Howie Liu Profile picture
14 Sep, 18 tweets, 6 min read
1/ Today, @airtable takes a giant leap forward towards its vision.…
2/ To mark the occasion, I’m sharing a few slides from our 2012 vision deck…
3/ We believed that until software users became software builders, the greater potential of computing was being squandered.
4/ Like trying to write with only paragraphs that have already been published.
5/ We started by giving nontechnical creators the ability to build their own database...
6/ ...with the familiarity, speed, and ease of using a spreadsheet
7/ Understandably, many perceived Airtable to be a “spreadsheet++”. (You wouldn’t believe the number of times we’ve heard the phrase “spreadsheet on steroids”!)
8/ But it’s always been about building apps, with the spreadsheet interface as merely the entry point.
9/ And unlike in 2012, when saying “low code” would get you blank stares, the category is now blossoming past the chasm into its tornado phase. Over 500 million apps will be created in the next 5 years alone. Satya says so too!
10/ Today’s launch enables a big step forward in building complete applications.…
11/ After empowering creators at 200,000 organizations to build their own relational databases, Airtable is now enabling much greater customization of logic and interface layers. After all, software is essentially just made of data model + logic + interface.
12/ So what’s changed since we made that deck?

First: The Javascript and React ecosystems have really taken off. Software development today gains leverage via the massive ecosystem of existing software modules (and developers).
13/ With Airtable Apps, customers now get the best of both the no-code world, as well as a highly leveraged, modern development experience embracing JS + React + NPM to extend their solutions’ final-mile functionality.

14/ Second: Creator communities. The energy and motivation of creators–whether it’s developers on GitHub, content creators on social platforms, players on Minecraft–is incredible.

15/ And thus we are going to be investing more into enabling the millions of creators on Airtable to better share with and learn from each other, starting with our new Marketplace, and the beginnings of an open source ecosystem around Airtable Apps.
16/ Third: The nature of knowledge work is increasingly more network-like than hierarchical. Teams not only need to build applications, but also collaborate on them across departments, or external partners.
17/ With Airtable Sync, customers can now connect data across Airtable applications, enabling collaboration networks to emerge around these structured workflows–much as Slack Connect enables communication networks to emerge across companies.
18/ We may be 8 years in, but it’s just day one for the future of software creation. We’re excited to get to work and help enable a new generation of software builders.

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