I work at a start-up called Paradigm LABS where I am the current COO. Our goal at Paradigm LABS is to develop a platform that helps all entrepreneurs everywhere start and scale their start-ups. The biggest problem we are currently facing is that our three co-founders’ experience is in design and finance, not development. Not a great place to be for a start-up building a highly technical platform.
However, at Paradigm LABS one of our core beliefs is that anyone, anywhere can be a successful entrepreneur. Over the years I have battled my natural stage fright to become someone who could eloquently talk to customers and investors alike. When it became clear that we needed someone on the founding team who could build product, I was immediately up for the challenge.
So, my goal over the summer is to learn as much low-code development as I can to both work with our Bubble Development team, and (hopefully!) get so good that I can take over the development of the platform. I have been an urban planner, a writer, a designer, and a non-technical founder. It was time for me to become a technical founder too.
I had one truly incredible resource — my sister who is the CTO of a company called Hello Prenup knew Bubble already. She had been a guiding force in getting me to the right resources. But most people do not have friends or siblings that know this platform, and what I have encountered on the web is a lot of articles written by people passing their sales pitches off as advice. I want to give other entrepreneurs who have an idea but no technical expertise the pathways to be able to create their dream product or service. And, I think it will be fun for me to look back and see how my understanding of the software has grown over time.
Am I In the Right Place?
My co-founders and I really struggled to pick a platform to build our business on. Our needs were too complex for Wix or Wordpress, but developers were extremely expensive. For what we wanted to build, we would need a lot of developers. We began to develop in Webflow and Wized.io, with Webflow being the front-end design of the product and Wized.io the back-end. Personally, I found both systems very complex and did not love the idea of having to depend on two different systems working together for such an integral piece of the company. So, we are going with Bubble to start out with. We will not know for months, if not years, whether I have made the right choice. If you have an idea, you have created wireframes, and do not know how to translate this idea to reality, I hope my journey to go from designer to low-code developer will be useful to you.
Here are the first videos I watched on Bubble that gave me a look into the general platform. I am the type of person that always needs to know the why behind what I’m learning, so spending the time to understand what kinds of things I can build with Bubble helped me put the disparate components helped me care about the separate pieces because I could see what each piece would build into.
Once I had some idea of what Bubble is, and what it can do, I wanted to dive into three of the key components of the platform: data types, workflows, and design. Even though my brain is naturally design-oriented, my sister encouraged me to start with data types and workflows then move to the front-end design.
I would definitely say that coding does not come naturally to me, and I am the type of learner that I need things explained to me both several times and in different ways for it to make sense. My next step after using a lot of free resources to get an overview of Bubble, I wanted to get a deeper dive so I decided to do my first paid classes.
Initially I signed up for No Code Academy, but I found the videos it did have mainly focused on the older platform version, and so did not have details about responsive design that I needed. It would be like learning Italian when you need to know Spanish. So, I switched to Buildcamp. The teacher was clear and to the point, with a very relaxing energy.
After two weeks of watching videos and fumbling around, I finally got it enough to at least make a front-end of what will one day be our dashboard. Nothing is linked to any other pages yet. Here my trickiest part was understanding how I should break down the overall page into two rows, then within them have the sidebar as a reusable element on the left, and the “Your Summary” section on the right.
I will be writing more articles as I continue to progress in my learning. Stay tuned!