How Bubble founders are making coding obsolete

Today’s guest says that his company is going to make coding obsolete. If anything, they’re going to probably be building or teaching people how to build using his creation.

Emmanuel Straschnov is the cofounder of Bubble, a visual programming language for web and mobile applications.

We’re going to find out how he did it. Frankly, this isn’t just a vision for the future. It’s a real sustainable business today. It’s bootstrapped. It’s doing well. I invited him to talk about how well and how he got here.

Emmanuel Straschnov

Emmanuel Straschnov

Bubble.is

Emmanuel Straschnov is the cofounder of Bubble, a visual programming language for web and mobile applications.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview proven entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses.

Today’s guest says that his company is going to make coding obsolete. You will not have to learn all of these different coding languages that people like Ryan Carson from Team Treehouse or Treehouse has come on here to say that he created or the founders of Hack Reactor. If anything, they’re going to probably be building or teaching people how to build using his creation. You’re smiling as I say that. That is your future. You don’t think this is ridiculous even though some people think it’s ridiculous, do you?

Emmanuel: Definitely not, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now.

Andrew: It’s not just pumping. It’s not just promoting. This is your vision. You think people are not going to learn how to code. They’re going to use your software to code instead visually.

Emmanuel: It’s actually already happening. We have more than 130,000 users. Those people are not coding and using our tool. We’re not at the point where the whole world uses us, so I can’t make that statement that coding is obsolete, but we certainly have the technology and the vision to get there.

Andrew: All right. The person whose voice you just heard is Emmanuel Straschnov. He is the cofounder of Bubble. It’s a visual programming language for web and mobile applications whose goal is to make code obsolete. They want to make it so easy that you can kind of drag and drop what you want on to a screen and code that way. We’re going to find out how he did this. Frankly, this isn’t just a vision for the future. It’s a real sustainable business today. It’s bootstrapped. It’s doing well. I invited him to talk about how well and how he got here.

This interview is sponsored by two companies, which would be affected by Emmanuel’s vision of the world. The first is HostGator, for hosting your website. The second is the company that will help you hire developers. It’s called Toptal. We’ll talk about which one of those he thinks is going to be out of business because of him and which one is going to adjust to his way of thinking. I love that you took those bold statements before the interview started. All right. Emmanuel, good to have you here.

Emmanuel: It’s great to be here.

Andrew: All right. You’re not just some kid sitting in his room with an idea of the world trying to shock us with what you think could be. You’ve built a business. You started this business back in 2012. Today, you have real revenue. What’s the revenue for, let’s say, 2017, full year?

Emmanuel: A little bit over $1 million.

Andrew: You guys profitable?

Emmanuel: Yeah. We have to be. We haven’t raised any money from the beginning, so we have to be profitable. Otherwise, we would be out of business.

Andrew: I feel like you’ve got what Mark Suster would proudly say, a chip on your shoulder about being bootstrapped. Why are you so proud of that?

Emmanuel: I think there is a new trend these days about you can’t start a business without raising money. It has not been the case for more than 2,000 years. Businesses have been around, whether it’s a small store like 1,000 years ago. All those businesses have been around and have thrived and have become some huge companies today.

Those people did it very simply. You create something that has value. You sell it to people. They buy it. They pay you. You have money. You hire more people and you grow. I think that’s a very healthy way to start a business. You might need some time for initial investment, some capital injection. It turns out that with the cost of technology going down and actually Bubble is a perfect tool to make the cost of technology even lower business you don’t need to hire engineers anymore and it goes faster than writing code.

So all these new tools right now make building a business much less capital-intensive than it used to be. I think that’s the way forward, personally. Yes. I’m very proud of being bootstrapped.

Andrew: Your bootstrapping and coding days go back to when you were 12. Tell people the software you wrote at 12 and what happened with it.

Emmanuel: Yeah. That goes back more than 12 years ago. I grew up in the countryside in a fairly quiet area where I didn’t have that much to do, so—

Andrew: The German countryside?

Emmanuel: French countryside, actually.

Andrew: Okay.

Emmanuel: So what happened is I had pretty quiet nights. That was before the web. That was before a lot of things. I started programming when I was 12, actually initiated by my English teacher, [inaudible 00:04:02], who was coding some small things to teach us some English vocabulary and stuff like that. So what happened is I realized I could do the same thing. It was not exactly the same, but the same spirit for German language, which was something that was causing a little trouble to a lot of my classmates.

Andrew: That’s why I thought you were from Germany originally. How did you figure out that you were going to create something that would teach people German? What was your German background?

Emmanuel: That was just what I was learning in high school, and I had issues with classmates learning those words.

Andrew: Okay. So you said, “Whatever I learned I can teach using . . .” Okay. You started coding the software yourself?

Emmanuel: What’s that?

Andrew: You started coding the software yourself?

Emmanuel: I think that was fairly simple. That was on MS-DOS for the audience that is a little bit older.

Andrew: How old are you? Sorry. I keep interrupting you and I should not interrupt. There’s just a lot of lag. That’s why it sounds like I’m interrupting. How old are you? Do you feel comfortable saying it?

Emmanuel: Yeah, 35.

Andrew: 35. Okay. Sorry, you were saying what happened with the software.

Emmanuel: Yeah. So what happened is that I realized there was a market. Some people were struggling. They were happy with what they were doing in English as I was helping them, and I was like, “Well, there is probably an opportunity to do the same thing with another language,” which is actually more painful to learn because English vocabulary is easier than German vocabulary, for some reason.

So I was writing these things. I didn’t make too much money at the time, but I probably made a few hundred dollars, which when you’re 12 is significant. That was the first time that I would actually create something and sell it, which was a very rewarding feeling.

Andrew: Then later on in life, you were working at Prada and you had this chance meeting with a guy named Josh. Is Josh your cofounder?

Emmanuel: Yes.

Andrew: How did you guys meet?

Emmanuel: So, actually, Josh started Bubble, which was not called Bubble at the time, a little bit before I joined him, like a few months before. So what happened, Josh was looking for a business cofounder. He started working on the idea. Again, it was not called Bubble, but the vision was already there. He thought that he needed a business cofounder to grow the business.

So he was talking to some of his friends, and I was in business school at the time. Some of his classmates, we both went to Harvard. He went there for college a few years before I went there for business school. Some of his classmates from college went to business school with me and physically made the connection.

That’s actually what—there are two interesting things about how we met. Firstly, when I met him, I had expiring job offers the following day. I went to that coffee and said, “It’s great to meet you. I have this job. I’m going to take it. They’re taking care of my immigration status,” which when you’re not a citizen can be a little bit stressful at times.

So the conversations really started maybe we do something together in two years, but right now, let’s just network. After like three hours, he told me, “Are you sure you don’t want to give it a try?” I was like, “Well, that sounds interesting?” We literally partnered on the spot. So when we decided to work together, we didn’t know each other. Six years later, we’re still together.

Andrew: What’s the idea that he put out there that got you to change the course of your life?

Emmanuel: Well, the idea was what it is today. The idea is that building software should not rely on code. I have to say it was more. The idea was appealing but even better, I had a very good intellectual fit with them, kind of like a love at first sight type of thing, which was what got me to say yes.

Andrew: You know what? Years ago, back, I think, in the early 2000s, maybe even before that, Om Malik, who’s now the investor, basically wrote an article on Forbes Magazine saying, “You will not have to code anymore. All the pieces you need to create apps are going to be available to you, just pick them up off the shelf, combine them and you have it.” That had not happened. It still hasn’t happened except you’re saying Bubble is doing it today.

Emmanuel: Exactly. So the idea is not new. It actually goes back even earlier than that. Apple with HyperCard in the late ’80s. Microsoft, I think is a company that tried their hardest to do what we’re doing. Visual basic had some basic. I think it was very visual to build applications. That was basically empowering people like my English teacher when I was 12, who was using it to build things. So Microsoft had a lot of tools. I think what happened is people had given up a little bit on that idea because part of that startup bubble and frenzy, coding is seen as now the key to being happy in life and all those things.

Andrew: I don’t know.

Emmanuel: I would say the year was like 2012 when Facebook IPO’d and all those things. So I think people have given up a little bit on that idea, including big-time companies, by the way.

Andrew: Yes.

Emmanuel: Recently, Tim Cook was in France and saying that people should learn code instead of English. Hearing that from someone whose company was started with Macintosh, which was precisely about going from like a command line to icons and an interface, I found that actually very surprising, personally. So I think those big companies have given up on that idea a little bit and now startups are starting again. That’s us. There are a few people that started after us. So we’re part of like the new wave. You’re right. It’s not a new idea. The only thing is it hasn’t been achieved yet because we’re still teaching coding school.

Andrew: So how did Josh deal with the immigration issue, or how did you deal with the fact that you weren’t—this was in the U.S. and you weren’t an American citizen and you had to find a way to get a job or what did you guys end up doing about that?

Emmanuel: Well, it turns out that because he was a U.S. citizen, I was a foreigner, it turns out that if you started a company in the right way, the company can sponsor me so I have like a work visa.

Andrew: So he did that?

Emmanuel: We did that. The company did that.

Andrew: At that point, you became cofounders. Full-on 50-50 owners of the business?

Emmanuel: Almost, yeah.

Andrew: Almost. He has a little bit more.

Emmanuel: Right, precisely for immigration reasons.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Emmanuel: We’re literally talking about 0.01%.

Andrew: So if you own 50-50 . . . if you own 50% of the business or more, you can’t use that as your job for immigration reasons?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: Wow. All right. That’s good to know.

Emmanuel: It blows my chances, but the rationale is that when you’re an employee, you cannot control the company.

Andrew: Okay.

Emmanuel: That’s the reasoning.

Andrew: I’m glad you’re saying that because, frankly, I do feel like there are a lot of smart entrepreneurs out there that I would love to have in the U.S. and I’d love to make them full-on U.S. citizens and I know that they can’t be, so I keep wanting to understand how do people make it work here?

Emmanuel: Can I say something not necessarily nice?

Andrew: Yes, I love it.

Emmanuel: I think starting a company is really hard. Of all the problems I had to handle, my immigration status was the easiest one.

Andrew: Really?

Emmanuel: Yeah. It’s trouble. You need to talk to a lawyer and put these things together, but honestly, I would say like that if that’s something that’s stopping you from moving forward, that probably means you’re going to have more trouble down the line.

Andrew: All right. So if that was the easiest or one of the easiest, what was a hard one? Let’s not have you come across as just an arrogant prick. You’re someone who is in touch with the challenges of running a business. What’s one of the tough ones?

Emmanuel: So there were two things. One of the tough things of what Bubble is just it takes a very, very long time to get to a product that people can actually start using. So the first three years, even though we had a few beta customers, but honestly less than 100, it was very lonely. Since we hadn’t raised any money, it was just the two of us. So the two of us for three years, we were writing code that not many people cared about. So that’s a long-term, every day hard thing.

More specifically about what we do, the pressure of building something like Bubble is extremely high because all customers use Bubble for their businesses and in some ways, their business is their lives. If we go down, their business goes down. They basically lose their job, with all the consequences that can go with that. That’s very challenging and hard, like making sure that you have to say no sometimes when they ask you things, but there are limits to how much you do that. Handling that pressure was probably the hardest thing we had to handle.

Today it’s a little bit better because now the platform is much more stable. We have more users. Those things work better even though I’m still expecting rough times ahead of us because that’s always happened with scaling, but I would say you’re three and four. We had a few major customers that had raised a lot of money with a lot of pressure themselves. Putting all that pressure on us was very, very exhausting.

Andrew: How do you mean by pressure? Getting more customers?

Emmanuel: No, actually. If you start having one big customer that starts scaling pretty quickly, he’s going to call you because he’s going to say the platform is slow or like there are features that are missing and you have to deliver. At the end of the day, we succeed if they succeed. So it’s very high pressure. And then you have conflicting because one customer might want one thing but another one might want another thing. The problem with something like Bubble is that we are extremely central to their lives, probably more so than most tools out there.

Like AWS is very central if you use Amazon for your website. It’s a very big company, right? If your analytics tool is not perfect and a feature is missing, you’re going to send them an email. They’re going to say, “Thank you. We’ll think about it.” A year later, you have forgotten about it. If it’s something like Bubble where you’ve built your entire business on and there is a feature that is missing, it’s something that our customers would not forget and keep emailing us.

Andrew: I can’t take my business away from you because it’s all built on your platform. I can’t find another hosting company because others aren’t compatible with Bubble.

Emmanuel: Right. You can export your data, like we don’t own any of your data. However, the technology that is running the application is proprietary. Yeah.

Andrew: How long did it take you to build this out, the visual way of coding?

Emmanuel: It’s a tricky question, because we always were live. There’s probably something we’re not very good at, which is managing a news effect and launching things. So what essentially we were doing was launching constantly. So we had the first version of the product live and our first paying customer that’s at six months.

Andrew: Within six months? What could it do in six months? What did that first version do?

Emmanuel: Very little.

Andrew: What was in that little?

Emmanuel: You could have account management, like a signup system, create entries in the database. That was pretty slow, no real time and date, no connecting to any kind of external services. We got to the point where we felt we were ready to launch publicly and support a lot of things three years later. So I would actually qualify our MVP, we were MVP ready for a public launch in October of 2015.

Andrew: How’d you find your first customer, considering how much was not there?

Emmanuel: At tech meetups, actually.

Andrew: At tech meetups?

Emmanuel: Right. A lot of people were looking for technical cofounders, like coders are impossible to find. In New York, they organize those kind of meetups where people just go there, hope to find an engineer to start a company, and at those things, you have one engineer for ten business people. So we would go there and talk to business people and say, “Well, we can’t be your tech founder because that’s not what we are. However, we have a product that might help you do that by yourself.”

Andrew: And did you learn anything by having those kinds of conversations?

Emmanuel: Yeah. Definitely. We learned two things. First, we found our first customers, which is how we got to where we are today, because as I was saying, the first few years were rough because it was mostly building a product for very few people. However, having people that were extremely engaged on the platform because their businesses were entirely relying on us is what kept us going through, and we learned a lot about what was working and not working. That was the first thing.

The second thing we learned is that the level of skepticism around this idea is extremely high, which is not necessarily a bad thing because when you know that you have something that actually will deliver what you say and you know that you’re not lying to yourself, then you’re like, “Okay, I have something very valuable here.” But it’s a tough sell.

Andrew: Okay. I’m looking, by the way, at your Product Hunt launch, which happened years later even though it’s kind of a launch on Product Hunt, the enthusiasm is off the charts. It’s like 3,300 upvotes on that.

Emmanuel: 3,000, yeah. That was October 2015. What happened is that we waited long enough to have a product that was actually very good at the time, like a very good MVP. So the Product Hunt community is a little bit perfect for us because those are like tech-savvy people but not necessarily very technical. So that went very well very quickly. I owe them a big drink because that had a fantastic [inaudible 00:16:46].

Andrew: You’re not the only one. There are so many companies—I don’t know if today they have as much power to launch a company as they did a couple of years ago, but there are so many companies that were just kickstarted with traffic and users back then. Product Hunt users are good. They’re specifically looking for a product. They want to try it. They are geeks about it, the kinds of people that their friends would go and ask for software recommendations. So that’s how you got your first customers, going out to events, constantly coding. Was it just you and Josh building out the product for the first two, three years?

Emmanuel: For the first five years, actually.

Andrew: For the first five years?

Emmanuel: Yes.

Andrew: Then how long did it take you to make enough money to survive?

Emmanuel: So we started living without using our savings in late 2014, so after two years.

Andrew: How much money did you need to bring in, in order to do that?

Emmanuel: Something like $15k a month. It felt great. You don’t have an amazing lifestyle with that, but at least the business is not costing you anything anymore.

Andrew: All right. Let me take a moment to talk about my sponsor. You tell me if you guys are going to crush this sponsor or if this sponsor is going to live. Why don’t I start with HostGator? Do you know HostGator?

Emmanuel: I know it by name, yes. I haven’t played with their product.

Andrew: They’re a website hosting company. With one-click install, you can install things like WordPress and be ready to publish and have any site up and running. What do you think of that? Are you guys going to crush them, or are they going to survive?

Emmanuel: If we do well, they’re going to have a hard time, because essentially we host everything on our platform. Once you build something on Bubble through our visual interface, we host everything for you. You don’t need to worry about service. You don’t even need to know what a server is. That’s really fundamentally what it is.

It’s a little bit similar, by the way, to what happened 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, people would build their own computers and you would have to know what a motherboard is, right? [Who 00:18:42] worries about that? It’s just works. It’s a high-level of abstraction. We’re going one step further, where you don’t even need to know whether the server is in some data center somewhere. So if we do well, all websites would be hosted by Bubble, which would make their life a little bit harder.

Andrew: Or could it be that something else happens, the opposite, kind of like what happened with blogging years ago. Blogging years ago, you would use something like Movable Type or LiveJournal, one of those sites. You’d publish on someone else’s site, they took care of everything.

WordPress, what, 2003 came out and they started creating an open source version of this blogging platform, kept improving it with community feedback, and then today WordPress has one-click install of WordPress and anyone could install it on HostGator, and if you’re not happy with it, you could take your WordPress install to someone else. Do you think the same thing is going to happen to you?

Emmanuel: I don’t know. It could. We actually thought about open source two years ago. It’s a complicated problem, and you need to be a little bit careful about that one. So we decided that it was too early for us to make a decision there. If we were to go through that path, yes, we could imagine a similar model. The problem when you do that, though, is that you can create—you have to make sure you keep control of the software so that it keeps getting better and you don’t have too much inertia with too many forks and stuff like that. So that’s why we haven’t done that. If we were to do it, yes, you can imagine that. Right now, it’s not the plan we have.

Andrew: It may not be your plan. What if somebody else sees what you’re doing and says, “You know what? We’re going to open source this thing. It can’t be that one company controls all the software creation on the internet and all the hosting. We’re going to create an open source version of Bubble.” You’re smiling as I say that. Why? What do you think?

Emmanuel: Well, if they manage to do that and it’s better than Bubble, then it’s great.

Andrew: [inaudible 00:20:32] it.

Emmanuel: It’s fine. At the end of the day, what I care most about is empowering people to create things easily. If someone does a better job than us, then it’s perfect. What sounds a little bit unlikely is someone just looking at our product and being like, “We’re going to create exactly the same thing and open source it.” It doesn’t really work that way. So someone could come with a competing solution and you could see it’s a better solution, then I’m totally fine with that.

Andrew: All right. Well, if anyone out there wants to until this business gets, I don’t know what happens to it with Bubble, if you want to start a website, I like going to HostGator because it’s inexpensive and it just freaking works. So when you have an idea, just toss up a website and see what happens.

Someone on Twitter, a guy named Leland Dieno said, “Hey, listen, Andrew, I’m not a hater but you said in past interviews that the first thing someone should do is not start a website, and then you go and do an ad for HostGator when you say when someone has an idea, they should put it on HostGator and just start a website for it. What gives, Andrew?”

I get it. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Here’s what I mean. There is a lot of credibility that comes from having a website. If you tell me, for example, Emmanuel, that you are a swim instructor, maybe I’ll listen, maybe not. If you tell me if you’re a swim instructor and you say, “Go check out my website, EmmanuelSwimInstructor.com,” I believe it that you’re a swim instructor. All you need, though, is a homepage landing page with a button that says “Contact me.”

Emmanuel: That’s very true, but I would actually go further. Two things. Firstly, if you just need to build a homepage, you have great tools out there for that, then Bubble is probably overkill. What Bubble is really good at is to build web applications. So let’s say you want to build—

Andrew: Hang on a second. I’m talking about HostGator today. What I’m suggesting if someone out there has an idea, should they build a website or not? What am I saying here? Here’s what I’m saying. Build a homepage landing page, just put it up there because it gives you tremendous credibility. Even if all you do is email customers and that’s how you get your customers . . . you’re saying something. Go ahead.

Emmanuel: Right. But what I was getting is I would even go much further. I think any business in the future, anyone is going to be in some ways tech-enabled, because software and the internet is how every business is going to get built. Even if you want to sell bakery, like bread, it’s not even about credibility. It’s about distributing, because that’s how people expect to be buying things today. So in that sense, yes, you definitely need an online presence, which to me will have to go further than a simple homepage.

Andrew: But I’m talking about when you’re starting out, you have an idea. You want to pursue it. A landing page, a homepage makes a ton of difference when you’re talking to someone. Now, are you saying at some point, does it need to actually do distribution and actually take orders and send it? Absolutely. Does it need to do more than just be there? Yes, absolutely. But I’m saying you get an idea, you toss a website up, and then you email someone and say, “Hey, I’m selling my services as a swim instructor. Would you be interested? Here’s my website, EmmanuelOnSwimming or EmmanuelSwimInstructor.com.”

Boom. It adds a lot of credibility. You don’t need to develop it any further, and then you can start having a conversation about selling your service. That’s all I’m saying when I say throw up a website. That, frankly, could work for anything at all. You want to go to your school.

How about this? You want to get a job. You tell them I’m serious about a job. Imagine somebody wanting to work at—well, not Bubble, let’s say at Mixergy. They say, “I want to get a job, Andrew.” I get it. You want to get a job. But imagine if they bought HireMeAndrew.com or MixergyHireMe.com. Now I know this person has really put some effort into it. Frankly, what effort did they put in? One-click install of WordPress, buy a domain, it’s nothing. It’s easy, but it carries the perception of credibility because it feels like you put a lot of work into it.

So that’s all I’m saying. Any idea you have, toss up a website for it, use HostGator because it’s inexpensive and it just works. One-click install of WordPress means that you can find any number of themes. They give you I don’t know how many, 4,500 website templates. I don’t care about that. You can find infinite templates, it feels like, on the internet. Pick one that you like, throw it up on your HostGator website, and now you’re in business. With a little tweaking, it looks just right for you.

Then as your business grows, you can keep on growing with HostGator. They will keep scaling up with you. Frankly, if you decide you want to move it to Bubble, you take your domain and you go to Bubble at some point in the future too. You’re not locked in forever.

The nice thing about HostGator is if you like your WordPress website and you want someone else to host it because you don’t like HostGator because something happens, copy your site, move it over to another hosting company, and you’re good to go. But my bet is that like so many people in the Mixergy audience, you are going to be so happy with them that you’re going to continue to stay a customer of HostGator and they’ll continue to stay a sponsor of mine.

So, if you want to sign up, go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. HostGator.com/Mixergy will get you 60% to 62% off. That’s what they’re offering right now. They have a 60% off discount and then one of the other plans has a 62% off discount. I don’t know whose A/B testing led them to think that 62% is more powerful than 60%, but I dig it.

HostGator.com/Mixergy for that and if you’re like Leland and you have any negative feedback for me, bring it. I love it. I’m never put off by that. I feel like I get smarter when you guys challenge me like that. I really appreciate you, Leland, for doing that.

All right. Boy, I’m losing my voice here, aren’t I?

Emmanuel: It’s all right.

Andrew: It is all right, actually. I’m willing to lose my voice. That’s a small price to pay to build a big business. What did you have to give up? What’s the biggest thing you had to give up to build Bubble? Is it personal life? Is it love? What is it?

Emmanuel: Probably comfort.

Andrew: Comfort? What’s an example of comfort?

Emmanuel: Material comfort. When you live on your savings in Manhattan for the first few years, you’re very careful with how much you spend. So you have to be okay with that. I don’t see it as—a lot of people say, especially I was 29 at the time, it’s very risky to start a business. Honestly, not really. If it doesn’t go well after two years, I can find a job and I can even make a great story out of starting a business. That would probably help me find an even better job if I had [inaudible 00:26:29].

Andrew: What about this? You have style. We’re dealing with a webcam here in a dark room. So it’s hard to see, but you’ve got a nice jacket on. You’ve got a t-shirt that looks like a t-shirt, but my sense is it’s probably an expensive t-shirt. You worked at Prada. You at one point in your life were going to go into fashion, full-time luxury, and then you start this company where you can barely make it, barely survive in Manhattan. Was there a time when you couldn’t dress well? Was there something like that that you had to give up?

Emmanuel: Actually, those things are not very expensive.

Andrew: Prada is not expensive?

Emmanuel: This is not.

Andrew: Oh, what you’re wearing. So you have enough style that you can find stuff that’s not expensive and make it look good.

Emmanuel: I guess, yeah.

Andrew: Okay.

Emmanuel: The real cost is a personal—you have to be ready for a few years to have a frugal lifestyle.

Andrew: You were willing to do that and suffer through it?

Emmanuel: I actually think it’s a good thing to do. I think that makes you hungrier to succeed.

Andrew: All right. Let’s continue then with the story. Now you’re going out to these different events. You’re hustling. You’re getting customers. You’re working with your customers. You’re improving the product based on their needs. The first set of users, what did they build on it that was actually useful?

Emmanuel: So our first paying customer was building a financial education platform where people would upload videos to help each other invest their retirement plans or stuff like this. So think about it as a YouTube or Mixergy actually, you could say that, around this very specific topic. They were building the entire platform on Bubble.

Andrew: Teaching?

Emmanuel: Yeah. It was social. So they had contributors and people who would watch those videos. They were trying to create a community around that. I assume, honestly, it’s not really on me because we were providing them with a software solution, not their business model.

Andrew: What was the advantage of them using you as opposed to WordPress? They could host videos on their site using WordPress. They could have had comments and community using WordPress customization.

Emmanuel: If they wanted the same level of customization with WordPress, they would have had to hire a coder, which would have been something like a few thousand, probably $5,000 to $10,000 a month. Instead, we were charging them $50 a month.

Andrew: And they could do it themselves and build it in?

Emmanuel: And they could do it themselves, which actually, in addition to the money, has a huge value because sometimes it’s hard to explain to an engineer where you want them to change. When you do it yourself, you don’t have that problem. So the speed of iteration is much faster. So that’s what they were getting. They were refining the product constantly. The product was changing literally every day, and they were doing that themselves.

Andrew: Look at this on Product Hunt. We’re going to get to it. The number one person on there, 120 upvotes for a comment is Tara Reed. She says, “I’m a non-technical founder, and I’ve been using Bubble for a while now. I built my MVP with it, started bringing in revenue, got into 500 Startups accelerator, and I continue to build with Bubble. I’ve been documenting my experience about building without code here.” I remember seeing her product. I didn’t make the connection to you from there.

Emmanuel: Yeah. She’s been one of our most vocal evangelists, and it’s great.

Andrew: She’s building her product in public with everyone knowing that it’s on your platform that she was doing it.

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh yeah, you know what? Her site is AppsWithoutCode.com. She’s talking about things like Zapier and other tools that are available today to allow people to basically code without code. You’re one of the big ones.

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: When it was time for you guys to hire, how’d you find your first hire and what was it?

Emmanuel: So we waited quite some time, because what happened is that we wanted to build a team from day one. We felt that having a third person, given that Josh and I had been working on Bubble for five years, could lead to tough situations, kind of an old couple bringing in a third person. So we did that fairly late. That was the middle of last year. We hired two engineers on AngelList, actually, which turned out to be a very good place to source talent.

Andrew: AngelList?

Emmanuel: Yeah. So we have two engineers, and we hired a customer person and then a business operation person, which makes us six today. That was pretty quick because we hired the first person, like the first day was like June 6th, and on October 28th or something, we were six, so that was pretty sudden.

Andrew: And why’d you hire so many people at once considering that it was just the two of you for so long?

Emmanuel: We knew since the beginning that there was too big of a project just for two guys. We decided not to raise money. I could get into why we decided not to raise money, but we were not able to hire people. When we started being financially comfortable enough as a company to hire people, we had a lot of things to do and there were—like the six people we have including us, we’re very busy. We have a lot of things to do.

Andrew: All right. Marketing initially happened you going out. When it was time to go beyond you going and meeting your customers at events, what was the next step for getting new users?

Emmanuel: So Product Hunt, actually, turned out—it’s only been word of mouth, essentially.

Andrew: You guys didn’t get to Product Hunt until 2015. You’re saying from 2012 to 2015, the only customers that you got were people who came to you from you going to events . . .

Emmanuel: And word of mouth.

Andrew: . . . or a referral from a friend of a friend. You didn’t have anything else that you were doing?

Emmanuel: That’s right.

Andrew: You weren’t even very public?

Emmanuel: We had a little bit of press. The New York Times wrote something about us, which actually doesn’t convert that greatly because the New York Times is not like real tech publication. So yeah, it was mostly word of mouth.

Andrew: Then the Huffington Post, you wrote some posts on the Huffington Post, I think, about Bubble, right?

Emmanuel: Yeah. I didn’t put a link to Bubble. That was a fundamental thing that was explaining our vision, the title of the post. It actually did extremely well when I published it. “You Shouldn’t Have to Learn How to Code,” but we didn’t want to turn that into a marketing stunt. We didn’t think the product was necessarily ready for that, and so we didn’t. So we didn’t get much users out of that, specifically.

Andrew: This is 2014. You didn’t get users from that?

Emmanuel: Right.

Andrew: Look at this. You barely even mention your company here. There’s no link to Bubble.is in there. It’s just your thoughts.

Emmanuel: That was on purpose. I really cared about what I was writing here, and I didn’t want to make it a marketing stunt.

Andrew: Okay. So then Product Hunt—

Emmanuel: One thing that got us a ton of users and still does today and it’s actually something we didn’t necessarily plan is a community. What I mean by that is a forum. So we have a forum that is extremely active, like a little bit more than 100 posts every day. I really started that at first because it was just Josh and I. I was handling all customer requests on my own, like literally I was processing all those emails myself and that was too much work.

So I started this forum so that people would start helping each other. Obviously, at first, it doesn’t work that way. At first, you ask people to post on the forum, and I was the one answering. What happened at some point is the community starts. What happens is that when you start having a lot of content on a forum, it’s very well-indexed by search engines and that drives a ton of traffic. Like today, 90% of the traffic to our forum is actually coming from Google and not from our own website. That has driven a ton of traffic —

Andrew: Then Product Hunt became a big thing for you. You got one of the top Product Hunt people to list you on Product Hunt, right?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: That was intentional, Ben Tossell. I don’t know Ben, but I do see that Ben posts some of the top things on there. He’s founder of Token Daily.

Emmanuel: He’s now a big Bubble customer, actually.

Andrew: For his site? So TokenDaily.co is on your platform?

Emmanuel: Honestly, I don’t know about that one, but he has a few apps running on Bubble. He does a few things.

Andrew: The thing that you did was go to him. I think that’s really smart. A lot of people think it’s time for me to go on Product Hunt. I’m going to post myself on Product Hunt, and then no one knows about it because you don’t have enough friends. You don’t have enough credibility because you’re not using it. You tell me about it. I love that you disagree with me. Go on.

Emmanuel: No, I totally agree. You need to prepare a little bit with that and reaching out to the team, at least at the time. It was three years ago, so maybe Product Hunt has changed a little bit since it’s been acquired, but at that time, reaching out to the team so that they understand to tell you whether it’s the right fit or not is definitely a better approach.

Andrew: All right. Then that got you customers who actually converted. People came to your site from there, started signing up for Bubble accounts, playing with it and eventually building full sites with it.

Emmanuel: And started paying, yeah.

Andrew: And started becoming paying customers. You know what I like about your site? The freaking onboarding. The onboarding is brilliant. First of all, the homepage is great. Then in a second, you show me how I can create an input box — tell me if I’m remembering this wrong, it’s been awhile — and then a button. And then if somebody types something into the input box and presses the button, it sends a tweet out and you show this is basically our vision. This is what you can do. So I create an account. I went into see, “Can I do that?” and I realize, “Oh, wait, there’s actually more options, more buttons here.” It’s a little overwhelming. But then you guys take me step by step through a tutorial that shows me how I can actually use all those other buttons and features.

Emmanuel: We’re actually very proud of these learning lessons.

Andrew: Yeah. Who created that?

Emmanuel: I did, actually.

Andrew: How did you know to do that?

Emmanuel: Well, honestly, it’s a little bit you think not even critically. We have a complicated interface with a lot of options. How do you teach people how to learn it? Well, you show them where to click. Then the challenge was, “What if they go to the wrong place? How do they come back to the right place?” You build it in a way that—I don’t know if you got into that situation, but if you click on the wrong place, it will bring you back so that it brings you back on track. That’s how we build it. After that, the technical implementation was a little bit of a challenge. But we like that. Bubble is full of those technical challenges. At the end of the day, it’s just about taking the time to think about how to solve it and solve it and write the code for it.

Andrew: What I like about it is—

Emmanuel: One thing back to this learning thing, we actually invested quite some time. It took probably more than a month to build the engine for those lessons like almost full-time. The reason why we did that is from the beginning. That’s what makes us different from a lot of tools out there. So the first thing we tell people when you sign up, you go to this page where you have all those lessons.

We want people to understand that they need to learn. We’re a platform where there is a learning curve, which is we estimate like four or five hours, which honestly is nothing compared to what it would take to do a boot camp to learn how to code. But it’s still significant and it’s very important to convey that. It is very important to do. That’s why we have those lessons, because those lessons and spending quite some time on those lessons is a way to tell people, “Hey, this is a product that gets you pretty far.”

Assuming that you’re learning it, we build those lessons, they work, do them. That’s why we did that from the beginning. We’re different from a lot of tools like website building platforms that are much simpler and don’t necessarily put their customers or users in the [mindset 00:37:26] that they need to learn, like Wix or Squarespace, which is fine because what they enable you to do is fairly simple, like a much simpler website.

Bubble builds web applications while Wix is a static website. So they don’t necessarily need to do that. But for us, it’s necessary. What was happening is that when we didn’t have those lessons, people would sign up. They would look at the interface. They would see, “Oh my god, that’s too many buttons.” They would leave and never come back.

Andrew: Yes. So I think that the natural next step for many people would be to create a video teaching how to do it. So if you want to do a log in with Facebook button on your site, watch this video, we’ll teach you how to do it. You watch the video and then go do it. You said, “No, actually, what we’re going to do is we’re going to point at what you need to click on, tell you what to do within the platform.”

Emmanuel: Yeah, even though we actually have both, because some people like videos. So we have videos.

Andrew: I don’t see the videos. Where do I see the videos on your site?

Emmanuel: Learning center, like the bubble that has /documentation and you have a few videos there.

Andrew: Oh, I guess I’m in Bubble lessons, which is different.

Emmanuel: Right.

Andrew: I do like how I could learn according to the site log in with Facebook, allow your users to log in or sign up with Facebook. It takes you six minutes to go through this tutorial, and the tutorial is basically a click by click, where to click, what to do to make that happen.

Emmanuel: Exactly. Yeah.

Andrew: That’s no exaggeration. In six minutes, I really could include a log in to Facebook thing?

Emmanuel: Yeah. We don’t lie about that, because we want people to finish those lessons. So we manage expectations, which is actually something that we can say is a general part of our DNA. We don’t over-promise, because we ask people for so much trust when they start using us because they’re basically betting their life on us, their business on us. You have to be very upfront about what you support and what you don’t support. You have to be upfront, again, that’s why I’m saying it’s going to take you four or five hours to learn. I’m not going to say it’s going to take you five minutes because then you’re going to be disappointed and you’re going to leave.

So, at the very microlevel, I tell you it takes six minutes because we actually looked at people and we came, obviously someone might take ten minutes, do something else, but we looked at people just to give a very accurate prediction.

Andrew: Can I do this on an iPad?

Emmanuel: Yes. Some people do. You can do that with a finger. Honestly, it’s not necessarily ideal. I would recommend using a laptop or desktop. It works, but it’s not exactly done for that. It’s not optimized.

Andrew: Man, I’m liking the software. All right. Let’s talk about my second sponsor. You tell me. Are you guys going to put this sponsor out of business or not? The second sponsor is a company called Toptal, top as in top of your head, tal as in talent. They are the place to find the best of the best developers. All right. In a world where there’s no code, project five, ten years from now, will Toptal still be around if the world exists the way that you imagine?

Emmanuel: Definitely. The reason being what those platforms sell is access to talent that are needed at a certain point of time. Today, people want coders. If Bubble succeeds, people will want Bubble developers in 10 years. So that’s just what it would be, which is already happening, by the way. If you go to Upwork, some people are looking for Bubblers.

Andrew: Bubble developers are now being hired?

Emmanuel: Yeah. We have probably 10 or 20 agencies running solely on Bubble right now in the world that build apps for people.

Andrew: The agency is building—so if you hire them to build your app for you or your website, it’s going to be on Bubble?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: So right now if I go to—

Emmanuel: The value is that it’s going to be dramatically cheaper and faster to get your product. Then when the product is delivered to you, it’s much easier for you to tweak it.

Andrew: Look at this. So right now, I go to Toptal. I see that they have Azure developers, Gmail developers, GitHub developers, full-stack developers, machine learning developers, Nexus developers, it just goes on and on and on, all these developers. You’re imagining all this is going to be replaced with just Bubble?

Emmanuel: So we can get into that where I think coding is going in the long term, because actually Bubble is not making coding obsolete for everything. We’re making coding obsolete for 90% of the needs. For instance, the platform on Bubble is open, so you can build plugins. Plugins rely on code. Coders will still be there, but for much less things. Now, yes, I think a lot of people will be looking for Bubble developers. Again, those platforms will be very useful for that.

Andrew: All right. If you guys are looking for developers, whether they’re Bubble or anything else—actually, I don’t know if they do Bubble right now. You guys should contact them. Go to Toptal, and the reason that I urge you guys to go to Toptal is because of something that I heard in a recent interview. An entrepreneur told me look . . . why can’t I think of his name? It was Trevor, the guy who created the Spanish Bible site. He goes, “I didn’t have much money. I was trying to just pay rent and created a software that worked.”

So he goes, “I went to Upwork and for $500, I found a developer who was going to build my app.” Yeah, he found one to do it for $500. Was it the best? No. Did he have to tell him every step of the way what to do? Yes. Did the person finish the job? No. Something came up. So not super professional, couldn’t finish the job, not the best of the best, but he got what he needed. When you’re starting out, you go for the cheapest that you can afford.

But once you’re high level, you can hire developers who can outthink you who can say, “Hey, you know what? I see what you’re trying to do. Let me come up with a better way to do it. Let me help you rethink the project to get to the result that you’re looking for, or you tell me what problem you’re trying to solve and I will code the solution for it.”

That is what you get when you go to Toptal. Top as in top of your head, tal as in talent, I think these guys are going to be around forever. I’ve seen their financials. I think they would literally kill, maybe not literally kill me. I think they would kill me if I revealed what their financials are. These guys are insanely strong because they just keep delivering for their customers.

If you’ve been a Toptal customer because you heard me talk about them now for years, you know how good they are. Go check them out if you haven’t tried them. Go check them out at Top as in top of your head, Tal as in talent, Toptal.com/Mixergy. When you go to that URL, you’re going to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks. That’s Toptal.com/Mixergy.

I don’t think that was one of my best ads. I know that I’ve done killer ads for them. I think in this case, it was a little bit . . .

All right. Do you ever feel that way? I’m looking at you. You seem like you’re Mr. Confident. Do you ever feel like, “Shit, this is not my best work. I think I could do better”?

Emmanuel: Definitely. Over six years, that would be hard to imagine not feeling that sometime.

Andrew: When? When is a time you felt that way?

Emmanuel: Sometimes when you start having infrastructure issues and Bubble is not as fast as I’d like, when you start having people emailing to say, “Hey, I have an investor presentation tomorrow,” and then you have an issue, that can happen. We do our best so that it doesn’t. When that happens, you don’t feel great.

Andrew: You told our producer that year three of the business was an especially low one for you and it had to do with your relationship with your cofounder. What was going on in year three of the business?

Emmanuel: It was actually nothing between us. We were, again, two guys building this complicated product that was not used by many people at the time because we hadn’t launched publicly and we were not ready to launch it. That is a very dry period. When you work on something, you’re not exactly sure where this is going yet and sometimes you wonder, “Why am I doing this with my life?”

Andrew: So why did you continue? What was the answer that got you to keep going?

Emmanuel: Two things. Firstly, because we still had a few users at the time that were extremely engaged. They literally would send us gifts like letters, emails like on Christmas, say, “Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’re doing.” Those things were very good for us to keep us alive.

The other thing is that we felt we were pretty close. When we started, it was like three or four months before our Product Hunt launch, for instance. So we felt that the product was really coming together at that point. So we were like, “Okay, well, let’s go through this.” There is a little bit of an irrational stubbornness, I would say. At some point, Josh and I are very stubborn, which you have to be. When you start a company, you have to be.

Andrew: You seem like a scrappier person than your background suggests. Like you were at Harvard. You’re a Harvard grad?

Emmanuel: Yeah, Business School.

Andrew: Harvard Business School grad. You also were a person who was in the—was it the French embassy in Tokyo? I’m trying to do this from memory.

Emmanuel: Yeah. That was a research internship. My most significant experience was management consulting in China for three years.

Andrew: My thing is that you’re looking at people who are at your level, Harvard Business School graduates, people who did management consulting. They are doing like fantastic while you’re going through this struggling period. They are being flown first class or business class, which let’s face it is very close to first class and you’re struggling.

Emmanuel: But I was probably much happier than they were.

Andrew: Were you truly happy at the time to keep working like this?

Emmanuel: Yes, especially during the first two years. There was an excitement of creating something, seeing it change every day and getting users. Again, what I’m saying that was hard on the journey was year three, because it had been like two years already and we hadn’t launch publicly yet. So that was like, “Okay, we need to go through this.”

Andrew: Right.

Emmanuel: For the first two years, yeah, I was the happiest man in the world, actually.

Andrew: One of the things that you did that was shocking was you decided we’re going to focus just on the people for whom this product works, and we’re going to have to let go of a lot of customers. Do you remember that?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: Tell me about that. What was it that made you have to come to that conclusion, and how did you decide who to keep and who not to keep and how’d your business change because of it?

Emmanuel: It’s not necessarily who to keep and who not to keep. It’s who do you decide to focus on. At the end of the day, we don’t keep people out if they use us or they don’t want to use us. But we made the very conscious decision very early on to go for existing users that had already built something and trusted us and were scaling than to try to make Bubble as easy as possible for new users.

The reason for that was twofold. The first thing was like a moral commitment issue. When someone trusted you to really bet their business, and again when someone bet their business, they bet their life on your platform, morally I feel like I need to help them probably more so than someone that hasn’t started using us yet. So that was the first thing.

And then the second thing was also a business objective. We wanted to prove that you could build a real business on Bubble and scale that business. So we had businesses that were starting to scale. It would have been very stupid of us to be like, “You know what? No, we need more users. We need to make it easier. Let’s just work on the onboarding process.”

Now, had we raised money, that would have been a much more complicated thing to do, I think, because investors tend to want a nice metric with such showing like a growing user base, like adoption and stuff like that. We were definitely not delivering this at the time. What we were delivering is the level of apps that were built on Bubble were getting better and better because we were focusing on those people that already had built something and were growing on us. So the fact that we didn’t raise money made it possible. In retrospect, I think that was one of the smartest decisions we made.

Andrew: So, because of that, what did you do differently? What are some features that you added or others that you left—I guess onboarding you could put off considering this decision. What did you decide that you wanted to add because of this decision?

Emmanuel: That would become very [inaudible 00:48:56] to talk about that because it’s very specific features, but making sure that things worked fast, being able to connect with any kind of APIs, which is not something that a new user would need at first if you’re just think about building a simple homepage.

But if you want to start doing complicated things, connecting with anything—for instance, being able to schedule workflows in the background so that you can run them every month, those kinds of things, a new user wouldn’t really care about that. And existing users, that’s about having a real business that wants to send a reminder to his user every month, he’s going to need that, these kinds of features.

Andrew: I’m looking at this TechCrunch article for Zeroqode and code is spelled kind of weird. You know these guys?

Emmanuel: Yeah. These are one of the agencies I’m talking about that build apps for people using our technology.

Andrew: Oh, so this is an agency that’s building on your platform and one of the clever things they did was they copied some of the major sites that all of us in tech admire. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Andrew: I can describe it, but I think it’s better coming from you. Tell me about it.

Emmanuel: I don’t remember which website.

Andrew: I’m going to say it. Sometimes it’s better for me to tee it off, sometimes it’s better for me to just say it. They decided what they were going to do was recreate Product Hunt in Bubble, copy it. They decide what they were going to do was recreate Airbnb in Bubble, copy it. They decided what they were going to do was create LinkedIn. Am I right about my understanding of this?

Emmanuel: Yeah. That’s definitely what they did. Those were definitely examples of websites that you can build on Bubble. They do that to demonstrate the technology, and I’m very grateful because it helps us a lot. This is great. Zeroqode has been a very active contributor in our ecosystem.

Andrew: They’re just fantastic marketers because beyond that, then what they do that’s smart is say, “All right, you want to create your own Product Hunt? You don’t want to build it from scratch? Pay us $257. You’re going to have the whole Product Hunt site essentially built on Bubble so you can manage it.” You tell me. Am I getting too excited about that?

Emmanuel: No. That’s what it is. We created this template marketplace where people can buy templates. I’m not clear yet whether a template is a right or a wrong approach for Bubble, because I think for a lot of other users, what they like is precisely that it’s not templated. However, we also know that some people do want to have an easier start with a template. I don’t want to be building those templates myself, because I think my time is better spent making the platform better. But people like Zeroqode build those templates. That’s what you’re talking about.

Andrew: You’ve got a platform to enable them to create and sell it, and they just happen to have created it and now they’re monetizing it by talking about it on TechCrunch and other places?

Emmanuel: Exactly. That’s exactly what it is.

Andrew: It feels like a lot of your marketing comes by working with agencies like that because they get to be so clever, because they get to go out there and be your evangelists. Am I right about that, or am I over-emphasizing it?

Emmanuel: Most of our growth is still coming from direct users. But what is certain is that when you start having agencies that basically like have to sell you to survive and grow their business is great because those people do marketing for you.

Andrew: Yeah. It becomes like a—

Emmanuel: Which by the way, we didn’t invent. Google did the same thing with ad agencies. The reason why Google sells so many ads is because you have all those ad agencies in the world that sell Google ads.

Andrew: But I think a lot of companies don’t think that way. They think not, “How do I partner with people who are going to resell my stuff or need to build on my stuff and as a result, they’re going to spread the world?” It’s more like, “How do I get traffic by buying ads or content?” That seems like the two big sources of customers for people, at least the two that they think about.

Emmanuel: That’s true. We’re pretty opinionated on that one. What we think is if you can create an ecosystem where people can make a living and make money contributing to that ecosystem, this is better. So today Bubble is only six people, like team members.

But actually, a number of people like Zeroqode, because there are other companies like that that make a full-time living providing Bubble services, which I could very much have imagined being part of the Bubble team, but instead we created this ecosystem where they do that directly and they get compensated for their work directly. It’s probably like 50 people right now in the world that make all their living out of Bubble services. We think this is a better approach to create a business that gets very big eventually.

Andrew: Well, I’m looking to see where you get your traffic. It seems like the Zeroqode website, that’s a good source of traffic for you guys. Product Hunt to this day is still sending you traffic. Where was it—Indie Hackers, according to SimilarWeb, sending you a lot of traffic because I’m guessing that there are a lot of wannabe developers who don’t want to code. They want to code using something simpler. They’re just talking about you guys there. You’re not in there, from what I can see. Oh, no, you are actually. You’re responding to them. Never mind, I see you now.

Emmanuel: The Indie Hacker community, Bubble is very relevant to this community because it’s really about bootstrapping, having a side project that actually starts generating revenue before being full-time on it. It’s not surprising that Indie Hackers leads a lot of traffic to us.

Andrew: All right. For anyone who wants to check it out, the website is Bubble.is. Frankly, I just think it’s kind of fun to go through that educational process you guys built for clicking around and doing it. I have to be honest with you, as we were talking, I couldn’t help but click around and do that. I was doing it very quietly. Wherever it said, “No it’s time to label your button,” I wouldn’t label it by typing because it would be too loud on the keyboard, so I just pressed the two key and I labeled it number two and then I could go on with the next item and the next item and the next item.

Emmanuel: That’s great. Trying to make this learning process fun was one of the things that we spent a lot of time on, precisely so that people stay engaged.

Andrew: This Tasky project that’s part of Zeroqode, it’s free. Does that mean that if I want to create my own project management software, call it Andrew Project Management, I can just go on there, copy their template and then start like fussing with it and selling it?

Emmanuel: Yes. People that sell on the marketplace also provide things for free as a way to contribute to the ecosystem and also to get more people to know about them. So yes, that’s what it is.

Andrew: Look at that. Instead of Tasky, I can copy it, change it to Andrew Project Management and boom, I’m now selling my own project management software. I have a SaaS ready to go from scratch.

Emmanuel: It takes a few days to build a SaaS now.

Andrew: This is really interesting. I can also start collecting payment because you guys have—do you have a Stripe interface?

Emmanuel: Stripe, Braintree.

Andrew: What’s a good one? If I wanted to copy one right now, what’s a good one for me at Mixergy? If I wanted to say, “Hey, listen, it’s Andrew. I’m going to create my own SaaS on the side. I don’t need to code it up. I’m going to do it in Bubble. What’s one that you think would fit the Mixergy community?” Should I be looking at your Zeroqode list here?

Emmanuel: Well, Zeroqode is not me, so I’m not exactly sure what they have. But if you go to our Bubble.is/templates, you have all of them. Honestly, it’s hard for me to tell exactly what would you be trying to sell and which service would you be trying to offer here?

Andrew: Good question. I don’t know. But I do like that I can just go in here and find—here it is. It took a little while to load. I browse through the templates. I can find stuff I would want, and I can create my own SaaS company over the weekend.

Emmanuel: You mentioned, for instance, you wanted to implement like a voting system so that people can vote on people you should interview for your podcast, for instance. That’ a very typical—which in some ways that’s what Product Hunt is, people upvote things. That would be very typical. I wouldn’t call that a SaaS, but I would call that a web app that could help Mixergy a lot, actually.

Andrew: I would want one or I’d want my audience to have one that’s basically a fully running software as a service built on Bubble that they could start selling by marketing it and then adjust it based on their customer needs. It seems like I could not . . . no, I don’t think that’s available on Bubble.is.

Emmanuel: You could be building it yourself, because keep in mind that starting with templates is only one way. You could be starting with a white page and then you can do anything you want. Honestly, Bubble is becoming very similar to code in terms of flexibility.

Andrew: This is mind-blowingly interesting. I can’t wait to play with this a little bit more. I feel like why did I not know about you guys before? I’m out there in the world.

Emmanuel: Well, because we’ve been on purpose under the radar for basically until the middle of last year. Our product at launch was big in the Product Hunt community, but that was not yet something very visible. We’re working on this right now. Right now, we’re definitely ready to be out there.

Andrew: The fact that you’re here is an indication of that.

Emmanuel: Exactly. That’s exactly what it is.

Andrew: All right. Bubble.is, guys, go check it out. Let me know what you think of them. Also, my two sponsors, the best place to get a developer, go to Toptal.com/Mixergy. Frankly, a lot of the agencies right now are hiring from Toptal, and most people who are hiring agencies don’t realize the people who are actually doing the work for them are Toptal people that the agency happened to have recruited and are working with. So go directly if you want to hire them, Toptal.com/Mixergy. If you want to build a website using WordPress or a couple of other open source platforms, go to HostGator.com/Mixergy.

Thanks for being on here.

Emmanuel: Thank you very much for having me. That was great.

Andrew: Cool. I’m going to go rest my voice. Bye everyone.


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