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🌊 Drag-n-Drop Engineers

🌊 Drag-n-Drop Engineers
By Open Water Weekly • Issue #16 • View online
My name is Jacob Peddicord and I’m the Editor at Open Water Accelerator. Today we have a very special interview with Ben Tossell! Ben is the founder of Markerpad and one of the most important voices in the no/low-code space, which I think is ready to explode.
Here’s a summary of what we learned:
  1. 👨‍💻 The future will have more developers but fewer lines of code.
  2. 🛠 Level of tech knowledge shouldn’t stop you from building.
  3. 🤝 There are lots of opportunities right now in building better homes for communities.

Ben Tossell🗣️ 
Do you think there will be more or fewer developer jobs 10 years from now? How does the no/low-code movement contribute to that?
Way more! I think it could go two ways. First, we might see the typical ‘developer’ job specification broaden right out to include people who can actually build software with no-code tools. Additionally, as no-code software tools become even more popular, this will mean a demand for more developers who can build these tools and more complex features.
I think that no-code is just the first rung on the ladder where typical programming as we know it today is the top rung. Code and low/no-code are all in the spectrum of software development.
That said, I don’t think there’s a future where anyone is going to want to write more lines of code – it’s always going to be less. Perhaps the role of the engineer will become more specialized, and ‘software development’ will become more about just drag-n-drop tools.
What’s your ultimate vision with Makerpad?
The ultimate goal is to show as many people as possible what can be done with ‘no-code’ tools.
What stands in our way though is a very small subset of people within the tech world who acknowledge the term ‘no-code’. All the while we at Makerpad acknowledge this term too, we’re creating a barrier to entry for the majority of people. Let’s say my mother is looking to create a website – she would Google ‘how to make a website’. She’d never write ‘without code’ or ‘no-code website build’. 
I think we somehow need to remove the term completely and recognize that what people in this space are building with these tools is simply part of a software development stack. If a child is writing the alphabet for the first time, it’s classed as writing – if an author is writing their 20th novel, it’s also classed as writing, but at a different level. So when someone Googles ‘how to make a website’, ultimately we want Makerpad to be a top result showing people how to do that – coincidentally without using any code. The most basic level would be to use something like Universe or Carrd; a level up from that would be Webflow; up again from that would be HTML and CSS, if someone wants to move on to code. There’s obviously a ton of nuance and contextual answers in-between.
Everyone likely knows someone who’s said, ‘oh I’d love to make an app that does X’. Our job at Makerpad is to educate enough people in and out of tech, so that someone’s level of tech knowledge isn’t something that stops that thinking in its tracks.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when starting Makerpad?
That’s a tricky one. I guess looking back, the biggest thing that stands out is processes, and understanding how I work best and how that affects the team.
We’ve spent a lot of time the last 6 months or so getting processes ironed out within the company; who does what, how do they do it, how could they do it more efficiently, etc. It’s been difficult for me because I’d class myself as a maker over being a manager, but my role has got me in-between both. Sometimes I think I should’ve maybe made a simpler distinction between the two – for example, Mondays and Fridays are manager days, and Tues-Thurs are maker days. I have an urge to always be creating something (product, site improvements, content) but momentum isn’t always good if what you’re working on doesn’t make sense. The maker mindset means I slip easily into ‘do something right now’ mode, rather than necessarily thinking, planning and working out all the potential hurdles beforehand.
Do you think there is room for the Makerpad model in different verticals?
Absolutely. There should be a place to go for people to learn how to do things and connect with a community of like-minded people for everything.
A cooking community is an easy one to draw parallels – a place to go and geek out about cooking for all skill levels, share recipes etc. This stuff does happen and if you check out reddit you’ll see a lot of this happening in various ways and formats. Sometimes it takes just really nailing the format, leading with some direction and setting some cadence to what is going on, how it’s delivered and how you can consume.
Indie Hackers and Product Hunt are examples of this too. You could’ve scoured the internet finding stories or products before these sites took off but the simple format, the curated nature etc. all together pack a much more meaningful punch.
If have an idea you want to build but don’t know where to start, respond to this email! We’d love to help.
leaving shore ⛵: Ben's company got acquired!
That was quick! Between the time we spoke with Ben and this article going out, Ben’s company was acquired by Zapier. It was Zapiers first acquisition, and the company said Makerpad will operate largely independently. Apparently, the acquisition talks started after Zapier founder Wade foster read this tweet thread:
Walter Chen
this tracks my intuition that if there's going to be a central utility of no code, it'll be either @airtable or @zapier.

puts an interesting strategic frame on airtable's decision to build native workflow automation into airtable.
You can read TechCrunch’s article on the acquisition here.
internships 🖥️ 
🤖 Goldman Sachs | Summer Analyst Program | “Our Summer Analyst Program is an eight to ten week summer internship for undergraduate students.”
🏦 Vanguard | Application Development Intern | “In this program you will create high-impact solutions that allow crew to perform at their best and do what’s right for investors”
next edition...
Thursday’s newsletter will feature an interview with Jeremy Cai of Italic.
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