All the cool conversation is on no-code tools these days, but the OG no-code platform has been around for 35 years: Microsoft Excel. Even from its early days, it had all the hallmarks of today’s no-code tools: a combo of flexibility, forgiveness, and raw power to wrap your hands around data, and to scale your skill level in parallel with the complexity of your output. Excel was one of the first great democratizers of the computer as an assistive building environment, taking the process of building software from requiring low-level code to visual abstraction. Like all great tools for builders, it affords a variable level of power proportional to the capabilities of a user — a computer novice that knows the principles of math can make basic formulas, someone slightly more proficient might learn a macro, and when graduating to developer status, you could write full programs in VBA.
In this article, Packy McCormick (what a great name) and Ben Rollert go deep on Excel, it’s backstory, why it’s “Lindy”, and modern SaaS businesses building on “unbundling” Excel into specialized apps.