S2 Episode 1: The Most Unique Story of Building a Low-Code Platform

The second season of the LowCode Podcast is launching with a bang! We are thrilled to welcome a very special guest to our first episode: Mark Magnuson, the mastermind behind Bildr, a groundbreaking low-code platform that lets you build custom software with a visual interface.

This episode unfolds the remarkable journey of how Bildr came to life. Its founder guide us through the twists and turns, the trials and tribulations, and the sparks of inspiration that ultimately led to the creation of a product that is revolutionizing the software industry. And if this were not enough, we dive into an in-depth exploration of user experience's critical role and the exciting future that awaits the low-code space.

You absolutely can't miss this one! Mark's insights will capture your imagination and offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the industry.


Jesus Vargas: Hey, welcome to another episode of the LowCode Podcast. Today we have Mark Magnuson with us. He's the founder of Bildr, which is a local tool that allows you to build software. I would say custom, very complex software using a visual interface. Mark, thanks for joining us today.

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Jesus Vargas: So tell us, I know if you haven't heard about Bildr, it has a pretty cool story because Bildr, which is this platform that Mark Magnuson has worked on for such a long time, is built with Bildr. So let's start there. How do you build a no-code, low-code tool with Seth?

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, so in general, most of the tools that are out on the Mark Magnusonet, including Bildr, are effectively generating and translating JSON and other types of code. And so when we first set out to rebuild our internal tools to become Bildr, just a little bit of backstory there, Bildr has actually, as a tool, been around for a very, very long time. It was just only used internally at our agency for like 15 years. When we decided to turn it into a product, we decided to build it with itself, which was pretty difficult to do because we literally did not want to build it with the old version. We wanted to build it with the version that's not built yet, which is sort of impossible to do. It's a chicken and egg problem. So the way we did it was we wrote code to do the execution of the environment first. So we wrote a little bit of code that would interpret JSON. and translated into pages and executing code and things like that. And then we set about manually writing some of that JSON to first form, or form some of the first pages and elements and actions and things of the studio itself. And as we built, say we built a page, like we built the studio page, which is like an infinite canvas, and we wrote a whole bunch of JSON manually, effectively, the execution environment would run that JSON schema as an application. And then that application allows us to create more of that JSON. So it took us a while to start from having none of the schema in place. But now we're at a spot where we literally use the tool to just build the tool. And we use the exact same setup. We use the data collections, the filtering, the actions, the elements. If we need something custom, we do that custom work in the exact same way that someone would add code to their project and build it. We add.

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: code to our project in Bildr. So yeah, it was a complex process to get started, but I'm really glad we did it that way, because we really do inform ourselves of what it feels like to be a customer of the

Jesus Vargas: Yeah 

Mark Magnuson: tool.

Jesus Vargas: which is unusual with no code tools. Usually it's developers building the tool, but they don't really know how the tool ends up being used by no coders.

Mark Magnuson: Exactly.

Jesus Vargas: So about the studio, you started as a studio and then you built a Bildr along the way. What types of...

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, so we started in 2006. So it was a very long time ago. SAS was not really a term out in the world. We were selling, at the time, just heavy custom software. We would go and basically build hard code, whatever we wanted, or whatever a customer wanted. And then when we formed the agency around that, we did a couple of projects where we just got some income out of it. And then we said, you know, maybe we should make this platform that's in our heads. And what we did was we basically limited the scope of what projects we could take to very small projects. At the time, it was basically CRM type stuff. It was calendars,

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: contacts, and things like that. No relationships between the... collections or anything like that, just very, very simple. And we would go sell that to small businesses. So we would go into a small business. We would basically pitch them on this idea that we can build a totally custom setup for organizing all of your contacts and all of your calendars and everything in your business. So the first types of businesses we went after were services-based companies. So people who would sell a product at retail and then also go install that. So a lot around the home industry. like floor covering

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: and lighting and roofing

Jesus Vargas: What were

Mark Magnuson: and

Jesus Vargas: they

Mark Magnuson: that sort of

Jesus Vargas: using

Mark Magnuson: thing.

Jesus Vargas: back then? Axis

Mark Magnuson: Almost

Jesus Vargas: or in Excel

Mark Magnuson: all

Jesus Vargas: spreadsheet?

Mark Magnuson: paper. It's like, you know, a big paper calendar on the desk and, you know, our whiteboard calendar kind of thing.

Jesus Vargas: Thanks.

Mark Magnuson: And then just literally Rolodexes, you know.

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: Our hardest problem back then was convincing people that it was okay to have their data stored on our server. That was just a foreign concept. in 2006, which is really weird to think about now that people were

Jesus Vargas: Yes.

Mark Magnuson: concerned with that. But it really was a point of contention. We had to make sure we could get over that hurdle before we went any further because we found pretty quickly that if the owners of these businesses didn't trust it, they were never going to close as customers. So we might as well just

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: quit the process. So we did that. And what would happen is every one of these customers would end up saying, Can we do this instead and can we do that instead? And it just needed more things on the platform. Right.

Jesus Vargas: So originally you will selling them a product, a pre-built product, and then you started

Mark Magnuson: No.

Jesus Vargas: doing custom or it was always custom.

Mark Magnuson: It was always custom, and it was always using the tool. So basically, at that point, you can kind of think of it like, well, you can actually visualize. It's a pretty simple visualization. It was just a set of tabs at the top, so two tabs, contacts and calendars. And then underneath each of those was another set of tabs for the calendars that you've created and the contact lists you've created. So you would go in and create a contact list. You would add a bunch of fields to it. And then you would start populating records. And we, over time, as people will just ask for more types of fields where they could add more customization in, we would add in things like, you know, date type fields and calculation fields and relationship fields between things. So it was like a really early rudimentary version of an air table today. Right. Like that's what people wanted, right? People needed that same type of organization and they didn't have a way to do it really. There were some tools on the Mark Magnusonet, but they were typically either expensive or required some kind of, uh, onboarding process with a developer of some sort. Um, and they were usually locally hosted. So one of the selling points for us was you can get online at home and open up your contacts and answer the question that your customer is asking, which was like really novel for these small businesses back then, nobody could really allow them to do that easily. Um, they were still doing things like. literally point to point, you know, tunneling of the internet so that it was secure and all that kind of stuff. It was just wild back then how much money was spent on all that infrastructure. So as people added or requested more things, you know, eventually had like custom forms where you drag and drop and make a form that's tied to that data backend, and then, you know, they want things like, uh, really complex calculations and APIs. And so we just kept leveling that up. And. After seven or eight years of doing that, the platform was pretty robust. I think we'd already rewritten it from scratch by that point, at least once, maybe

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: twice after about eight years. And so it was,

Jesus Vargas: Did

Mark Magnuson: you know,

Jesus Vargas: you

Mark Magnuson: it moved

Jesus Vargas: have a lot

Mark Magnuson: from.

Jesus Vargas: of clients back then? Was

Mark Magnuson: Yeah.

Jesus Vargas: the goal always to build a product as Bildr is today, or the goal was the agency and the recurring model?

Mark Magnuson: It was kind of both, to be honest. We weren't really sure at the time. When we first started, I went and pitched before we actually had it out and had customers out. I went and pitched VCs in 2006 and literally just got laughed at a couple of times. Like, no, nobody's going to want to do this kind of thing. And so we just decided to do it on our own. So the agency side was out of necessity, but it also allowed us to really understand our customer. And so some of it was. You know, we come in and set up your CRM system basically for you, but then we train someone on your staff on how to maintain it and how to add to it and how to change it, right? And so it was a little bit of both going on back then. As that transitioned into bigger and bigger clients, it became more and more like a traditional agency model for those really large clients, because they were really coming to us specifically because they didn't want to have a development arm of their business. They didn't want to hire programmers and deal with all that. So we became that tech side for a lot of companies.

Jesus Vargas: And back then, were these companies aware of the tax tax that you were providing? Especially larger companies looking for a specific job, I want my app to be built in these taxes. And you were not using what's a traditional tax. Was that a selling point or was that a hurdle in the sales process?

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, so early on, the smaller customers, they didn't even know how to ask

Jesus Vargas: Correctly

Mark Magnuson: those questions

Jesus Vargas: yeah 

Mark Magnuson: right?

Jesus Vargas: right.

Mark Magnuson: It wasn't even a concern. But as we got to larger customers, they definitely were asking those questions, right? And we did lose deals because we're not

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: on whatever. framework or, you know, if they already had like an internal team of developers and they were looking to supplement that team, that was usually a bad fit for us. Um,

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: we almost always get into the C-suite discussions and the CTO would come in and shut it down because it,

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: number one, it threatened their, their

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: fiefdom internally, right?

Jesus Vargas: Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: Uh, but also it's just an unknown. You know, they don't know us. They

Jesus Vargas: Thanks.

Mark Magnuson: don't, that we're a small business. They don't trust us to do that. And what happens if we go to a business and they can't maintain it because it's this custom thing. So we basically avoided those kinds of clients. We would go after

Jesus Vargas: Okay

Mark Magnuson: the clients that were sort of like mid-Market clients, maybe lower mid-market. Like a billion dollar company would be extremely large. Like those are the largest customers that we ever had. Anything bigger than that. And they basically already had systems in place that were basically detrimental to our sales process. But the ones that were really, really successful were those like 100 million plus companies who had just gotten to the size that they really needed to build something fully custom. But they didn't have SAP level money to spend.

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm

Mark Magnuson: They weren't gonna

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm

Mark Magnuson: go spend 30 million on their custom software

Jesus Vargas: Right

Mark Magnuson: And there were some really good clients that we got out of that and it really pushed the platform forward. So we were really well. primed for whenever NoCode kind of became a thing. We weren't

Jesus Vargas: Did you

Mark Magnuson: yet

Jesus Vargas: start

Mark Magnuson: out on that.

Jesus Vargas: to lose the smaller clients in order to take the bigger ones? Or were you just increasing your staff and keeping the small older clients but at the same time taking these way larger clients?

Mark Magnuson: It's kind of wild. Most of those customers required no maintenance, right? And they were

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: fairly low dollars, right? We're in like the hundreds or low thousands of dollars per month. So it's very much a SaaS model. It's like, come in, we

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: do some training and some services, but then it's pretty much, you know, you're paying your $300 a month and you can customize it and continue to do that. So it was very low touch. We really didn't have much required of us once a customer got up and running. And we still have clients from 12 or 13 years ago in the agency. Like these

Jesus Vargas: Wow.

Mark Magnuson: are two separate businesses, by the way, like Bildr is a totally separate company now.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: Um, but in the agency, some of these, they're small businesses that just. It works. So they're just going to keep doing it. You know? Um,

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: So a lot of, most of it was low touch. You get them set up, and they just keep going. Uh, what happened was we stopped selling to those types of clients, right? As we got bigger and bigger clients, the business just wasn't set up anymore for. Um, like these small one-off things, it really became set up for these large clients. So it transitioned in terms of who we were selling to, but because of the lack of support needed, because the tool was super, super simple back then, it just didn't require anything.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah. And these companies, are they using the Bildr of today or they got, they have like a previous version.

Mark Magnuson: We have both, right? So some of them like literally

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: just never wanted to change. They just, and we, for the most part, don't force change. Sometimes we will, like obviously if there's security issues or,

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: You know, we've sunset the old versions and stuff, like, you know, the people who are customers from 12 years ago are not on 12 year old code, you know?

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: But it's, but they're not necessarily on the current Bildr product yet. Some

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: of them were transitioning and were actually, going after doing that, but a lot of them it's like not even worth the time for either of us. You might as well just like let it go, you know, just let them keep running on it. It doesn't cost anybody anything, so just keep going.

Jesus Vargas: I think that you have a pretty unique setup of how you started and you even have the agency today that has allowed you to grow Bildr into the product that you want. And it's not based on what the VC Fund wants. It's not like you build a product yourself. You don't have a lot of pressure. Is that still the case? Have you got money invested into the... product into Bildr by ABC funds or do you still match the roadmap of the product today?

Mark Magnuson: I mean, we will always dictate the roadmap. But yeah, so we did a small raise over the last year or so, but it was all friends and family. There is one venture capital firm in it, Hustle Fund is in it.

Jesus Vargas: Hmm.

Mark Magnuson: But that was more of a partnership thing. We partnered with them to help them launch their NFT collection last year. They were looking for someone. I can't remember exactly how that connection was made, but they needed someone to spin up a mint site for them. And so we got on a call with them and talked to them and we're like, you know, what, this, this sounds like it'd be worthwhile for us to do it for you to do. Let's try it out. Um, so that was really where that came from. It wasn't like a pitch process. It was more, I mean, we did pitch

Jesus Vargas: Great.

Mark Magnuson: eventually, but, um, it was primarily just like we partnered, it worked well and. You know, we all liked each other. But outside of that, there are no venture capitalists in our rounds at all. It's all friends and family and some customers who came in too. So yeah, I'm hoping to keep it that way for the time being until we see some real growth. Like I want to see a real flywheel. And then I want to throw money at a growth curve that I can, where we stay in control of it. Because I do think it is important what you said there, you know, from a philosophical perspective. We're very much... lean towards a calm company way of doing things.

Jesus Vargas: mm-hmm, mm-hmm. That's what I feel, yeah.

Mark Magnuson: You know, we prefer that method. But if we've got a growth engine that makes a lot of sense to throw a lot of money at, that's a good time to put a lot of money behind something and not put that out of the picture. We definitely want that to be the case. And we're working towards that.

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: We won't do it prematurely, right? What I don't think we will do, which I doubt you'll see Bildr do, is go raise an obscene amount of money just for the headline of,

Jesus Vargas: just because

Mark Magnuson: We raid that kind of money. Yeah, or even for the security of it. It also provides a ton of security, you know?

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: But we probably won't go down that path. I always leave doors open, but it probably won't go down.

Jesus Vargas: So I think that with no code tools, like no code, low code, I see, I always have like three divisions, like no code tools, low code tools, and then low to code tools, like the more technical ones. And I've always thought that Bildr is there. Is that the case? Would you agree? Like who is the typical user, the typical client for Bildr? And who is Bildr not for? So, I think that's the case.

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, I mean, the not for is super easy, right? If you're like super green coming into building anything, Bildr is not your tool to start on. Like it's not a good spot. That's like saying like,

Jesus Vargas: to get started.

Mark Magnuson: go from zero to react, you know, without a developer's mindset already. But like

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: it doesn't really make sense.

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: Like even if you're getting into

Jesus Vargas: Does

Mark Magnuson: coding,

Jesus Vargas: that mean that Bildr is mainly used by software engineers?

Mark Magnuson: Unknown, I wouldn't say mainly used by software engineers,

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: but more people who have, I think the people who are most successful fall into two camps. One of them is engineers, like software developers who want the benefits of something like a tool like Bildr where you don't have to spin up environments. You don't have to spend half a day just getting your infrastructure in place to be able to start building. You just go into Bildr and start creating, you know. That's a huge win for a lot of developers who are used to, you know. 800 dependencies and a bunch of random

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: errors while they're setting it up and all that stuff.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: That's a really successful camp of users who come in. And then people who have either been around product or been around development. So then I kind of fall into that camp. I don't code, but I understand it enough. I can read the code

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: and kind of understand what I was trying to do. Couldn't tell you where the bug is.

Jesus Vargas: Right

Mark Magnuson: I couldn't

Jesus Vargas: right.

Mark Magnuson: fix it, but I can say I think I understand what that's doing, right?

Jesus Vargas: Yeah, okay.

Mark Magnuson: There's like that level of person, there's a lot of people like that out in the world who've just been sort of adjacent to it as their product manager or even like project management level things

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: where you're building stuff. Because really what it's about more than anything is a logical mindset of problem solving. So I've got this issue, here are the different ways that I could solve that issue, which one do I wanna go with, break that out into its pieces. and then go attack each one of those. So if you couple that with an understanding of a tool like Bildr where you understand conceptually something like, after the record saves, I want to store the ID in a variable for some purpose. Once you learn concepts like that and you apply those concepts in Bildr to that logical mindset of problem solving, that's where the magic really happens. So it's a great way to do it. that doesn't really require any code knowledge, but it does require conceptual knowledge of how it works.

Jesus Vargas: Does that mean that in terms of the roadmap, are you looking to build a more robust technical product rather than bringing it down to the masses in a more local environment?

Mark Magnuson: I mean, we're honestly just going to keep trying to thread the needle, right? So we think

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: there's a good middle ground. And we think that there's a lot of ways to do that. One way is with plugins inside of the studio. We're already seeing some of that with some of our power users actually just before we even have a plugin system in place, they're actually creating their own plugins that you can install and do things like trace things through the system. And then adding in concepts like We're working on some modeling techniques for using some of OpenAI's tools to automatically generate things because we have enough information inside of Bildr projects now to where if we model it based on that data, there's no reason you can't say something like, build me a website that acts like this, does these things, and build me an app that does these things. And also something like, and style it like Drew Thomas.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: because it knows enough information about all of that. So I think there's a gap that can be closed there where, and it kind of goes philosophically to our goals. We want to make it easier, but we don't want to make it to where we're pretending like the human being doesn't need to understand what they're doing. Which I think is a lot of the no-code perception is people come into no-code tools and sort of like expect everything to be abstracted away where you're not really having to think hard through it, but almost

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: every, actually every, I would argue every single product actually requires a lot of knowledge to build something real. It doesn't really matter which tool or set of tools you're using, you end up with a ridiculous amount of just ingrained knowledge after you've built something. But I think we can thread that needle with AI by generating a large chunk up front. And then that also helps you learn the tool at that point, because you have the thing that you thought of already sitting in front of you, which is why deconstructing project templates and things is such a good way to learn. Same thing, but with your context around it, I think it'd be huge.

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: We feel like people really should and can level up their mindset around how to build if they're interested in building, right? And I think... Tools like Bildr who expose those pieces of it, who don't try to obfuscate all of it, really help people level up. They become coders or programmers without really trying to become programmers, but they really are at the end. 

Jesus Vargas: right. Yes. Yeah, even with no code tools, yeah, what you said is perfect. Like even with no code tools, there's logic involved. So when we compare no code tools  to website builders, I always say with a website builder, you have this drag and drop interface, and that's it. So it's simple to use Wix or Squarespace to build something. But even with the simplest NoCo tools, there's logic. So it's not only about dragging and dropping a list or a map or something, but then you have to configure that thing. to behave the way you want based on the user role, based on the logic. So there's always a little bit of technical knowledge that you must have, even in the most basic no-go tools, in order to get the end result that most people want.

Mark Magnuson: Absolutely. And I would take that a step further too in going into user experience. I think where a lot of the no code and even the low code tools kind of fall down is where they limit the ability of the Bildr to create a truly unique user experience. If you don't have full access to styling, you don't have full access to, you know, how that table view actually renders the information and all of the interactions with that table view or whatever the element is that you've dropped on the page, you really need full control over it in order to make something unique. And I think it depends on what you're trying to build, right? If what you're trying to build is a simple list app of things and the goal is to get someone from, you know, not having an understanding of those things to having an understanding of those things. If that's the product you're creating, then I think it makes perfect sense to use those kinds of tools. Get your MVP up, get it out. You know it's going to look nice without much effort. You know it's going to get through that process without a ton of effort. But once you're trying to differentiate yourself in a Mark Magnusonet and you really need to think about user experience, I think that's where a lot of these fall down and that's really where, that's one of those things where we just don't compromise.

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: We won't launch ourselves an element type that restricts your ability to organize the information within that element type. Now, users can do that themselves. You can create your own element types and your own action types inside of Bildr, and you can share those with other users. So people will do that. But from us, at a top level and at a core level in the infrastructure, we thread this needle of, allow you to have a way, a path to go from, I don't understand how to build software to I understand enough about Bildr to build software without limiting what you can build with it. It's a really hard needle to thread, but

Jesus Vargas: Yes 

Mark Magnuson: We continually try it.

Jesus Vargas: So I have a couple questions. I'll get into the Web3 one first. Bildr in the No-Code space, No-Code Logo in space was probably the first platform that integrates with the Web3 movement. And you actually have an NFT related to the product. Talk to us a little bit more about that. Do you still think based on how everything has fallen down in the crypto space, are you still interested in Web3? Do you still see a lot of projects? in the Web3 space using Bildr, how does that Web3 relate to Bildr?

Mark Magnuson: We. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, from, from like a technical perspective and from how we perceive the technology of it. Not the NFT speculative movement. I separate these things logically in my mind. There's this one thing that's like NFT speculation and before that, ICO speculation.

Jesus Vargas: Right, yeah.

Mark Magnuson: There's that. Then there's the decentralized apps and also the concept of users controlling much more of how an app is built. how the tools that they use get maintained over time. And that side of Web3, we're all in, we want that future for the world. That's conceptually, that's how we want the world to be. On the speculative side, we played in it personally, but Bildr as an entity doesn't have anything to do with that really. And a good way to view that is our NFTs are pure utility. We intentionally didn’t attempt to hype them. We didn't make promises on like, you know, really anything. It's like, here's an NFT. If you have it, you get our pro features. That's it, you know?

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: We do want to launch a token at some point, but it's basically all about, do we have product Mark Magnusonet fit and do we have enough users for that token to be a true utility token? Because it'll be the same with,

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: If we ever launch a token, it will be a utility token, not a speculative token. And so it'll all have to be tied into an ecosystem. Otherwise it just won't ever happen. We won't do it. And so, yeah, to answer your question about people coming to Bildr to build projects, yeah, it's still every day. People ask in our Discord, trying to set this NFT up, how do I make a contract? How do I interact with this new chain that popped up? Can I do that? It's pretty much every day in the Discord. Somebody's asking about something that... never been asked before in the Web3 space. But I don't really see that slowing down to zero. I think that'll be there through this whole bear Mark Magnusonet that's going on, and it'll pick back up on the other side. And I think it's a good, we kind of see these things as magnets for Bildr. Bildr is a tool that can kind of do anything on the web. So when we do something like put out a Chrome extension Bildr or put out the ability to do something do web three or like we're working on a bunch of Shopify integrations right now. We see those things as sort of like magnets that bring you into this Bildr ecosystem of if you learn from any of these directions, you can actually build any of these things with Bildr.

Jesus Vargas: How do you define the roadmap? Because it very much relates to new features. And I think that's a struggle for founders like you of these Nubian Logo tools. Like, what do we do next? The community might want some things. You might be thinking of something else. How do you decide what feature gets rolled out in the next quarter of the year?

Mark Magnuson: Yeah, it's definitely tough because first of all, Bildr is just so big as a product. We joke around internally. It's like 30 products in one. You can sort of just pick a thing and go, that's a product. That's a product.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: And we actually see startups launching that say, this is our product. And it's like one feature instead of Bildr is that whole product. So it's definitely tough because it's just so broad. But our intent is really to maintain the core and do it in such a way that it makes it easier and easier for more and more people to get into that core. So for instance, like there was no, I guess there was one core change we did to actually integrate Web3 stuff. And all it was was making it so that you have a signature in the wallet and that creates a user using our authentication backend. So it's an actual. Web2 session created whenever you sign in with your wallet.

Jesus Vargas: Okay.

Mark Magnuson: Other than that, everything else was just custom JavaScript that anyone, any developer on the planet, could have written that custom JavaScript in their project. So really, the core structure of Bildr is already set up in a way. And it's the same thing with the Chrome extensions too. We built one feature that's a communication layer between the browser. and a Bildr page running in the extension. And everything else is just custom actions. So anyone could go extend upon it. And the Shopify stuff we're doing is the exact same way. It's like these core things we have to do just to do the initial interaction. Everything else is just actions that anyone could create or element types anyone could create. So that's the goal is like make sure that our base is always accommodating and then

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: let the details get expanded upon by anyone.

Jesus Vargas: What are a couple of projects that have been built in Bildr that you're like, oh, I have never thought of this and, and seeing people build projects in Bildr that you didn't envision, uh, anything that has been surprising or like a wow factor that, wow, this is building Bildr.

Mark Magnuson: I think the most surprising stuff I've seen has been, there've been some things where people are just, basically, they're not hacking it, but we expose all of our, how our front end works, like how the core works, it's all exposed. And so we've had developers come in and do things, like coders come in and go, you know what, if I put a page header and I let people copy and paste this page header, I can inject my own stuff into the studio and it all works. Things like that that are just, totally outside of the box. In terms of projects, I mean, to be honest, we've pretty much seen it all over like 15 years of building custom stuff for people. And that's one of the reasons why we think these tools can exist is because really, like 95% of every app is effectively the same. It's like, I’ve got data relating it, I've got logic about how things operate. User experience defines a lot more than... than those features, I think. And then there's some things too that you can do in Bildr. I can't remember what the game was. I think it was chess. Someone made a game of chess in Bildr last year. There's things like that that happen where I'm just like... I just didn't expect that at all.

Jesus Vargas: Right, right.

Mark Magnuson: I think those will just continue. There's also some pretty large projects. There's a project where they have laser engraving. not laser engraving, like laser cut diagrams and they have this like massive Facebook following and they came into Bildr and they built out over like a long time. They've been building for a while. I think they're launched now but it's a massive project. I mean you know tens of thousands of records in different collections that are like tying all these things together and steps and lessons and all this stuff built into it. It's just a really large project. I don't know probably hundreds and hundreds of pages. So it's really cool to see that kind of stuff when people really go like all in, you know, they're building their full startup on it. So, um, just always awesome to see that.

Jesus Vargas: Does Bildr has like, when I'm talking about tools like, I don't know, Bubble Glide, et cetera, I'm always like, when you build inside of these tools, you're building inside of a box that has certain limits, certain walls. So the tool will get you to a certain point, but maybe there'll be features that you might want down the road that cannot be built with this tool. Is that the same case for Bildr? Are you limited based on how Bildr is built? Or is it like an extensible solution, more like a low to code platforms, like Flutterflow, for example, but if there's something that you cannot do in Flutterflow, then you just use Dart and Flutter to create that code. It's how does Bildr compare to those two different types of No-Code tools?

Mark Magnuson: Yeah. It's definitely more on the FlutterFlow side of that.

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: You can extend it in any way you want effectively with JavaScript. both on the front end and on serverless functions, you can actually bring in node packages and write custom serverless JavaScript that executes all inside of your project and in its own spun up environment. It's kind of wild how detailed that is. So there really aren't limits on that side, but there are always going to be boxes with any of these tools just because it's a structure. It's a human structure that was created. So there, I don't know if anyone could really claim that their way of doing it will cover all things. I don't think that's actually possible. But I do think that there are ways of designing the infrastructure that lend itself to extensibility versus not. And so one of those would be in Bildr, every element type and every action type is actually a custom JavaScript function that you have access to in your project. So when you create a project, there's literally, it's just our core. There's no JavaScript functions for like a conditional statement in there at all. That gets added to your project the first time you add a condition action into a flow, or the first time you add a chart element onto the page, that JavaScript gets put inside of your project. So that concept of we're treating everything like packages that are dependent. And we bring everything into your project as you need it and store it inside your project. So that way, you can modify it if you want. Just conceptually thinking about this type of a tool in that way versus here's our list of actions and every project gets that list of actions, it's just a conceptual or philosophical difference of how you think about it.

Jesus Vargas: Right, that's interesting. Now talking about the no-cut and low-cut space, obviously we're early, so there's a lot of growth in the next coming years. But at the same time, in my opinion, I wanted to learn more about yours. I think that if there's a recession or things that kind of starts cooling down, there might be certain no-cut and low-cut platforms off for sale or for grabs. How do you see the space? Do you think it’s already too fragmented? Do you

already too fragmented? Do you think there are a lot of no code tools popping up that will grow and get users? Do you think that there will be like five or six big no code tools in the next years? What’s your vision in terms of space?

Mark Magnuson: I mean, I think it's just like software in general, or SaaS in general, or you can kind of take your pick of any niche as well. I think you have all those things. The market  is everyone at the end of the day. So depending on how you define the term no code, it's like everyone is a customer potentially, right? So I think you have across that spectrum, you have big players, you have players who sort of like are always competing to be a big player but never get there. And then you have this like crop of smaller tools, which is, you know, if you kind of picture it as a pyramid, it's like giant base of smaller tools. And you can kind of see that in like, if you look at like Mark Magnusoneting automation tools or, you know, things that help you write content, you know, which ChatGPT might be destroying all of those here soon, but all of, you know, you kind of see that same thing. There's like the HubSpot, you know, and then there's like a hundred small ones that have enough. And I think a niche, no-code product, at some point, the market is so smart enough and is on to it enough to where it makes sense to niche into Mark Magnusonets. you could have a no-code form Bildr specifically designed for the types of companies I used to sell to, right? For like home building

Jesus Vargas: Mm-hmm.

Mark Magnuson: and flooring companies. Because you just have a bunch of templates that match their needs and you speak their language, they're gonna buy from you. And so I think the industry is large enough to support basically all of the types, just like these other industries are. And I think consolidation will absolutely happen. I think you mentioned that as well. It's... bound to happen more and more. We saw some of it last year, right? There were a couple of companies that had acquired, and

Jesus Vargas: Yeah.

Mark Magnuson: then I'll continue, which I think is good for the space. You want to, you need people to be able to get exits so that other people enter the space and add to it, right? People need that allure of, I might become rich if I sell this, right?

Jesus Vargas: Right.

Mark Magnuson: To get into it and put the timne in

Jesus Vargas: same time, these platforms being bought by the big players is a good, like a good check Mark Magnuson of there's value in the space, there's money in the space. It's worth building something in the NoCode space.

Mark Magnuson: Absolutely. And I think it's also a sign of like, there will be people who don't continue to go with the new company that acquired them and go start the better product that they had in mind from the beginning that they didn't get to build. You know, you see it will be a lot of that. Yeah. 

Jesus Vargas: Right?

Mark Magnuson: that's great. It's how it should be. So I think we'll start seeing a lot of that soon.

Jesus Vargas: Yeah, that's great. Mark Magnuson. Thanks so much. Do you have something, something to finish the podcast?

Mark Magnuson: No, I mean, just thank you. I really appreciate being interviewed and talking to you. It's been a good conversation and I love and enjoy your takes on Twitter. And, you know, I think I don't know how long we've known each other on Twitter, a long time,

Jesus Vargas: Yeah 

Mark Magnuson: two or three years

Jesus Vargas: yeah

Mark Magnuson: or something. I don't know a

Jesus Vargas: probably.

Mark Magnuson: while, but I appreciate it. Thank you.

Jesus Vargas: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for joining.