Low-End Disruptions, No-Code and The Future of Software

There has been lots of debate on no-code whether the new generation of tools are hype or fundamentally shifting how we might build software. Borrowing from Christian Clayton’s disruptive strategy frameworks (specifically low-end disruption) can share some insight on where the future of software might be heading.

But first, what is no-code?

No-Code is an approach to software development through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming. It enables non-technical users to build software. Users typically interact with no-code tools by dragging and dropping elements, and no-code tools tend to be built on the WYSIWYG principle (What you see is what you get). In recent years the no-code market has exploded with tons of tools for many different types of software applications.

What’s a low-end disruption?

Source: https://hbr.org/2015/12/what-is-disruptive-innovation

Low-end disruption offers performance that is “good enough” at the low-end of the mainstream market. The magic of low-end disruption exists because incumbents typically try to provide their most profitable customers with ever-improving products and pay less attention to less-demanding customers. Often incumbents overshoot the performance requirements of the latter which opens the door to disrupters.

How does this relate to software development?

Building software is still a relatively fringe skill only 0.3% of people can code, yet, Software is eating the world. With the lack of programmers and the increasing demand for Software, it might follow that we should teach everyone to code. Some people have even likened coding to what reading was in 1816. But as this article points out with all code’s frameworks, languages, updates, SDKs, and APIs have we actually developed the best way to develop Software yet?

That’s where no-code and its potential enters. At the heart, it’s removing the need to learn all of these languages in order to create functional Software. If you’re building a simple app or need some time-saving internal software for your company, traditional software approaches that require specialized developers often overserve what you need.

While no-code approaches today still have their limitations especially when applied to truly novel technology (you probably couldn’t build advanced ai or vr completely without code). In typical low-end disruption fashion, no-code is increasingly becoming a viable option for well-known brands who might have previously used traditional software development methods. Mckinsey has leveraged Bubble, a leading no-code platform, for internal tools. Startups like dividend finance, Plato, and comet have also launched on Bubble.

Currently, there’s a lot of magic for people who are familiar with no-code approaches who can then spend the majority of their development time on what actually requires customization. But I think the tools we use to create Software will only become more powerful and less difficult to navigate and the need for code for most applications will diminish.

Where is this headed?

source: https://unsplash.com/photos/qBMSLky8fSk

Software will continue to “eat the world” and integrate into our daily lives. Many more people will be able to quickly build Software that makes their own lives easier (ie an app of 1 that pays an allowance to your kids when they finish their chores, an auto-generated to-do list trained by you with your historical data and goal inputs). As businesses and teams, we’ll spend less time in the nitty gritty of building apps and more time on what needs to be built, understanding problems, and designing exceptional experiences to solve those problems.

In today’s world, gathering the resources necessary to build simple apps can be a herculean effort as a non-technical person. Historically, because of all the costs involved, it only made sense to pursue software opportunities that could provide the financial returns for all that hard work. But what happens when we can afford to and it becomes viable to solve problems that are markets of 1000 or 100 or 1?

This question underpins some of the work we’re doing at Lunch Pail Labs and as a believer in egoistic altruism, I’m excited to see what happens when more diverse makers have the opportunity to create Software that solves their own problems.

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