These days, it seems like anyone not working at a top tech company—which are increasingly few and dominant—are holding on by the skin of their teeth: just one contract away from economic oblivion.
The platforms and their respective companies – Google – Facebook – Uber – AirBnB – are so dominant that they are wiping away all the middlemen. What is the individualist to do when you are not up to the scrutiny of Facebook, or the survival of the fittest SEO of Google?
As I have stressed in the past with my experiences with Docker, I would still like to believe in the idea of the lone developer against the system—even in these days of totalizing systems.
In this vein I have been experimenting with a codeless solution to creating webapps—a step up from simple WordPress sites and presumably a way to somewhat wrestle back control.
The tool I have been experimenting with is called Bubble, and with it, indeed, you can create fully database-driven webapps without writing a line of code. Imagine an AirBnB clone or a rival niche social network.
This is not to say using Bubble to create a webapp is without a learning curve—indeed, I had to enroll in the excellent online learning platform the Code-Free Startup and spend dozens of hours to create an AirBnB clone just to get my bearings. But I did just about, and went on to create my own webapp called Skills Connect, meant to connect individual teachers and students in mutually beneficial learning relationships.
(Disclosure: While I like my webapp idea, I am still not sure I will finish it and launch it. Read to the end of the article to find out some of the reasons why.)
Herein lies the rub, I think. While Bubble could significantly reduce the time of development—you would still need the skills surrounding the webapp, from graphic design to business acumen, to make for example, a niche AirBnB competitor.
Meanwhile audience expectation, and the features available from the tech sovereigns grow ever more sophisticated and advanced piggybacking off their now nearly infinite big data accumulation about their users.
Should we then give up the good fight?
It seems initiatives like Sur Place, to take place May 20-21 in Montreal, can provide some solace, as their tagline reads: to avert dystopia and reverse engineer the future.
But I am increasingly not that hopeful that the individual can swim in this Brave New World.
Commensurate with these thoughts I will try and submit an original project idea to Sur Place that embodies what a truly individualistic – and free – type of creative cloud infrastructure for the activist might look like. It really is a lifelong project so this is only a first step.