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Why an all in one app builder will never happen

Why an all in one app builder will never happen
By Aron Korenblit • Issue #55 • View online
Today 1PM EST, Joshua Ackerman, product manager @ Stripe is coming on the stream to teach us us how to use Stripe payment links. Shawn Wang wrote last week about how huge this is for the no-code community (and generally for folks bringing their business online). We’ll discuss when to use payment links, how to set them up and how to automate payments back to your CRM with webhooks(woo!).
You can add the stream (and all future streams) to your calendar by clicking here (it auto updates!) and subscribe on Youtube.
Onto the update…

Heyo!
There’s a dream out there and a lot of you believe it: that you’ll find the tool. The one that finally gets you. It gives you perfect flexibility with unlimited power!
✅ Builds a beautiful front-end
✅ Sleek, easy to use and configure back-end
✅ Outputs code
✅ Perfect permissioning
✅ Everything else on your checklist
Is it going to be Bubble? Webflow? Airtable? Adalo? Some other recent tool launched on Product Hunt?
I’ve made some terrible predictions over the past month (I may have doubted the Canadiens in the last 2 rounds but none of my local friends read this newsletter so keep that between us), but I can confidently say this: the all in one app builder will not happen. There are two broad reasons why I feel extremely confident that the all-in-one app builder will never happen.
#1 The things companies are good at tells you what they’re bad at
Let’s take Webflow. Webflow built (and continues to improve) just a terrific website editor. I’ve said it many times: it turns designers into developers. It makes CSS intuitive and understandable by all. The fact that most innovative upstarts pick Webflow speaks to its power.
On the flipside, Webflow is not built for workflows. It’s unfortunate because creating content—blog posts, streams, whatever—is a workflow! A complicated, multi-step workflow laced with multiple stakeholders, approval and review steps. Airtable has thought long and hard about workflows! It eats, sleeps and breathes workflows! And so it’s why like a lot of you, my workflow lives in one place and the output in another.
Could a third tool be good at both? Good, sure. But amazing I doubt it. It’s just too difficult.
#2 Being an “app builder” is a smaller market
Wix is a 15B company that builds websites. Salesforce is a 218B market cap company that focuses on workflows. There’s no one at Salesforce clamoring to get into Wix’s space or vice versa. Webflow, Airtable, insert every SaaS company has so much greenfield in front of them focusing on their market that there’s no advantage to becoming the “no-code” builder for everything.
This is not to say that no-code tools won’t compete, they will, but there is no one tool that will win. So we’re going to be sticking tools together for the foreseeable future. And that’s good! It makes us that much more employable!
Airtable tip: dependencies
I love Gantt charts. I don’t know if it has to with age but there’s something about seeing everything planned out in a horizontal timeline that I just love. The older I get the more I love it.
One small feature that has been a lifesaver is the concept of dependencies. Let’s say you have tasks, A, B, C that need to be completed before task D, you can denote and visualize that dependency in Airtable using a linked record.
Now when you delay a task—any of A, B or C—all your dependencies will move out as well so you know where you stand and whether it’ll affect your final delivery date. Gif of that in action here (Revue doesn’t seem to support Gifs)
PS I know I’ve accustomed you all to more advanced tips. Do you enjoy these more basic ones as well? Let me know by replying to this issue!
Tool of the month: macro
This month’s tool of the month is macro. Macro sits on top of your other tools and lets you document and automate checklists that require steps in various tools. Say you’re onboarding a new employee which requires an Airtable record, a custom email, a manual send of swag etc. You can use macro to automate portions of that checklist while keeping track of the manual steps as well.
Use offer code ARON to get 20% off when you upgrade your account. Sign up here!
From the interwebs
The folks over at finsweet streamed ‘What webflow gets wrong’ garnering over 200 folks to join live. I share this not because I want to highlight what’s wrong at Webflow. I share it because Webflow was quick to respond and because what other platform could garner such enthusiasm? It’s so exciting that 200 folks cared enough to show up and discuss what could be better! Webflow is truly changing people’s lives! It definitely changed mine!
#21 - What Webflow gets wrong - An open letter to Vlad
#21 - What Webflow gets wrong - An open letter to Vlad
Softr is on Product Hunt today. If Product Hunt is your thing, go ahead and give them a vote, it’s a great platform as we saw last week!
Softr 2.0 - Build web apps & portals from Airtable, no code required | Product Hunt
Melanie (@m2creates)—Airtable developer extraordinaire—shared this delightful post with me about dinosaurs and social distancing. There is no link to no-code except that if you want an article featured in this section, you should reach me on twitter or reply to this email!
How to Social Distance Like a Dinosaur - All Wit, No Brevity
Until next week and keep building!
Aron
Thanks to Stephen O'Grady (@orishnal) for reviewing this newsletter every week before it reaches your inbox! Even when he’s the one writing the piece!
Lenny Rachitsky
PMs: What's your best pro-tip for being successful in a remote and distributed team world?
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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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