Mike Miello is a designer, developer, marketer, and project manager. He specialises in turning ideas into deliverables you want. Currently based in Paris, France, (Rueil-Malmaison to be precise) Mike runs a remote consulting business that helps businesses get what they need faster, more cost-effectively and with less crap. Ben & Mike talk about making things people want, building products and how no-code can be a superpower for business owners.
Mike Miello - Stories Podcast-MP3 for Audio Podcasting
Sun, 4/26 5:45PM • 18:08
build, code, tools, people, clients, app, thought, offer, create, learned, understand, company, project, work, site, convertkit, terms, communication, business, creative
Mike Miello, Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell 00:00
Mike Miello 00:23
Oh, okay. Yeah. So dad, breadmaker Freelancer since 2012. Basically, I, I used to work in communications and marketing before that for tech companies. And I get, you know, the way that tech companies are, there's just one half is for sales. The other half is the guys that are actually doing stuff, building stuff, and I just got jealous of them I want to build. So I started teaching myself and eventually was able to find the first few clients to build website for and that's kind of what I've been doing since then, is that I've just build website sights, and occasionally a video, I have a couple apps. And just the main thing I work with clients is just trying to help out to figure out, let me see if I can add some creative juice to their communication. So they're just missing something they have. They're great at what they offer, but just trying to communicate that in ways that connect with people. That's a bit where they struggle. So that's where I help them with.
Ben Tossell 01:24
Awesome, so do you primarily, our view logs are primarily built apps and weren't built websites for clients and as a development or?
Mike Miello 01:33
Yeah, well, so. Okay, so I learned how to build I kind of taught myself HTML and CSS, just the basics and enough to understand, oh, I can download templates and just change change them out. I eventually learned how to create WordPress websites, so that for the longest time, that's what I've been different, I'd say for since 2012. That's basically what I was offering Until last year, and and basically the what I saw was, you know, I would just teach myself enough to to understand the the front end or the design and also the back end. But with WordPress, it was just trying to maintain it was becoming. It's just, it's tough. And so I was playing with a worked with someone to collaborate. But I just saw tools like web flow, for example. That's one that I mean, that's kind of my go to tool now I just realized that, hey, they it takes care of a lot of this stuff I would ask a developer to help me out with so let me see if I can just transition to that. And, and because I had a little bit of understanding of how websites are put together, it was a it was pretty easy to transition. And now what that means is that I'm able to take on projects and from a complete perspective. So it's just I speak with the clients and they see me as the person to like, get the job done. Not me as part of the of the job.
Ben Tossell 03:04
Yeah, that's interesting. So did you first hear of no code and then find web flow? Would you just like find web flow and then out about this weird little community happening?
Mike Miello 03:16
Yeah. Well, I'm probably honestly is probably just doing some, what do you call it just stalking stalking a little bit. And for some reason, I was on like, Product Hunt for a while and your name keeps on popping up on that platform. So I guess because you used to work with them. And so yeah, just so I got the message, what you're up to, and I thought, hey, that's, it's pretty cool. No code. You know, it's a it's a, it's a nice term to, you know, for now. But I just thought, Okay, let me check it out. And then I just saw what you're up to, and it kind of, if I kind of saw some of the the obstacles that I've had with trying to build a business for myself. I a lot of the the ideas of what no code represents where empower it's really empowering to people. It just thought, Okay, this is great. Let me let me try to find a way to jump into this one. Also space.
Ben Tossell 04:15
Yeah. Somalia. Time upon time was was valuable and then pushing this message out. Good enough.
Mike Miello 04:22
Yeah, you got a bunch of stalkers? I'm sure.
Ben Tossell 04:28
So yeah, I guess you're sort of Freelancer and his, his using no code, like you said, it's not like you're a piece of that puzzle. Now. It's more like I'm trying to build this thing with this product. And you can now or seemingly, you can say, Okay, I can build that whole thing for you using whatever tools so how does, how's that transition been? And how has it been to communicate that? You're no longer just like, the design website? side of things?
Mike Miello 04:56
Yeah. So I'll talk about this from client perspective. And then from I'm like a personal personal perspective because I've actually built an app. It's we've been featured by Apple a couple years and I'll talk about some of the obstacles. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So basically with Okay, so with with client work usually what the first let's say like engagement I would have with clients is about they want to rebrand or or just change the look one of the one of my main things that I offer to clients is that hey, you go to business meetings with your you know, wearing a business suit, but your website doesn't look like you know, it doesn't match that or so why don't you bring you bring your A game in person, let's bring your A game online. And so that usually that means Okay, let's create a you know, like a simple looking website, just it looks nice. And then as a business progresses or they want to do more online and take, remove some of their paperwork, they would start looking for tools and services. And sometimes with depending on what industry you are, you're in, they can be come very expensive. So it's asking for a small business to take a pretty big jump. And for a lot of business owners, they don't understand what this means or what the implications are, how to how to make sure everything runs smoothly. So the newer tools that are out and what's what we say builders in the no code space are able to do is listen to the client, and really, you know, understand what they're trying to do. And we can pick these kind of tools that have good functionalities built in and offer sort of a customized solution or something that's going to really help them and you know, this is a in terms of pricing, which is important for small businesses. It's like we can talk on different levels, because I'm not I'm not a company with a lot of staff. I need to think of overhead and all these things. It's just more like an individual. If I can get a decent project size, then it's good for me it's a win for me and in terms of pricing, how I can compete against larger companies, I can be pretty competitive, and I don't see it as a loss on my side. So, so what that some projects. So for example, I work with some law firms, they need to collect information from their clients, what they'll do very traditionally by sending sort of a PDF, asking the person to print it, and then and then basically scan it or fax it back to them. So so you know, there's a lot of paper involved. And what that means is, you know, they have they have a secretary or admin, that's basically just in the back, just kind of inputting this data. And so just thought, Hey, why don't we just create a forum where you can just have you direct someone to a forum, it collects the information as you need, and we make sure that that populates in whatever database or or that you would have the secretaries do. And so yeah, stuff like that. It's a I would say before this whole no code revolution. For myself, I wasn't able to even offer such thing. But now I'm like, Hey, you know, I almost feel like, you know, I'm gonna jump the gun and maybe say, Oh, we could do I think I can do this. I think I could do that. And and I'm just trying and it turns Yeah, a lot of stuff I'm able to do on my own. And it's been okay. And so it's not about over, over promising or anything. It's just more like I feel like I can I'm in a position where I can say to customers, I think I can find a good solution for you. Let me try. If it doesn't work out, then that's fine. It's my loss. I'll take it on me. But you know, because it's this new space. I feel like I'm really learning stuff. So it's good for me.
Ben Tossell 08:34
Yeah. And obviously, part of that is like, oh, let me see if I can do that for you. Which is you that learn? Oh, yeah, we've done we've done this and you almost come up with your own component library, like in yourself, okay. I know how to build signup forms or like processing data or things like that. But hundreds of authors will actually and I've seen loads of things. I'm just thinking you could easily use stuff to build up So how have you managed to tools that you use in that scenario, and how was it really like, push back and, and like regulatory things and set like, all that all the stuff that you imagine would happen?
Mike Miello 09:11
Yeah. said, well, like the three main tools I'm sort of using right now are webflow, ConvertKit and cognito forms. So I was looking for something that I could just create a more complex form than what's, what's available in within web flow, what was great, I would say, like, gets like 90% there, and then it's just oh, I, you know, in a few cases, and I just need something a little bit stronger. And so you look for the no code company that says, Okay, we're going to specialize in finding solutions to that 10% that people are looking for. So yeah, cognito forms who was Yeah, I use that. And in ConvertKit is to choose leads just to create sort of automated communications, and sort of like a follow up for some companies. And then I've just, and then I just wanna mention glide. I've been playing with that. It's a very fun app. And I feel like I tend to work with a lot of educators. And that has really opened people's eyes to just like, wow, where technology is today where it wasn't, you know, 10 years ago. And so that's, it's been Yeah. So those I would say, those are my four tools.
Ben Tossell 10:21
Yeah. So let's Yeah, let's just gears a bit and talk about your side projects, these apps and things you've been doing. Yeah. Tell us a bit about those.
Mike Miello 10:28
Okay. Yeah. So the, so I built this app a few years back, it's called Happy plant. It's, it's only available on on iOS. And we were featured by Apple 2017 18 and 19. And we have a it's pretty cool. We have a lot of users very simple app, in terms of it just reminds you to water your plants. And, and this is this is like a project where I was working with a developer so I was doing I was working sponsible for the design, and then so co founders and then one person that develops it. But we never were able to, we never thought to take this as a full time gig. And so my life goes one direction has goes another, and in terms of how much effort we can put into this, it's just kind of depends. You know, it's, it's sort of, you know, sometimes I will most of the time, I want to go faster. And, and that's where I find the obstacle of trying to do things where you have to rely on on multiple people when you're not in sort of a Okay, it's the same mindset, like you're ready to move at the same speed. So, yeah, part of the no code space is starting to think about these opportunities. How can I build such things that you know, I have these ideas, if I'm able to build it with these tools, and I'm able to take it from, you know, from concept to actually launching the project. And then when you're getting feedback from customers saying, Oh, you should add this and do that. Do that. Like actually be able to think about this and make actions myself rather than trying to find someone. So, yeah, that's kind of Yeah, I mean, that's that's kind of what I want to do. So that's sort of the obstacle that I'd say I'm trying to find a solution to want to, is pulled. I don't know, Paul Jarvis talks about this idea of like, company of one. I haven't read the book, but I like the idea of saying, Yeah, let's see what I'm capable of doing. Because I, I think that's the part where I would like to be I still like being on the creative side, not managing like a company as a business thinking about how to how to get people motivated, but more thinking like how can I stay within the creative part of it? So that's that, and that's one side project and now, I think just inspired seeing like, what's going on and make the maker community and myself I work with a lot of schools. What I'm trying to do now is trying to I've given a couple talks in front of Schools and communication directors of, you know, here's how to build a simple app. And I just see easy to see the light bulbs coming up. And it's like, Okay, I think I need to do more of this. And so I what I'm looking at is to develop sort of, say, like a teaching program, where teachers who have sort of a professional development or you know, they have some opportunities to keep on learning new stuff, maybe I can offer it to them. And then also, I think the students I think, I think kids are, they just have a sense, I think they just know more than than teachers when it comes a lot of times when it comes to technology, and so I think just making them aware of Hey, there's some cool stuff out here that you can build some really fun stuff. That's, I think that's what I'm both basically that's kind of what I'm on track to, to try to create right now.
Ben Tossell 13:50
Awesome. Yeah, it's funny how you mentioned the poor job is booked company one that was when I read it, and to me, it wasn't like a bunch of new ideas. It was like just confirming the fact that what I'd sort of knew in the back of my head, but I needed like examples to show me Oh, yeah, these are the things. So that was what really spurred me on to start making bad in the first place was that book. I was going to pull a few times now. And he's done a story on the site and everything. And then you mentioned about wanting to carry on being creative. And I think that's one of the big impacts that nuclear has had on a lot of people and what we're trying to do and push towards own businesses saying you can do this, I use this no code, like stack or solution to take care of some of the like the bulk work or the automations and repetitive work so that you can be more creative, you can focus on those things. And I think you're definitely right in that. This like whole education piece and like started really young. We've had we've got like some inbound now from the site of people. Like we have 40 students signed up yesterday for doing a program for them and we've seen there was like a workshop on A site where there's like a middle school teacher said, Oh, yeah, I just, I was teaching my class, but I just put on the workshop and just let them watch Tom basically build like a glider. So it's awesome to see this. Yeah, it's definitely like, a big thing. And I think, like you said, with the students, almost knowing more than teachers, I think what helps, especially in the new code spaces, or in tech, in general, is poses being curious. And when you're younger, you're just more curious and you want to like probe into things and ask questions why and you want to look at things and sort of break things apart and understand a bit more about those things. I think that sort of suits suits the mindset of the of like, children and people in schools that that definitely bodes well with with no code.
Mike Miello 15:49
Now, I love that I think with no code to me, what it represents is just go out and break stuff. Go ahead and just get your head your hands dirty, but you can do it pretty quick, quickly, and easily, and you see some sort of, you know, reaction or you've ended up creating something. And I think that was the hardest part with, you know, trying to do you know, learning how to code was that you spend a lot of time doing something in the code, but you don't know if it's actually getting you closer to what you want. So I love this the the, let's say the response is just much faster to seeing what you do. And yeah, that's what I love, I think with in terms of how I learned a lot of stuff, I think kids can relate it's, you watch YouTube, you just watch a ton of stuff and and it's not so much you need to understand the foundations or the theory or anything like that. You just got to see how to get from A to B. And that's, I think that's the that's basically the thing. I'm thinking that kids if they just see more of that of how someone build like an Airbnb with a couple tools, no coke tools then be like, Hey, why don't I do something like that for sleepovers at my friend's place, you know?
Ben Tossell 16:58
Yeah, exactly. And I think Yeah, The whole feedback loop basically, if we're gonna move this button over here, and then it's like live on the site now or something mobile up now, let's see if that made a difference or not is like, yeah, the thickness of that is just crazy to see now. And like you said, like, no code is just a path to get to the end solutions usually take long for to build this Airbnb style thing. Like, if you can code and that's your best option. And that's how you work and whatever you think that's the fastest, then you're gonna do that. But if you think I just want to build this and just sort of coming in and curious on a test this thing out, oh, I can put these things together and build up then then that's awesome. So that's what we're, we're all sort of on the same on the same team for that. That's awesome. But yeah, I really appreciate your time here. It's been great. And a great chat with you. We learned Yeah,
wrap it up there. All right. Thanks for inviting me. This is cool.
Ben Tossell 17:54
Thanks so much for listening. You can find us online at maker pad.co or on twitter at make fat we'd love to hear if you enjoyed this episode and what we should do next.