more. Yeah. The bigger thing is the thing rather than this, all of it. Yeah.


Nick  15:49

I mean, it's interesting, because I think it's like it depends whether you realize that you are solving. And what we realized is that we weren't so for our customers who were, you know, venture capital and In productivity, we were basically solving a common problem they had with other businesses. So what we thought we were going to do was build a full stack solution for them. But actually, there was one problem that we were solving for them that we solve better than anything else. And that problem is common amongst businesses. So the problem is, we've got tons of email, tons of calendar invites. And that data is lost. Yeah, you know, and so that is common across businesses. And I think, you know, we were, it just happened that that's the problem that we sort of, we managed to solve. And but then, you know, there are other businesses which kind of solve problems which are more full stack, you know, you're building an end to end solution for a particular bicycle. And and it's, it's easier, it's sorry, less easy to move into other businesses. But then it's also you know, you can build real competitive advantage there. And so we had to make that decision, which was, are we going to to stick with our kind of forced action And, and just try and build competitive advantage in a smaller in a smaller niche, you know, less competitive niche, or are we going to go after a broader solution, a broader problem across different businesses and sort of go out into the slightly more well, much more competitive world? And yeah, perhaps foolishly perhaps we'll see. We'll find out one day. Yes. Either to go after the big problem against against bigger competitors.


Ben Tossell  17:30

Yeah. I mean, if you're swinging vision for it, you may as well pick a bigger screen.


Nick  17:35

Yeah, that's that that is the calculation we made.


Ben Tossell  17:39

Yeah, exactly. And yeah, I realize that your investors are passion, capital and tiny VC. Yes. And we hi mother used to work with Andy Chung


Nick  17:56

comb. Fantastic.


Ben Tossell  17:58

Out of the passion capital. offices in Thunder


Nick  18:01

white Bay yard.


Ben Tossell  18:03

Yes, exactly. As well as in a job. So that's where that's where our station so I was a few years ago.


Nick  18:12

Oh, fantastic. We honestly we were probably in that office at the same time.


Ben Tossell  18:15

Yes. I was thinking I was thinking that we were just still with you working on the product before us at that point, or is it different? Yeah.


Nick  18:23

Yeah. So so I was, I was at, for those who don't know, passion capital is a sort of, I guess, one of the first sort of real London seed stage technology investors and definitely amongst the first few, I mean, now they're, they're, you know, we're lucky to have a really kind of vibrant ecosystem, but they were definitely one of the pioneers. And yeah, and I worked. I worked with them for about two and a half years. So that must have been 2015 to 2017. So not sure if that overlaps with you. But


Ben Tossell  18:54

yes, it was.


Nick  18:57

Well, it was a big office. Yeah.


Ben Tossell  19:01

That's funny. Yeah. When we talked about well, we just touching on the sort of London tech scene names for people listening in, they can probably tell me a bus from in Germany and actually from Wales. So we're sent rivals you've been enriched? I miss I guess. Um, but yeah, well, how have you seen the longer London ecosystem grow? Good. I think when I was there, I've been on and off in London since 2013. Just outside now. I've always felt so with the product some of the time it was felt like it was way behind what was happening, and it didn't feel like a proper ecosystem, but think, yeah, seems to seem to have like accelerated a lot quicker. The last few years at least.


Nick  19:51

Yeah, I mean, it is. It's been a it's been an insane transformation the last kind of five years and I think that is It's a couple of things. Firstly, there is there are now companies which have, you know, London based companies which have grown pretty big. And they have alumni and people who are now going and starting their own companies and, you know, who are now being hired as sort of more senior people in new startups. So there's just a good there's just a good pool of talent. And you know, there's there's, there's people who have done it before second time founders all that sort of stuff, more experienced investors. And then I think another really big part of it is just that the there's been quite an expansion of the sort of Fang companies in London so you know, you have Google have both a really big office in Kings Cross same with Facebook and Apple have a pretty big presence in London. And I think that has that's also really helped the ecosystem because again, it's it sort of draws talent from from from all over the place and you know, people learn the ropes in bigger companies. So the the transformation has been huge, and I think that like is, I mean, for us definitely the best place to build a company right now. And four years ago, my dream would have been to move to San Francisco or move to the States. But I think that we would be, I think it would be it would be a really, really big mistake right now, just because we have, there's such a huge this huge access to talent in London. And there's a huge amount of energy and it's a it's a really good place for the company.


Ben Tossell  21:28

Yeah, I mean, it's, it's abundance the City of London as a city for many, many times, and never get the same feel. As I'm doing. Maybe it's more like the city vibe that I liked more.


Nick  21:43

Yeah.


Ben Tossell  21:44

There's always like, so many people talk about Silicon Valley being you have to be there. It's a place to do stuff and there's plenty of reasons for this. decloak all this currency stuff had been Zynga online, people moving out of cities and move it do other things to do?


22:02

Yeah. During we're going to move


Ben Tossell  22:05

more into IBM cloud based cluster of these pieces of the community. Yeah,


Nick  22:10

I mean, I think to an extent, and I'm always I'm always a little bit, a little bit skeptical that when, you know, there is a big, big world event or anything that sort of seismically shifts, things that, you know, that, that our memories aren't kind of short, and that when when Coronavirus is over everyone will sort of will sort of forget about all these conversations. We heard about remote work and all that good stuff. But what I think is is definitely clear, is that companies you know, including including RTO have realized that working from home is here to stay. And because it works. I mean fundamentally, you know, I've personally been very productive. working from home and I know our team have been really productive and but we also kind of have to have to remember We've gone into this process with a lot of momentum. So we've spent, we spent a lot of time in the office together. We went in, you know, we had a sort of battle plan that goes three to six months out. And so when we, when we kind of when we went home, we had, everything was ready, you know, we knew what we had to do, we were kind of we had a really solid product roadmap, and we went in with a lot of momentum. So it's fine for us to get our heads down. But I think if we, you know, I think that if we were to continue to work from home, we might, I mean, I don't know, but I get the feeling that we might start to lose some of that momentum. And that we do need the occasional kind of FaceTime check in. And so I think we'll go for a really hybrid approach and allow people to work from home from home a lot, but try and also maintain that kind of in person relationship and try and spend time together. You know, working on problems and and I think we you know, I I think we can do both. And I think we can do both.


Ben Tossell  24:03

Yeah, I think I mean, I've worked from home works remotely, I guess, since my fifth fifth year now, sort of feels, but I always miss the fact of having, like, someone messaged me or behind me just say, we're doing this weekend or like,


24:19

yeah,


Ben Tossell  24:21

it's a different feel. And I think the 17 without as much as everyone's like, okay, working from home, you can do it, and it worked. It was great. didn't necessarily get what you just go straight to oakiness never have offices ever again. Yeah, you're right with having like, the options should be there. And I think when I was at Angel list, if it was going to be in, or I knew one of the others is going to be in a block. Okay, walk them up and do that.


Nick  24:47

Yeah, I mean, I think I think I think that's really how we think about it, which is that it seems absolutely insane. To say that everyone has to come to the office at 9am regardless of what they're doing or what work they have To do, and that they have to leave at a certain time. I mean, that just seems seems mad. But equally, there is value to being in person with someone. And so we will really try and strike that balance. And I think a lot of companies are doing this, which is essentially saying that if we if we strive to be if we strive to be remote fast, and so we build out, you know, we build out practices, and we kind of really strive to like, have a lot of Rimet written communication really clear and processes and all that sort of stuff. And then then we can support people who are working remotely really well. And we can allow people to be very flexible, but we don't have to throw out the kind of in person, you know, in person aspects of work. And that's really what we're striving for.


Ben Tossell  25:47

Yeah, even just like talking to slack or doing zoom call, you never get the rights. Yeah, the exact principles give someone the way the C compiler saying something to the communications is difficult. And over communicate stuff and try and avoid video stuff as much as possible. Otherwise, I feel it is it's difficult to build those relationships in that way.


Nick  26:11

Yeah, I know. Also, you know, when you have when you're doing calls all day, I mean, I'm not sure how I presume you, you, you must do a lot. Specially with the podcast, but it's um, it's definitely more draining. You know, you're, you concentrate very hard.


Ben Tossell  26:26

Yeah. And it's, it seems so much easier to just be sad. Because I'm a sucker for when I checked my team, I'll ramble a lot. I'm just like, go around the base and talk about and that's, I think it's fine. It'd be more fine if it was like over lunch or just like in the office and all that stuff. When you jump on a zoom call, and I'd be talking for like, an hour rambling about something as soon as they're listening to me. It's like one of the weather team Dave. He is great to just like on top for an hour and then you'll just go Okay, these are the two things you mentioned, that was worth talking about. So that's exactly what I needed. I've


27:03

forgotten what it was about this.


27:07

It's funny how you guys almost fell, you fell in time that you've


Ben Tossell  27:12

locked in some time. So whereas this is like, we don't have to just be here. This is just like a word. Yeah.


Nick  27:22

I mean, you know, and the other thing is that we were obviously still, we're in early access. And we just started opening up our, our sending out more invitations. So you know, we have probably 100 people on the product right now. We have 1000 companies or 1000 organizations on the wait list. And, but when we're going through that process, there is a lot of, there's a lot of back and forth between us all. And when we're going to have a big day of user onboarding or anything like that. We make sort of extra emphasis on being together. And so if we're like, right you know, today is about onboarding these 10 companies, then it's really nice just to sit next someone to say, okay, are they in? Are they happy? You know, you responded to that intercom ticket, all that kind of stuff. And it's there's also it's just a nice it's a nice kind of team feeling. And you sort of Yeah, you feel there's moments of like triunfo extra, extra good when you're with your team.


Ben Tossell  28:23

Yeah. And I think it's funny that remote work can be lonely no matter how many people are working remotely, or how many people think sometimes of stuff I think if you know the team are around where different time those might be a week. Yeah, but people aren't talking. Yes. Wait, why just my innisfil myself was that shouldn't be what else clowns they're working towards. They're like what we're trying to do this week and stuff. And it's just,


Nick  28:54

yeah, absolutely. Um,


28:56

do you think that no codes


Ben Tossell  28:58

and all this He's obviously huge emphasis now on workflow automations, or operational efficiency. Do you think, especially work from home and people probably doing trying to get more with less for those people or resource or whatever it is? Do you think that like these no code workflows are going to seem like, almost like people's assistants, like little men running around and doing the bits for you?


Nick  29:25

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, totally. I see what you're where you're coming from. And yeah, this is, I mean, this is one of the big use cases for for RTO actually, is because teams are increasingly distributed. And you know, that you are working from different locations, different time zones, all that kind of stuff, having visibility to what other people doing, you know, what, you know, the work that your colleague has done, you need to pick up on all that kind of stuff is really important. And, and the other thing is that operational efficiency is also very important because you have less of that ability just to pull someone over and ask them a question. You know, why? The massive advantages of working remotely or working from home is that you can get your head down and not be distracted. And if you're just spending your whole time on slack answering questions, because your operations are super, super inefficient, no one knows what's going on, then you've lost that advantage. Yeah. And, and so, so you know, we, we use it, all of our operations are no code and we use, we try and operationalize, sort of, we try and build our stack for all of these things so that we don't have to interrupt each other. We know where to go to find information. And it kind of you know, that's, that's really it's very important.


Ben Tossell  30:39

What kind of things do you run like that? So we were trying to do a, almost like a library of Okay, this is the book if you're booking a podcast with someone they use that as an example again, this is the exact process of like, from start to finish how it gets booked. Yeah, the the thing is edited about it. The blog gets made the videos live like this except, like, everyone who's in it and all that stuff. And it's, I mean, it is difficult because there's lots of different people as it embarks lots of different tools. So yeah, wonder if you do similar things and how you do it?


Nick  31:18

Yeah. Well, I mean, obviously, I think that we're gonna have to do a demo of it for you guys and get you on board. Because, yeah, sure, you should be using audio to to manage your, your, your, your pockex guests. But yeah, we we basically, we try and have a kind of Central source of truth for things so so that you know, the de facto place to look for things. So you know, we try not to distribute that too much. And, and then the other thing we do a lot is instead of trying to get people to attack to look somewhere, we try and send the information to them when there's something that needs to be acted on. So for example, with our, with our customer billing, because some of our you know, some of them Early Adopters have have now become customers. And with the customer billing, we try and only really notify the team when something isn't right. So we don't, there's no requirement for someone to keep on checking. We'll just send slack messages. If something's not right, if there's a VAT number doesn't match with the billing address or something like that. We'll try and try and sort of ping people until that's fixed. So we've gone for the approach of kind of notifying rather than checking if that makes sense.


Ben Tossell  32:34

Yes, it was war. This is how we should go if it goes well. And I want to check things as they get as it's going well, but it's rather than what actually this didn't happen. So it didn't happen or hasn't happened yet. This is what we need to do today.


Nick  32:50

Exactly. Yeah. So we sort of presume that things do go well and and this is actually a philosophy which which has been used, you know, for ages in product design, and something thing that we use massively in our sort of development of RTO is that we presume things will work. And because we've built things well, and we think they're going to work, and we only really prompt the user show error messages show loading state or whatever, when things don't work. And you know, 99.9% of the time they do work and it's the same, you know, with with most of the things that we build in Zapier and all that kind of stuff, it's a really robust product. So we just try notify problems rather than success and let people be undistracted.


Ben Tossell  33:36

Yeah. Now, here's a good way to look at that. Actually, I think that's something that we haven't. Don't get around, I think, more or less. Um, so yeah, I guess we'll sort of wrap up shortly. But I just wanted to see if you had any thoughts on like, no code wave is going is it stay? That sort of big picture stuff for


Nick  33:59

ya, of course.


Ben Tossell  34:00

Is this now a thing? Was it always your thing? Like, what would you say that?


Nick  34:05

I mean, I think it's it's it's been a thing. It's been a thing for a while. But we're sort of I mean, I remember helping my dad out in his business like, probably 15 years ago, when he was trying to build a stock inventory system. And FileMaker is this old program that Apple bought for building kind of database UI, essentially. And, you know, it was a no code tool. Yeah. But it was, you know, it just wasn't the right time. And I think we've kind of got to this moment of convergence. Where we have there are enough good tools, the ecosystem is rich enough. This sort of, you know, API standards are sort of mature enough, that that that you have enough tools, good enough tools that you that you really can build an end to end stack with no code. And I think we've just reached that inflection point where that's where that's possible. And we've got to the point now where the abstractions are robust enough, and that it is a competitive disadvantage not to use these tools. So it's absolutely here to stay. And, you know, I think if you were to try and solve these problems, which have been solved by many different companies, if you're trying to solve them with code, you're wasting your resources. Fundamentally, it's just not a good use of anyone's time. And I don't think that any company can afford to waste those resources. So, you know, if people if if people aren't using no code, and that it just really struggled to compete fundamentally, I mean, a really good example, to think it's just a good example, because we are 12 people with six engineers. And we don't we, you know, every engineering minute needs to be spent on our product. And if we needed to be building internal tools and building a marketing site, it would just not work. Walk out, you know, we just couldn't compete. We're already we're already going after a pretty ambitious goal here. But doing that without all the help we can get would would it be a very bad idea. Another thing is, you know, the quality of what you can build now is extraordinary. So I have a lot of people will say like, Oh, you know that your website's really nice. You know, I'd love a website like that, for my business for my sister, for example, be like, I want a website that looks really professional like yours. And you'll say to her, yeah, you can build it, you know, I'll show you I'll show you how to use web flow or Squarespace and she'll be like, No, no, I want it to be professional. I'm like, No, that's that's how we that's how we built us. Yeah, it is, you know, you can like it. So I think I think it's more of an education problem than it is about you know, the quality of the tools or anything like that.


Ben Tossell  36:45

Yeah. Yeah, it has to be good. Like my brother's a personal trainer, and he years ago or a year ago, I was like, Oh, look, I was I had like a rented like a shipping container as a as an office and spacing him and said, You come in and stuff On some programs, you could have been in a bit more money, scan your time a bit better. And then I'd love to teach you like web flow or cars or some websites that you could build websites for trainers. And he's sort of angelia cool sort of find out that we can look around and do because he is he likes Photoshop, the designer things I thought, we do really pick up and all of a sudden those last few months, he just be pinned down in social exam first or credited to it, or somebody do remember snap religion and


Nick  37:32

he's getting he's getting there. Yeah. Nice.


Ben Tossell  37:36

Yeah, I think it's it's similar to the state with no code where people have to come to that same point in their journey of, Oh, I want this thing built. Or I want to do this thing, but I don't want to pay someone to do it. Yeah. Because I will at least be lots of businesses who are like, Okay, this is great, though. Exactly. is education about these tools? Because we think again, that is your point should be to learn about these things. Because if a business says to us, that's really cool. Can you build it for us? Well, yeah, we can. But then you may as well have a developer team, like, you do the same process of hiring someone else.


38:19

Yeah. Not learning


Ben Tossell  38:20

the tools and how it works, because connected, and then if a problem, you then have to come back to that team to say, how does this work? How


Nick  38:27

can you change it? Oh, yeah.


Ben Tossell  38:28

Yeah. So the point is the enablement of, then it will just like show us how to do it, you do it then the support often it could be extra bit. So go on how to do this state, or Yeah, that so? Yeah. It can be that sort of thing.


Nick  38:45

Yeah. And as much as as much as anything I think. A lot of these things and this is you know, something that that we that we really think that we help our customers solve is just reducing the time it chain it takes to iterate. So for For example, a lot of our people now using our products have come from Salesforce. Salesforce is a very powerful platform with, you know, with developers, you can basically build anything you could could run an airline or hospital, whatever you want it, the issue is, it's very complex, and you need a lot of resources and a lot of engineering talent to make that happen. The massive advantage that we have over over products like that, is that we can say if you have an idea for a new business process, or how to, you know, a way to refine that workflow, you can just do that. Now. You know, there is no, you don't have to go and speak to someone you don't have to book in time. You don't have to, you just do it now. And it's the same for us with our marketing site and workflow. If we think that copy looks wrong, or the way that something's laid out isn't right wrong, or we need a new landing page for a new campaign or something, we can just do that straight away. And, and I think that's, you know, having that that that ability in house, coupled with the sort of soup The power of not having to have tons of engineers solving solved problems is really where the power come from comes from.


Ben Tossell  40:08

Yeah, no. Salesforce had a label that what they call sales force administrators or something, but yeah, totally agreed to do that in a company. What do you think about the know concerning things that people was asked about? What do you think no coders? I don't like that term. And what are they going to be called? Is there going to be like notes or roles? Or is it going to be a marketing specialist with experience? Yeah.


Nick  40:40

The issue is that I mean, I don't think anyone really loves the time because really, it isn't it is a abstraction on top of code. And in the same way that you know, frameworks like you know, like react or an abstraction on JavaScript, which is an abstraction again and again and again. This is just Another abstraction on top of, you know, on top of code, and there is, it's not a clear boundary, you know, there are some times when you are using a predominantly visual tool where you might want to, you know, dive a little bit deeper and fix a problem in code and then come back out. And, and so, you know, I think it's, it's, it's really it's difficult to kind of coined a term. But I mean, we basically when we, when we're recruiting, we recruit for people who are technical. So we don't require that people can code but we require their technical and that they understand the kind of core principles of like Internet protocols, and you know, how API works at some level, and how data is stored and how database structures work broadly. And I think that they'll just be a, you know, a requirement that people understand these concepts and more importantly than that, that they are able to to kind of learn how to use new tools, whether those tools require a little bit of coding or not. But just an ability in sort of a proven track record or, you know, of having used these tools built things, and having a kind of broad technical understanding.


42:16

There's definitely like a fine line of


Ben Tossell  42:19

knowing no code to code is once you start realizing, okay, web flow is my front end. It is my database. Zapier is like my connector, and you have a global steps in Zapier, then you're like, Well, listen, she needs to have an API call.


42:36

Like a job works. Yeah.


Ben Tossell  42:39

Yeah. Which pieces out and


Nick  42:42

yeah. But I mean, it all lives together. And I don't I don't think it I think that the line will just continue to be to be pretty blurry and perhaps get blurrier. Yeah,


Ben Tossell  42:55

yeah, no, I agree. Well, uh, yeah. I really appreciate you coming on and not at all Yeah, looks like we need to get for some of our processes and


43:04

yes.


Ben Tossell  43:06

So definitely, sort of tell the folks where to find you. And then we


Nick  43:13

Yeah. rto.com and you should be presented with a early access, call to action. The first thing you see So, yeah, looking forward to getting some people on boarded. Awesome. Well, yeah. Thanks, Ben.


Ben Tossell  43:27

Thanks so much for listening. You can find us online at maker pad.co or on Twitter at make bed. We'd love to hear if you enjoyed this episode, what we should do next




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