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How Crash fortifies its engineering team with no code tools

Crash

A story from Makerpad
Quick Stats

Tools used: Typeform, Webflow, Airtable, Airtable


Stats: 2700+ users using the Typeform lead-gen tool

Build time: ~one week

How Crash fortifies its engineering team with no code tools

Hello! 👋 I'm Chuck Grimmett, product manager at Crash. We build tools and resources to help people launch their career.

We have an engineering team at Crash that is doing a killer job building our platform in Ember.js, but we also use no-code tools like Typeform, Airtable, and Carrd.co to test ideas and ship features faster than building them from scratch. The combination makes us more nimble than either lone approach.

How we use Typeform

Typeform powers our Discover tool, which helps people learn where to start their career journey.

We had an idea for a lead-gen tool: Take people's interests and map them onto entry-level roles to give them an idea of where to begin their career. We needed to test it ASAP before we spent more time building it out, so we came up with a list of questions and answers, created a Typeform, and sent it out to our mailing list. The first version was rough and we had no idea how to score it, but 477 people took it. We had something.

We spent the next couple weeks figuring out how to score the results and accurately map them to entry-level roles. With the help of our beta testers, we got the scoring up to 90% accuracy. Most of that scoring meant downloading the CSV, parsing it with a script, and getting the results. I dumped those results into a Google Sheet and used Zapier to email the results to individual users.

When it came time to ship the real version, we decided to keep using Typeform:

  • 20x faster than building our own CMS to edit questions and answers
  • No maintenance and bug fixes on the form
  • Great, already known UI
  • With the embed, user never has to leave our site

We just had to catch a webhook with the user's answers, run it through our scoring script, and generate the results page. Used by 2700+ users at the time of this writing.

Typeform also powers our contact form on user profiles

Why build a whole contact system and handle emails when you can embed a Typeform in a page and pass it the right emails in a hidden field? We pass the user's email in to a hidden field, launch the embedded Typeform with a button click, and Typeform handles all of the email notifications for us. One person was able to ship this, from idea to production, in a single afternoon.

Typeform enables fast testing of different offers, like a paid 1-week trial

We wanted to ship a trial feature for our users: Offering a 1-week paid work trial for $500. The only problem was that our lead engineer was out on paternity leave and we hadn't integrated with Stripe yet. Enter Typeform. Just like the contact form above, we embed a Typeform that launches on button click and Typeform handles everything else: Notifying users someone wants a trial, charging credit cards via Stripe, sending receipts, and letting us know to connect with the business. We shipped this in just a few hours, verses several days. Awesome.

How we use Airtable

Airtable powers our jobs board and enables us to display custom recommendations from the jobs board with its API.

We put entry-level jobs we find into an Airtable, which we embed on our site. Our marketing team uses Airtable for their own internal tracking, and had built the initial table for themselves. Why build a whole job posting CMS when Airtable does the trick?

Then, to display custom recommendations for our users on their dashboard, we query the Airtable API and filter by the role they are interested in, which they indicate on their profile. Custom recommendations FTW! 30x faster than building our own version, and it gets the job done.

How we use Carrd & Webflow for landing page tests

Our marketing team likes to move fast and the key to doing that is giving them the tools to create things themselves.

Right now we have two main tools for this: Carrd.co and Webflow.

Carrd

We use Carrd for tests on different domains, like this firstcareerjob.com page:

The email sign up goes to a specific list in our MailChimp account and we are off to the races. Our marketing director shipped this by himself in a few hours.

Webflow

We use Webflow for Marketing-driven landing pages on our own domain. Anything they build and publish on our Webflow site is available on our main domain because we proxy certain requests to Webflow via Cloudfront.

We use a similar nav bar so it still looks like you are on the main website, and in a certain sense you are. It is just served from Webflow instead of our Ember app.

The major benefit is that Marketing can create and publish landing pages and tests without involving Engineering.

Here is a section of the site being served from Webflow.

Bonus: WordPress as Headless CMS

We are in the middle of rolling out a major upgrade to our site: Adding daily content and resources for job seekers. Instead of building our own CMS, we are using WordPress. It is a known entity, we already use it for a separate blog, and its API makes it easy to query. The goal is to make it look like a seamless part of the Ember site and integrate it into the web app (recommendations, conversion tracking, etc), not silo our content on a different platform. By choosing WordPress as a headless CMS, our team was able to start loading content immediately while the engineering team hooked up the API and built the templates to display the posts.

"For a small engineering team like ours, adding no-code tools to your stack allows you to ship tests and features much faster than building them from scratch"

For a small engineering team like ours (2 full time senior engineers, 1 product manager with some junior-level chops), adding no-code tools to your stack allows you to ship tests and features much faster than building them from scratch. Focus on your core value-add, what you are building that no one else has, and use no-code for everything else.

https://crash.co

https://twitter.com/careercrash

Questions about implementing no-code tools in your webapp? chuck@crash.co

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