🪂 Spread your wings and Glide - On a mission to empower the next wave of No-code communities

There’s a saying that spreadsheets are the most successful programming model of all time, and smartphones are the most successful computers of all time. After exploring ideas for what Glide could be, the founders thought if these two forces can be combined.
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Priyanshu Anand
May 10, 2022

A league of extraordinary gentlemen

We were dismayed to find that there are hundreds of ‘low-code app builders’, but none that excited us. Why hasn’t anyone made the Google Docs or Figma of apps yet, we wondered. - David Siegel, CEO, and Co-founder

Do you know what’s the difference between having an idea now as compared to like a decade ago? Today, you can’t blame it on your inability to code. Less than 1% of the world’s population knows how to program, and although that number has gone up in the past decade, so has the number of independent entrepreneurs and business owners who don’t have the time or the motive to sit down and learn something from scratch. Coding is no longer sedimentary to building apps. And we’ve seen how the no-code curve has progressed over the years. With all the booming no-code tools in the market, what makes Glide any different?

The Co-founders David Siegel, Jason Smith, Antonio García Aprea, and Mark Probst are not new at building startups. In fact, this entourage came to be from the time they were working at Xamarin - a mobile cross-platform development company. Working firsthand with mobile development made them realize how difficult it was for companies to build mobile apps. Countless meetings with developers, strategizing, project planning, and the expenses of building a mobile app almost make companies not want to have a mobile app strategy.

Xamarin was later acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $500 million and the four founders continued their work under this new name. After two more years of this and they just couldn’t shake off the feeling that building mobile apps shouldn’t be this hard. They quit. All four of them. They spent countless hours of research into understanding the dynamics of no-code and how could they plugin decades of expertise into one extremely useful product.

There’s a saying that spreadsheets are the most successful programming model of all time, and smartphones are the most successful computers of all time. After exploring ideas for what Glide could be, they thought about if these two forces can be combined. What lies in that intersection could mean that building apps become as easy as filling out a spreadsheet. It wasn’t about building just another no-code app, but about building something that makes people go “yeah, this is the sh#t!”

Build apps from nothing but spreadsheets

The founders wanted Glide to be an app development platform that makes building apps as easy as using a phone. Glide essentially lets you turn Google spreadsheets into real mobile apps with zero coding and bare minimum effort. Building an app with Glide is like playing a game, all you have to do is select a spreadsheet from your Google account and position all the data using the tool’s visual builder. You can visualize all the data in real-time, customize everything from display to workflows, and publish a fully-functioning app within hours (Yes, even on the Playstore). If that ain’t enough, there are pre-designed templates that make an already easy task even easier.

Glide was announced in February of 2019. The founders enrolled for the 2019 Winter Batch of Y Combinator and raised over $3.5 million in pre-seed and seed rounds led by investors from First Round Capital, Idealab, and even CEOs of Github, Figma, and more.

A bigger turning point for the company wasn’t a long way down the road. As soon as the pandemic hit, smaller and mid-sized businesses were struggling to find ways for managing operations remotely. They didn’t have the time or resources to build digital solutions, and a lot of the businesses took a major hit to their sales and revenue. The discovery of no-code tools like Glide was a breakthrough for such companies and individual businesses. Within a year, the team started seeing their platform being used for all sorts of apps and projects. Bored college students were using it to create apps for recreation, while larger Fortune 500 companies were building apps to coordinate logistics and deliveries for their stores. The impact validated their efforts even more.

Adding, Editing, and Deleting with Glide - source

There was potential for expansion, and Glide took it. Recently went beyond Google spreadsheets and Glide now supports Airtable and Excel too. The overall experience has been streamlined as well, making the visual builder more dynamic and appealing. They want the capabilities of using Glide to be limitless -

  • Extremely affordable - While traditional mobile app development projects can rack your budget up by thousands of dollars, Glide lets you build and deploy industry-grade apps for as little as $25.
  • Heavily customizable - Glide doesn’t want you to compromise on your ideas. What you have in mind can be brought to life exactly how you imagined it.
  • Real-time capabilities - Don’t worry about your data and updates. All of it is saved whenever you make changes and the updated version of it automatically reflects everywhere - the database, the visual designer, and the finished product.
  • Easily shareable -  Sharing shouldn't be a hassle when everything else is as easy as it gets. Just share the link and anyone can access the app. This can also be used for collaborations as you can define the level of access and rights.

In 2019, Glide won the 2nd No-code Product of the Year at the Golden Kitty Awards and was nominated in the same category last year.

After an extremely fruitful 3 years, Glide announced their Series A in April this year for $20 million from Benchmark. This brings in a new wave of no-code app-building capabilities for Glide, and the world.

A No-code app builder for literally anyone

In 2021, Glide exploded. Hundreds of thousands of non-programmers and programmers alike took to the platform and started building beautiful apps. To date, over 500,000 users have created over 1 million apps. All of this growth was organic. It’s remarkable how significant the impact of no-code has been on people, how it has bridged technology and everyday people like you and me.

PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) has used Glide to create 4 major apps that they use on the regular. The most recent one was for a digital ticketing system that helped replace 40,000 paper-based tickets with a single app. Attendees could save their seats simply by scanning their tickets, also allowing event volunteers to take a breather from running around half the time.

An HR Director adopted the use of Glide to establish a centralized platform that would allow them to communicate with all of their manufacturing employees efficiently. They could do everything with one app - scheduling meetings, announcements, and sharing HR updates could all be powered using just one app. And they didn’t even modernize anything on the front lines, the app adjusted to every customer input automatically.

TechnipFMC, a global oil, and gas service company, was wasting a lot of money on manuals and spec sheets for all of their products. Since they decided to switch over to Glide, they were able to bring all of their manual paperwork online, helping them save over $100,000 in printing costs and productivity hours alone. The app features a QR code that upon scanning displays all the necessary documents needed. Over 500 team members actively use this app.

Glide wants to empower a billion people around the world to become no-code developers and also be responsible for powering the majority of mobile apps by 2030. Did you know that as many as 2 billion people use spreadsheets today? If even half of them jump on the bandwagon to create exponentially more appealing, data-driven apps out from mundane sheets, then the goal doesn’t seem all that unrealistic.

People are central to what Glide wants to achieve in the future. They want every no-coder to become a Glider. And to achieve that, they’ve realized the importance of building a community of Gliders; a community that acts as the torchbearer into an uncertain, yet hopeful future.

Gliding with Gliders

When talking about our future, it’s important that we start by saying our roadmap is driven by Gliders. Most of our new features are based on what we see and hear from our user community. - Team Glide

A recurring theme around no-code organizations as we’ve seen is a prominent presence of community. The reason? When you’re building something for the people, the solution isn’t to just solve a problem, but rather to identify avenues that can improve the same solution. It takes a village to make a man, in this case, it takes a community to build a company. There’s no better way to align a product with the audience than by having a community. Glide understood that.

Glide’s community of Gliders is an all-inclusive place for app builders, business owners, no-code enthusiasts, and organizations alike. There’s quite a lot that they do when it comes to helping people build better apps. Let’s dive into it 👇

A community on Discourse

Glide’s community on Discourse is 11,000+ members and growing. Community members talk about everything from building better products, getting feedback, showcasing what they made, discussions, questions, or anything related to the community.

Glide’s community on Discourse

The community is divided into various categories, each serving as a place for discussions, ensuring that the conversations stay relevant and easily accessible, especially for new users. Here are a few categories -

  • Help & How-to category -  Use this category to ask questions and get help from people about something you might be stuck with.
  • Announcements category - Official category for all things Glide - updates, improvements, fixes, and general announcements.
  • Introduce Yourself category - Dedicated place for people to say Hi and tell the community a bit about themselves, what type of work they’re doing, how they use Glide, etc.
  • Showcase category - For sharing apps that people have worked on with links and project details. Anything that’s made using Glide can be posted here.
  • Tutorials category - To share all the tutorials about using Glide, and it can be by anyone - a Glide team member or a community member.
  • Feature Requests category - A place to share in detail a request for a feature - what it’s for and all the applicable use cases.
  • Resources & Templates - This category is for sharing any resources that were used for building an app. It can include design assets, templates, images, etc.
  • Spreadsheet Magic category - A place to talk about advanced topics relating to Google sheets, formulas, macros, and more.
  • Custom Code category - As the name suggests, it’s a place to share and discuss custom code used for building Glide apps.
  • Bugs category - For sharing bugs, fixes, or improvements needed on the Glide app.

The community has also gamified member engagement and makes use of badges to define and categorize members.

Notably, there are 4 categories in which the badges are defined -

  • Getting started - For new members who get awarded for doing basic activities like making their reaction, adding their first link, or reading the community guidelines.
  • Community - For more involved participants who’re rewarded for making significant contributions to the community like for receiving their first like, for being active for 10 consecutive days, or shared a post with a given number of users or more.
  • Posting - For members who post things and start discussions like receiving 10 replies on a post, or 100 likes and reactions.
  • Trust level - Depending on the badges accumulated, the members are further divided into 4 levels of increasing trust - Basic, Member, Regular, and Leader - each having different privileges including the ability to post in categories and posting content.

All event announcements are done in the community too!

Tom Gray - Community Lead at Glide - announcing a Q&A session in the community

There are also special community events that are hosted to talk about future roadmaps, community plans, accomplishments, and more.

Here’s a glimpse of a recent event 👇

Glide also has an official Slack community for their product ambassadors and it’s (needless to say) a private one. Hence, no screenshots.

Documentation and Guides

Glide offers complete end-to-end documentation and guides explaining almost everything you’ll need to bring your ideas to life. There are relevant guides, courses, and best practices for you to become an expert on building apps with Glide.

Glide documentation and guides

Video Guides

Apart from the documentation, there are video tutorials explaining some of the critical features of Glide apps and how to best implement them.

Glide Video Tutorials

Hire Glide experts

There are Glide certified experts who are professional and independent developers, ready to take on bigger projects you might need help with. And you don’t even have to go through the hassle of picking someone out, Glide automatically matches you with the most relevant expert given your project specifications, timelines, and budget.

Glide certified developers

Glide Blog

Concepts of app building explained in as simple ways as possible. These can be examples of building apps, how-to guides, explanatory articles, and more.

Glide blog

Templates

Working with a new no-code tool can be difficult at first, especially if there’s a lack of resources that can help navigate you through every essential thing you would need to know.

With templates, Glide alleviates any room for doubt or a reason to be stuck on something. Simply choose a template that best suits your idea and get to work. You can choose to customize whatever you like or just keep the design how it is.

Glide further makes it easier by categorizing templates as per industry (healthcare, finance, HR, etc.) so it can be easier to choose from a list of dynamic templates.

You can also explore according to use cases, apps or pages, business, and basics.

Examples of templates to choose from

Power, Beauty, and Magic

Glide's goal of empowering a billion no-code users within this decade is ambitious but not easy. And they realize that. This goal encapsulates so many things that are yet to be implemented and experimented with. Goals can’t exist without efforts.

This is why Glide has an armory of research, experimentations, and open-source projects to further help the no-code app development community.

  • The Discoverable Computations project - Is developing ways to turn the process of building an app with Glide into a guide to getting better at Glide.
  • AI generator research project - Is developing an AI-powered program that can convert simple prompts into Glide apps.

  • The Glide radio open-source project - Is a tool that makes it possible to listen to their cloud-based servers to get a sense of their health.

One of their recent developments has been the implementation of Glide Pages - which is allows you to extend the software or mobile app that you make from mobile to desktop and web. This extends Glide’s capabilities from mobile to desktop and web letting developers create websites, apps, and pages using the same database.

The power, beauty, and magic of software aren’t in the products but in the hands of those who build them. The power of community is beautifully unpredictable. Perhaps the mission to have over a billion no-code creators isn’t so far-fetched after all. Perhaps the year 2030 will be a lot different than we think it will be. In a good way, of course.


To Summarize

A league of extraordinary gentlemen

  • David, Jason, Antonio, and Mark met while working at Xamarin - a mobile app development company.
  • The realization that mobile app development shouldn’t be this hard.
  • Xamarin’s acquisition by Microsoft.
  • Finding the line between spreadsheets - the most successful programming model of all time, and smartphones -  the most successful devices of all time.
  • Founding Glide

Build apps from nothing but spreadsheets

  • The idea of building apps from Google spreadsheets.
  • Adding all the features - customization, visual builder, database, and deployment.
  • Enrolling into YC winter batch of 2019 and raising pre-seed and seed rounds for $3.5 million.
  • Explosive growth post-pandemic and aligning Glide further with the market.
  • Golden Kitty Awards and raising Series A.

A No-code app builder for literally anyone

  • 500K users, 1 Million apps
  • Customers and how they used Glide to solve major problems.
  • A community of Gliders.

Gliding with Gliders

  • Building a community to help no-code builders build better apps.
  • A community on Discourse of 11,000+ members with different categories, badges, and levels.
  • Documentation and Guides offering in-depth resources, guides, and courses to build better apps with Glide.
  • Video Guides explaining some of the critical features of Glide.
  • Hire Glide Experts who have been certified by Glide as professional developers to help build extensive projects as per your requirements and limitations.
  • Glide Blog to explain some of the concepts and examples for effectively using Glide.
  • Templates that can further simplify app-building simply by letting you build apps from already existing apps.

Power, Beauty, and Magic

  • Research and innovation at Glide.
  • Empowering a community of no-code builders.


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