Modern Makers is a weekly newsletter where I share with you a selection of the best available content about no-code and productivity tools. I hope this content will help you grow your business, launch your project or succeed in your career.
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This week in the agenda:
🛠️ From software users to software builders with Airtable
💰 Roam Research announced a funding round at a $200M valuation
📅 A new Demo Day coming soon for 100DaysOfNoCode
In addition to my current reading of Rich and Grow Rich that I told you about last week, I am also reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry - How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world by John Mark Comer. I don't know how this book released at the end of 2019 ended up on my wish list but the very good reviews (4.62/5 on Goodreads) have convinced me. The subject is very topical in 2020, even more so with the last few months that we have just lived. On the other hand, I didn't realise that this book was written by a pastor. I find his diagnosis of our current society, which pushes us towards mass consumption and hyper-productivity, drags us more and more into a frenetic rhythm and sometimes gives us the impression of being a mouse spinning in a wheel.
A century ago the less you worked, the more status you had. Now it’s flipped: the more you sit around and relax, the less status you have.
Technological, and even economic, progress does not necessarily equal human progress. Just because it’s newer and/or faster doesn’t mean it’s better (as heretical as that sounds). Don’t get sucked into the capitalistic marketing ploy. What looks like progression is often regression with an agenda. Others get rich; you get distracted and addicted. As Gandhi wisely said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
According to John Mark, the solution to these increasingly problematic concerns includes religion and adopting the lifestyle of Jesus, allowing us to better focus on the things that really matter and to adopt a slower, less stressful pace of life.
John Mark is therefore, not surprisingly, a believer in minimalism:
Basically: don’t invest all your time and energy (and money) in things that get old and rust and go out of style and can be snatched from the back of your car if you park too far from the streetlamp. Instead: put your life into things that matter, like your relationship with God and life in his kingdom. Because where you put your resources is where you put your heart. It’s the steering wheel to your engine of desire.
The book is quite short and easy to read (I reached 70% on my Kindle in a few reading sessions) and the author does not hesitate to adopt a modern, provocative style as well as a humorous tone. In short, if these subjects interest you, I recommend this book. And I don’t think you need to be a worshiper to enjoy it.
Among the other contents that I particularly appreciated this week:
Your Startup Is a Movement - How Founders Should Think About Marketing by David Sacks
Minimum Viable Creativity by Ryan Mulholland
Zoom's Blank Check - A Case Study: What to do when you have an expensive stock and no moats by Packy McCormick
At 31, I have just weeks to live. Here's what I want to pass on by Elliot Dallen (I listened the audio version of this article on Curio, a mobile app that offers audio articles from leading publications)
This week was undoubtedly marked by Airtable. It all started with the announcement of a $185M Series D, two years after its $100M Series C. In total, Airtable has raised more than $355M since its creation in 2012 and the company founded by Howie Liu is now valued at $2.5 billion. 🦄
In the wake of this, Airtable announced the launch of three major new features:
Airtable Automations: I've already told you a lot about it in the last few weeks. Airtable Automations, as its name suggests, allows you to create your own automation directly within your Airtable database. Until now, this feature was only available for the PRO and Enterprise plans. Great news: FREE and PLUS accounts now also benefit from this feature (FREE plans can perform 100 automations per month, same limit as Zapier, probably just a coincidence 👀).
New triggers have been added as well as new integrations with Google Sheet, Google Forms, Twitter, Facebook and Jira. No doubt new integrations will continue to be added at regular intervals. For my part, I have already reduced my use of Zapier in order to reproduce certain automation processes directly in Airtable.
Airtable Sync: a new feature long awaited by Airtable power users. Until now, it was impossible to link two different Airtable databases together, which could be a real limitation of the tool. Now you can create a new table displaying datas from another Airtable base!
This feature could profoundly change the way Airtable's 200,000 customers use the platform. Creating a dashboard with key business data from different databases is now a possibility. I'm curious to see what impact this will have on a service like Stacker for example. As with every major release of Airtable, Gareth Pronovost created a video to better understand how Airtable Sync works.
With all these new features, Airtable is more than ever a must-have no-code tool that can help people without technical skills develop their own applications.
The article published by Howie Liu on Airtable's website sums up this philosophy very well in my opinion:
Imagine if more people had the tools to be software builders, not just software users.
To us, that’s the real computer revolution. And it’s why Airtable is entering its next chapter: a new platform where anyone – even without technical training – can create customized applications that perfectly fit their needs, build more interconnected teams and organizations, and benefit from a growing community of people who share what they create.
According to some analysts, 500 million applications will be created by 2023. So Airtable's objective is pretty clear: to be able to support the creation of as many applications as possible over the next few years and have the biggest slice of that very tasty cake.
Roam Research announced this week a $9M Seed Round and a valuation of $200M. A pretty incredible tour de force for this startup launched barely a year ago. Especially since the list of investors is prestigious with notably the two Collison brothers, the creators of Stripe. Productivity tools are definitely on the rise, as recently demonstrated by the fundraising efforts of Notion and Coda, two of Roam Research's competitors.
Roam Research presents itself as the best note-taking tool and allows its users to organize all the information that punctuates their lives.
When announcing the launch of Notion's Backlinks, Roam Research's name was often mentioned as the tool has been integrating this functionality for a very long time (and in a more advanced way from what I've read about it). As for pricing, we are on $13.75 per month for a yearly subscription and a free 31-day trial is available.
For the anecdote, the founder of Roam Research was turned down five times when he applied to join Y Combinator.
Morality: Keep Pushing! 👊
The second Demo Day of 100DaysOfNoCode will take place on December 3rd. 100DaysOfNoCode is a community created by Max Haining and a structure that provides content, inspiration and support to its members. Members participate in a 100-day challenge to share their no-code progress in public on Twitter via the hashtag #100DaysOfNoCode.
To attend this second edition of the Demo Day and discover projects built with no-code tools, just fill out this form.
📦 In other news
A couple of weeks ago, the team behind Softr (a website builder no-code tool) had a very successful launch on Product Hunt! They are now sharing some great tips with the no-code community so you can try to replicate their success
Glide Tables allow you to have your database in Glide and free you from Google Sheets
Forbes has released its 2020 edition of The Cloud 100 and some of our favorite no-code tools made the list, including Zapier, Notion, Airtable, Webflow and Figma. For the occasion, Zapier even had its logo displayed on the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City
Notion has made the launch of Backlinks official
Looking for inspiration for your next project? Here are 11 business ideas that can be created with no-code tools
openBuild is a collection of 300 components that will make the design of your Bubble apps easier and faster
📖 No-code in the news
That’s all for this week. If you like the content, don't hesitate to share it with your friends or colleagues.
I also invite you to send me your feedback on this content by leaving a comment below.
Have a great week,