My No-Code journey started on April 21st, 2017 when I discovered Webflow for the first time. Most designers can relate to their first Webflow experience as “wow, this feels like it was built for me.”
All of a sudden my world felt much larger and I saw that I could apply my existing design skills to a much more valuable and dynamic medium – Web Design. I knew my existing print/digital design customers would love the ease of management and speed of development. This was a game changer for me and I knew it would be for everyone else who discovered it.
As I dug deeper and deeper into the platform, dynamic data become incredibly interesting to me. It was amazing how data could drive template pages via the CMS. The possibilities seemed endless, especially when incorporating structured collection data (single and multi-reference fields), dynamic embeds, and conditional visibility.
I eventually developed a contractor relationship with Eventbrite where I started to push the limits of the Webflow CMS for their Enterprise customers like Amstel, Marvel, IMG, Vice Media, and more. These customers needed to do hundreds or thousands of branded events pages in a Website. Most of these projects followed a templated/repeatable structure from the design side which seemed like a tremendous opportunity.
The Data Problem
I started to notice the true value to these large customers was organizing and structuring a large amount of data. The pain-point for me was inputting and updating thousands of CMS items manually. It took thousands of manual clicks to setup one of these sites. It was grueling to try to keep up, but with brute force it could be done with a handful of customers. I wanted to take on more projects, but I didn't see how it could be done without automating the manual data entry and synchronization required for these types of sites. Burnout was taking over my life. I had heard of API’s and could see how the data could be accessed to automate data processes. Like most no-coders – I thought I could simply go into Zapier, connect my platforms, and move on. This was very much not the case and it started what would be a 5 year journey toward rethinking what a data platform should be.
When the pandemic hit I closed my agency to fully pursue the opportunity to Co-Found Ample Cloud with Gabe Lamberth (CGO) and Nathan Tinius (CTO). Nathan and Gabe were were both experiencing the limitations of integrations in their roles in Engineering and Enterprise Sales at Eventbrite. They knew the value a great integration brings to a business and knew it was a problem worth taking on.
Based on my experience with Webflow I had some pretty heavy criteria for how the product needed to function. Quite simply, they set the bar very high and we needed to aim for the same level of excellence and apply it to integrations. There needed to be an entirely new approach.
No Modules - Modules in existing systems introduced unnecessary complexity. What modules should I use? How do they work? Why doesn’t this work?
Flexibility - As my data needs evolve, I need to be able to re-run functions to make sure all data matches.
Individually Priced Applications - Usage based platforms assume all functions have the same business value. In the real world, some processes need to run millions of times per month or require complex multi-step business logic. These systems don’t have scalable pricing for most processes.
Easy to Manage - As an agency owner, I struggled with how to manage billing for multiple projects in Webflow and I gave up trying to bill for Zapier usage. We would focus on Silo’d billing and unique permissions to simplify management workflows and collaboration.
Ease of Use - These tools should empower non-technical users in the same way Webflow empowered me to become a Web Developer.
Complete Solutions - Import data, keep data updated automatically, allow for re-running missed data, structured data (multiple collections)
The journey from ambitious criteria to putting users on a platform has been filled with triumphs and heartache. We've developed creative solutions to technical hurdles and leveraged the most powerful technologies available to bring our next-gen integrations platform to life. Our team's unwavering commitment to building better integrations has been the North Star every step of the way.
After 2+ years of work with our MVP, Alpha, and Closed Beta customers we’re excited to release Ample Cloud to the world and begin growing our marketplace of data pipelines. We're taking a big data approach to scalable, code-free, SaaS connectivity.