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"She very politely asked me what exactly ‘no code’ was" by Zoelle Egner

"She very politely asked me what exactly ‘no code’ was" by Zoelle Egner
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #52 • View online
UPDATE: By popular request, the stream is back on the Automate All the Things Youtube channel! Same format, same time, just on Youtube :). Subscribe here!
Today 1PM EST, Jacob Lee is coming to teach us us how to Build a discord help bot (with Airtable back-end) using Autocode.
You can add the stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) and subscribe on Youtube.
The upcoming stream schedule is packed, see all upcoming guests here.
You can catch last week’s replay of All about Airtable Automation incoming webhooks where I sync Airtable and Stripe as an example of the possibilities of webhooks!
Onto the update…

This week, I’m excited to welcome Zoelle Egner (@zoelle) as a guest poster. Zoelle led marketing and customer success in the early days at Airtable. Today, she’s offering her time and expertise to VaccinateCA helping get as many jabs in arms as possible. I’ve written about the difference between no-code twitter and the real world before. Zoelle’s piece below is a much better take on the differences between the two (and how we should work to eliminate that difference). Enjoy!
Hello everyone! I’m writing to you from sunny Oakland, California, where I’m up to my eyeballs in civic technology at the moment (working on vaccination efforts at Vaccinate The States) and thinking about who “no code” is for. Specifically, I would like to issue a call to arms to spend more time trying to get no code in the hands of people like my friend L.
If you’ve spent any time on no code Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that many of the loudest voices in the community are folks working on no code side hustles (I say this with love, but—does the world need yet another job board? I am not sure, friends. I am not sure) or startups or consulting. That’s awesome! But it sometimes feels a little like an echo chamber, doesn’t it? A lot of the same types of people, working on the same types of problems.
And yet— once upon a time I worked at Airtable, and I saw a vastly different set of people every single day. Not just startup people - big company people, nonprofit people, education people, you name it. That person in your friend circle who is always ready to make a spreadsheet to organize the group vacation. You know the type. 
Y’all: almost none of those people had (have!) heard of no code. Indeed, when I met L at Vaccinate The States, she very politely asked me what exactly ‘no code’ was. And yet, L is the most perfect no code target customer I have ever met. She stays up late on nights and weekends for the sheer joy of tinkering with Zapier. Her color coding game is exquisite. And, maybe most novel for this readership, other people are actually willing to use the systems she builds. Successfully! Hundreds of them! The tools and workflows she’s made with Zapier and Airtable and Google Sheets and Mailchimp have been used to build the most comprehensive map of vaccination sites in the US (40% more than in record time, with minimal errors, almost entirely using volunteer researchers and callers. 
People like L should be among the poster children for no code. The top targets for every platform. They’re not just curious and resourceful - they make things that work in the real world with other humans. 
The way I see it, there are two paths to bringing more Ls to no code (and vice versa): 
1. Find the existing Ls and persuade them to try it.
2. Find the existing no coders and make them more like L.
Speaking from experience at Airtable: #1 is not impossible, but it’s not easy either. You have to start with the problems they are trying to solve, and work backwards. (As you may have guessed, there are a lot of problems out there in the world, so this takes some time.) If you work for a no code platform, take my advice: come up with a strategy to find some Ls. If you’re a member of the community hoping to see it expand: find your spreadsheet loving pals and invite them to the party. Stay focused on practical benefits rather than the abstract virtues of no code. They’ll catch on quickly.
For the rest of you no coders in the audience, how can you be more like L and succeed in building sticky systems? Three quick lessons I’ve learned in the four months we’ve worked together:
  1. Remember to design your systems with people in mind. L understands deeply that people play a key role in any system, not just tools. Everything she builds, she builds with an obsessive focus on how people will interact with it. What will confuse them? What will make them feel unwelcome? What will bore them? What will keep them coming back? 
  2. Over-invest in onboarding and documentation for your systems. For any new tool L creates, you can expect a guide with screenshots, a video, and a dedicated Slack channel for questions. 
  3. Set up a dedicated and low-friction way to capture user feedback—and execute on it *immediately*. L likes Slack, so that’s how she gets her inputs. And because she’s building with no code tools, she incorporates system and tool feedback ASAP when she gets it, so people will keep bringing her more. It makes the system more resilient over time from both a people and design perspective.
by Zoelle Egner
Airtable tip: How to onboard!
Speaking of onboarding, here are a few tips on how to setup your base such that new collaborators can quickly get up to speed:
  1. Write a relevant base description. Base descriptions appear automatically when a user enters a base for the first time making it the ideal place to provide context.
  2. Create an onboarding dashboard which includes a description app. The description app holds rich text which, similar to the base description, makes it a great place to provide context on the base.
  3. Ahead of inviting your team, create views for each collaborator based on their role. This orients new collaborators while giving them a basic understanding of views.
  4. Provide new collaborators with Airtable educational content. They can watch a webinar or enroll in the Essential Guide to Airtable.
Remember that onboarding is just as important as building a good base (here’s a series on workflow design). If no one is actually using your base, does it provide value?
From the interwebs
Zapier is soft launching an app marketplace which are actually bundles of pre-built Zaps.
Andrew Davison
Looks like @Zapier are soft-launching an app marketplace built around 'use cases' 👀

Apps are configured outside the standard editor and have their own pricing model 🧐
I thought this thread where Justin Garrison breaks down technical terms extremely interesting
Justin Garrison
Alright Twitter tell me a technical term and I’ll explain it in simple words
If you want me to share an article/tweet in this newsletter, feel free to tweet it at me @aronkor.
See you next week!
PS apologies for the unannounced break last week, sometimes life just gets in the way!
PPS I’m always looking for guest posters, just reply!
Did you enjoy this issue?
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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