E183 Paul Salvage: CEO @ Productly

Episode 183 August 04, 2022 00:25:58
E183 Paul Salvage: CEO @ Productly
NoCode Wealth
E183 Paul Salvage: CEO @ Productly

Show Notes

Paul Salvage is the CEO at Productly.dev, where they design, develop and maintain minimum viable products using #nocode development tools. Their clients are startups, corporate product labs and regular non-technical folks with an idea.

Website: Productly.dev

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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 didn't ship and did not 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 lives they deserve. Because of that, founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's 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, with no opportunities just sheer hard work, to failing multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive 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%. Today, sharing the wisdom of luminaries have interviewed on this podcast from Google executives, Goldman Sachs, the Financial Times Forbes, Technology Council, World Economic Forum, Harvard University, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Paul salvage. Paul is the CEO at product lead dot Dev, where they design develop and maintain minimum viable products using no code development tools. Their clients are startups, corporate product labs, and regular non technical folks with an idea. Paul is the co founder at Saunder works. And the co founder of insights by experts, and his biggest focus is helping startups build great teams and products with over 20 years of starting and developing businesses. Paul had roles such as startup CTO, and Silicon Valley, co founder of multiple startups, and as CIO of Africa and the Middle East largest mobile operator group. During that time, he realized that people and the culture of an organization make as big a difference as strategy, product or technology. Paul, how are you today? Paul Salvage 2:43 I'm great Abdulaziz how are you? It's a bit cold. You're in Cape Town. Yes. Nice to be with you. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:49 Thank you. I'm feeling blessed. I'm feeling lucky. And I'm feeling very curious about you your perspective and the insights you can share. So let's begin with this. You spoke like when the introduction, I spoke about the importance of people and culture, as well as processes as strategy, et cetera. So people who want to increase automation in their business, what should they be aware of when it comes to people and culture? Paul Salvage 3:21 Thanks for that? Yeah, I think as technologists, we sometimes kind of get caught up in the technology and how cool it is to build things and how much we can build and how fast we can build. And it from my perspective, there's at least two steps before the how you build something. There's the What are you building and put down even before that? Who are you building it for? So like, I feel quite strongly that both in automation, in product design in no code development, like the starting point should be, who is this person you're building this thing for? What's their life? Like? What's their perspective? What pain Do they feel? What limitations do they have? And what are they actually trying to achieve? And often I feel like building products or building companies or building teams, the starting point should always be the people. Who is this full Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:16 thing? Do you? And to dive a bit deeper? Why do you think that is the case? Are people who become business people, or who become technology, founders and managers, people who tend to look at the world through a perspective that is more process and tech law, technology oriented rather than person oriented? Or it's just human nature to be self centered and not to focus on people or what do you think is the cause of that perspective? Paul Salvage 4:50 Yeah, I think it's, I think it's human nature. We want people to do what we would like them to do. So our perspective is what we want From them, as opposed to what we can offer to them. So I think it's kind of human nature to start from that perspective. But I do think you're onto something in that, you know, technology minded people, analytical people, quite often, you know, are not very high in empathy and intuitiveness and other other people's needs and wants. So, maybe there's a kind of a bias for us technical people to not be so human centered. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:27 Thank you. Rebecca reminds me that there are a lot of people who speak about human centric design, human, or customer focused business, and all that. So people who come to you for an MVP for their new startup, or launching product or whatever they do, what do you think is the biggest mistake they come across? Or that they come with? That they're not even aware of? Paul Salvage 5:53 I think it's it's this kind of preconceived idea of what the solution is. If you know, I want people to use my whatever ecommerce site, my messaging app, my new widget that I just built. And I mean, in general, I think people are surprised when we first engaged that my first questions a lot about what is it you want to build? And how's it gonna work? And what's the tech stack? Or what's what's cool about it? It's, who is it for? And and have you actually spent any time talking to the people who you're actually building this for? Have you done interviews? Have you done market research? Have you created personas to uncover like exactly what makes them tick? What at least as close as you can get to, before you give them your first version of a product? Right? Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 6:44 Thank you. And when it comes to having a competitive advantage, you're speaking about product market fit, but we're so many 1000s 10s of 1000s, even millions of people go either as a side project or full time or creating new startups, well, how many unfilled needs are there in this world? Do you believe a lot of it is luck, a lot of it is people just going after a dream, like the gold rush, who are very few people made a lot of money, and a lot of people lost everything, or our needs, so fractionally divisible that you can always find a micro niche somewhere, no matter how many competitors are there? Paul Salvage 7:30 Thanks. That's that's a great question. I mean, my opinion is that the niches are getting deeper and deeper and more and more interesting. So you know, you could build a, you know, a messaging app for chess players, you know, in competitive chess clubs in Europe, and that might be a viable niche for your business. Whereas, you know, I think, I think maybe 10 years ago, maybe even six, seven years ago, it was so expensive to build something that really worked, that you have to go after a big market, because the potential market size and the potential revenue available to you, you know, had to be significant in order to overcome the kind of hurdle and cost of, of that have that initial build. Whereas I think today, with tools like Bumble, that's just past 2 million users on doing development, it's possible for just regular people to build something for their niche. But I would encourage anyone who's building something to start with that first question of who's it for? And, like, how, how is it serving their needs? And their problem? Well, it's, it's got easier to build things. But it's, it also means it's easier to build the wrong thing. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:48 Thank you, I understand exactly what you mean. And let's speak about businesses who want to internally create their own tools, maybe dashboards, whatever it is that they need, should they keep on using full time coders or hiring temporarily a coding team? Or is there a benefit either in hiring a no code agency such as yours, or even training some non full technical people to use no code and low code tools? To do whatever that you'll speak about as the benefit of that? Paul Salvage 9:23 Oh, look, I think that's that's an interesting question. And it would be presumptuous of me to give a kind of a one size fits all answer. But, you know, from my experience, being CIO in a large company, our our biggest problem, you know, with automation and development is we have this backlog, right? The dreaded it backlog that you can just never get to. So, you know, I think it's interesting for medium and even large sized companies to to invest some resources in in no code and in automation, even if they set them up Connors research and development or corporate ideation layer. HTTPS and and get your feet wet and see what you can achieve, either by building those labs yourself or partnering with someone like ourselves to help you build that lab, I think, I think the trend towards faster, more efficient development than what's possible inside of traditional teams and traditional code sets, or traditional technology sets is kind of undeniable. So I would encourage anyone to get their feet wet. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 10:28 Thank you. And how does it work? When you previously you were an executive at a large tech company or mobile operator in Africa and the Middle East to go and be co founder where you're responsible for whatever businesses you have for the revenue, everything is up to you? There is no guaranteed salary at the end of the month? How was that experience? And do you feel or think every human being can deal with that uncertainty if they're prepared? Or it takes a 13 character trait to be able to pull it off? Paul Salvage 11:03 That's a good question. I don't think it's for everyone. I think I have always loved building things. And no code and product development has always been what I what I'm passionate about. So for me, this is the greatest time to be alive as a technologist and product developer because we have these amazing tools. And we're only at the beginning of those tools, they're just gonna get better and better. So you can do so much, and you can found companies and startup ideas and, you know, experiment as an entrepreneur, but it's not for everyone, I think you have to have a kind of a self belief that you can learn anything. And, and a desire to put new things out into the world that is greater than your desire for comfort or material gain. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 11:54 Thank you. So what do you think are the trends since you spoke about those code, no code tools, local tools, and proving what trends or technologies do you see as emerging that will dominate in the future? What changes will be there? What's missing currently, that can be compensated for or improved and optimized? And a few years to come? Paul Salvage 12:19 What if I had a perfect answer to that question? I would be, I'd be a billionaire. So I think that's, that's a difficult question. But, you know, having been in the technology space, you know, through the.com, boom, through the mobile operator, boom, in Africa, globally. I can tell if I can feel we are very, very early in the NoCo journey, you know, where were like 1998 in Silicon Valley, when, you know, Oracle and Apple were just getting going and Google was still in a Stanford residents door. You know, I kind of feel like it's that early. So I think the technologies will mature, the integration between the two of the tool sets will will improve dramatically. I think issues such as scalability and performance, which can be a concern to a lot of people when they adopt local tools, I think we're going to see, you know, showcases and proof that that can be overcome. In the in the next year or two, I think we're going to see no code unicorns coming out. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:30 Thank you. I hope so too, because no code is really a game changer and part of the tech literary fee that is going on in the future. At the same time. I'm really curious about you. Why did you decide to invest so much in the space also to put yourself as someone offering services to corporations or founders or whoever, who need an MVP? Do you view because a lot of people say now, because of the threat of a recession, there is less VC money going around less angel investor money? So do you still have this optimistic view that we're going up and up and up and the potential and the power of new startups to do something different? Or are you changing something or have different perspective because of this threat of a recession? Paul Salvage 14:25 Yeah, look, I mean, I think, one of my clients, so we've raised seed funding earlier this year. So it's certainly still possible to raise to raise money for for good ideas and good teams, that perhaps it's become a bit harder. But, you know, I kind of think this boom or bust rhetoric about you know, suddenly there's no money and suddenly is all the money in the world is, is kind of a bit overdramatized by the press. I think good ideas will still find money. And the good news for founders. and people building new products is that if you, you know, adopt the right tool sets and the right approach, you can build relatively affordably and very quickly. So, you know, I think we're probably seeing a lot of startups that need very little funding, or perhaps even no funding that can be bootstrapped. You don't need a team of six people for a year to build an idea, you need two months and $10,000. And you can get most ideas off of the drawing board into someone's hands, just like us, Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:33 thank you, and to speak again, about companies who want to add more automation, or use no code tools within their processes. Are you a believer that they should study how the processes are already happening naturally by people and tweak and improve a little bit? What is being done? Because it's done for a reason? Or should they design like the optimal theoretical process that will be the ideal and then make it something that people will have to do or are trained to do so that it's not inefficient? Yeah, I'm Paul Salvage 16:11 a kind of a believer in, in, in solving the problem that exists, you know, so if there are probably existing processes within many businesses that have evolved over time, that can be improved and made more efficient without having to reinvent the whole the whole wheel? So? Yeah, I would say, on the on that continuum, I would veer more towards the, like, how are you doing things today? And how can we use technology to improve that and automate it and, and solve the main like blockage points or bottlenecks that you struggle with today? Otherwise, you could end up in a quite a long project of very intellectual thinking that, then you have to train people how to do right. Don't forget, there's people using those things on either side? Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:02 Thank you. And since one of your biggest focuses is teams and people, do you believe that teams are assembled out of the most exceptional talent you can find and therefore they're born that way, or they created themselves first and your job is to facilitate it? Or is it the culture that you can take any person who is motivated, no matter their level of skill, and they can perform highly as a team? Because they are in the right environment? And with the right nurture? So is it nature or nurture, that creates the best team members? Paul Salvage 17:40 I think it's, it's, it's matching those two things, you know, it's about being deliberate about the culture that you want. And then going and finding people that are drawn to that culture, and have the natural ability and a natural affinity for operating that way for doing things that way. And then get and then you know, and then giving them giving them the freedom and the space to express themselves. And, and I think people in general are far more talented than we give them credit for. And sometimes you just need to get out of their way and let them actually show you what they've got. Right? And so, I think, but But you have to do that deliberately within a culture of what of how you want things to get done. So, so matching the nature to the to the company, and then nurturing that that individual to kind of be the best they can be. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 18:34 Thank you. And as a leader, where do you find those values? Do you look at your own personal values? And extrapolate those to make them the company culture? Or do you look based on the who, as you mentioned, which values will serve most that person that we're given value to who will give us money and value needs change? And therefore, they are the thoughts of our values? Paul Salvage 18:59 Yeah, I think that's how it should be it should be, who am I trying to serve? And what jobs are they're trying to do? And what do they value? How can I provide? How can I meet their needs and solve their pain points? And what kind of style of doing things what what values were what way of working should I have to, to delight them? That should be the starting point, I think, sometimes in startups, particularly, excuse me, the founders kind of a strong personality, and that can kind of shape the company culture. You think of someone like Elon Musk. But you know, I would also argue that his companies are all about, you know, large scale innovation. And to achieve large scale innovation, you have to push hard and you have to reward excellence. So I think he's a great example of that. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:56 Thank you. That's absolutely really, really Interesting. And since we're speaking about people as well, how can you? Like what traits should you look for when you're looking for people? If you can, of course, assuming you're finding people who match your culture? So how do you know? Because many people in the beginning you can hire them and you expect good things to end up disappointed later on, or whatever. So what deeper traits or behaviors or things to notice, so that you're more likely to feel you're choosing the right person? Paul Salvage 20:37 Yeah, like I think this is where we hit into the realm of psychology. And I think those personality tests were preferred workstyle tests, and really well structured interviews. So asking good questions around. So you know, tell me about a time in your past where you have shown great customer centricity, great innovation. Great. So I think asking good questions, but I also think psychometric testing, personality testing, workstyle testing, and also creating a relationship with the person being interviewed, where there's a kind of a, an honest, an honest connection, of like, This is who we are, who are you really, like, let's let's, who are you really Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:24 paying, you're really well fed. And to ask you another thing, a lot of founders come to you, a lot of founders that I speak with, or even managers or leaders, they say, Look, I'm already overwhelmed. overstretch overworking, I don't have time for networking. Many people say that networking is essential. Some people say it's who you know, is more important than what you know, or what you do, that people, anything you want in this world is another person who will open for you that door. So get busy meeting people. So how important for you personally, is networking. How much time do you dedicate for it? Or shoot if you don't already? And what do you define as a good basis for a good relationship that is more business focused, rather than, like friends or hanging out? Or do you view business? Relationships like that? Like me? No, Paul Salvage 22:21 that's a good question. It's not something I think I'm very good at up to as easy. Networking is probably the last thing I'm always doing. I'm always more interested in interviewing people and doing product development and building the products and talking to the clients and solving the problems. But I think it's an under estimated skill and an underestimated asset to have a really good network of people that you that you trust and know you and know and know what you can do and vice versa that you can that you can tap into. So I'm trying to get better at it. Hence the reason I'm doing things like this, Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 23:03 thank you very much. I agree with you. It's a blind spot for many people that I believe as we move forward, and a lot more automation AI will be possible to take off tasks from us, we should focus more on networking, building relationships, because no automation or AI can really replace that human touch. So to end, can you tell the story of the decision of creating product Li? What is it if people want to use your services? What can they expect? Or and where should they go? Whether it's a website or a social media, that I'll make sure to write in the episode description. Paul Salvage 23:45 Thanks. So yeah, my whole life has been product development and technology and building things that hopefully are usable and useful to large numbers of people. That's, that's my mission in life is to put products and technology in the hands of people that makes their life, hopefully a little bit better in some in some way. When I, I was busy building the culture business and needed to build a culture assessment tool, and started looking around for okay, how am I going to do this? Can I use a survey tool? Should I build it with traditional code. And I stumbled across this about a year and a half ago across Bumble, and was just so blown away with how fast you could build and the quality of the products you can build. Then I find myself drawn back into the product development world and I'm so glad I did. It's it's so much fun. It's such a great time to be in, in product development and in low code. And my mission with product Lee is you know, to act as outsourced CTO to people to give them great technology advice to help them put people first in their product development process and to build great products that can be put put in the hands of customers and, and be used and be useful as fast and as efficiently as possible. So if anyone out there needs help with that, I would, I would love to talk to you about that. I think we're just getting started. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:14 Thank you so much. This is fantastic, as well as for listeners and viewers who need services such as yours. I highly recommend that check out your website, which is written in the description and I'll write your LinkedIn as well. Thank you, Paul. This was my privilege, my honor, a truly great conversation and I wish you to keep going. You're doing great things. Paul Salvage 25:39 Thank you so much for your time. It's lovely seeing you again.

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