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December 15, 2020
Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Matt Roberts

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 Matt Roberts from the UK.

Matt is currently working on Discoveroo.

 

Hey Matt, 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?

That's an interesting question! My earliest experience with no-code was building some little apps with Microsoft Access and Excel spreadsheet macros back when I was at school. In my opinion that's still no-code!  

The main chunk of my no-code experience came though the world of work. It started around 8 years ago when I worked for a small startup in London. I started in the marketing team and after I realised writing wasn’t as interesting, I moved into the product and tech part of the business. 

My role was as a business analyst and as it was a small operation I ended up having to plug as many gaps as I could, with whatever tools I could find. 

This led me to using tools like Zapier, Podio and Google Sheets more! Over the years working there, more and more no-code tools came out and I tried to find ways of using the ones that were useful for the company.

The funny thing was that during this time I didn't know it was called no-code. They were just useful tools that saved me time and helped to get the job done. 

It was only over the last 6 months when I left the company to start my own thing that I realised there was a big community of no-code builders, making stuff and turning it into businesses.  

 

It’s great to see no-code skills emerge in the workplace! It helps to see real-world uses for tools and you’re forced to get started and problem solve with them quickly. So can you take us through some of no-code projects have you built in the past and what tools did you use for them?

Sure, I'll share a few! One app I created was for time planning & management.  Using Podio as the project management tool I built a rule based system to calculate the time per task for an outsourced development team. This helped us stay efficient and make sure work was being tracked and managed accurately. This project required Podio and Globiflow which is a premium add-on that allowed complicated flows to be created, similar to Integromat.

Another project I worked on was a Slack bot for ticket management. The purpose was to connect the team with Podio and JIRA. This was all done before their own direct integrations so I built a webhook project that allowed users to create tickets from within Slack and also receive updates on the tickets too.  

I’ve also built a chatbot for customer support teams. It was made using chatbot.com and it was mainly designed to handle common questions and reduce down the demand on support teams for simple queries. The trickiest part of this project was integrating the chatbot with the clients own API’s to perform functions on their user accounts using HTTP webhooks. I also connected it to Zendesk via Zapier too. 

The next phase of the development was to connect Chatlio to the team’s Slack account. This used a Zapier workflow and their app 'storage' to make a relationship between Slack channels and the user ID’s on the website. This bit was tricky and I needed Andy Wingrave's help for this part of the integration. He is a top notch Zapier expert!


It’s interesting that your projects are centred around workplace problem solving. I can see that there would be overlap in these projects both in terms of similar customers that could use them and also with the skills that you would need to build each of them too! So let's bring things up to the current day, what are you currently working on and what stage is it at?

I'm currently working on a bubble app for a client. The app will be a portal for architects to configure smart home projects. My experience with bubble is not as strong as other tools so I've got help from bubble experts for this project. 

What I love about the project that I’m currently working on is that it's pushing no-code tools to the limit with highly advanced API workflows, option sets and complex UI interactions. 

I'm also building a Slack-first sales app for Discoveroo.co. We hope this will mean that we can manage the whole outreach and sales operation from within Slack. I have to admit that there is a little no-code with this one as to show menus and dialogues within Slack, I've had to use Pipedream.com. Their support is excellent and Dylan has helped me with the code needed to get it to work.

Using no-code where it’s most useful is exactly the right mindset to have!  Thinking more of the future, what are you looking forward to seeing happen in the no-code space in the years to come? 

I'm looking forward to more tools being created which will help us to build more niche apps, things like no-code Chrome extensions and Slack applications.

I see a big opportunity within the Slack eco-system where you can go into an organisation and deliver apps to them at scale (rather than using an existing SaaS application). 

The continued growth of no-code tools for API’s and serverless applications will be exciting to see also. I'm following the progress of Levity.ai as I see a big opportunity in offering machine learning as a service without the headache of coding. 

As the no-code ecosystem matures we’ll no doubt see more complex tools delivering even more impressive results! What’s your favourite no-code tool currently? And what's the next no-code tool you're thinking of trying out?

I think my favourite no-code tool currently is Zapier as it plugs 95% of holes and allows for such a wide range of integrations. That exchange of data between systems is what we need to enable more of. That’s where businesses can gain efficiency and save valuable time. 

As for what’s next, there's so many new tools coming out it's exciting but difficult to keep up. I've yet to try Budibase so that might be one to learn next! 

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Matt. 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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