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February 2, 2021
Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Harshala Chavan

We are fortunate to have a vibrant community of hundreds of members from all different places across the globe. We come together to talk about tools, tech, no-code and new ways to make creating & building even more productive than before. 

At Makerpad we love sharing our member’s journey through learning no-code, using new skills in their workplaces, building projects and even launching businesses. 

Each week we’ll be highlighting a member from our community and sharing their story, background and previous projects through our Member Spotlight blog post series.

This week we are chatting to Harshala Chavan from Mumbai, India.

Harshala is the Founder of Merrative

 

Hey Harshala, great to have you be part of the Member's Spotlight. Can you give us some background on how you got into no-code? How long have you been using no-code tools and what got you first interested?

I started Merrative as an Instagram page back in December 2019. So the first version was completely no-code. 

However I didn’t know how to code and I really wasn't ready to invest in the making of an app just yet. So I started to look for ways to build it without code and I started investigating no-code tools. That’s when I came across Bubble. 

So in April 2020, I started learning more about bubble and I created the first version of our Merrative web app. I truly appreciate the existence of no-code tools since they are the reason why I was able to build my own MVP and it has allowed me to grow my community and I am able to engage my audience through my own app. 


That’s a great way to start simply and then invest time in a custom MVP once you have gained an organic audience for your idea. So can you take us through some of the no-code projects have you built in the past and what tools did you use for them?

Merrative is my main project, it was started as a place to find like-minded and avid readers to discuss ideas from the news, books and articles. Initially we just featured readers who shared their recommended reads. Then the page started having a lot of submissions, so I decided to make a website for Merrative and to expand on the idea.

Up to now I have mainly used bubble for building out the entirety of my responsive web application. It has grown to contain a good amount of complexity in terms of features. This has been possible as I started out with bubble and it has been able to scale with Merrative as it has grown.

My app is now a full-scale social network with video features as well! 

In terms of other no-code tools, I have also been using Substack for our email newsletter requirements. I keep the other parts of the business really simple. We have used Medium to maintain our blog page as a publication. For support related communications, we use Instagram and Whatsapp for Business.


Building a business using one central tool must simplify processes so much!  So let's bring things up to the current day, what stage is your current project at and what can it do?

My main focus is on Merrative, I have a community of 2000+ readers who connect with each other to discuss ideas from the books that they have read. We are supported by IIM Bangalore, and are at the pre-revenue stage in terms of the business model. My aim right now is to work on the growth of the community.

Merrative connects you with readers who have read the same content as you so that you can widen your perspectives on ideas with others via conversation threads or one-on-one in a group discussion or on a video call.

Right now with Merrative, you can save time finding your next best read and you can discover and curate recommended books and articles across various topics like technology, literature and business.

It’s a place for healthy intellectual conversations. You can share your summaries and reviews. Even curate your thoughts and key takeaways on articles and pick what you’ll read next.

The app also lets you have face to face discussions in small groups, either privately or live!

Merrative is a network that aims to bring people closer and bridge the gap of understanding around a piece of content. With this, I hope to battle misinformation, information overload and biased knowledge about topics using the power of community. Merrative can help you to have a well-rounded understanding of the articles you read. 

 

Online communities that support healthy discussions are really valuable and will become even more of a core part of our social media channels in the future.  Thinking more of the future, what are you looking forward to seeing happen in the no-code space in the years to come? 

I am looking forward to seeing the development of more AI capabilities within no-code tools. One of the main obstacles I have right now is that I am not able to personalize the feed for my users and AI would help me to do that. 

I am looking forward to the integration of amazing tools like GPT-3 and the likes to improve user experience and computational powers. I am also excited for VR and AR applications being developed more as there soon will be a breakthrough making it much easier to create them. Their use cases are so varied and exciting!


More complex features will definitely make their way into more powerful no-code tools in future! Do you have a favourite no-code tool? And what's the next no-code tool you're thinking of trying out?

My favourite no-code tools have to be Bubble and Substack as I have saved massive costs in development and email marketing because of them.  Without these tools, building my MVP just wouldn't have been possible without learning to code! 

I am excited to start using Notion and Zapier to further enhance my stack, and have been exploring these tools recently! Looking forward to learning more about them soon. 

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Harshala. We look forward to hearing more about your journey soon! 

Keep an eye open for our next Member Spotlight blog post coming soon!


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