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May 14, 2019 10:54:40

The Maker Economy: Learn to Code

by @basilesamel PATRON | 538 words | 493🔥 | 544💌

Basile Samel

Current day streak: 493🔥
Total posts: 544💌
Total words: 242521 (970 pages 📄)

The No-Code Movement has its advantages: you can build minimum viable products and proofs of concept in minutes for free, and no-code development platforms are incredibly easy to use. Making a personal website or manipulating databases have become common tasks where programming creativity is not inherently fundamental. Reinventing the wheel is overkill in those use cases, and not everyone is interested in learning how to code. Generally speaking, no-code tools are for people willing to outsource all coding activities.

If you're a tech maker, however, learning how to program will give you tremendous entrepreneurial powers. Notice I wrote "learning how to program", and not "learning how to code". Anyone can code, but programming takes a lot of tacit knowledge.

Each piece of code is a brick: you can stack code together to obtain a wall, a program. There are many ways to build a wall. Some will resist the strong winds, some will collapse at the first breeze. Programming is the craft of building sustainable programs, for machines and humans alike.

And this is precisely the huge difference between home-made quality software and no-code tools: the former is built with both sustainability and customizability in mind, its essence is organic.

Of course, the learning curve to master a no-code tool is way smoother, because you sacrifice several benefits of making things yourself.

Coding stuff yourself is cheap: you can start running a startup with a few bucks. All you need is a domain name, some elbow grease, sometimes a web server, and you are set. You trade time for money and knowledge. I started monetizing 200 Words a Day along with three other websites for $20 a month. Bubble for professional use starts at $62 per month. Wix for businesses starts at $18 per month, but you also have to get yourself a bank account, pay for a domain name, and you are limited to one website.

Programming is becoming independent. The more you rely on external companies to help you, the more restricted you are: a tightly-coupled solution cannot work by itself, by definition. If your solution provider is experiencing a breakdown or decides to raise its price, you are at its mercy. Using development tools is a creative trade-off: you can choose the design template you like, but you are still limited. The appeal of creative freedom is what got me into learning some code in the first place: I was a 13-year-old teenager who loved joining role-play phpBB forums, and I wanted to build my own forum. I started with phpBB forum generators. I quickly felt limited by the built-in parameters so I decided to learn how to make a website.

Learning enables social aggregation. All successful tech entrepreneurs belong to one or several tribes because humans are inherently social: indie hackers, YC alumni, makers... we all need labels to strive. On the other hand, sharing and contributing is inherent to programming: what you learn is content you can distribute. Knowledge commands respect and recognition, learning how to program is thus a way to develop your network. From an entrepreneurial point of view, developers are extremely interesting because they are educated early-adopters, not afraid - sometimes excited - of trying out new technologies to give valuable feedback.

... to be continued tomorrow

From Basile Samel's collection:

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    @basilesamel reading this series with great interest. Been a fan of the no-code movement, but after doing the 1 product a month thing last year, learned about its pros and cons. It's great for MVPs for sure, but like you said, independence and customisability is an issue. And gonna need that for my product ambitions moving forward. And so now, to use your words, I'd been learning to "program"! Done with some html/css/js/php/mysql basics, want to start on Rails soon. I noticed you used a php framework for 200wad...was there any specific reason? Genuinely curious to learn...

    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 14, 2019 20:13:11
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      @jasonleow I'm using a framework because it's extremely cleaner than random php files :P

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 14, 2019 14:43:44
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      @basilesamel any technical reason why php for 200wad? Or just went with what you're good at?

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 14, 2019 21:26:34
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      @jasonleow I'm good at it, it's cheap, and it's become good performance-wise.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 14, 2019 16:16:15
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      @basilesamel thanks for sharing

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 14, 2019 22:41:15
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