Modern Makers #34 - Learn How to Learn

💰 Unstack & Alloy Automation raised money 🔮 Glide shows us what its platform will look like in 2021

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 automate your work.

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Hi makers,

Hope you’re all doing well! Welcome to all the new makers who have joined us since last Sunday!

I was invited on the NoCode Family podcast to talk about my initiation to no-code. Here is the link to listen to this episode (please note the conversation is in French). Thanks again to Simon for the invitation 🤟🏻

After reading Digital Minimalist last week (you can read my 5 learnings here), I purchased the Forest app on the Apple Store (£1.99). Forest (also available as a web browser extension) allows you to block your phone or some websites (Youtube, Twitter for example) for a certain period of time. Once the app is active, you grow a virtual tree that populates your forest. If you unlock your phone, your tree will die. I appreciate the gamification aspect and after a week of testing, the results speak for themselves: -45% of time spent in front of my iPhone and more productive work sessions. My goal is to keep using the app for the coming weeks and make the most of all the hours I'm saving thanks to Forest 🌲


This week in the agenda:👇

🧠 Ultralearning: the method to learn how to learn
💰 Unstack & Alloy Automation raised money
🔮 Glide shows us what its platform will look like in 2021
🍔 A burger restaurant is saving $100k per year thanks to automation

Enjoy!


📚 Book of the week

Ultralearning: Accelerate Your Career, Master Hard Skills and Outsmart the Competition

Author: Scott Young
Release date: August 2019

Scott got famous with his MIT Challenge. In 12 months, he learned the entire MIT computer science curriculum, something that usually requires four years. In this book, he shares the 9 principles behind the ultralearning method, allowing us to acquire any knowledge in a short period of time. I discovered this book on my Twitter feed this week. I was intrigued by the subject and the fact that the preface is signed by James Clear was enough to convince me to buy it. No regrets in the end as I really enjoy this book. Many points resonated with me, especially on my learning of no-code tools or the launch of this newsletter. 2020 was for me the year of the discovery of the world of no-code tools. Like a child at Disneyland, I wanted to try all the tools that I discovered each week, with no other goal than to please my curiosity. For 2021, I want to focus on a limited selection of tools and thus create my no-code stack. My focus for this year is the famous WAZ stack: Webflow, Airtable and Zapier (I would also add Figma). Here are 5 essential points:

  1. Ultralearning - A strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge that is both self-directed and intense. Whether you want to change careers, take on new challenges or accelerate your progress, ultralearning can be a very powerful tool. You can get a better job, negotiate a higher salary or more free time, make contacts with more interesting people and also improve your personal and professional life. Learning how to learn may well be the most important skill to acquire in 2021. With ultraleanrning, it's all about taking responsibility for your own learning: deciding what you want to learn, how you want to learn it, and developing your own plan to learn what you need. You and you alone are in control, and you are responsible for the results you achieve. Take control of your destiny and your learning

  2. Why should we learn? Good question after all. Do we really have to continue learning after school? The competition is only getting more intense. It is even becoming global, even more so with the pandemic and remote working. With the acceleration of certain trends such as automation or outsourcing, each of us must take charge of our own destiny and ensure we remain competitive by acquiring new knowledge & skills. You must become a constant learner to stand out from the crowd. Average is over. These new skills will allow you to better navigate in the midst of the many changes our society is currently undergoing. It's all about focusing on what's under our control. Whether society changes is a fact, whether you like it or not, you won't be able to stop this train in motion. The only thing you can do is take your destiny into your own hands and make sure that train has a seat with your name on it

  3. More practice, less theory - unlike what you learn in an environment such as school, ultralearning focuses on action and learning by doing. Would you like to learn to speak Spanish? Force yourself to have discussions in Spanish. Want to learn how to use a no-code tool? Create an account, try the tool and build a first project with it. Learn by doing. Of course, watching Youtube videos or reading a book on a particular topic is always interesting. But too many people tend to focus only on this aspect of learning and never get into a position to apply their new knowledge

  4. The importance of the feedback you receive - the author identifies 3 types of feedback. 1) Outcome feedback - a feedback on your overall performance but which does not give you any visibility on what needs to be improved and does not provide any details on the different components of your project. 2) Informational feedback - this feedback tells you what you are doing right or wrong but does not include any suggestions for improvement. 3) Corrective feedback - the best type of feedback since it shows you what needs to be changed and suggests concrete suggestions for improvement. This feedback can for example be given to you by a mentor or coach. Getting feedback is never easy, as people tend not to like criticism. It is thus very important to understand that it is your performance that is judged and not your person. Leave your ego in the closet. Without feedback, you will tend to stagnate or even regress

  5. A few advises for your next ultralearning project:

    • People retain more of what they learn when practice is broken into different studying periods than when it is crammed together (1 hour a day 5 days a week > 1 session of 5 hours a week)

    • If you have several hours to study, you’re better off covering a few topics rather than focusing only on one

    • Schedule your sessions in advance by blocking slots in your calendar. Take a test week to see if you feel the pace is right for you

    • Don't give up too quickly when faced with difficulties in solving a problem. When you are about to give up, give yourself an extra 10 minutes to try to solve the challenge

    • The 10% rule: try to allocate 10% of the total duration of a project to the initial research phase (a phase that is too often neglected, even though it plays a crucial role in the success of your project)

    • Set the bar high in terms of objectives. Better yet, make your goals public #buildinpublic

    • A good exercise to practice: after reading a section from a book or sitting through a lecture, to try to write down everything you can remember on a blank piece of paper


Some other content that caught my attention this week:

  • 📦 The Minimalists: Less Is Now - Netflix - the second documentary of the two most famous minimalists. A good introduction for those who wish to discover this movement. Directed by Matt D'Avella who posted on his Youtube channel a video explaining the process to follow to have a documentary on Netflix

  • 🍔 How Honest Burgers Use Automation to Save $100k per year - n8n -Honest Burgers (popular here in the UK) uses no-code/low-code tools to automate certain internal processes. The results? More than $100k of savings per year! If you ever doubted the value of using automation tools such as Integromat or n8n, this video is here to convince you!

  • 🐦 Go from 0 to 8k on Twitter w/ Robbie Crabtre‪e‬ - How I Built My Audience - growing an audience on Twitter is part of my goals for 2021 (you can follow me here). In this podcast, Robbie Crabtree explains how he managed to grow his Twitter account from a few hundred followers to over 8,000 in a few months. He gives us some interesting tips, including choosing three topics for your tweets


And now, the no-code news of the week!


Alloy Automation raised $5M in two rounds this week, including a $4M round last October. This startup, which is part of the Y Combinator winter 2020 promotion, offers an automation tool for retailers. Among other things, Alloy allows them to better automate their orders and improve their customer experience. This money will help speed up the company's commercial development and recruit new employees.


The first invitations to Ycode's private beta were sent out this week. A new tool that will allow you to create applications and websites. Some of the features highlighted by Ycode are:

  • User authentication

  • Native integration with Airtable allowing you to use Airtable as a database for your project

  • Ability to connect to external APIs

  • SVG icon support

This private beta will allow Ycode teams to collect feedback from users before opening access to the platform to a broader audience.


Glide has a lot of ambitions for 2021! This video shows us some of the upcoming new features of this tool that allows to create a mobile application from a Google Sheet. Among the updates we can expect to see soon: an improved data editor, allowing to build several apps using the same database. Or the possibility to visualise and design your app on Desktop and Tablet.


Another funding round this week: $3.1M for Unstack, a no-code CMS (Content Management System) for marketers that launched in 2019. Unstack's core target seems to be SaaS businesses that need to easily create websites and landing pages that convert and generate revenue or collect emails and leads. The platform also offers several third party integrations including Stripe, Hubspot, MailChimp and Intercom.


📦 And also…


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Have a great week, and keep building!

Martin,

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