Interview WIth Noel Lorenz of NoCodeHQ
TLDR;Some Good Quotes
- "But on the other hand, Two for new, no coders. I think, complexity is bad because they think to themselves, well, that's almost as hard as learning how to code. So why should I jump in? As you mentioned, so."
- "Yeah. I think that really speaks to like putting something into the market and like kind of growing on feedback. Right. So like, as, as an agency, You kind of say, these are the things we can do. And then as you get feedback from the market like that, they want something, you can kind of incorporate that into your offering".
- "So like we built a solution. that's like a visual builder. where we say it's like zero learning curve and we're still, we're putting it out piece by piece, giving it to people. and we'll be launching it here big time, like maybe on product time in the next month or so, so like, it's cool that like, I built that as a no coder."
Understand the journey of a non technical person and how Noel was able to execute his idea without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to test it out. While doing that he was also able to build a large community of fellow no coders.
Jeremy: [00:00:00] Great. So like, I, I just press record. We're going, just going to jump right into it. We don't know each other very well, but like part of the reason I do this is because I usually walk away from meetings with people going. You know, like my initial meetings with everyone normally is like the greatest, it's the greatest face.
It's the greatest time I' ve ever talked to someone. So like, let's get to know. Noel from no code HQ. Tell us about yourself, Noel. Welcome to not boring business.
Noel Lorenz: [00:00:32] Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I'll give a short introduction. So, I jumped into this whole no-code thing, roughly two and a half years ago.
At the time, I didn't know about the terminal code at all. I just had the nice idea for a web application to be more precise. I want to build like a directory of nursing homes in Germany and together with a, another non technical cofounder. One of my friends. Want to build this thing and we didn't know how to yeah, go ahead and build it.
We weren't, we didn't know how to code ourselves. So we started looking into agencies, you know, individual freelance programmers. They give us quotes for developing this thing for us. And we were quoted prices that were so crazy high and we just thought to ourselves. We don't want to spend that much money.
It's just too high of a risk. Isn't there an easier way. And then I actually was, traveling. And randomly discovered Bubble, which you probably know, the web app builder. And then managed to really build this whole platform. And the last six weeks before that we were like talking with developers and so on, they all told us, yeah, it's going to take two, three months, blah, blah, blah.
It's a lot of work. And then I discovered Bubble. I sat down and I like more or less finished a whole platform in two weeks. And this, after these two weeks after we launched them, like a bit later, But that was just at the point for me, where I saw the potential of no code or these no code tools. And, it marked a starting point of my journey into this area.
and from there on I launched probably, I don't know, I didn't count, but probably more than 10 different no-code applications using various different no-code tools. I have my own agency, which focuses on developing software with no code tools. We have a lot of plugins for Bubble. and of course now since, eight months, roughly we launched NoCode HQ, which should, be a hub, basically for all these people that are non technical and they want to start building their own startup, but they don't know how to code or just don't, can't find anyone and nocode should offer like a nice starting point with templates, tutorials of community and everything you need basically to start building.
So, yeah, that's. Oh, well for introduction. So
Jeremy: [00:02:41] Yes, that's a great, concise, short introduction, but I think it touched on a lot of points there. One I want to unpack, which is this like to you? What is no code? Right. So like a Bubble. Yeah. so Emmanuel is coming on the podcast. I think we haven't them scheduled on podcasts, so like, but, Bubble has like a learning curve.
Right. So like what year was that that you actually built first with bubble and that, where did it go from there?
Noel Lorenz: [00:03:14] I think that was 2018, I guess. and yeah, I mean, you're definitely right. It has a learning curve and I just learned by doing kind of, I remember the first thing I ever built. I did like a small, I just had a search box.
and the search book is search through GIFs, using the Giphy API. and so it was the first thing I built. I was incredibly proud of it. but yeah, and I just continued building, you know, and over time I learned how to, how Bubble works for all these functionalities work with responsiveness. And I know, and so on, so fort
I think the
Jeremy: [00:03:45] Bubble is probably the biggest leader.
And I mean, I would consider Zapier like the biggest no-code player. Like I've. I think if you look at traction brand awareness, like every app connects to Zapier, right.
Noel Lorenz: [00:04:02] And workflow probably is also big as well. I would say.
Jeremy: [00:04:05] Yeah. Webflow is probably the second biggest. Now, if it's like app based, it is Bubble and, but like we've, I've discovered.
So like we built a solution. that's like a visual builder. where we say it's like zero learning curve and we're still, we're putting it out piece by piece, giving it to people. and we'll be launching it here big time, like maybe on product time in the next month or so, so like, it's cool that like, I built that as a no coder.
Right. And then like built a team around it. So when you say you started like the no-code agency. Like, do you have, is it, is there technical people there? Is it just the non technical people who are building well, there are they building with no code? So like, is it just a bunch of no coders or your extra agency comprise of.
Noel Lorenz: [00:04:58] Yeah, no, actually it's just a bunch of no coach. We have one technical person now, because sometimes there's something we need with custom code, you know, something that's missing and it kind of helps us to extend that. But otherwise, no, we're all know coders and we haven't had any issues yet. yeah, which
Jeremy: [00:05:14] brings up, I think one of the best points is the site that we launched.
No code ceo.com. Like it teach, it is a resource. For people who want to monetize no-code because there's not a lot of resources out there that are geared toward making money with it. It's very hobby based or side project based. And your agency is one way to do that.
Noel Lorenz: [00:05:40] Exactly. Yeah. So,
Jeremy: [00:05:42] yeah. How big can that get for you?
Noel Lorenz: [00:05:46] I mean, really big. I mean, I have one nice case study. That was like a year ago. We had like a, I was talking to a business owner. He owned like a chain of restaurants, eight restaurants in Berlin and what we did for him, we kind of build a whole internal management platform, with PR Employee recruiting.
So kind of, we, we had ads running for him on social media, on Facebook, which would then bring the potential employees to a landing page, which was built in Bubbled, dynamically generated. And they could apply to a certain job position at one of his restaurants and he would get all of the applications within his own dashboard under his own domain.
His employees could have access to it. They could go through the applications. So that was like a fully built system for him. And we did like honestly in like two weeks, the whole thing. Yeah, I mean, it was crazy and he was really, really happy. Of course, we were able to charge them less than what normal agencies would charge, I guess, which is also an advantage.
So we win to be honest, and I see a lot of potential there. I mean, there's already a lot of agencies out there and there will be a lot of local agencies coming.
Jeremy: [00:06:54] How big revenue wise do you think you can get a no code agency to. Like you said, that project's probably smaller. Like you can build them smaller.
That's good for the customer side or getting customers, but like how much do you make revenue wise with something like that? Or what I mean, having a potential,
Noel Lorenz: [00:07:10] I think it's hard to give the number here, but I think it's as no code, the popularity of No code tools rise, which has happening currently. I think the revenue is gonna increase, to an extent where there is no difference to a, let's say normal agency.
And I mean, normal agencies can get quite a nice revenue. So, I think there isn't quite a big difference.
Jeremy: [00:07:30] Yeah. So like, I guess you talk about how no code is, I mean, more or less in its infancy, where would you put no code right now? And where do you think it could grow?
Noel Lorenz: [00:07:43] Yeah, again, quite hard to say, like one year ago, I use Pablo.
I was in the forum, but people weren't talking about it that much. And then roughly at the end of last year, I think start to get more or no code start to get more popular, especially on Twitter. Like this whole no-code movements start to emerge, kind of people were using the hashtag and all of that. so there was a small hype and it's still there, but I still think we're in the early phase.
I mean, honestly,
Jeremy: [00:08:10] What do you think ignited that just last year, do you
Noel Lorenz: [00:08:12] think? I don't know, to be honest. I mean, there wasn't one single event that costs that I think it was just a. I don't know what to be honest. I can't tell you.
Jeremy: [00:08:24] I was gonna say, I think, cause Webflow, raves, I think 72 million last year Bubble raised some money last year.
You really do see this kind of, this wave of no code coming over. and there's also something out there called low code. You know, the difference between low code and no code.
Noel Lorenz: [00:08:45] Yeah, I know the difference. I mean, low-code is the environment where, when you use low amounts of code and try to minimize the amount of code you write, obviously, and no code uses completely no code at all, but I would argue to a certain extent if you rebuild a big application on a Bubble, I would also call that local because we built a bit, a lot of big application Bubble and we use a lot of custom plugins, which we develop ourselves.
Jeremy: [00:09:18] yeah, sure. Cause you have to, so low code would be putting some kind of your own customized code onto a no code platform.
Noel Lorenz: [00:09:27] Exactly. Yeah.
Jeremy: [00:09:29] Interesting. Cool. How easy, I guess, should an app be to make with no code in your opinion?
Right. Like what, like you said, bubble has a learning curve, for sure. Like, we've actually had some customers that have come from Bubble going. You might as well learn a programming language. Yeah. So
Noel Lorenz: [00:09:49] like, wha
Jeremy: [00:09:50] how easy do you think it should be versus how complex do you think it should be? Right. Cause I think you give a little, right?
Noel Lorenz: [00:10:01] go ahead. Okay. Yeah, no, that's an excellent question. I think you have to find the right balance because there's some no-code tools which are super, super easy, and you can literally build an app in under 10 minutes and you show it to someone they're blown away, but you probably won't build a huge application for a client using this no-code to, I mean, depends again, but it's you really start to get to the limits quite fast and with something like Bubble.
To be honest, we haven't really reached any limits with Bubble. We had some performance issues sometimes and a few things that I wouldn't build a game or something and bubble, but otherwise it's almost the possibilities are almost endless. So for me, complexity is good because it gives me freedom to go into any direction I want.
But on the other hand, Two four new, no coders. I think, complexity is bad because they think to themselves, well, that's almost as hard as learning how to code. So why should I jump in? As you mentioned, so.
Jeremy: [00:11:00] Yeah, no, absolutely. I think, one of the things that I try to focus on as like a nontechnical person who does not know how to code.
I try to focus on obviously, how would a nontechnical person build something, right? Like they're gonna, you, you start to sketch and build it visually. Everyone will build it visually. So it has to start with that visual and you have to kind of hide the complexity and we kind of did that with our platform, which I, I should give you access to.
So you can, I can get your opinion. definitely. So everything we build is like, we try to hide all the complexity in the background. Like if it's complete DIY, that is kind of hard, right? So like, When you go out and you get a customer for your agency and they say, we want these 10 things. Like, can you really get all those 10 things done or say one of those 10 things needs like some customization.
Is that why you have that technical person? How does that work? If you know the limits of bubble or webflow can do, and you're like, Ooh, I don't know if we can do that. Do you just tell the customer like, Hey, we can't do that. So we're going to charge you less.
How does that work? Cause I'm sure you have to encounter that.
Noel Lorenz: [00:12:21] Yeah, but I mean, first of all, that doesn't happen often to be honest, because people don't want to have to have, I mean, our clients don't want to have like the craziest machine learning application, something like really complex. I mean, the thing is, and that's why no code is so amazing.
People always want something really similar. Most startup ideas always require user authentication. You need some sort of, I don't know, directory people you like, I don't know. Real estate directory, whatever. So you need entries in your database of different types, let's say. so the functionality is always quite similar.
And if we encounter something where we think, we don't know if that's possible, I first of all, talk with my technical person, see what we can do. and if not, I will honestly just tell the client, we say, Hey, look, we use this amazing technology to build this application for you. And. Because we use this technology we're much faster and we save a lot of money.
However, this feature might be a problem for us. And most of the times the client understands and we find some sort of solution or some sort of, kind of way to go around to feature or, you know, to implement it in our, an underway. So we didn't have big issues in the past. And I think,
Jeremy: [00:13:32] yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. I think that really speaks to like putting something into the market and like kind of growing on feedback. Right. So like, as, as an agency, You kind of say, these are the things we can do. And then as you get feedback from the market like that, they want something, you can kind of incorporate that into your offering.
So I think, yeah, I think that's good. So, yeah. Right now, what makes you excited about, no code?
Noel Lorenz: [00:14:03] I'm excited about how much attention gets now, where it starts to get. I think more people should know about it. if I, if I go to, I don't know, developer meetings or just conferences here in Berlin, no one knows about, or almost no one knows about bubbles.
I never, I, I don't know any German person that knows about bubble. Like almost I knew like a hand and all that, a handful. so I think the more people get to know about what's possible. and the bigger the ecosystem gets, we just, we all win. We all profit from that. So I think that's, what's really exciting.
And again, as mentioned, we're just in the starting phase. I think you can go only, only go up from now.
Jeremy: [00:14:37] Yeah. So there are, I, I agree with you completely, like, especially it's weird because Makerpad is European. I think nocode.tech is European yet. Cause I know Nile. A lot of these, a lot of these play, I think bubble wasn't originally European.
Like what, what, what is something about the Europe, European and Nokia? Is there a correlation there? And I'm just kind of thinking about this now, but like you say, it's not big in Germany and it's not big anywhere to be honest. I think on it, we should define what no code is exactly about.
Like a lot of people have no idea what it is and it becomes you and me and all these other people, like you said, on Twitter that are just like screaming about it and how powerful it is. So, yeah. Have you noticed anything like Europe versus America or a lot of players coming in and where they're coming from?
Noel Lorenz: [00:15:35] I didn't think about that to be honest, but maybe that's something to do with where the tech talent is located. Even going in Berlin. We have a lot of tech talent, but maybe in places where there's not that many developers, I could imagine there's more demand for other tools, which enable you to build something.
But that's just a guess. I can't tell you exactly. but I think it's nice that there's some European no-code companies as well, as well as Americans. I think that's a nice. Yeah. Nice.
Jeremy: [00:16:02] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So with no code hq.com, where do you want, where is it now and where do you want that to go specifically?
So that that's not necessarily the agency, right?
Noel Lorenz: [00:16:15] No, no, no. That's separate. That's separate. Yeah.
Jeremy: [00:16:18] So with no code HQ, where do you see it now? And where do you see it going?
Noel Lorenz: [00:16:21] Yeah. So as of today we have like 150, I think, like tutorials and like 70 components or templates, or do you want to call it? And I want to increase that number.
I want to really offer, our members or pro members, kind of a template or tutorial or just resource for it. Every kind of application they can imagine to build. So really that can go on no code HQ. They have an idea for something and in some way or another, we have a resource for them that helps them to build that.
And I think that's possible because again, I mean, most features of certain apps are always the same. You want to do similar things. I built already multiple apps using global/pablo bubble and other no-code tools, and I know what you need to do in these applications. So yeah. I want to create more content. I want to grow the community.
That's really nice as well. we have a nice community and, just want to empower more people to build without codes, and join our community, join no code HQ hopefully learn and start your own business.
Jeremy: [00:17:16] And how can they do that? Like I see that you have become a pro member.
What does that exactly mean
Noel Lorenz: [00:17:23] for people? Yeah, so we have like a lot of free resources and you can join the community for free, but then we also offer a pro subscription where you, gain access to all the tutorials that we created until now, for various no-code tools, as well as we have pre-made templates.
So for glide, you can get an application and so on. So really becoming a problem or allows you to get all the resources you need. When starting your nocode journey, because that's exactly what I would have wanted. When I started like two and a half years ago, I was a bit lost. I just fumbled around. I started building and I think having like a, some content to start off with some things to learn and, and giving yourself a head start, I think that's quite important.
Jeremy: [00:18:05] Okay. So here's how I want to, I want to end this, which is how do you there's no clear cut winner. No billion dollar player in the no-code space. How do you think someone wins in the no-code space? You see that there are little victories, right? But there's no, there's not a clear cut billion dollar unicorn yet.
How do you think we get there as a body? Or how do you see that playing out?
Noel Lorenz: [00:18:39] Yeah. So, I mean, first of all, becoming a billion dollar company is hard either way if you're doing with code or without code. I mean, that's of course quite challenging. and I think we're on the right track. I mean, we have to continue to, tell more people about nocode we have to work together and not against each other.
more nocode tools will come. Some will probably, I don't know, leave again. but I think we're on the right track. We have to. as I mentioned, we tell people about it, stay together in our community. give people the resources, to start building, because I can imagine a lot of people start building without code.
And because there's such a big learning curve in some of these tools, they stopped and again, and they never touch it. And they say, well, yeah, it's as hard as a code. And, and that's of course released. I mean, that's not, that's disappointing because, if they hold off on a bit longer, they probably, they would have been able to do what they wanted.
So, Absolutely. Yeah.
Jeremy: [00:19:28] Yeah. I think that's true. I think that, I think that what you hinted there was the winner of no code. We'll make it easy enough. We'll make it complex on the back. Right. But easy enough on the front for someone to just go in. Make something and then push it out. And I think one, we could get there as a company and then two, I want to talk, I mean, just a, just a tad.
I want to emphasize what you said about the community. Like the community, especially on Twitter, the no-code community has been so welcoming, right? Like bubble is essentially like a competitor of ours and he's like, yeah, I'll come on your podcast. Yeah, right. Like Jeremy, the founder of a dollar, do you know a dollar?
Noel Lorenz: [00:20:13] Yeah, yeah.
Jeremy: [00:20:14] Yeah. He came on the podcast. So it was like, man, there's so much to say about the community and like helping one another I've honestly never seen something like that. Yeah.
Noel Lorenz: [00:20:25] So like, I mean,
Jeremy: [00:20:26] yeah, it's, it's really funny. Were you gonna say something.
Noel Lorenz: [00:20:30] Yeah, no, I mean, yeah, I think we're in this together, you know?
I mean, we, we have to, there's no competition as of now. And I think we, as a community, that's the best way to really grow and get this thing big, no code thing or whatever you want to call it. So
Jeremy: [00:20:48] is that what you call it?
Noel Lorenz: [00:20:50] I mean, there's a lot of debate right now, also on Twitter. no codes, digital programming.
I mean, I don't care. I don't care what it's called, but I think we all know what it is. And that's important. The important thing.
Jeremy: [00:21:02] Absolutely. Well, no, thank you so much for coming on. Tell people where they can find you. What's your Twitter, Twitter handle. I know they can find firstname.lastname@example.org. Right?
Noel Lorenz: [00:21:15] Exactly.
And my Twitter is N L Lawrence with a Z at the end. I post regular there so you can follow me, but yeah, nocodehq.com also. Yeah. If you can find a lot of content there and resources to start building.
Jeremy: [00:21:28] Awesome. Thanks Noel. Thanks for coming on, man. I look forward to staying in
Noel Lorenz: [00:21:31] touch. Yeah.
Thanks for having me.