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Build time: 10-15 hours
Cost: Less than $100
Hi, I'm Dom. I'm a former product manager at Amazon and currently a student at Harvard Business School.
I built two apps, Drip and Jest, which are video content apps for athletes and comedians respectively. The concept is ""unbundling YouTube"". In the startup world you'll commonly hear the phrase ""the unbundling of..."", which refers to startup companies carving out niches of a dominant larger player (for example, DTC companies unbundling Procter & Gamble). Unbundling YouTube is not a new or original idea. It is something many have predicted/expected, but it has not yet come to fruition. It refers to video content apps specific to categories. In this case, athletes and comedians. Other interesting categories could be beauty or tech reviews/unboxing.
I did this project for fun and as a way to experiment and learn a handful of tools. It also demonstrates just how easy it is to prototype new ideas without code. It is truly crazy what you can build when you combine a few of these tools! I'm not anti-engineering (I went to a software engineering bootcamp). You will eventually need to build and own your product. But, no-code can give you a head start and it is exciting to think about all the ideas that have a better chance at becoming reality.
For this project I used four tools: Glide, Google Sheets, Zapier, and WayScript. I built promo videos using ScreenShare and I recorded everything with Loom. You can watch a step by step tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDDTavDn9gsovOJwXLYAd5qpNOiqylnK_
Similar to YouTube, the apps have a trending page (recent videos ranked by view count) and profile pages for content creators (similar to YouTube channels). The apps are fully functional, with new videos being added as they are published to YouTube, and view counts updating hourly.
The app (front-end) is built using Glide with Google Sheets as the database (back-end). The database is populated by Zapier and WayScript. Every time a video is added to a YouTube channel, Zapier adds data about that video to the Google Sheet (URL, duration, publish date, thumbnail, etc.). Every hour, WayScript takes all the URLs of videos Zapier has added and pulls the view counts for those videos. View counts are then added to the Google Sheet. In the Google Sheet several formulas are used to match view counts to videos, flag recent videos, etc, etc. All the while, Glide refreshes every few minutes (Pro feature), so new data appears and the app is effectively live and fully functional.
In total, each app took about two days (~10-15 hours). A lot of that time was spent styling the app, so you could cut that time down significantly. I paid for Glide Pro ($20 per month per app) and the Zapier Starter Package ($20 per month for 20 Zaps/tasks). I also used custom domain names, which I bought through Google Domains ($60 per year).
The ability to prototype quickly and cheaply is what most excites me about no-code. Historically, to build a company on the internet, you needed to either hire someone or be technical. This prevented many ideas from getting out the door. Now, with no-code tools, you can build and prototype almost any idea quickly and cheaply. I have seen it firsthand with classmates at Harvard. You can test and refine your idea, so when you do decide to code, you can be more sure you're building the right features, etc. Perhaps you can even raise money off of a no-code prototype, which will enable you to recruit engineers. Or, even better, you might start generating revenue before ever writing a line of code. Even if you are technical, these steps can save you a lot of time and effort.
It is important to not overstate the possibilities with no-code. If you want to build a scalable software business, you will need to build and own your product. You need engineering, but perhaps no-code can give you a head start.
Makerpad has been a tremendous tool. I've used it to keep up with the latest news and tools in the no-code space. I've also enjoyed seeing what others have built.
Have questions or want to learn more? You can find me at the links below. Feel free to reach out!