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How I built my Career with No Code Tools: An Interview with Indie Hacker, Hiram Núñez

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No-code related people or companies share one common value—to remove unnecessary friction for toolmakers in an increasingly digital world. For Baserow, that’s giving everyone the powers of a developer. For makers, like the hero of our today’s story, it’s an ability to build their own ideas without the need to rely on other people, and to do it fast.

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Meet Hiram Núñez

One of the best no-code enthusiasts whose tool stack counts 80+ tools is Hiram Núñez. Hiram is a person who is constantly up for another challenge, he is the Founder of Swyftlight and Tee Tweets, UX Content Strategist at Ernst & Young, Marketing & Automation Expert at HubSpot, and Head of Templates at Baserow (we are lucky to have Hiram on board).

Hiram is true to his views. Being a staunch advocate of digital privacy and security, he will always search for (and use) an open-source alternative for any product first. Hiram is a dot-connector and toolmaker. He often creates projects with the intention to optimize his work and improve productivity. See how Hiram managed to learn visual development, content, marketing, and more, to start creating things that would normally take full teams to create.

What are the 3 things you like about the no-code development?

The first thing that comes to mind is the democratization of development. The reason is that this leads to opportunities that others might not otherwise have.

Only about 0.3% of the world can code. Imagine if only 0.3% of the world could read. No-code/low code is literally bridging the software language barrier so that you can spin up your own ideas without needing to rely on anyone else.

This brings me to my next point—speed of development. Those shower ideas you dream about building can now become a reality.

And while there certainly are limitations to building without code, don’t let this fool you—there are some incredibly well-built, complex apps out there that are pushing the limits of what can be done through visual development.

The fact that you can build an Uber clone without writing a line of code is mind-blowing. Just recently, I saw someone build a Canva clone without code. If this is what’s happening now, imagine what the landscape will look like in two years, let alone ten.

What are the 3 things you dislike about no-code development?

Some people are trying to build a following just because it’s trendy and “cool” right now. Many are riding this wave out of selfish reasons to try to capitalize on the movement and be seen as “The No-Code Guy” or as “The [something-else-related-to-no-code] Guy.”

This has also led to a lot of fortune cookie wisdom circulating. While I share the excitement behind the movement, I can’t help but notice the fluff that can be applied to anything else.

And when something garnishes enough attention, others will almost word-for-word repeat it as their own, or spin it slightly in an effort to capitalize on it. Not a fan of that.

One of the biggest issues in visual development that needs to be addressed is vendor lock-in. We saw a glimpse of the importance of this when Bubble proposed a different pricing structure.

People’s entire businesses were on the brink of collapse. It garnered so much attention that Bubble’s forum literally broke. This relates to a bunch of other different issues that exist too, of course, but the fact that a pricing structure caused that much commotion is representative of larger issues that have to do with vendor lock-in.

Bubble has promised to open source the entire platform if it were to ever go under, but vendor lock-in is an issue with other platforms as well, which is a huge point of vulnerability for people building without code.

The more open your platform is, the more people actually want to join and build with it.

What are your mandatory steps before starting the development of a new project?

When it comes to freelancing/advisory work, there are three things that come to mind right away:

  • Determining requirements
  • Scoping accurately
  • Working with good companies/people

In terms of building new no-code projects myself, I start with the problem. When inspiration strikes, I quickly pop open what I call my “incubator list” and write down the problem.

After that, I spend some time ideating solutions. At this stage, there are no wrong answers. I simply transfer everything that’s spinning in my head at a million kilometers per hour into my incubator list.

Once I’ve spent the majority of the time thinking about the problem and solution(s), I’ll jot down some notes about how I could execute the solution. And while I do write down some thoughts about the possible tech stack, I actually spend a little more time thinking about the business side—things you’d find on a Business Model Canvas. Things like:

  • Value proposition(s)
  • Revenue streams
  • Key partners
  • Key activities
  • Key resources
  • Channels
  • Cost structure
  • Customer segments
  • Customer relationships

When inspiration strikes, take advantage of it and write everything down.

Are there builders that inspire you?

I admire everyone who’s contributing to the no-code movement. But true movements are decentralized. They’re not bound to a single individual (or even a handful).

The developers, teams, and companies who are helping create this abstraction layer we call no-code and visual development are the ones driving a lot of this growth.

Take Baserow, for example—it’s not just about the no-code relational database itself, but also the focus on being open source and being developer-friendly so that anyone can get set up with an instance, have control over their data, and also contribute if they’d like. The functionality, combined with the team, with the added open nature of it, makes for a killer combo.

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The evolution of Bubble has come a long way, all the way back from the .is domain they used to have. I’d peg Bubble as one of the OG pioneers in pushing forward the movement and showing that it truly is possible (pun intended) to build complex apps without code.

Speaking of Bubble, I love what Tom is doing with Saltcorn. It aims to be an open source Bubble with an end-to-end solution that includes the frontend, backend, and database.

Another product that has emerged from a similar situation would be Webstudio, which is an open source alternative to Webflow. Webstudio even has a .is TLD, just like Bubble did in the early days. I’m hoping that’s symbolic and we’re onto something big. 😜

I’d include Zapier as being another player in the space that carved out room for others. We’re now seeing the emergence of n8n, which is an open source automation platform.

(It’s hard to tell I’m loving the emergence of open source in no-code, right? I know.)

I’d also like to shout out Draftbit, whose focus is entirely on native mobile apps. Being mutually headquartered in Chicago (which is often overlooked in the tech scene), they generously left an open invitation for me to work at their office. This gave me a chance to see their values and efforts behind the scenes, which has left me inspired and optimistic about the movement. Experiencing these products as an end user is one thing, but getting to know the people behind the products is another.

There’s so much more that I could talk about here. This is what makes this so great—everyone is out there building in their own way, moving the needle forward.

What is the project you’ve built you are proud of?

I don’t know if I could narrow it down to a single favorite project, because they all have different missions and have been built at different points in my life for varying reasons. However, I think my early projects are responsible for a huge part of what I am, what I do, and how I think now.

I may not have built a unicorn on my first try, but the experience of bootstrapping something from scratch is priceless.

Since my very first semester at Indiana University, I caught the entrepreneurial bug and wanted to start something. Start what, exactly? Anything. I had no idea and didn’t really care. I just wanted to see what I could create.

After reading a book about the importance of blogging, I started InThePaintCrew (formerly InThePaintNews), a basketball media outlet born from my love for the game. However, InThePaintCrew wasn’t generating any revenue—mainly because it wasn’t designed to. InThePaintCrew grew little by little, but also had some viral spikes that drove large amounts of traffic.

However, I’d consider Tee Tweets to be my first “real” business, which I started during my last semester of senior year at Indiana University.

I recognized the opportunity for Tee Tweets after seeing how much attention was around Twitter and the hectic political climate. After doing some Twitter exploration, I realized that some portion of the population would be interested not just in wearing tweets on t-shirts and hoodies, but that they would wear them in different ways.

Thus, Tee Tweets was born. And to my own surprise, I was right—people were buying Tee Tweets to wear them in all sorts of different ways. Some wear Tee Tweets in support of the tweet they’re wearing. Others wear them in protest against the tweet’s content. Others wear them sarcastically. Others wear them for special events. Others wear them for style. Others are focused on making a statement. To this day, I’m blown away by the creativity that Tee Tweets fans have displayed when I see how they wear their shirts, hoodies, and sweaters.

Other projects, like The TXT Hub and Recurbee, I built with/for different purposes. The TXT Hub is a project born from the desire to learn entirely new no-code tools. Being involved in the community, I happened to stumble across a competition. In addition to the lifetime membership to Makerpad that was up for grabs, it was a great opportunity to challenge myself and try to build something with software I had never used before. Software like Zapier, Twilio, Sheets, Stripe, and a handful of others.

Recurbee was also built for a competition (ironically, a Makerpad competition), born out of a personal need. However, I built it, and never continued building or marketing it (mainly because I was waiting to rebuild it in Bubble’s new responsive engine).

No-Code Calendar is another project born out of a personal desire, as is CookieSlayers.

I’ve consolidated all of my knowledge and experience via Swyftlight, which is sort of the Berkshire-Hathaway to my other projects.

What is the craziest idea you want to build with no-code tools one day?

I have what I call my “incubator” list with all sorts of ideas when inspiration strikes. There are a few on there that are a bit quirky, but I’m not sure if I’ve hit my “craziest” idea yet.

Things change when you actually start building, so I think that’ll come as I continue to build these ideas.

What tools are in your day-to-day no-code bundle?

It depends on what I’m doing, but as Head of Templates at Baserow, you know Baserow is part of my day-to-day stack. I actually started using Baserow before I even joined the team, so I was a fan already beforehand.

Two of my clients use Airtable, so I also spend a good chunk of time there. One of those two clients only recently adapted it and is getting 200+ of its employees to use it, so I serve as a resource for them with regards to software and database-related questions there.

Another part of my no-code stack is ClickUp, which I use both personally and professionally. With so many things going on at once, I try to keep as much as I can organize there with family, friends, clients, and employees/contractors.

I have a food voting list on Coda that I share with friends and family whenever we’re trying to decide what to eat. It’s a list of about fifty restaurants that we like, and they’re able to jump in and vote. I also have some more complex docs built on Coda that leverage buttons and formulas.

Bubble isn’t yet part of my day-to-day, but it will be once I get more comfortable using the new responsive engine.

CookieSlayers and No-Code Calendar both run on Softr.

My website currently runs on Brizy after having built it on WordPress and then Webflow. There was also a time when I was using Carrd very frequently.

Check out my entire no-code stack.

What do you like about Baserow?

There are more than three things I love about Baserow, but it all starts with our open source nature.

Even though I’m not a software engineer, I understand the value and importance of open source, and always strive to use open source software whenever possible. Open source software ensures longevity, which is important in instilling user confidence about being around for the long haul. This is particularly important in the early stages.

This open nature that we’ve embraced also serves a higher purpose in that it pushes the needle forward into making open source software the default.

This paves the way to being able to self-host Baserow, whether you’re an indie dev or an organization of any size. Having control of your data (and being compliant with your users’ data) is something that’ll continue to be at the forefront of global data privacy and security regulations, so Baserow is ahead of the curve here.

A “non-technical” aspect of Baserow that’s to admire is our flourishing community, which has been great to see. I love reading the community’s ideas and contributions. We get to meet and talk with other no-code and open source enthusiasts who spark creative discussions, both within and outside of Baserow.

The team and culture are also fantastic. Everyone is friendly, collaborative, and knowledgeable. (The devs in particular are always communicating in code that’s way beyond my body of knowledge.) We all trust and lean on each other when necessary.

We’ve experienced growth spurts in different areas over the past year, and both our team and product reflect that.

What functionality do you lack the most in Baserow?

I’d say we need to tighten things up when it comes to formulas. When I first joined Baserow, we didn’t even have formulas. So the fact that we have them now is awesome. But there are a handful of quirks to work out.

We also need better documentation. Not just with formulas, but this is particularly helpful with formulas. You can do some incredibly powerful things with Baserow (some even using it to build entirely new apps on top of Baserow), so we need to ensure we’re sharing this with the world.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Hiram!

To get started with Baserow, create a new account in a hosted or self-hosted version. If you’re looking for something else, please feel free to ask us questions in our online community — we’re ready to assist you!

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