The Secrets of Online Community Creation, Growth & Optimized Automation.
Max Haining is the Founder at 100DaysOfNoCode, an educational platform on a mission to democratize software creation by helping people build websites and apps without code.
Since launch, he has been able to grow the community to 500+ members and have facilitated over 5000 hours of no-code learning through workshops, AMA's, newsletters, real world projects and an everyday learning methodologies.
His Twitter: @HainingMax
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Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:07
Once upon a time, there were millions of businesses struggling every day they wasted time, effort and money on repetitive tasks that added no value one day, the better automation podcast by PROCESIO came to help them find a way. Because of this, these businesses save time, reduce costs, innovate and make better decisions because of that. These businesses grow, scale, and use human creativity to change this world. Hello, my name is Aziz, and I'm your host that Better Automation podcast by PROCESIO where I interview the world's top experts and share their very best ideas on how to improve automation in your business, processes. And life. My guest today is Max Haining. Max is the founder at 100DaysOfNoCode, an educational platform on a mission to democratize software creation by helping people build websites and apps without code. Since lunch, he has been able to grow the community to more than 500 members. And he has facilitated over 5000 hours of no code learning through workshops, AMA's, newsletters, real world projects and an everyday learning methodology. Max, how are you today?
Max Haining 1:43
Yeah, I'm really good. And yeah, looking forward to getting into this. Thanks for having me.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 1:49
You're welcome. And me too. I'm honored. I'm lucky. And I'm very happy to have this discussion with you today. And what I'd like to begin with is, since you have a lot of experience and communication with people and in, you know, input into what they do, do you have some stories or anecdotes or interesting facts and tidbits about automation that you can share?
Max Haining 2:15
Sure, absolutely. So running a community of people that are leveraging NoCode tools means that you see a lot of people, a lot of use cases and a lot of stories, of people leveraging these tools to make their life better, to make their businesses better, and to help them grow their businesses and their projects, and so on in a very unique and fortunate position to be able to see everyone building these tools in front of me on an everyday basis, whether that's in Slack, whether that's in Twitter, all kind of in person. So yeah, there's a few stories. And the first place I'll probably start is just using it to run my own business. So how do I use automation to run a community to run 100 days of no code? Now firstly, the first caveat that I make is that 100 days of no code could be far more optimized, it could be far more automated than it currently is. But there are a few things we do to automate things. So from the simplest, simplest introduction and onboarding flow, where we send a welcome message to any new member, that is all automated to something a little more complex. So when a new member subscribes, they not only get that welcome message, but they also get a video sent by me, which is personalized through software called descript. So it looks like they're receiving a personalized message from me. But that is all fully automated. So just to enter the spectrum there as to kind of how you can manipulate these tools to improve the experience for your members, for your clients, but also for yourself, because you're saving time. Would you like me to there's one more example I've got? Do you want me to delve into that as well from one of the members of 100 days of no code?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:27
Yes. And at the same time, I would like us to switch gears because this is fascinating and so useful to the viewers. And this will be like the core or the question. If people are interested in creating a community in general, let's speak on two levels, what makes a community what brings people together and bring that engagement and vibrant atmosphere and spirit to it? And you said that 100 days of no code is not optimized as a code Unity, if you were to design the strategy that is an optimal strategy for automating a community or what is within it that needs to be automated, could you share that? So yes, it will be three things you can go speak as much as you want. Because this is valuable. In general, what makes for a community if someone wants to create a community for their business or a community in general, what do you feel? Are the requirements that build an engaged community? Then would what would be an ideal strategy for automating things to make that community optimized? And why? And third, of course, share from your members? Because I'm sure we all love stories.
Max Haining 5:43
Yeah, of course. So I'll attack those those those three questions separately. So the first one is just going off the back of my first answer is telling you about a member of the 100 days community. His name is Doc Williams, he runs his own YouTube channel, he does a lot of things around YouTube, and no code, and how you can really monetize your kind of skill set. And what fascinates me about how he uses automation, is that he only works 90 minutes a day. And you're probably wondering, how does he get everything that he does, because he looks like he's everywhere. He's always doing things, but actually, he's confined his, his work his input time, into 90 minutes, but is, but the the outcomes of that look like, you know, he's working 24 hours a day. And that is all because of two things automation. So he has all his workflows. So automated, so whenever, for example, he uploads a new video, it goes straight from, from his kind of Dropbox file into to YouTube, once it's checked, but then also, he uses things called SOPs, standard operating procedures, and those are things that can't necessarily be fully automated. But they're processes that are kind of outlined in the most efficient way so that someone else can do that task very efficiently. Which means that he can work only 90 minutes a day. And that isn't somewhere he started. But over time, being part of the community. And being in the no code space, he's been able to get to that time, which I think is a really interesting place to be. I'm just curious as to what he does with the rest of his day. But so that is that is dot Williams, then let's move to the second question. So how would you build a vibrant community? How do you build a community that people want to use and interact with other people in? So this is a really, really big question. So I won't be able to tackle it all. But what I would say, and it's a generic answer, but it is an extremely important one is you have to fundamentally asked the question, as a community builder, why does this community exist? And and really, that the answer to that should be an outcome, it should be a transformation you want to take your members on, rather than a topic area. So an example 100 days of no code isn't a no code community. People aren't there just because they're learning to know code. They're actually there for the transformation of being able to bring their ideas to life. So that's the journey. That's a transformation they're on. And that's why they are so eager to meet other people. Not, particularly because it's no code. So always make sure your community has a transformation and a why, and a driver for engagement. And that why for me, is people want to bring their ideas to life and other community that may be something different. So I think really just start there for creating a vibrant community. And I'll leave it there because there's so many more stages on that journey. But we can maybe delve into at another point. And then the third question was around community optimization. So we've got this community, and we want to make it a bit more of a well oiled machine with this automation. And how do we leverage tools to make this operation a little slicker? So how I approach automating things you is really standing back and looking at everything I do some mapping out day to day, what am I doing as a community builder? Okay, so I'm sending messages to my members when they join the community and sending slack announcement messages. With the weekly digest email that we've sent, I am sending zoom invites for events that are coming up. I am DMing people, one on one to check in on them. So these are all things now that I've got a list of things where I can look at and say: Are these things automatable? Can I actually make this process faster? And nine times out of 10? The answer is yes. And there are parts of that process that you can keep human. And then there are parts that can be automated. And once you've broken down that process, you can then identify what are the best tools? And what is the best automation you build for that process? So I hope that answers those those three questions in an interesting way. And feel free to dig deeper on some of those answers.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 11:15
Thank you. Yes, the community need and a why. And an outcome or transformation reminds me of storytelling and the hero's journey on the internal and external journey where a hero or a movie or a story needs a specific outcome at the end for it to be focused. Otherwise, it will be all over the place, as well as an inner transformation of the character. And therefore community is basically opening the door for people to be heroes on a journey. And maybe you're the order or the mentor, or the person who is supporting them the ally on that journey. And on a more deep and psychological level when it comes to automation. Yes, everybody agrees that creating a well oiled machine is wonderful. You as a business owner, or the person who is an entrepreneur or the CEO of your own life, it matters to you because like you the community member you spoke about who is a doc, I think, was his name, that he works 90 days, and then everything else is automated or delegated, etc. But if somebody is not that person who will be able to take time off because of being automated, I'm just speaking about like resistance to change management, where people who have been doing something, they might take the repetitive task time as downtime where they can mindlessly do something without needing to think or without like as a relaxation period. If you take that from them, they will think oh my God, I need to fill eight hours or whatever of my day with really intensive creative work. And I cannot explain to my boss that, oh, if I, for example, I think the Airbnb founder, he said, I don't expect product more than four hours of real productivity out of my employees, because more than that their brains will be melting down. But some people will think I'm paying you for eight hours or whatever it is. And therefore if you take from them the repetitive task, there will be resistance because they'll think, what do I fill it with? That it will need to be filled with exhausting things that will add more onto my plate. And I'm already exhausted and overwhelmed. What's your perspective on this?
Max Haining 13:39
Yeah, it's a it's an interesting question. And I think the first thing I would say, especially in relation to community, is when you're building a community, especially at the start, a lot of the things that you're doing probably shouldn't be automated. So that is just the caveat, because you're really trying to optimize for understanding your members and for building those personal relationships with them. And in a lot of cases, automation at that point isn't the most important thing it is building those relationships. However, once you've kind of gone from zero to one, you understand what your members need. You understand the patterns and the rhythm of your community. Okay, so we have an event a week we have peer groups are going every fortnight we have demo days that occur every quarter. We have one on one introductions that happen in Slack. Once you know those kind of key touch points and patterns. After you've gone from zero to one, then you can start thinking about okay, let's actually make this process a little easier on ourselves as a community builder as a community manager. So that becomes a more well, well oiled machine machine. And as you say, once you have, you know, cut out that work that you were doing beforehand, the question is, what do you do instead, is that time filled with more intense, deep work? Probably not. Because as you say, there's only a limited capacity that we have each day for that deep work. So maybe half of it is filled with that deep work. And the rest is just for recuperating, for recharging, so that we can do deep work again, the next day in a better way. Whereas otherwise, we would have just been doing our deep work. And then also going back to doing the monotonous repetitive tasks that happen over and over again, which robots can take care to take care of us. For us.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:58
I agree. And I remember there are a lot of thinkers and thought leaders that say, we're not really an overworked society, we're in unrested society. So we need actually rest in order to perform. You know, if you look at athletes and Olympic athletes, and all that, they really, really put a priority on recovery. After intense work, not like the usual office worker, or even worse, the entrepreneur who's almost working 24 hours, even when they're sleeping, sometimes they might wake up in the middle of the night, see some email on their phone and take time to do customer support or whatever, which means they're on call worse than like the worst, most workaholic employee ever. And they're creating their own golden cage and to ask you about relationships, because you spoke about building relationships, especially in the beginning is the most important part. Previously, I have spoken to the founder of no code founders. And to him, he said within his community, there are 10 relationships that from the beginning, till now have opened all the doors made all the difference have been the most important for his success, and that those 10 relationships are more valuable to him than everybody else, it doesn't mean that he doesn't value everybody else. But he's focusing more and understanding that those 10 relationships are really the core of all the effectiveness, the money, the productivity that he has. Do you notice a similar trend within your life and community? Or do you find that there are hundreds of relationships that are all making a big difference? And there isn't like a few that are disproportionately more impactful?
Max Haining 17:50
Yeah, that's a really great question. I think, firstly, there is a general point I'd like to make and the number the size of your community doesn't necessarily correlate to the the quality of it. So you know, quality, the quantity is something that is one data point about a community but doesn't necessarily mean it is of high quality. And that really goes back to the beginning, on actually optimizing for relationships, which isn't really a scalable thing at the beginning. So what I would say in relation to weather kind of I focus on, you know, a small handful, like, like you were saying kind of 10 of those relationships. What I found with the 100 days community, I am still getting a lot of support, getting a lot of connection and wisdom from a very small handful of members that joined as the first 10 members. And those 10 members we have a mastermind are a peer group. And that same group has met for the last two and a half years since I have started 100 days of no code. And we've met every Monday since. So that tells you how kind of important that that group is. But also, really, that that is the case. So for me those 10 connections, but then once you built those deep personal connections with 10 people you really want to be focusing on how are you connecting your members with each other? How are you instigating those conversations so that they aren't we'll start seeing from you but they're starting from one member to another. And that really then is the key to unlocking, you know, a more distributed community, that is that is speaking with each other, not just from you, kind of at the top.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 20:13
Thank you, that's a very, very important point that one of the values you can provide is as somebody who's connecting people who wouldn't have met otherwise, but who together can leverage their skills, their resources, their connections, their ideas into something that really, really changed both their lives. And that's really, really valuable and can create create reciprocity, friendliness, goodwill, whatever it is, that can also change the whole community and add value that you cannot provide by only newsletters or workshops, or whatever like that. And I love this. But let's ask a question that maybe a skeptical business owner might say yes, of course, 100 days of no code, citizen developers, all that stuff, good for you. But what's in it for me as somebody like? Do you believe that developing employee no code talent is something that makes a big difference now and in the future? And how would it make such a difference? What specific ROI can somebody find when they have somebody in their team who understands no code, bubble automation process? Do whatever it is, what tangibles can they expect?
Max Haining 21:36
Yeah, great, great question. And it's, it's a very valid, valid point. What is the return on investment from NoCo? tools we hear them marketed is these magical things. But, you know, if we dig a little bit deeper under the surface, what tangible outcomes are they having for companies of, you know, small to medium to huge scale? And how can we kind of break that down. And I think, really, the point remains, and carries through from a community like mine, where I am empowering people to create side projects. And that same empowerment is happening, but just within companies. And what that means is that your team member, or your two team members, are less dependent on other team members, and other teams within your company. So for example, if someone in your product team wants to test an idea wants to test a, or experiment in a quicker, faster way, they don't no longer need to go back and forward with that development team, because their development team is essentially within their product team, because they are the ones that know or can produce something themselves. So I think that's the first bit like the empowerment piece of them being less dependent on other teams, which means that a team can be more productive themselves. So it removes certain barriers. And then when they're ready to develop maybe a fully scalable thing off the back of that experiment, they then can, can bring those insights to that development team. So I would say empowerment there. And then we go back to automation. And that really, is again, where you can find a return on investment. Because your your employees are able to focus more on that deep work that is going to have higher leverage than the repetitive manual work that anyone can do. And you're using them for their best capabilities for their best talent, rather than for the things that anyone could do. So hopefully, that gives you a little bit of a high level insight into the the tangible benefits that you can get from Yeah, pushing no code in your organization.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 24:21
That's wonderful. It sounds absolutely amazing. And if anybody who is watching or listening, would like to send part of their team to learn no code tools to be part of 100 days of no code. Can you share more? Where should they go? more specifics about the trainings or the curriculum or what is available within the community and the workshops you offer? And we'll make sure to write the website in the description as well.
Max Haining 24:51
Yeah, of course. So getting into no codes is one thing knowing how impactful logo can be for your organization. Here's another thing, knowing how you can actually train your team to leverage these tools. Because even though it is easier, and potentially more intuitive than learning to code, there is still a learning barrier, there is still a learning curve that your team needs to overcome. So they can upskill themselves. So and this is one of the challenges that we are tackling at 100 days of no code. How can we upskill people empower people in the quickest possible way. And what we currently have kind of three different products that can serve your team, your company's needs in different ways. So the first of which is a completely free, everyday challenge. And what that means is your team can sign up, and they will literally get a daily bite sized lesson that will take them no longer than 30 minutes to complete. And they will come out of that with a tangible project for that day. So this is a really nice, sustainable, low hanging piece of fruit that your or each of your team members can do every day, completely free. Now, if you're looking for a more intense, kind of rich, immersive experience, where your members, your team members have contact with experts with other people in the community, then we also run boot camps. And they are a full week supercharged experience where the time investment is more, but the results are quicker. So if you want to go from zero to one, and take your team from knowing nothing about no code to understanding how to leverage it in its fundamental capacity, then the boot camps are kind of a four week track to do that. And in the middle of both of those things, is our community, which your team can also be a part of as well. So hopefully that gives you a better idea as to how they can actually start using this stuff.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 27:13
Thank you, I recommend everybody to go to 100 days of no code and I cannot end without praising and speaking about PROCESIO. PROCESIO is the modern low code, no code platform for advanced automation and creating an enterprise grade back end. For your software, you can request access to a totally free account at PROCESIO.app that gives you one hour of running time, which is equivalent to 100 human labor hours. And that's wonderful. And for those who need more, a special discount for the listeners and viewers to get 50% of any upgrades. You can use the code BETTER50OFF one word all in capital letters. More information in the description, Max. This was my honor, my privilege. I thank you very much for this conversation. It was absolutely enlightening.
Max Haining 28:16
Thanks for having me. It's been super fun talking about all things, NoCode. And yeah, thanks so much for having me.