Food Still Good - an app to keep track of how long your food is still good.

Food Still Good

Portrait of the maker

Sally

Maker

Maker
Mid level
6
hours to build

How to use no-code to build an mvp, and quickly validate your idea

What is it:

Food Still Good - an app to keep track of how long your food is still good.

What did I learn:

1. Product strategy - If you're new to no-code and have not learned any new tools, which ones do you start with? Do you start building with some lower learning curve less powerful no-code tools or do you start with higher learning curve but complex?

That very question is why I created Side Project Stack and launched the Get Stackd tool that answers that question for you.

The basic principle to learn here is that always go with the tools you already know or have the shortest learning curve so that you can validate by creating an actual product and/or charge actual money.

Building iteratively with tools that have lower learning curves. What's the best strategy and what risks do I have?
I have seen many many more projects fail because the Makers have not finished them due to many factors, but chief among them the project takes a lot of effort, takes too long or becomes to complex to build that the Maker abandons the project.

More projects fail not because they couldn't get them validated but because they overbuilt them. So your risk is your limited time. To mitigate that risk you must build quickly and validate quickly. There is nothing more draining than creating a massive product, that you have not validated yet or worse you have started to create but you're just not getting a lot of momentum to finishing it.

No-code side project principle:

1. Build small, start with the lowest learning curves to produce the highest quality mvp or v1 possible and charge money as early as possible (depending on your strategy)

So what is the risk? The issue you could run into is, lets say you do get traction with your product. Now you've got to expand the feature set or scale it. Now what? the problem is your current tech stack won't take you to scalability. So now what? The risk of starting with a simpler stack is you'll then have to abandon those no-code tools and move into more complex ones like Bubble or Webflow.

This is a GREAT problem to have. The key to building is doing so quickly, validate fast and know exactly what you're users need. Not by what they tell you they need but by what they show you they need.

Many no-code haters dislike the product strategy of using many tools instead of just one to create a product. The fact is they wrap their heads around solving it from a development standpoint not a product making one.

For example, I am a product manager that owns products that millions of people use every week and one that generates millions of dollars in ARR. When building with code, we have technical debt, refactoring and in particular we are going to have to completely start over with one major platform we have our product on because the existing code is almost 10 years old and it won't scale where we need to go for the next 10 years.

People scoff at having to build a product using different tools and then re-building the product later down the road. The fact is, that's just the lifecycle of technology. No matter if you are using code or no-code.

Start small. Low learning curve tools. Validate some part of your value prop. And feel the sweet sweet sensation of momentum as you build your product alongside your users.

2. No-code tool product insight - use the best of both worlds by combining Webflow + Coda. I saw all of this in point 1 to set up and talk about this beautiful app made by Sally. She uses Webflow for the front end to display what her product does. Then uses Coda to create the actual application.

This is a great strategy because she uses a tool she is familiar with in Webflow and then makes a really great product making choice. Instead of using a tool with a higher learning curve in Bubble or Webflow's complex backend, she uses Coda. A tool with much less learning curve to create some basic logic rules to create a working application. As a user you can log in, save items to your personal food tracker and inventory it so that you can track how many days until it spoils.

This is a winning strategy by Sally. Instead of overbuilding it, she used the tool with a small learning curve to produce an actual output. Like a working application. The drawbacks with using a tool like Coda is that it's UI is not as friendly and as flexible as a real application that you can customize. That is the tradeoff.

However, this is a very acceptable tradeoff. There is something to a product if you can validate people will pay or use it when it is ugly, you are increasing the validation signal that you are on to something with your product. This is counterintuitive thing about making. If I make something that is ugly no one will want it.

Three reasons why you should get over that, and ship it when you feel like it is ugly or not complete:
1. if your product really solves a problem for your users, your users wont care. They only care what your product can do for them
2. Save time to validate the core essence of what your product does. Not make it pretty and pixel perfect. Until you get actual validation, you could be wasting your time on a part of your product that doesn't matter.
3. The bell curve of adoption states that your first users actually prefer that it is an unfinished product. So that they can be the first to try it, and many prefer to give input and shape the product as if they are receiving private consulting.

Making and launching is a race against time. Don't be romanticized into creating something perfect. It was Reid Hoffman who said, "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

3. No-code app product - Coda is similar to Notion in that it works with a limited UI but you can do many web app types of things. For example, you can build basic logic cases around actions that happen in the app, you can store information or link to other pages and create an "experience".

My recommendation is that if you're looking to try and create a product that produces some type of output, Coda can help you because it is a lower learning curve tool and powerful enough to create basic functions that deliver an output. This app is a perfect example of it. You can add foods to your tracker, and in your tracker it counts down the days to when the food spoils.

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