How to build a business by gluing tech parts together
Summary: Glue entrepreneurs
Are smart enough not to reinvent the wheel.
Build fast, listen to feedback and iterate.
Why create from scratch when you can glue?
They bet on no-code, and are empowered by tools like Webflow.
Glue entrepreneurs plug, play and remix.
Go on ProductHunt, HackerNews, GitHub.
You'll see new lego blocks shared every day.
New APIs, new tools, new services.
Want comments? Add Disqus.
A feedback button? Add Canny.
So many lego blocks to play with.
No more starting from scratch.
But there's a caveat: if you can't code, you can't play.
The way of software
This is the way of software in the last 70 years:
mainframe computers split into hardware and software,
which split into apps
which split into APIs.
Software unbundled, specialized and mutated into a complex set of interacting pieces and protocols. It's a big messy puzzle.
For anyone in software, today's challenge is glueing it back together.
The more complex the puzzle is, the more specialized we have to be.
So say hello world to developers, who need to specialize in a few coding languages with a restricted set of use cases. Their job depends on their chosen speciality.
Glue it all
Either software engineers start using common protocols to make integration easier. Or big companies use their leverage to offer 'open' platforms.
Multiple platforms are competing to be the "one interface to glue it all". And there is a word to describe this vision: "No-code".
The No-code movement is exciting because it makes glueing all the pieces more approachable.
And perhaps "No-code" is a passing trend, a word that belongs to history books, where eventually most software is just built through intuitive interfaces.
But more importantly: no-code means we don't have to specialize as much.
And that's a good thing for people like me.
And I'm seeing a rise of this new kind of tech entrepreneur.
They're leveraging this movement to build their ideas faster.
The glue entrepreneurs.
Becoming Pareto optimal
Combine 'X' and 'Y' to solve 'Z' need for your customers.
Combinatorial innovation right here.
To meet market demands, putting up a solution using existing blocks saves time. With no-code, we can ship in dramatically shorter timeframes, by externalizing specific features to others.
And instead of overthinking technical specificities, we can focus on bringing business value.
The modern tech entrepreneur will have to be a glue entrepreneur: entrepreneurs have to be resourceful, and gluing with no-code is the Pareto optimal point to build ideas fast.
Betting on Webflow
Now, I'm betting on Webflow to be the leading tool for the Great Gluing. Here's why I'm bullish:
Webflow has the right tool, with the right balance between simple and complex
Webflow has the right company culture to build a platform that will last
Webflow has the excited community to accelerate it all. This article is a proof.
Bias notice: I was Webflow first intern 5 years ago. I've used the tool extensively and I'm teaching it now at university.
To recap, what matters now for a tech entrepreneur is knowing
what tools can be glued together
how to glue parts together
the limits of glueing, seeing the asymptotes and a Pareto mindset. The interconnectedness from bundling again: one should embrace and yet be wary of this phenomenon's consequences.
To help train a new generation of glue entrepreneurs, Supercreative is releasing a free tool today to learn how to no-code in Webflow. It's called Learnflow.
We're making the tool free to allow as many people to try no-code themselves. And you don't need a Webflow account to try it.
A new imperative
The "learn to code" imperative is becoming less relevant.
No need of funding for a first prototype.
No need of a technical cofounder.
No excuses to start.
All the pieces are here, available, for your new idea.
The "learn to glue" is becoming the new imperative.
Smaller barriers of entry = more people playing.
And that's very exciting for creativity worldwide.
Long live glue entrepreneurs!
Created by Ben Issen
Based in Paris, Ben founded Supercreative. With his team, he creates tools and videos to help creatives be more productive. Prior to that, he worked at Webflow and launched a design agency. @ben_issen
Dec 5, 2021
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