Over the past five years we’ve created a strong team at Startup Giants. One highly regarded team member is our Tech Venture Builder, Elliott Betito.
Combining UX experience with a deep knowledge of coding, tech and all things web, he sits down with Cherry for a discussion on the future of desktop SaaS apps and all things no-code …
Elliott, you’ve been in this industry for over 10 year now, how has it changed?
In the last ten years the world of online apps and desktop management systems has now only grown massively, it’s also changed in the way that the entire industry can be created. Ten years ago someone who needed a SaaS app created would have had to have put it out to tender from many dev agencies and/or freelance developers who could pretty much name their price. Coding was seen as such a dark art with no ability for the end client to hold the developer accountable.
Clients would come to us wanting to know what the process was and be keen to be assured that the time spent on the project was being utilised properly to make it the best that it could be. Being transparent about the creative process, research and setting clear deadlines for feedback on design mean that we could progress with confidence and design excellent digitised systems.
Flash forward to today and progress has seen no-code app template sites – both desktop and mobile – come into being, enabling essentially anyone to become a developer.
Is that a good thing for the industry and consumers as a whole?
The single most powerful aspect in my opinion to come out of no-code apps is the ability for a startup Founder to be able to create their MVP quickly and cheaply, test it and then have the required evidence to win investment. No-code apps have unleashed a huge level of creativity – I think it’s something like 3739 apps are added to the Play app store daily – it’s an insane amount of creativity. Essentially, all of the people who had a great idea can now release it, even if it’s in a non-perfect state.
Why is it important to stay current?
Keeping up-to-date on trends and advances is absolutely essential, even if you’re not using them for your own products. In my line of work it’s essential to know what’s being focused on to know how to assist in giving our Startup Giant founders the competitive advantage. I’d argue that in the world of app development, staying up to date is almost too late anyway, you need to be ahead of the curve and try and predict the trends that people will want and need, before they even know that they do.
What are the negative aspects of no-code apps that Founders need to be wary of?
For me there are two elements to the answer to this: Firstly, good tech companies employ people to sit at a desk all day, every day and research new apps that are released. These companies have the budget, time and man power to be able to adapt the tech in-house and either release it or build it into an app that already exists and market it as another USP. It keeps the little guys, little, as there is only so much you can do with no-code app design before you require the freedom that actual coding gives you to create whatever you dream of.
Secondly: I also think the danger of no-code apps is that the user experience is not as considered. People who are un-used to the creative tech design process will not necessarily think of all of the aspects that an experienced coder will think of, let alone have the ability to adjust it.
How can the startups take on the massive tech giants?
Many of the tech companies have got where they are today by having a simple idea and releasing it. The success of that simplicity has made them grow and employ large teams of staff who are constantly looking to grow and update the initial tech. Whilst it’s obviously good to develop your systems, I do feel that in many cases, the tech has been developed for the sake of it, and not for the sake of its consumers who wanted a simple solution. Having to relearn how your tech works every few months due to updates is annoying and I think there’s a gap for Founders who recognise the time saving attributes of creating apps that solve problems simply and quickly for people. Apps were initially invented to make lives easier for people, overcomplicating them has left a space ready for people to swoop in and simplify for purpose once again.
With so many apps being introduced each year, where do you think the gaps will appear for new innovation?
In areas of new innovation itself, which is, once again, why it’s so important to stay current, not only in your own industry but in correlating ones as well. You never know where a new segment of your customer base may come from.