What are the myths about low-code and no-code platforms?

Myths Low-Code and No-Code Platforms

In this episode, we are talking about the top myths about low-code and no-code platforms. I have the pleasure to talk with Jesus Vargas who is running the lowcode.agency.  As we both are running a low-code agency we will share experiences and also myths we often hear. 

Additional resources mentioned in this podcast 

Glide
Bubble.io
Lowcode.agency
Bubble Agency – Biberei

If you have feedback or ideas on which topics need to be covered at this podcast – you are more than welcome to get in touch with me.

You can find more information on www.lowcode-founders.com, or you can drop me a message at sarah@biberei.de

Enjoy and keep on building new digital products. 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lowcodefounders)

Transcript for the episode – What are the myths about low-code and no-code platforms?

Intro Jesus

I couldn’t do things myself. I always had to depend on my team and my partner to build things. So I was like the scoping of the project, the selling and then we held that to them and they build Uh so that didn’t work out as expected. We didn’t grow as much as we wanted. I think actually we had to close and a few years ago like 2.5 years ago, 2019 maybe. I saw in prod account when glide launched and their tagline was building an app from Google sheet in five minutes for free. I was like okay, I do understand spreadsheets, I do understand how logic works in a spreadsheet-like yes or no or true or false, I can do this. So I loved it and I built an app and that was the beginning, right. I started spending a lot of time with Glide uh eventually became an expert, later on became a certified expert. Uh And yeah, that was the beginning of the journey. Today we are the largest flat tax agency. We’ve built over 220 glad as we are very focused on building gas in flight. That’s like the 9 2nd elevator pitch for local. 

Speaker Sarah

Hello everyone To a new episode of the local foreigners podcast. I’m sarah from the library and today we have a very special episode as we’re not talking about entrepreneurs who build their companies with locals. Today we’re talking with jesus from a local agency about being and running a local agency and starting a local agency and he’s helping companies developing digital products with the help of locals and as you know, I’m running a lot with agency myself so I’m very happy to share experience and conversations we both made uh maybe some tips and tricks for the audience. So welcome, Jesus

Speaker Jesus

Thank you. Thank you Sarah, thank you for having me.

Speaker Sarah

Okay, so maybe you can start a little bit to introduce yourself. And how did you come up with a starting a low code agency and joining the ride of low code. 

Speaker Jesus

Sure. So yeah, my name is Jesus Vargas. I live in Canada and Mexico are on local agency which is a US based business and we yeah, we basically build open a local apps, mainly for the US market. We have a few european clients mainly work in the U. S. Um I started this, it all started a few years ago, I am not technical, I am not a developer. So like many people like myself where the developers were like, oh if I only knew how to build it up, I would like to build this idea. Right? So I had that idea in the legal industry. So Notaries in Mexico art have like they’re like small, medium sized law firms, very specialist and one of their main challenges is that they might be very good lawyers, but very very bad managers, very bad administrators in their business. Right? So I partnered with a friend who is a developer and we built a solution for this type of users for notaries. Right? Um, and then it was always, I always struggled with, I couldn’t do things myself. I always had to depend on my team and my partner to build things. So I was saying like the scoping of the project, the selling and then we held that to them and they build, uh, so that, that didn’t work out as expected. We didn’t grow as much as we wanted and eventually we had to close And a few years ago, like 2.5 years ago, 2019 maybe I saw in product count when glide glide at lunch and their tagline was building up from a girl shit in five minutes or free. I was like, okay. I do understand spreadsheets. I do understand how logic works in a spreadsheet like yes or no or true or false. I can do this. So I loved it. And I built an app and then that was the beginning, right? I started spending a lot of time with Glide. Uh, eventually became an expert. Later on it became a certified expert. Uh, And yeah, that was the beginning of the journey. Today. We are the largest flat tax agency. We built over 220 glad as we are very focused on building collapse in flight. That’s like the 9 2nd elevator pitch for look good.

Speaker Sarah

Absolutely, very cool. I would invest in you if I would be an investor. So we’re, we’re good fit and you’re still sticking to Glide. Right.

Speaker Jesus

Yeah, we are certified with Glide. We are an Introgromat partner as well. And we are looking for a different tool right now. Glide is very mobile first. It’s a web app but very mobile first. Uh so we’ll probably bring another tool for our text. Text pretty soon that can do like more tests taste.

Speaker Sarah

Mm And if you, I mean you said you can be made. Which one? Which products if I remember correctly. So what what kind of products is that? So maybe it so that the audience can have a better understanding what kind of customers approaching you in. Which kind of products do you build for them?

Speaker Jesus

We have two types of clients. We have someone who is an entrepreneur and they have an idea and they were now right. So very many different industries. Very very kind of apps. If we look at like the verticals, a lot of marketplaces. Right? So I don’t know maybe we have a client who is a nurse and they want to build a marketplace in order to match nurses to hospitals in the US. Right. So they are experts in their field, they have an idea, they don’t know how to go. They don’t want to hire developers. So no code is a good solution for building mm VP for for them right to launch their idea. The other type of customer that we have is a small or medium business typically in the U. S. And they have, they use software or a bunch of different tools in their in their company. And there’s always a process that the software they’re using like SAP or Oracle whatever they’re using doesn’t do. And they end up exporting that data to negotiate or a spreadsheet or a csd file and then everybody comes in and delete the data and it’s a mess. Right? So we usually build a little app for that data that ends up in being dumped in the bullshit that everyone comes in. So we build an app for that in Glide we set up use Rolls logic. And after the data has been processed we connected with Integra mint back to their software or something. So I say that will build like little octopus. Right? The brain is the glide up and then with integrity and we sent back the data to whatever we have to send it. So many different industries. Um many finance, healthcare, retail social media. Uh yeah if we look at entrepreneurs a lot of marketplaces

Speaker Sarah

And so how do you do this when it comes to maintenance? Because it’s also a question I asked due to my own experience. So are you handing the project over with documentation I guess or work through and then um the entrepreneur for an example if you build it one existing companies then doing some kind of maintenance and changes or are they coming back to you and ask for changes and maintenance stuff. So how does that work?

Speaker Jesus

It depends, I mean there are some clients that are technical or a little bit technical, so maybe they started building the app themselves and they were like no let’s have an expert. They build the app and then we take over, right? So in those cases they handle the app and the licenses themselves, there are other clients that are like, I want to focus 100% of marketing and getting new clients. I don’t want to touch the I don’t want to touch the logic, I don’t know what, how it’s field or how it works. So we have some retainer plans where they can I mean we sell the smaller but it’s four hours a month. And when you come from the developing a software engineer, four hours might be nothing but with no food and local tools. Four hours you can do a lot of things. Right? So four hours, eight hours, 15 hours. So it depends. Some clients prefer that. We handle everything. The licenses, the automation is the maintenance, the backups and some clients don’t and maybe some clients wanted us to start doing that and they haven’t grown as much as they wanted. So they’re like a village. Wait, I’ll get 100 users when I get there we turn on the maintenance and then we start doing changes for updates to.

Speaker Sarah

Do you also see um that maybe someone started most likely entrepreneurs started with low code started with Clyde or other tools. And then after a proof after a certain validation maybe also after a certain user number of users that they decided ok, now I develop it traditionally with traditional code. I don’t I don’t have a good word for that but not using low code anymore but going back to to develop a starting from scratch again. Do you see that also?

Speaker Jesus

We have not so far, I mean from the 220 after we have built, we had that idea in mind like when we built this entity for the client eventually when you get at this threshold either for users or for datasets or whatever, you will need to find a different text at a different platform or software to build your app. And what we have noted probably you have noted that as well. We bubble in the other tools that he used. Uh these tools are going faster than our clients. Right? So it’s very unusual that someone outruns the platform right there might be certain cases where the web bubble glide, whatever doesn’t do certain things that they want. And that is the reason that they might now turn to a software developer and say, hey, I did this in code however, and we have a great example of a client that we’re working with right now we’re building a very large cap and they will rather spend money with us building an MVP Without code and then they will use that. They will give that to the developers and say build this good code right? It will be cheaper and faster for them building a very robust everything with no code because then they have something already working the relations are working the you are the us everything is there and then build this with code because we will get a couple million users in the next couple of years. Right? So

Speaker Sarah

It’s extremely cool use case which which I also see because before I started my own journey with low code I wasn’t you need for software developers and I always had um I saw how much effort we needed in communication, communication between the product owner between the business owner and suffer developers and there’s so much time you can spend in so much wasted time for everyone because I mean if you clearly have some kind of miscommunication always and um if you develop an MVP. And low code and then show to develop us, I mean no matter talking about whether you want to use it or not you can show something which actually works and it’s better than just having user stories and wonderful texas and click dummies and pictures and all that stuff because it’s always a different world if you have a real product working. But you can also see also from a from a design perspective sometimes when you think about design it looks very nice with a small number of items and then you have a very big list and then all of the sudden your design does not work anymore expected and you won’t see that if you don’t have a robust ndp. So I think that there’s there’s also uh in it’s actually the low code or low code tools can actually have a big play. And um do you see also that sometimes or did you have a customer where you said no code or low code? It’s not a thing for you. 

Speaker Jesus

 But yeah sometimes people come up with an idea come to us with an idea. They’re like oh I have this idea, I have this business because if it’s an idea what we tell them is start with an MVP Right? It’s probably hhey end either with us or with some other agency doesn’t matter. Start start small than how do you propose concept and if it works, then you move on to the next. However, yes, we do get some leads that are like we do have a business and we are creating, I don’t know 50,000 records every day and we’re connecting like a lot of things and we’re like yeah blow code or no code. We think in our experience is not what you need. Uh Or in some cases low code might be what you need. But we don’t build like in our case we don’t build bubble.io apps right now. So we don’t build this, it can be done with a tool like bubble or uh that guy bro, any of those other large larger tools, uh we don’t know them, we don’t build on those. So yeah,

Speaker Sarah

So now you know agency who builds a bubble.io application. Just call me. 

Maybe talking about also um the reason where people are not using local more because I don’t know how it is in Mexico I guess it’s far more developed, especially us in the US and so that people are more aware of local and these possibilities you can do with local and opportunities in Germany for example, it’s where we have low-code and so people are not really aware of what’s going on and what are the opportunities. And even though some people may be no the term and know what’s behind low court and what you can do with local or there’s a lot of um hurdles I would say especially suffer developers and coming from the software development industry myself. And I see a lot of skepticism, can you really do this with local? Is it just not a another way other way of doing prototyping. So what are the typical um um disadvantages you hear which they think about low-code but actually not true, at least in your opinion.

Speaker Jesus

I think, I mean if we look at our clients, they either come to us because they have a pain in their business or they found local term or local tool glide bubble whatever. Integra Mint and then they came to us, right? So when they came to us because of the tool, it’s just about proving that what they want to do can be done in that tool. However, when people are looking for local in general, uh, they don’t care. And in my experience with business clients, they don’t care and they are right because they shouldn’t care. But if you are a business owner, you have a small business. 15 employees. You have a healthcare clinic in Miami. Right? Uh and you have a mess. So it’s a real example real life example Health Care Clinic in Miami 20 or 30 employees and all of their building department is being handled with a goal. She shared Google sheet With a bunch of paper. So every day 300 patients come in. Everyone Prince science and and then they do, I don’t know what they do. Right? So do they really does the owner really care if we’re going to use Glide or bubble.io or React or Java they don’t and they shouldn’t. So it’s not about that. I don’t, I don’t really think I never talked about low code because it’s not about that, it’s about fixing the pain or or or the problem that the company has. Right. When we think about the MVPs, uh, it’s just about validation. Then the topic of low code or no code does make sense with no Candelo code. You will launch way cheaper and way faster than with traditional development. But we’re talking to business owners, they don’t hear the conversation is, can the tools that you use? I don’t care which tools fix my problem. Yes or no. If they do and we fix the problem. I have customers, we have customers that don’t know what we are using to build their apps and they run their company with the apps that we feel for them. Right? So I try not to talk about low code not because because it doesn’t make sense if it’s the right. Of course, some people say, hey, I’m creating 50,000 records every day and they were like, oh, we use these texts that we use these tools to build apps and the tools that we use might not be what you need in order to keep growing and scaling. And then, and then low code comes to the table again and I really don’t think that they don’t care. Clients don’t care as long as pr does what they expect.

Speaker Sarah

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re right. And I mean the business owners mostly don’t care. I mean they do not care. Also, if you think if you think about the traditional programming way way they do not care about which libraries you use or which programming language to use. I mean they often even know because it’s not their business. Right? And I see more the resistance from software developers or people and I guess that that’s also the difference and advantage you are having is that you are using company, you’re using tools which american tools, data is being stored in the US I guess. And that sometimes if you touch um touch on with customers from europe, touch on the customers from Germany, this is sometimes an issue and sending the other ways other way around the other way we want to avoid this. Why to still make sure that the data is being stored in Germany and europe or wherever you want to like they want to have it. So there are still ways. But I think that’s, that’s the difference here and, and this is I wish we had more of this, you know, um excitement of, hey, let’s, let’s have idea. There’s a solution can solve our pain where the very first and, and um cheap solution and I think that’s, that’s where we’ve our mindset and we mostly european countries must learn more. I think that’s yeah. And

Speaker Jesus

I mean I also say I have a better, I mean even though I’m a certified expert with Glide and all of that, I got a sales person than a builder. Right. Nowadays my team is better at building apps than I am and I am better at selling. Right? So I think the sale is a very important part of the whole thing, right? And it’s about Making the client trust you and making them understand that. But we will build for them. Makes sense for their business, right? We don’t want to say that. We reject a lot of projects but we do reject probably 20-30% if it doesn’t make sense for for us or for local or no tools. Um Yeah. I mean we’ve found some apps in europe as well and then at least we glide glide GDPR Compliance. So that’s good. Uh Like we do reject some apps that are that have medical records because of HIPPA. There’s this standard in the U. S. Called HIPPA. And in this case Glide that hit the bubbles that hip. So there are some some ways to make it work. But at the end you’re not HIPPA. So yeah there are some limitations which at the end it makes sense. Right. If you look at hipaa compliant tools, they are super expensive. So there’s always, I mean I think that most customers put the like how much am I going to spend in an app and how much am I going to save in terms of resources? People hours mistakes. Right? And sometimes it makes sense for them and sometimes it doesn’t right and it’s fine. Like there might be cases that we say yeah we can do this this way and it’s not what they’re looking for or it won’t fix the whole problem for them. And then he definitely it doesn’t make sense for them. Um so yeah, it’s one of the challenges when I think especially like, you know this coming from software development with somewhere development always tell our clients everything can be done with money and time you can do everything with no to low code. That’s not the case. Right? Uh there are always certain things, there are a lot of things that can be done, but there’s always your building inside of a world. In many cases that wall is fine because it gives you simplicity. Uh A simple ui simple us a simple way to maintain the app which makes it cheaper and faster the client at the end. Right? So there’s a little bit of a trade off. There might be cases where they’re not willing for that trade up. So they have to spend $150,000 billion app rather than when you pass and build it and look it up.

Speaker Sarah

Yeah. Yeah. Or actually you you you break the world’s a little bit and use no code and low code tools and add um custom code on it. And that’s actually why I like the term low code so much more than no code because I think the real value you brings in if you think about your tech stack in a way, what are the solve problems where I can use tools which helping me Right, in which which which part of my applications maybe low code cannot do or maybe I don’t want to because for example, um I had a client there um, the world an algorithm about whisk analyst risk assessment for renewable energy. Right? So you give them the parameters like GPS location and for which kind of your renewable energy you want to have calculation being done and their USP is this algorithm and of course you cannot do this with no quote but you can you can leave your algorithm on your own service or hosted in an AWS or whatever you want to what what everything around us. Right? The website, the user management, the payment systems, the listings and all this stuff can be used with no code tools. And this is I think the the way of thinking we have to apply a little more to think about not in in can’t Okay. But rather think about which components can I use in for my for myself, a solution from the Quebec can save money time and and it’s often also better. Right. I mean, I mean I think there are not so many developers can can build their own payment system which is compatible with Stripe for example,

Speaker Sarah

Yeah. Yeah. I mean there and and still having the opportunity to have your custom code and also for where we data intensive calculations and stuff like that you don’t want to use No good at least not yet, maybe, maybe there will be some solutions, maybe there are where the solutions we don’t know yet because I have to feeding every day. There’s new tool coming up, but I think that’s that’s the way we think we need to think more. Right, not only

Speaker Jesus

right, and I think that people that knew low code or actually no code three or four years ago when he started getting some traction, no code was no code. Right? And today it’s low code, I mean even with, like in glide there is a problem a computer column which is called, it’s called Yes, so right, so you can have food in a no code from just like bubble, just like, like and a lot of other robust no tools or local tools and I completely agree there is a huge difference between building a clickable prototype with no code and building a solution with low code, there’s a huge gap and then people, when you start playing around with wider bubble, he’s like, oh yeah, this looks nice, I can do this click, they can like dragon drop click and do whatever. But when you add a little bit more complexity with a little bit of a boat, you end up with something very robust, but at the same time very easy to maintain, you don’t have a lot of things going on in a bunch of different servers and places, everything is very much understandable uh for you if you’re maintaining the act and for the client as well.

Speaker Sarah

Yeah, absolutely. And you can you can focus on spend your time on what on what makes you unique? Right? Very often. I mean you must have some kind of uniqueness otherwise no one will use your system. Right. So either your uniqueness is not on the technology at all. It’s whether we’re on the business side for example or your uniqueness is an algorithm you have developed or on some kind of very smart data analytics. I don’t know it was something like that but you don’t need to care so much about all the other things that doesn’t make your product unique. And I think in 2021 uh suffer developers should not care about this button now uh wet or blue and this payment system and this listed this kind of shoes amendment because it’s all existing. Right. And it doesn’t make your product unique and it doesn’t give you any competitive advantage. Right. So, um yeah, very nice conversation is so far. I think I hope the audience also is is learning a lot. Um mhm What do you see any other barriers which stops people from using local or any other muse which are out there in the world. Mm

Speaker Jesus

sometimes. Yeah, probably the largest one is that no code or low code is to basic another one is that not gonna local? You cannot do anything with the U. I. And the U. S. Right. Uh there are certain tools, let’s say air table. Right? It’s just a nice spreadsheet. There are not many things that you can do, but with more robust platforms like light like bubble like yellow, you can. Right? So, and while you can, I always tell our clients that’s not really important. I mean the U. S. Is important of course, but when you’re building with potato default bubble elements or templates, right? Or the default glide templates blind and bubble. And these Nocona local tools have the best designers in the world. They have made sure that the button is the best button of the world. So you don’t have to spend a day with a designer figuring out why the button should be All right. So can you do that? Yes. In bubble you can spend your whole life building a button. It makes sense. So it’s like launch your product. The product is more important than the U. I. I mean there are thousands of websites that have the first Uber act, the first google website, they’re all ugly. But they worked, that’s what you want, especially when you’re launching something, focus on this and then later on you’ll get to that. So that’s another myth like, oh, I cannot do this. I mean you can it shouldn’t be relevant at these states your process. It’s starting today. The idea and then add all the bells and whistles. Okay. And scalability is the 3rd 1. So a lot of people are like, especially developers. Oh no code is nice. Look, it is nice, but you’ll hit a wall pretty soon. Uh, and I also don’t agree with that anymore. That was the case a few years ago. Today. Trouble You can use my sequel database. We’re glad you can use my simple, you can have millions of records. Uh, so that was a valid point a few years ago and today it’s tough.

Speaker Sarah

Yeah, I think when it comes to scalability I see some disadvantages with no code looked and I will tell you why as I can only speak from bubble to be honest. Um, that sometimes, um, it’s so, it’s too easy and that people who don’t have a software development background just doing all those nice things. Database operations all the time, all the time, all the time, putting everything on a single page application, which makes not always sense. And then day coming back and just cases just recently in asking how our performance is so bad. It’s not because low code towards are so creepy. And if you then discuss with them, you’re running like hundreds plug ins, which is just javascript. Uh, yeah, I mean it was not hundreds, but it was a high number and then they made database operations all the time. Right? Instead of making it one and then working with the data you’re you’re receiving and all this stuff. So I also see that there is an education gap, right? If you’re just doing some tutorials and that greater targets, I mean, I’m a terrorist myself. Of course they’re great. But there’s some tutorials and then how you build it, if you really have a huge state, huge set of data, a lot of database operations you need to make. 

Speaker Jesus

So I think there’s also some gap with no kind of local if anyone can build an app, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should build. There might be cases, I mean we get a lot of those, a lot of those that they started building something and that they come to us and my abby slow uh the database structure I would say is not built with the best practices and we usually end up rebuilding the whole thing, right? Because I mean it’s fun and it’s not like I’m criticizing anybody if you’re a lawyer and you found bubble and you build and have to manage your law firm, that’s great. But you’re not an expert in bubble, your expert lawyer. So focus on doing your law stuff and then a an expert in suffer development or uh no carol loco can be, will be out for you and make sure that it works great. It will be the best for you. It will be custom because it’s not gonna local. So everything is custom for you, but we don’t write logic, but with the right tables. So that’s something that happens more and more. Right. These tools are getting so robust that if you don’t think in very logical terms, you end up with a mess with your database and then the run slow because you are bringing everything to the same table or page or whatever. So yeah. Yeah. That happens. That happens a lot.

Speaker Sarah

Absolutely. I see there’s also more and more coming. Right? So I I really see a trend that people started asking very simple questions. How can I don’t know I make this list and stuff like that. Right? And now questions are really okay. How can I use an external hosted database? How can I integrate this? How can I integrate that la la la how can I improve my employment? And I think this is really great. And I don’t want to criticize the people as well because they can’t know they can’t not even it’s a problem because no one told them. Maybe too much javascript is not good for your performance. Right? So there I have no idea about it. I still think it’s even good they started this way because without no, but a local tool then that would have never started.

And that’s the and that’s that’s actually the the stories are like most, whereas someone started something, maybe it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s not the tool he he or she would use at the very end, but the person started and get out of the building,

Speaker Jesus

Which is very important.

Speaker Sarah

Absolutely, absolutely. And they’re not just no longer writing concept on a piece of paper and making power points about it, but actually getting out of the building, starting uh start talking with real people and real people using the application. And I think this is, this is really something um which brings me joy every day and which is something which which is really inspiring because I I mean there are so many lean startup books um on the shelf you can read but with local you can actually bring them into life.

Speaker Jesus

Yeah, yeah, there’s nothing more, I mean there are things that are more disappointing, but it’s very disappointing when you build, when we build on that for someone and they never used it because they don’t launch or because they got distracted or whatever. It’s also strange. They spend thousands of dollars and then they just shelved the project, right? So it’s it’s very good when they start something, they validate the process, the idea the tool maybe. So they do know that they need probably they do know that they fly right and then you come in with your expertise and build a very robust and they’re like, oh, I’m stuck here, this is not working the way I wanted and then you can like go from 0 to 100 pretty fast for them. They already know what they want, they know the capabilities of the tool, but they don’t know how to do that. So those are great clients because they provide great stories, great use cases like they were using the app, I don’t know five people three hours a day. And then today they have these many people using the app and it has saved these many hours. So yeah, I love these kind of clients because they know what they’re doing. They do have a process, they fix something and then they start saving time saving resources, automating, automating a lot of things, which I mean we didn’t talk a lot about automation, but that’s one of the greatest uh things that a small business can have. I mean we have clients that have over 100 steps either that your account. So Previously someone was doing those 100 tests every day and now the bots are doing them. So there’s a lot of things that small businesses that didn’t have the capabilities or the budget to do that before or they didn’t know if they should hire a software developer because what we like, there’s a gap between telling my business needs and what the software development will understand. No code and local makes that got way smaller. Uh So it’s more easy to build something to test to change and lunch.

Speaker Sarah

So yeah, I think we’ve become to an end, It was just a pleasure to talk to you and I can really see the fire in your eyes and talking about no cars and no, but unfortunately, this is the podcast, another video interview, because it’s always very nice to see the impressions when people um start talking about what they love and what they do every day. So thank you so much and I hope it was interesting for the audience and um yeah, so if you have a business idea, um stop drawing, drawing a piece of paper, stopped doing a concept, just studying local

Speaker Jesus

 Thank you