Mike Williams is a startup founder running Studiotime, then also Thinkbox since both of which are low & no code focused. Mike's core focus is to help founders build and create marketpalaces without needing to write code.Ben & Mike chat about running no code businesses, with a specific focus on marketplaces.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie) - Stories Podcast V2 -MP3 for Audio...

Sun, 4/26 5:45PM • 20:41


marketplaces, people, code, build, launch, product, tools, automate, airbnb, hobbyist, pad, integrations, space, solutions, maker, projects, listing, community, startup, visibility


Mike Williams (Yoroomie), Ben Tossell

Ben Tossell  00:00

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  00:22

Yeah, so thanks for having me on, Ben. So yeah, so my name is Mike Williams are younger me on social and I'm pretty obsessed with no code and marketplaces. So I built a large studio time which is kinda like an Airbnb of Music Studios or what it's been called using no code one evening and then recently just relaunched think box, which is kind of like a startup studio or agency I guess you could say that focuses on using no code low code to build marketplaces. What drove you to do this off what was think box before and had a monster? Yeah, what drove that pepper? Yeah, that's a great question. So, probably kind of like your story, I'm more product focused myself. So not highly technical, or at least don't focus on it. So I had a team and the basically small core team of designers and developers that I've built launch other startups within the past. So we were getting a lot of inbound for, for projects that were fairly, I would say, robust as far as the functionality, so larger builds. And what we kind of I think we started seeing was that there was a trend more towards for people looking to build and launch and VPS more so than fully robust products, of course, in the early stages in the early stages, smaller budgets, and then naturally just kind of shifted over more towards using lower code and no code so that way, we could help them kind of accelerate that. Not only the build but be a bit more resourceful and are and congregates the budgets is it.

Ben Tossell  01:56

Is it nice to have you working on thick books now and more So full stack people, I guess.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  02:03

Yeah, yeah. So I would actually say that and we kind of cut down the team a little bit more so less actual developers more me kind of working hands on on the business side to help people understand, I would say actually more the possibilities right now. It's like, what can you actually build what's no code? And then kind of working through on the business kind of, I would say like concept validation using that initial kind of those no code tools, just to help them quickly get something where they can kind of see like some form of product quicker. And that's just me myself. And then also kind of, I would say, more of a designer that's, that's actually kind of transition more into actually no code themselves.

Ben Tossell  02:44

Yeah, yeah, I think the power no code seems to me that whatever you originally started doing, you can become like the product builder yourself, which is just like a really empowering thing, especially for people who have wanted to have that. Like power before? Exactly. You said about the fact that a lot of times at the moment, it's more like you're trying to teach people or show people what's possible, because I'm having the same thing right now in that if I speak to someone and say, Oh, do you know you can automate a bunch of things that code and you can do this thing without cloud? They're always like, Okay, so what? What can I do? Or what can't I do is more like the don't know what they don't know. So what? Yeah, could you go into those conversations and like, say to people, you can probably you can do like, probably 90% of the things you're thinking in your head without code.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  03:39

Yeah, yeah. So that's a really good point. So I think that when people understand all the different possibilities or options, it might be a little bit confusing or even overwhelming. versus just, if they don't know all those options, then I think it makes them kind of think through thoroughly of what do they actually need to do and what are those things kind of almost just prioritizing those first kind of, you know, features and functionality. So that's actually why I love maker pad and the video tutorials is it's almost just like research on the air and understand the possibilities, and then kind of kind of relate that to their concept, which is like, okay, now that I know what I want to build, and how this might apply, let me then understand what I actually need to build. So I actually kind of when I get I get a lot of people that asked me those questions of like, Hey, what's possible, and from a lot of the YouTube videos and whatnot, and actually work more on the actual kind of like business concept validation first, which is like helping them understand what exactly they need to build. And then from there, it's like, okay, what's the best kind of like, no code tool or platform that they can use to then achieve, you know, that kind of, I would say, required functionality. Otherwise, it's just, you know, a bunch of different kind of integrations. And it just, I think it kind of deviates and yeah, it's almost Yeah, it's almost like feature creep with no code, I

Ben Tossell  05:01

don't know if there's a problem or like a secondary effect of like, being able to build something so quickly is that maybe you shouldn't like it. Yeah, doesn't mean that you should. And it means that you can launch it and you can kill it quickly. But then, does that allow for more like half baked stuff getting launched or just having like a bloated products, I know, I've launched a bunch of things and make a pad. And a lot of it is done to the testing stuff. So yeah, it is interesting to see that that is becoming its own thing in the in the no good. Well,

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  05:37

I think it then kind of brings about a question too, because I know, you know, it's following closely during the early days and maker pad and it's just like, at a certain point, you know, if you spend too much time thinking through things and you already have the ability to take something that product, you know, that ability to build, launch something and get that feedback, you know, you kind of weigh that versus spending too much time not actually having something so it is kind of a challenge. I think,

Ben Tossell  06:00

yeah, of course, I think it's just one of those skills that you hone over time and you figure out, oh, yeah, people don't need, like, the 12 starters in 24 hours. I think I did that a while ago, I think, yeah, it's more like, yeah, big moment for me was thinking of how do I focus on doing less, which may seem ironic, ironic to some people seeing what we do, but that's where makeup I came from. It was like, let's focus on like the core, like, no good education. And that's basically our core. And then other things around that obviously helped push that forward. But it's still but focusing on one thing, really, which is that, yes, tell us some things about your products or what you're doing sort of, what are the what have you seen people build and what impact has that had? By using no code?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  06:50

Yeah, so I tend to focus mainly on marketplaces. Um, so a lot of, well, it's not not a great time to kind of be in the Airbnb for x, if it's spaces. But kind of seeing a shift right now as far as online marketplaces connecting people online for services. So I'm seeing a lot of those. A lot of people that are looking to take, you know, their idea to kind of life marketplace, a lot of commando code marketplaces being built. And that kind of space, which thing is pretty powerful, just connecting people, you know, to be able to offer their services online. So a lot of a lot of what I work with is share tribe as far as the actual kind of tool within that space. I haven't used I mean, I use web flow, so I'm not as much as you. So haven't done a ton of marketplaces and that and I would say, with kind of no code marketplaces that tend to see them and more like the Manage kind of curated, vetted kind of initial approach to it. Are you seeing more and more of the service marketplace? models are becoming a thing. I think I saw

Ben Tossell  07:57

that. Roger Dickey who just launched like a bathroom renovation market. Yeah. Service marketplace there.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  08:05

I saw that. Yeah, yeah, that's pretty interesting.

Ben Tossell  08:08

So yeah. Do you? Do you do anything within service marketplaces? Or is it mostly like a self serve? type of?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  08:16

Yeah, I would say within this, I definitely kind of cross from spaces, services, you know, goods and products. So touch like those three, I would say like that those three different main types. Um, yeah, I think that there's like an interesting kind of different approaches you can take, like you did mention like listings, right? So in the mechanics of marketplaces, like, basically, if there's a need and a willingness for supply to pay just to have visibility, almost like a job board model, then you know, those are kind of interesting, which I think we'll probably see some services like that. I know you guys have like the marketplace for hire. So you know, that could in essence, be like a sub marketplace on maker pad potentially. And that would be, I would say, probably conducive to people. Are people willing to pay just to have the visibility within that right? And then kind of figure out like, Okay, how deep within like that transaction layer, or even transaction and all DICOM want to touch? So I think that's like a common question. A lot of people ask themselves if they're looking to start one.

Ben Tossell  09:16

Yeah. And what is that, like a framework you think of when telling people how to navigate that sort of stuff?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  09:23

Yeah. So I think it also, that's a really good question. Um, so there's so many factors involved with that, I think it kind of really comes down to the market you're in, I would say, also, the who specifically you're targeting and the existing kind of solutions, the value that you're trying to add. So for instance, in the case of like studio time, that's not very managed. But in the early days, there was such a need for studios just to have the ability to create a listing and have that visibility and be discoverable on that they were willing to pay. So that's kind of why we have our subscription model on that. And in essence, we we Didn't really focus on the actual kind of transaction layer in the early days, we used that subscription to bootstrap it. So, you know, in that market, there was a willingness to pay to be a part of it had that, that listing. So it's really, I think it comes down to kind of like the market, you know, the value that you're adding to them, any other solutions? And then I would say, as a business like, and, you know, given kind of time and like everything, time and our resources, right. So, if you have, you know, with that in mind, can you tap into the actual transaction layer? And with that, if you do, then, you know, playing on a lot of support, but as you know, as soon as you start taking, taking payments online, then you know, that kind of changes the game,

Ben Tossell  10:45

so yeah, definitely. Do you to see the fact that Well, I think I see a lot of people who realize they can build something now with no code, but start to build something then they'll say, Okay, now what next? How do I get one How do I get my first 10 customers? Or whatever it is not like, that's the thing. We're not teaching. We're teaching you how to build a thing. We're not like, yeah, teaching you how to build a startup. Like, there's 1,000,001 places out there that can teach you that. Do you have like any company marketplaces traditionally like a chicken and egg type thing? And do you see any ways that no code has helped validate validate any of these assumptions early on or like help get a boost, get a marketplace bootstrapped off the ground and get a kick it off?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  11:36

Yeah. So actually, I think that's probably one of the biggest things that I think about right and then I kind of break it into two different kind of groups, I think about like, who are like the hobbyist or tinkerers that basically just like have ideas and want to just take that to some kind of like product, right? So the people that just like building things, and then I think about on the other end, like what are existing businesses or people that have communities Then look at no code, and they're looking to basically leverage no code to build a product that they can introduce into their community. So a lot of like the kind of like, I would say, projects we get or people that approached me about marketplaces. And the fun ones, of course, are the ones that have existing communities. So they have people's attention or, and, you know, providing some kind of value to them. So that way they can figure out, okay, based off all this feedback, and what people want, you know, how can we then leverage no code and some of these kind of tools to then build this initial marketplace, and they immediately have, like a group of people that they can take it to and get their first users, right. Like, obviously, that's a lot easier, versus the other end, which is probably like, you know, the, this the 12 startup kind of challenges where it's like, hey, how quickly can we build products, and we'll just kind of keep rapidly launching them and see which one kind of takes off. Or they, you know, maybe just build for fun. So,

Ben Tossell  12:56

yeah, what about the ones that are sort of set in the middle where But yeah, I think I don't think have an idea of what the top of my head but I think there's a need for this type of service that I want to create a marketplace for because I see a lot of people. That's probably the most common thing that people are trying to build is a marketplace, whether they call it a marketplace or not. It's essentially like, I would say Uber would be a marketplace. And at its core, same obviously, Airbnb, there's different variations, right. And I think that a lot of people think of the marketplace as almost the epitome of a no code project in that if you could build that and have like, a user and a seller, and then there's a service layer and there's like a payment thing and there's maybe a messaging component and stuff like that's almost like all the best things you would have. You've built with no code in one place. I wonder like, I wonder if there's a way of people to Think more of building these marketplaces or whether it's just, there is always that egg, chicken and egg problem. And you're gonna have to build a community slowly and do some things like that. But maybe there is some milcom solutions to help them on the way. I don't know.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  14:17

Yeah, I mean, now, I think that that's, you know, that's a great area to think about, like, Where could there be some innovation, I think that there is going to be a challenge if they're not a domain expert, or don't have an existing community have that kind of chicken and egg problem that they're gonna, you know, face early. So, but I do think on another, I would say just another kind of comment that I have is that I think no code is, is great for definitely managed marketplaces in the very beginning. Because there is you know, marketplaces are typically capital intensive to start and so that was like a barrier to entry also. So leveraging no code not only gives you the ability to take something to market, quickly, using less time and resources, I think it allows you to operate right using a reduced kind of capital cost. So I think that's just like another kind of great, you know, benefit of it. And obviously, like the ability to kind of make changes and improve product

Ben Tossell  15:15

value. So obviously, there's no food space now. And where do you think it will go? in the future? Maybe? Yeah. 12 months, and then five years?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  15:25

I guess it depends how much you and I push it forward. Right. On Twitter. Oh, john, trying to. Um, yeah. So I think that now, I mean, given the kind of current times right now, and I think that there's just like, kind of seemed like a huge increase of people, just the interest and attention in the space. From the kind of hobbyist side, I think that that's definitely growing very quickly. And so I think that, you know, that's probably going to continue growing and as you know, as people continue to share more content, and then a lot of these kind of tools apply farms grow, grow, you know, their user base, and I think a lot of their kind of like education or Academy kind of initiatives, like, that'll definitely be a big help. I think on the other end, a lot of the existing kind of larger businesses and organizations are actually kind of looking into it. Thinking about like, as you're kind of seeing how can they, you know, use low code, or no code as far as introducing some kind of automation, and especially now to kind of reduce the dependency on customer support, and then a lot of the kind of tasks that can be automated using some of these like tools to build out like internal solutions. So, you know, I think like the hobbyist side is kind of growing probably a lot quicker than that, which obviously creates like a lot more just general awareness, I think. Yeah. And then, you know, if we kind of like see on the other end, that kind of, you know, catch up, then hopefully that kind of, you know, allows all these tools and platforms to kind of build out their enterprise side to side you Yeah, for sure. I see it growing and definitely not stopping or slowing down. So

Ben Tossell  17:06

no, no, yeah, I agree, I think it might just look differently in a few years of thinking might not be like, no code in general and a bunch of speed is how you build a solution and just hop. Yeah. The piece in the middle is, is with no code tools. Do you have, like, interest interesting, no code solutions that you run, to automate anything or like save you? X amount a week by X amount of hours a week and things like that, or

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  17:34

as far as like, let me think it's specifically like what saves me all the time, I would say just like different integrations, to be honest, as far as like, just notifications for running. Like say, for instance, studio time. You know, we use a lot and just like different kind of like lightweight integrations and notifications so that way, it just makes it easy to run kinda like on the fly and mobile so you know, wherever we are, but that's probably just using like, charge fee. Like stripe, and Zapier,

Ben Tossell  18:03

is there anything else you want to chat about with no code stuff? Oh,

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  18:06

yeah, I think, you know, we kind of covered cover the basics on that. And then of course, kind of brought it back to marketplaces, since that's a pretty much, you know, guaranteed to say that 10 times every sentence. Yeah, but no, I, you brought up a really good point, which is saying that it might not be referred to no code as much so not as much like how you do it, but like what you're building? And I do think that like, you know, in a few years or maybe a little bit longer it you know, no code is just a means to build a business. And it's not this like, kind of like grouped as far as like, hey, you're just like, no coders or whatnot.

Ben Tossell  18:46

Yeah, yeah. I think this is like a danger of getting stuck in the no code. Circle of like, if you keep building no code stuff for no coders. I'm worried like, I work That, is that just showing other people that it's like a smaller community and it's not like this big huge thing, which I think it is. And I think a lot of people I speak to see this huge, like capability of what can happen. So yeah, it's interesting to see how we all need to like, band together and make sure we show off like really cool shit.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  19:20

Totally, totally. Yeah, I mean, I think that's what you do best as you're showing, like showing off, like, what's the like, latest, you know, coolest thing, you know, examples of, you know, no code kind of projects. But I will say like on that then on the other end as far as just like people that you know, might just be interested in this space like I think there is just like this, like, on the on the general You know, when you when you think like outside the very kind of smaller no code community, there's just like this Oh, wow, kind of like aha moment that a lot of people have, or it's just like a total game changer to them. And you probably see it with like people, you know, request to hire for projects and whatnot. That's mainly kind of where I see

Ben Tossell  19:58

most of move. Yeah, well Would you want to plug today?

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  20:03

Um, I mean, not a whole lot, probably just social. So I always like to share and try to like push it forward as far as you know, just building some general awareness but yeah, yo roomie on social so on Twitter and then also do some YouTube videos that you can see on maker pad so

Ben Tossell  20:19

awesome. Well yeah thanks so much for taking the time and we'll speak to you soon.

Mike Williams (Yoroomie)  20:24

Yeah man. Thanks for having me on. This is great.

Ben Tossell  20:26

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

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