Greatest company you've never heard
This month 👾 The Internet Computer | No-Code Tool Library | Lessons from General Magic | Malleable software + loads more…
🆕 Personal Updates
This month I had the pleasure to grab a virtual coffee with various online makers I’ve admired for some time, including, Bram Kanstein, Andrew Askins and Ricky Figueroa. It was fascinating to learn more about the people behind the products and discover more about their motivations, interests and personalities. I look forward to lining up more of these virtual coffees and making my way through the long list of talented online creators I want to meet.
I would highly recommend reaching out to anyone you admire by sliding into their DMs or dropping them an email. You will be surprised how many people are more than happy to chat when you have no particular motives and willingness to share your learnings.
Right, let’s get to it - time for this month’s roundup 👇
🔥 Top post last month: How much money do you make?
Malleable software in the age of LLMs
It’s been a wild few weeks with the advancements of AI and large language models (LLMs). Did you see OpenAI’s demo of its new GPT-4 LLM providing the ability to turn a sketch into a landing page? Wild!
But what will this paradigm change in software development mean for no/low-code tools? I have seen first-hand friends with no coding experience use tools such as ChatGPT + Replit to create impressive software products which simply couldn’t be built using existing no-code tools. What I find really interesting is how close we are to being able to express what we want to create through natural language without any need to know the underlying code required to build a product. My personal prediction is new interfaces will be built on top of these models with libraries of prompts which will further improve the user experience and unlock a new paradigm to create software.
Many of the step changes Geoffrey Litt predicts in this post are the same value propositions no-code tools promised. This could lead to changes in the way software is produced and distributed, such as more people creating their own software for specific tasks, businesses developing more software in-house, and users customizing software to their needs. This could potentially empower more citizen developers to harness the power of computers without using complex programming, much like what no-code tools promised.
The Wisdom of Patrick Collison
Until recently Stripe was one of the most valuable private companies in the world. It’s the engineer’s go-to payment processing tooling due to its developer-friendly documentation and robust, comprehensive APIs. Pretty much every startup I’ve been involved in has used Stripe for its payment processing. Patrick and John Collison the founders of Stripe are two-time YC grads with a successful exit under their belt before they even turned 20, before going on to found Stripe. These guys are now just 32 and 34 and have accomplished over two lifetimes of business success already. It’s astonishing what they have achieved to date. In this post, Justin Gordon provides a fantastic chronological overview of their entrepreneurial journey and the challenges they faced along the way.
This post contains a great story about the Collison brothers founding their eBay competitor. Paul Buchheit, founder of Gmail, agreed to invest $75k in Auctomatic, but he forgot to sign the paperwork for the investment. When the brothers needed to pay for their servers, they discovered they were broke. After firing off a tweet for help, Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, reached out to the brothers and provided his credit card. What a guy!
General Magic - The Future, Too Early
I just finished watching the ‘General Magic’ documentary and I absolutely loved every minute of it. In fact, I just watched it again, it’s that good. I could honestly write a whole post about this company and the team behind it, but il share some of my favourite observations for the time being.
General Magic was founded in the 90s by some Apple folks who wanted to create a personal digital assistant that could do all sorts of cool things like send emails and browse the internet. They called it the Magic Cap operating system, and to say it was revolutionary for its time is an understatement. For example, the internet wasn’t a thing, the touch screen was in its super primitive state and processors weren’t yet geared for the amount of power required within such a small enclosure.
Marc Porat’s visionary thinking must be up there with some of tech’s OG visionaries. His ability to look into the future lives of human beings and understand where and how technology can fit into the picture.
By far the most impressive takeaway is the calibre of the team assembled. Some already had considerable success under their belts, however, so many were in the infancy of their career and yet to establish themselves but went on to later found companies such as Andriod (Andy Rubin), eBay (Pierre Omidyar) Nest (Tony Fadell) and many other huge household tech names. Additionally, their work has been cited as a major inspiration for products like the iPhone.
But, and it’s a big but, a high-calibre team alone won’t guarantee success as we know. Despite the assembly of the tech equivalent of the Avengers and considerable funding by today’s standards, the sheer ambition of what they were trying to achieve was too much.
I guess the lesson here is that even if you have a talented team and an innovative product, sometimes timing and market fit are everything. It's a cautionary tale for any entrepreneurs out there who are trying to bring something new to the market. It's tough out there, folks!
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It’s 4 am and I’m glued to a recent post by Packy McCormick. I’m trying to read to fall back asleep but this post is only stimulating more thoughts. Long-term readers, I apologise in advance. I’ve featured the Arc browser a few times now, however, despite me using it every day and following the team closely, I hadn’t considered The Browser Companies’ bigger vision. Let’s kick off with an astonishing figure. 5.3 billion people access the internet using a browser. Yet we take the browser for granted. It’s how we access the web, but, for the most part, little has changed to the browser in some time despite its importance. Have you noticed the number of applications you now run in your browser? cloud-based SaaS products are continuing to “move from your dock to a tab, that’s a win for the browser”. Bandwidth and processing power have continued to increase which questions the need for native apps. The idea is we’ll no longer need traditional operating systems. We’ll just access cloud software through the browser on whichever screen is closest at hand. This is what CEO Josh Miller calls Internet Computers. Check out Josh’s intro to Internet Computers.
🎁 Bonus content: Packy is on a tear with his content and wrote a fantastic piece about OpenAI's ChatGPT Plugins and the emergence of an Apex Aggregator which he believes could be the best new business model on the internet.
Self-proclaimed designer and nerd Corey Moen built a digital general store of no-code inspiration, tools and resources. It’s a vast directory with a variety of inspiring websites, useful apps, delightful code snippets, and much more. It’s a stunning site which has been beautifully designed and is a breath of fresh air from the traditional resource websites. This genuinely feels like a hand-picked curation as opposed to the slapdash aggregation which typically hoards as many tools as possible and therefore introduces a paradox of options. Having built and sold a no-code directory I wasn’t expecting to discover much I hadn’t already seen but I was surprised to find a ton of great resources and tools. The site was built using my personal favourite no-code tech stack - Webflow, WhaleSync and Airtable.
I would also highly recommend checking his personal site out. I love iOS UI aesthetic with its grid layout and the floating top and bottom navs 🤌
How much time do you think it takes to come up with a name for your project or business, find a good domain across countless broker sites and then design the logo and branding? Been there, done that and spent weeks in the process. After discovering Laurids most recent project Superchat I stumbled upon his other project, IndieBrands. Think of IndieBrands as a brand and domain in a box. Every name comes with a top-tier domain name and a custom-designed logo for between $579-$779.
Beta Directory | Discover the latest tech products
This month’s latest early access beta products brought to you by Beta Directory are:
Adept: Machine learning model that can interact with everything on your computer.
Phygital+: An AI workspace for visual creators and design teams.
Deepvue: A powerful research tool for Investors
👾 Friends of Creator Club
This month I want to give a shout-out to Bram Kanstein. Bram was my inspiration to build nocode.tech based on his launch of Startup Stash which is still the number 1 most upvoted product on Product Hunt. He’s the author of the Viable Ventures newsletter which explores actionable tactics and insights on exploring, validating, and turning ideas into viable ventures.
🐽 Other links to consume
🐦 Tweet of the month
If you appreciate web design and user experience this is a hard but hilarious thread to scroll through.
I would love to see more competitions like this in web design as it only highlights the importance of user experience design.
This month I’m going to leave you with the 1984 launch of the Nintendo Gameboy which was bundled with Tetris. The game was originally developed by a former USSR government employee in 1984 by Alexey Pajitnov. I honestly can do the story justice of how Tetris came to be part of the Nintendo launch of the Gameboy, you will need to read the story yourself or check out the Apple TV film, but il give it a high-level shot.
The game was licensed by Robert Stein, who sublicensed it to multiple publishers in different territories. In 1988, Henk Rogers of Bullet-Proof Software saw the US home computer version at a trade show and pursued the rights to publish Tetris in Japan, eventually convincing Nintendo to bundle it with the Game Boy. However, there were legal battles over the licensing of the game, with Atari Games disputing Tengen's version of Tetris for the NES. Despite the delays, Tetris was eventually released and became a classic game that remains popular today. Tetris has sold over 495 million copies worldwide.
But why is it called Tetris? Well, it uses seven distinctive geometric playing pieces, each made up of four squares. Tetris is a combination of “tetra”, the Greek word meaning “four” and “tennis” (his favourite sport).
Fancy an unsealed console from 1984? You can pick a new one up on eBay for ~$1,000+.
That’s it for this month!
If you made it this far, hit reply or jump into the comments and tell me what you thought of this newsletter. Was this 🔥 or 🗑. I read every response 👀
Until next the next issue,
Sam | @thisdickie 👨💻
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