Mitchell Wright - how Lambda School reached a $150m valuation with Airtable, Zapier, and Salesforce

All of Lambda School's engineers were teaching class, so they got creative and used no-code tools to scale the school. The tech stack lasted up to ~125 employees, which is likely a no-code record.

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Show notes

In this episode of The No Code & Code Podcast, Mitchell Wright, Senior Manager of Growth and Strategy at Lambda School, sits down with us to share his expertise and experience with building Lambda’s foundation using no-code and scaling it to serve over 2,500 students.

Mitchell discusses the difficulties behind bridging the gap between technical and non-technical users, especially in a situation where the no-code stack is initially set up by the operations team, but later used by the engineering team. He explores ‘technical debt’, which, in no-code, exists when the engineering team has little visibility into how things are set up and running. Mitchell also dives into the challenges that Lambda faced given the speed at which the company scaled, especially pertaining to no-code tools such as Zapier and Airtable. 

By sharing the obstacles that Lambda had to overcome in scaling and migrating from no-code, Mitchell provides invaluable advice for other companies looking to follow in his footsteps. He continues by saying that although there are obstacles when scaling a company in no-code, the early stages of a company are about asking yourself, “What is the fastest way for me to get this idea out there and validate whether it will be a good idea anyway?” In the same vein, he states that it’s more about getting your idea out there, rather than getting stuck on what tools to use.

Mitchell wraps the episode by drawing from his experience to outline what his scaling and migration strategy would look like in a perfect world. He also lists the top two features he believes would bring no code to the next level and would like to eventually see implemented.

You can find Mitchell on Twitter and LinkedIn, and don’t forget to check out Lambda School and the tools and resources mentioned in this episode: 

Timestamps:

  • 5:40 - Breaking Typeform from student application volume.
  • 6:56 - Implementing Wordpress to build a robust student application portal.
  • 6:56 - Implementing Zapier and Tray.io into Lambda.
  • 8:50 - Why do migrations happen?
  • 10:00 - What would make Zapier more scalable?
  • 11:30 - Standard Library’s unique way of being able to push a feature with code or no-code.
  • 13:30 - Collaboration features that contribute to no-code not scaling as far as it could.
  • 16:10 - Adopting Airtable as the primary database.
  • 17:48 - Why Airtable and no-code databases break down, and how that happened at Lambda.
  • 21:35 - How to increase your Airtable base’s speed.
  • 23:40 - How to push past Airtable’s maximum row limit.
  • 24:45 - How no-code can help companies iterate faster than with code.
  • 29:30 - Why no-code tech debt is unique.
  • 33:45 - Mitchell discusses his ideal migration plan.
  • 39:00 - When did you start planning the migration to code?
  • 41:45 - Mitchell’s three dream no-code features. 
  • 46:35 - How to get a free assessment of the scalability of your no-code stack.

Tools & services mentioned

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