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How I built ClassPass x Instagram for fitness without code

Pemvee

A story from Makerpad
Quick Stats

Tools used: Glide, Google Sheets, Zapier, Twilio, Medium, Carrd, Typeform and Coda (for the prototype)

Time taken: one night

How I built ClassPass x Instagram for fitness without code

Name: Arjun Mahadevan

Background in 160 Characters: building something new in consumer social // before: growth PM @Dropbox | math, biz & stats @Penn // into: technology, health & fitness, and boston sports

Pemvee is ClassPass x Instagram for fitness with friends. It's a mobile app where you can post upcoming workouts, join workouts, and share completed exercise with friends. Here is a link to the app: https://pemvee.glideapp.io/

Working on this app, I used:

I completely stumbled across GlideApps. I was reading this tech crunch article called “Here are the 85 startups that launched today at YC’s W19 Demo Day 1” and as soon as I read the description for Glide, I thought, “this sounds too good to be true”

Glide: There has been a pretty major trend towards services that make it easier to build web pages or mobile apps. Glide lets customers easily create well designed mobile apps from Google Sheets pages. This not only makes it easy to build the pages, but simplifies the skills needed to keep information updated on the site.

I was trying to build a mobile app quickly.

I understood how Google Sheets worked.

Could I really build a well-designed mobile app from a Google Sheet page?

I went to the Glide website and decided to give it a try. Fast forward a few hours and in one night I had built a working MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

To learn more (in great depth on my process) + visually see the iteration from MVP v1 to the Current Version, check out my blog post here.

"In my opinion, it’s that no-code tools level the playing field by giving anyone the ability to hack. What this tangibly means is the cycle of generating new versions and testing them on users can happen inside your head. This feeling is intoxicating and incredibly powerful"

No-code tools are powerful. But why do no-code tools work? I'll answer it specifically in the use case of Glide but I think it applies to all no-code tools. So why does Glide “work?” In my opinion, Glide follows the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule: one can build 80% of apps with 20% of the features. Furthermore, the “back end” = where all the app information is stored is a Google Sheet. Google Sheets are very intuitive because… chances are most of us have spent time (or a lot of time 😅 ) in Excel / Google Sheets.

Therefore the learning curve is much less steep compared to picking up native mobile app development.

For my use case, I found the Pareto principle to hold true and also found the Glide documentation to be very robust making the learning curve even less steep. Therefore I was able to build and iterate extremely quickly.

Lastly, I mentioned the that now-code tools are powerful, but what exactly is the “power” they give you?

In my opinion, it’s that no-code tools level the playing field by giving anyone the ability to hack. What this tangibly means is the cycle of generating new versions and testing them on users can happen inside your head.

This feeling is intoxicating and incredibly powerful.

Here's the passage from Paul Graham on hacking that really resonated with me:

"Knowing how to hack also means that when you have ideas, you’ll be able to implement them. That’s not absolutely necessary (Jeff Bezos couldn’t) but it’s an advantage. It’s a big advantage, when you’re considering an idea like putting a college facebook online, if instead of merely thinking “That’s an interesting idea,” you can think instead “That’s an interesting idea. I’ll try building an initial version tonight.” It’s even better when you’re both a programmer and the target user, because then the cycle of generating new versions and testing them on users can happen inside one head."

- http://www.paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

"one can build 80% of apps with 20% of the features."

Here is a tweet thread on my entire product (Tweet Thread) and here is a blog post where I go way more in-depth (medium blog post).

I hope you enjoy the tweet thread + blog post and I’d love any feedback. I can also (try to) answer any questions people have about health and fitness, habits, flywheels, Glide, Pemvee, no-code tools…or really anything else that comes to mind.

The best way to reach me is to DM me on Twitter but you can also email me.

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