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Undifferentiated heavy lifting

Undifferentiated heavy lifting
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #29 • View online
Last week I streamed How to invoice from Airtable using Stripe. Today I’m going to stream How to Automate your Airtable CRM at 6PM EST.
A lot of y'all have said it’s hard to know when I’m live so here are some options:
  • Full streaming schedule is now at – you can also add any upcoming stream directly to your calendar! All from a shared Airtable calendar view & Button fields!
  • If you prefer email, you can sign up here to get notified one hour before the stream goes live!
I’m going to try to be as consistent as possible to send the newsletter the day of the stream but it may happen that the schedules differ. If you’re here for the stream, I do recommend signing up to get notified via email!
Onto the update

I love this concept of undifferentiated heavy lifting. It was introduced to me in this article from Intercom on how they decide between build and buying software. It was originally coined in this 2006 piece from Jeff Barr, Amazon AWS CTO.
In short, undifferentiated heavy lifting is everything that an application needs to do but doesn’t increase its competitive advantage in the eyes of its customers. It can be extremely difficult and crucial things like managing servers for a scaling applications or authentication security. But from a customer’s perspective, as long as the application works quickly and securely, they don’t really care what your cloud infrastructure looks like.
The term has been heavily used in software development but I think it can be expanded to broad functions of a company. For non-software development, there still exists a ton of undifferentiated heavy lifting: invoicing, multi channel management, content creation, people management, scheduling etc. Undifferentiated heavy lifting doesn’t mean that it’s not important or not consequential – it’s crucial but everyone has to do it well to even compete!
Even when I think of the small (but growing!) enterprise of Automate All the Things! Its core goal (today!) is to provide you an entertaining stream and a newsletter every week. What I say and write every week are the differentiated heavy lifting (doesn’t mean that it’s always good!). Everything else doesn’t matter to you. Now think of everything that comes with that goal: managing, syncing my content across multiple platforms (thanks to Parabola), all of the infrastructure in sending this email, managing questions from multiple channels, stream quality etc. etc. And this platform is free!
Software generally has always is in the business of solving every company’s undifferentiated heavy lifting. It’s why software is eating the world: when you look at a business, very little of it is truly differentiated work (and why they should spend so much time making sure to preserve it)! That leaves a lot of space for companies to solve everything else. However, just like in the case of software development, outsourcing to different vendors creates a whole new set of problems: how do we have all of these vendors play nice and communicate to each.
I think this is where no-code comes in: it can help you create apps that manage most of your undifferentiated heavy lifting in one type of application. Kills two birds with one stone: build better applications to handle your undifferentiated heavy lifting without multiplying tools. You still have the hurdle of building those applications but if you’re reading this newsletter, that hurdle probably doesn’t seem daunting to you.
I often get pitched new tools but before integrating any tool into my stack, I consider the following tiers:
Tier 1: your existing no-code tools (e.g. Airtable/retool/typeform etc.)
Tier 2: a vertical saas software that integrates with my no-code stack directly
Tier 3: vertical saas that integrates with my tier 1 tool through a third party
Tier 4: point solution that doesn’t integrate with my tool
Tier 5: custom build/code
I don’t think this can quite be generalized to businesses but I do hope we view no-code tools not as “things that plug the holes” but instead view vertical saas as the tools that plug holes when our no-code stack doesn’t suffice.
From the twitter-o-sphere
If you didn’t tweet it, did it really happen? A special thanks to Stephen O'Grady (@orishnal) for helping me curate these tweets! Let us know what you think of this new section and any recommendations on what else we should add by replying to the email.
David Peterson
Throwing down the gauntlet. My prediction: the next big job in tech will be in “no code operations”*

(*actively looking for a better name here please help)

Some thoughts on why...
A great article from my colleague David on his prediction on the rise of no code operation roles. David works with a ton of start ups so he sees the future before we do!
Lacey Kesler 👩🏻‍💻
I was hanging out with some friends last night and attempted to explain no-code.

They asked if it was a coupon thing.

Can we get a rebrand, please?
Glad to see Lacey’s on our team! I am, as always, open to suggestions for a better name than no-code!
CIVILIZATION VI • @Webflow Rebuild

#Nocode tools are often viewed as primitive website builders. So I rebuilt @CivGame and published the largest Webflow project ever featuring 12,400 elements, 1800 styles, 1200 assets, and 400 interactions.

Clone 🎤✋
Sarkis rebuilt Civilization 6…in Webflow! This is not a drill 🚨I’m truly speechless. This takes what you can do in Webflow to a whole new level! Who knew that Unreal engine had a competitor in a web development tool like Webflow? I wonder what Sarkis could build in other no-code tools 👀
See you next week!
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Aron Korenblit

Weekly thoughts on the working smarter not harder using no-code tools + a weekly Airtable tip. Written by Aron Korenblit

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