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Jun 09, 2021 • Issue #55 by Aron Korenblit

Why an all in one app builder will never happen

There's a dream out there and a lot of you believe it: that you'll find the tool. The one that finally gets you. It gives you perfect flexibility with unlimited power!

✅ Builds a beautiful front-end

✅ Sleek, easy to use and configure back-end

✅ Outputs code

✅ Perfect permissioning

✅ Everything else on your checklist

Is it going to be Bubble? Webflow? Airtable? Adalo? Some other recent tool launched on Product Hunt?

I've made some terrible predictions over the past month (I may have doubted the Canadiens in the last 2 rounds but none of my local friends read this newsletter so keep that between us), but I can confidently say this: the all in one app builder will not happen. There are two broad reasons why I feel extremely confident that the all-in-one app builder will never happen.

#1 The things companies are good at tells you what they're bad at

Let's take Webflow. Webflow built (and continues to improve) just a terrific website editor. I've said it many times: it turns designers into developers. It makes CSS intuitive and understandable by all. The fact that most innovative upstarts pick Webflow speaks to its power.

On the flipside, Webflow is not built for workflows. It's unfortunate because creating content—blog posts, streams, whatever—is a workflow! A complicated, multi-step workflow laced with multiple stakeholders, approval and review steps. Airtable has thought long and hard about workflows! It eats, sleeps and breathes workflows! And so it's why like a lot of you, my workflow lives in one place and the output in another.

Could a third tool be good at both? Good, sure. But amazing I doubt it. It's just too difficult.

#2 Being an "app builder" is a smaller market

Wix is a 15B company that builds websites. Salesforce is a 218B market cap company that focuses on workflows. There's no one at Salesforce clamoring to get into Wix's space or vice versa. Webflow, Airtable, insert every SaaS company has so much greenfield in front of them focusing on their market that there's no advantage to becoming the "no-code" builder for everything.

This is not to say that no-code tools won't compete, they will, but there is no one tool that will win. So we're going to be sticking tools together for the foreseeable future. And that's good! It makes us that much more employable!

Until next week and keep building!

Aron

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