As no-code tools become more popular, companies have begun using multiple tools that serve a range of purposes. But what if a link somewhere breaks, or if one of them stops working. That’s the problem that Switchboard aims to fix!

Here’s how Philip built a tool that helps no-code businesses ‘error-proof’ their tech stack, and founded a growing no-code community.

Hi, I’m Philip Lakin! I'm the CEO and co-founder of Switchboard. I also founded the no-code community ‘NoCodeOps’. For fun I frequently go to the drive-in movies and have pretend picnics with my wife and our 1 year old daughter Izzy on our front lawn.

My life is a side hustle.

I got into this world when I was a working actor in New York City. I started a guerilla marketing business using no-code, which I didn’t know at the time that it was even called that! I thought it was called ‘figuring stuff out with no developer support’.

We were eventually acquired by ‘Gett’, which is an Uber competitor. I built the system that enabled the onboarding of over 25,000 drivers in New York. The real estate technology company ‘Compass’ saw the work I was doing and recruited me to build their system for onboarding real estate agents using Enboarder.

The whole journey has been exciting, unpredictable, and full of surprises!

Can we make complex no-code tech stacks error-proof?

The adoption of no-code tools is exploding and has created a new paradigm for non-technical teams. Today, no-code operators at companies of all sizes can quickly build and iterate their own custom, internal tools without relying on bandwidth-constrained engineering teams.

With an increasing amount of business-critical processes being built with these tools, they are now "core infrastructure." But unlike the vast array of platforms in the market for engineers to monitor, test, and govern their environments, no platform exists for no-coders to do the same for their sprawling stack of point solutions.

Solving this problem will finally unlock the promise of citizen development: The ability for anyone at an organization, regardless of technical abilities and background, to become an automation champion in their department.

I’m aiming to solve this problem with Switchboard.


Resolve no-code stack issues with ease

Switchboard provides error monitoring and incident response services for no-code tools. The platform sends alerts to the right people, in the right channels, via the right escalation paths when an error occurs in a company's Zapier and/or Integromat.

Armed with alerts, documentation, ownership, and accountability, non-technical users can now resolve issues with the speed and accuracy of their technical counterparts. We will continue to offer more DevOps tooling over a larger no-code stack as we progress in our growth as a company.

Via a custom built authenticator, our platform syncs your Zaps to allow you to customize the error monitoring for your automation workflows. You can select priority, notifications types & who they go to, escalation paths, etc. The missing piece Switchboard adds: ensuring trust between engineering and operational stakeholders.

In the coded dev space. there's tons of features that make up the entire infrastructure and application agnostic pipeline. This doesn't yet exist in the no-code world. At Switchboard, one of our biggest obstacles was where to start? We solved this by doing over 100 customer dev interviews. We let our customers guide us instead of trying to force a product on them.

Major props to userinterviews.com and the NoCodeOps community for helping us do those customer interviews in the span of two months.

Using our own complex no-code stack to run Switchboard

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been using no-code tools for a while now! When I was at Compass, I used Enboarder for onboarding, Zapier to make connections, and used Paragon for larger batch automations. And not to mention a lot of Google Sheets.

For Switchboard, we’re using Carrd (soon to be Webflow) for the homepage, Zapier for internal automations, Stripe for billing, Bubble for the front end of the web app, Airtable for internal database, and Typeform for our beta product sign up form. (Yep I know, it’s quite a list!)

For my no-code community, NoCodeOps, we’re using Webflow for our homepage, Slack for our community, JoinIt.org for onboarding, payments, and automatic Slack invites. We use Zapier for internal workflows, Airtable for application forms and databases, and MailerLite for our newsletter.

A quick note on NoCodeOps

NoCodeOps started as a newsletter for the no-code community. We decided to incorporate a private community in addition to the newsletter, and this integration & engagement was definitely a challenge. We're still learning a ton on that front.

Our newsletter was run by myself and our now Community Manager Shaf Shahirah. We were creating all of the content, which as you can imagine isn’t sustainable. We’re working on creating an expert counsel directly from our NoCodeOps community to empower other creators in the space and give them a platform.

Fall in love with the problem before the solution

That’s my advice to anyone that’s looking to build a product. Talk to the people who are using these tools already; listen to what they need. If you're building a tool or platform in the no-code space, spend a lot of time getting to know the audience before building anything.

Fall in love with the audience and their problems before you fall in love with the solution. It’s never too soon to start creating content for your space. While drilling down on the focus of my content, I discovered there was a huge opportunity for talking about the intersection of no-code and operations.

I'm not the best no-coder and I'm not the best operator, but I'm world class at the intersection of the two. At what intersection would you consider yourself a world class expert? Find this out, and you’ll find the unmet problem that exists.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Philip! You can follow his journey on Twitter here.

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