E150 Alexis Kovalenko: Founder of The French NoCode Community

Episode 150 May 10, 2022 00:26:32
E150 Alexis Kovalenko: Founder of The French NoCode Community
NoCode Wealth
E150 Alexis Kovalenko: Founder of The French NoCode Community

Show Notes

Alexis Kovalenko is the founder of the French NoCode Community in 2018, which now has over 6000 members, and the Co-founder of Contournement, a No-code hacker and a Full stack entrepreneur.

Contournement is one of the pioneering education companies around No-Code in Europe.

Alexis is also the host of No-code World Radio (ncwr.fm).

His Twitter: @alexkovax

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Episode Transcript

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:16 Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours. But they didn't ship and they didn't earn enough income. One day, the no code wealth podcast came to help them find a way because of this, makers became founders and live the life they deserve. Because of this, founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. This is what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, to fail in multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping or live the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now I'm rebuilding my life one more time. 1% a day sharing the wisdom of luminaries have interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Alexis Kovalenko. Alex is the co founder of control Namo. And no code hacker and the full stack entrepreneur, contour Nomo is one of the pioneering education companies around no code in Europe. Alexis is also the founder of the French no code community in 2018, which now has over 6000 members, and where members have several Twitch streams daily and have a network of remote offices in gatir dot town as a podcaster, Alex started the first French language no code podcast with 87 episodes as well as an English no code podcast called no code World Radio. Alex, how are you today? Alexis Kovalenko 2:35 Very good. Thank you very happy to be here and have a chance to talk with you. I'm always happy to talk about no code. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:42 Well, this two things, one, this podcast is a bit more unique and different in that it's about you as a person and your relation to no code. And I'm lucky, I'm privileged. And I'm so happy to have you here. So let's begin with full freedom. These days, what is a topic or a goal or an insight or a problem that you keep on thinking about again, and again, and again, because it demands your understanding insight or action? Alexis Kovalenko 3:21 I would say, you know, it's so it's all related to no code, I spent a lot of time thinking about no code, and what people do do with no code tools, and a lot of people know, no good tools for launching products. You know, like bubble, you can use level bubble to build the platform to build the marketplace. But I believe me and my co founder of continental we really believe that no code tools, like our tables are pure, can have much more impact than just you know, launching products, and they can really be super powerful to to help people work better, you know, work less automate things. And so I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make this more famous, you know, how to make people realize the full potential of NACA tools I would say this is like, and we kind of like decided to give it a name to this use of NACA tool because it no cut ups, no corporations. And this is like our main focus, like to make this very popular and that everyone you know, stops, you know, doing like copy paste and repeated repetitive tasks can let people you know, automate things and can work less and work more efficiently. So, yeah, that keeps me very busy. I sleep well, but you know, just like when I wake up, straightaway, I think about that. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:47 I love this topic. I actually have another podcast called Better automation and I'll be glad to invite you again as a guest there to discuss it even more and the You please. But for now, let's explore you and no code in France. How is it? Because you know, if there is a stereotype is that the French culture doesn't have so much of an entrepreneurial drive and spirit and therefore, maybe the no code community is unique or different? Or is it growing? Is it finding it easy to grow? How is the situation there? Alexis Kovalenko 5:28 Yeah, it's, it's interesting. It's true. It's, it's, I wouldn't say it's a cliche, I think it's changing. But it's true. Like, you know, like, French people are not famous for being entrepreneurs. And, you know, as I grew up in the generation of my parents even more, they were very like, Okay, you need to find a job, you know, it's like, one job for your life, you know, the stability. And this is, yeah, maybe what more famous for? And it's true that so it's changing, I would say, and it's changing even faster since COVID. You know, like, people now are very interested in being freelancers. They're very interesting in launching new activities. There's, you know, like, so it's, it's, it's coming back, you know, it's, I would say it's coming, I would say back at No, but I don't know if we ever were entrepreneurs. But yeah, this is changing. It's true that it's not like in the US, like, the it's bit of a cliche that, you know, everyone starts, you know, selling, I don't know, lemonade when they're seven. And so they grow like this kind of Intrapreneurs spirits very young. But yeah, it's different. But so when it comes to the French nuclear community, I think it's pretty unique, to be honest. And I, it's kind of hard to understand how, why it became that way. But I think it's the biggest, no code focused community in the world. And I'll be very happy to find more. I've been traveling a lot and trying to meet people everywhere. So I'd be happy to to be wrong and discover a big community somewhere else. There are some international communities like no co founders, of course, that does, but in one language focused on no code, I think it's on the earth. And I think it's a bit of random circumstances that, you know, we started this this slack group, three years ago, but very quickly, not very quickly, actually, let's, if I need to go back to STEM at first, it was very slow, because no one was talking about no code. Just a few people, everyone, I every time I would see someone on Twitter, French person talk about no code, I would invite them on the on the slab group. And slowly one person at a time it grew, and then COVID happen. And then during COVID, there was a shift, really. And a lot of people discovered no code at this time, because you know, people were in lockdown at their place. And so that time, finally that time to learn new things. And those people learned how to build apps and websites using knockout tools. During that time, especially we saw big usage of glide. You know, it's very interesting tool to build mobile apps, because it's very fast. It's very intuitive. It's almost like a game, you know, like building an app. So we saw all those people building and building and the community grew. And so we decided to share the ownership of that community with 12 other people that were also like, very involved. And this helped grow even more, because at first it was the community of our company, but then we decided, okay, this can be much bigger than our company. This should be like the one, you know, community for friends. Everything is in French, I would say maybe like one thing that is specific, and that made the need for community is that a lot of French people don't speak English, unfortunately. And so this also, because, you know, in, in 2018 2019, there were already a lot of content in English, of course, for about NACA tools, and some very interesting people already, like doing things, but nothing in French, almost. And so that's also why we decided to start a company that so you know, the community, that's something bit specific about French people, but yeah, they're they need, you know, content in French to be to learn not everyone, of course, some people speak English, but so I think this, you know, having a place where everyone would speak French and share tips, and answer each other questions. That was very, that was a good resource for people. So it attracted a lot of people. Whenever someone had a question about a tool or something, they would come to the slack. So it really picked up and now it's, it's been really growing very fast since then. So it's very long question, answer for your question, but just wanted to make a bit of the history. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 9:51 I really love it. And it reminded me of something I was speaking to the founder of Norco, Germany, and he was saying that I Actually, no code is not growing in Germany because the language doesn't translate well or help the thinking or the mindset that allows for someone to be, as he called it a visual builder, which is, you know, a no code maker or builder. And therefore, he was creating tutorials that can explain through the German way of thinking, what is no code, how to use the tools in a way, that if you just translated an American tutorial, it will not really work? Well, for a German audience? Do you feel the same about the French language about a French approach to learning no code that needs to be different to what is going on? So it's not only a translation into French, of what some people in the US or English speakers are teaching? Or what are your thoughts about this? Alexis Kovalenko 10:58 I couldn't tell you for sure. But I can tell you the way we do our courses, because I went our main business is to do online courses. And I think our courses would would not necessarily appeal a lot to an American audience, for instance, because our approach is quite, I would say it's a bit like, like in school, you know, you have lessons, then you have exercises, it's, so it works quite well with French people, I would say because it kind of the way we we have learned we learned things in school, I would guess. But that doesn't mean that they couldn't learn in a different way, if you know what I mean. So it's, I would say like the other way, like if you of course, like teaching French people, the way they are used to, to learn is easier. And I don't think our courses would succeed the same way outside, but I don't know, I could be wrong. But then the other way around, what we've noticed, if I make a bit of a general statement is that there is a lot of tutorials online about NACA tools, but I believe in maybe this is French, that tutorials are not the same as courses, you know, like, tutorial is good, like, you can follow the tutorial, you can do the same thing that's been shown to you in the tutorial. But you don't necessarily use learn how to use the tools, you know, and the concepts that are behind it, you know, I can make a tutorial about building I don't know, like, booking system on our table. And people will reproduce that. But that doesn't mean they will properly understand what a relational database, you know, when the the concept of you know, linked records and things like this. So the way we do our courses, we take the concepts one by one, we show them, we explain them with examples of proceeds. And then we give an exercise to our students. And then this exercise, they will have to think you know, and not reproduce, they will have to think, like using the concepts, how they can do it. And then of course, we make a video that is the that shows how to make the exercise. But the idea is like the practice without really reproducing, but like they try to understand the concept and then they put it so that's that's the way we do it. But to be honest, I don't know, I couldn't say if it's like very specific to friends. And if that that wouldn't work somewhere else. We're currently working with a company in Peru called Kranti. And we're helping them and we're working with them to start an academy in Spanish. So in a few months, if we talk again, I can tell you if the way we teach translates well in in Spanish, for instance, our guess is that it works well, because it's Latin and with, you know, common character. But I would be curious to try you know, to translate in English and distribute our courses to a broader agenda and see if it appeals or not, but we're not there yet. We're more focused on friends. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 14:01 Thank you. I really love what you're speaking about. I love the approach. And then I have to ask because I was speaking to one of the creators of no code platforms, and he was arguing that actually, not everybody can become a no coder, that you need to have a basic understanding of some mathematics, architecture for apps, data types and like nature and relationships. And as he said, You cannot just take someone from the street and teach them no code, which I don't know if I agree with or I disagree, but I'm interested in your own thoughts. Do you believe any person can learn even like any French person let's you know, make it specific through your courses to build quality apps or is there either a fine a foundational understanding or a type of person that is is the perfect or the right person for this? Alexis Kovalenko 15:04 So, yeah, it's I don't know, it's interesting point of view. To be honest, I've never heard that. I used to teach people to learn how to code. And at that time, we were thinking that anyone could could learn how to code. Today, I don't necessarily think it's true. But in no code, I really believe and if it's not, then we're failing at something because I really believe that anyone who is motivated enough and who has regular usage, I think, I would say of computers should be able to learn how to use Zapier our table, like not, not all the NACA tools are equal in terms of accessibility. For you know, beginners, but I would say like, if I take the example of Zapier, for instance, I really think, and I really believe that because it's so simple, you know, like, the UX is so, so good, and so on point, that anyone can learn how to use it with proper guidance, as long as they can. They know how to use their, their mouse, they are, you know, there, because some people, you know, they'll just have problems with, you know, using their computer and the browsers. And we've had that, you know, some of our students, you know, they were struggling learning how to use those tools. But it wasn't because of tools, it was because, you know, they have a hard time just, like, you know, manipulating their computer, I would say, or some people also, in French, and this is a bit more specific, I have a student's very recently, he had a hard time with Zapier, because just the interface is in is in English, you know, and he's not like, an older person is, for instance, he was using Excel a lot, you know, so is he can use his computer. But the concepts in zap in Zapier were confusing for him because of the language and because of the words, like first he didn't speak English, and he couldn't really read recognize the words like trigger this kind of thing. So those basic comes concept for more complicated, but Yeah, honestly, I really believe that, not only it should be, but it's like must be, you know, really, like, accessible for everyone. Because I think the revolution of new code, if we can call it that way, is really about making new met, like tools, like all those tools, vailable for everyone, you know, because not everyone can learn how to code. Not everyone has the time or the means or the need, really, to, to learn how to code, but I really think that everyone should learn how to use, you know, those tools, like your tables are pure. And then maybe even tools like bubble that are obviously a bit more complicated. And it's true, but I think it's really a matter of how you how you teach in France, there is a training a bootcamp about bubble that is doing pretty well, teaching all kinds of people to launch their product in three weeks. And I think, you know, they have really interesting, and in our students, we have people who have very various backgrounds, you know, that's one of the thing I love, actually about doing a podcast about no coders is that you can see, like so many different backgrounds, you know, it's really, really interesting and fascinating. So, yeah, I think everyone can do it if they want to. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 18:27 So what makes you so what makes you fall in love with no code? You are someone who used to teach people how to code? Is it the diverse backgrounds and given power to the people? Is it more the efficiency, time saving possibility to save a life that allows you to live more and to spend less time working wasting it on repetitive tasks? Or is it the community is vibrant? It's what in the 90s, the coding community used to be, I guess, before it became mainstream and commercial, and that dynamism and helping each other and building in public and all that cool stuff? Or what about it really makes you fall in love with no code? Alexis Kovalenko 19:19 It's really the first two things that you said like, first that pretty much anyone can access it, you know, like really like, because the tools are very well designed. And they are very easy, like most of them very easy to use. Also, they can be free to try at least you know, to use at the basic level. Like, for instance, our table, I think you can go pretty far with the free version of our table, you know, and I think this is great, because there's no barrier, you know, so yeah, definitely. And then, as a side effect, I would say people really use those those tools. They can get into this mindset of automating Seeing and you know, saving time and be more efficient. And yes, why not, you know, be efficient to work less, or work more and things that really matter. Because that's one of the thing that people always underestimate, you know, when you launch a project, it's not only building the product that you will need to spend time on the marketing and when it's time to on administrative stuff. So you know, it's not just about building building, even though I love building and I love watching people build. And as you say, in this community, there is this whole thing like building public. So this is also very nice to watch. But yeah, I think for me, it's, it's really all about sharing and give it that to the most people we can, you know, because I think in the code, I wouldn't agree necessarily on what you say, you know, that the coders, you know, it's like, all mainstream and because I think there's a lot of also very nice coding communities, even though I'm not part of them, but I think there's also a good vibe in some of them. But they're always a bit exclusive, because you need to know how to code and normally usually how to code Well, you know, before you can get in those, you know, because beginners are not very well received. And I think this is not the case for now at least in the in the NOC code community and and hope we never lose this, you know, and we're always welcoming beginners in the NOC code community. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:25 I agree with you. I love that thought. And if any beginners are from Hong Kong phone French speaking or anything like that, they want to know more about what you do. Can you explain control among to them? In simple words, can you explain how to join and be part of no code friends, community as well as more about your podcasts? What can they discover there? And I will put your Twitter in the description, of course. Alexis Kovalenko 21:57 Cool. Thank you. So yeah, basically, as a company controller monitors only one thing, it's online courses. So you know, it's like courses, you buy the course. And then you have access to a series of videos that you can follow at your own pace, and you have exercises. And then at the end of the course, if you want to, you can make submit an exercise. And in exchange, we will give you a certification. Like, it's our own certification system, it doesn't really have any value, except for people who know us. And we've trying to make it known for everyone. So it has certain standout value, I would say. So this is our business. And then we produce a lot of content to evangelize and share as I was saying. So we have a YouTube channel where we make tutorials, videos, small, you know, test of NACA tools or kind of videos, we have the podcast, which we want to be inspiring. So we interview just like we're doing this, but when I do it with French people ask them a question just like you do just to discover about their background, what they're building or you know, any things they can share that will inspire other people. And we're trying to make it very accessible, you know, for not to make it exclusive. You know, when all about the Knockout Game in the NOC code kind of like ecosystem, we're trying to make it open to be inspiring for anyone who's coming in. And then the last part, which is a bit different now it's separated, is the French nuclear community called neutrons, which is a big slack group. Very, we've just passed actually, yesterday do 7000 members, of course, not everyone is active, but it's very big. So whenever you have a question you ask, you ask it and then someone will answer pretty much. This is like, the main thing that's happening on the slack is really like this, you know, help helping each other thing. And then there is a bit of sharing the news commenting on the news of the tools, these kind of things. And then now we're since we're, it seems like we're a bit out of COVID or I don't know it is there, we can meet so we are organizing meetups, this kind of thing so people can meet, they make projects with each other. We also have this virtual space in Gaza town where also because not everyone lives in Paris so we're trying to have like all those meetups in different cities, but people live a bit everywhere. And this is important again, you know, we don't want no code to be reserved to the startuppers in Paris you know this if we want to make it accessible for everyone. People in the countryside people who don't speak English people who are remote like all those people must access the knowledge and for this there's only the online you know, channel like the virtual channel that is that can help us for that. So yeah, basically this is all the things we do. And then like the last thing, but it's much smaller. I have this podcast in English that I'm doing. I've only done a few episodes, but I want to do more. And it's basically when I travel, I try to meet interesting people wherever they are interesting in terms of like, around the NOC code ecosystem, and I interview them about what they're doing again, and also to tell me a little bit about the local community. Because and I have this dream, and I will say now, because it's you have an audience that maybe can understand that, but I really want to meet people organizing local communities. And I have this secret dream of like a no code Federation, you know, like, all those communities connected to each other somehow. I don't know, you know, like, we've ambassador also, whatever. But I think that would be that will be great. You know, and this definitely would be something that doesn't exist, as far as I know, in the coding community. Let's see. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:52 I agree with you that actually will change the world. Thank you, Alex. I encourage your goal. I this was an enriching conversation. I learned a lot. I enjoyed our time together and I wish you a brilliant day. Alexis Kovalenko 26:09 Thank you very much. And then we'll have a chance to meet and keep keep the conversation going

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