We’d like to share a WYTPod Podcast that our CEO, Philip Daineko, recently participated in, where he shared insights on how to improve business operations with the power of custom CRM solutions and talked about the Flatlogic story.
We’ve created a transcript of this podcast for you. You can read it yourself and highlight anything you find interesting!
WYTPod Podcast Flatlogic Insights
Harshit (Interviewer): Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the WYTPod. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at WYT Labs. We are a digital agency specializing in SEO and e-commerce marketing. Today I’m joined by the founder and CEO of Flatlogic, his name is Philip and Flatlogic is an AI-powered platform specializing in building enterprise business applications. Welcome Philip and thank you for taking the time to join us.
Philip: Thank you, Harshit. Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate speaking here. It’s the first time I’m speaking in an English podcast because I have my podcast but it’s in the Belarusian language so it’s like a very big debut for me.
Harshit: Thank you for joining us today. Now, before we dive into Flatlogic and all the wonderful things it does, can you please tell our viewers a little bit about yourself and your professional journey so far?
Philip: I graduated from university 10 years ago. I have a degree in computer science. I studied for five years. I am originally from Belarus and we have what is called a specialist degree, something between a bachelor’s and a master’s. I studied for five years and then, a few years ago, I also did a master’s in economics. My background is that I worked for several years for a company called Exadel, an American company, as a software engineer, and then I left that company to start my own company, but I did not know what to start, and I started what eventually became Flatlogic. The idea was to create, there was a market called, and it’s still there, it’s called Themeforest, so have you heard of it?
Philip: So it’s a marketplace where you can sell these code assets like templates, plugins, and so on, and they had a section called Admin Dashboard Templates. And I thought, okay, this is something I can do myself. So I designed a template, I coded the template, everything myself, and I submitted my template to Themeforest, but they rejected it. And they rejected my template for almost half a year. Then I said, okay, I don’t want to spend any more time trying to convince them that my product is good. So I went to another marketplace, WrapBootstrap, and my template was accepted. I started making pretty good money because it was 10 years ago. I was fresh out of college, so I was making pretty good money selling this template. And I was, it was pretty good for several years. It was the only thing I did for two years. I was building one template, then I was building another template, but I was also constantly being approached by some companies or some individuals saying, “Hey Philip, we liked your template. Could you please build something for us based on this template?” And I thought, okay, I jumped on this gig, right, you call these gigs, so on this contract, and I finished this contract. So not only did I have product revenue from selling licenses, but I also had service revenue. And I thought, okay, maybe it makes sense to say it’s not Philip anymore, it’s a company, and that’s how Flatlogic was born. It was like, up to a certain point, up to a certain period, it was a fake company when I was just a single person. When the initial employees came, I started to hire and grow.
Harshit: So that’s the story. That’s brilliant, and now I want to know, because you’re in an interesting niche, and I want to understand from you what the unique value propositions or unique selling propositions that set you apart from other solutions out there in the market.
Philip: If you imagine how I’ve drawn, I usually draw this kind of map to compare, for example, to understand who we’re competing with and what our advantages are, we first need to define the market. And so the market is, for example, if you want to create a CRM, right, you can go and use existing solutions like HubSpot, for example, or other tools like Salesforce or other tools that are available. So these are software-as-a-service tools that are available to you to build a CRM for you. You pay monthly and you can be happy with that, that’s fine. The other side of the scale is if you want something custom. I want a custom CRM for me for some reason. I want to have a lot of integrations. I want to, I don’t know, view my leads in some way, I want to store some data. So for some reason, I need a custom CRM and I go to software development companies or I need to build a team to hire a team to build the CRM for me. That’s the opposite, right? And we try to be in between. We try to be a little bit, uh, there’s also a third solution that’s close to the software-as-a-service solutions. It’s a no-code, low-code tool. So, for example, you can go to Retool or Bubble or other companies and build a CRM for you using no-code, low-code tools, but you’re also limited within the platform that you’re building the tool on. We try to combine the benefits of low-code, and no-code tools and still get the benefits of custom development. So we generate the source code now, and it used to be the same with templates, so you could buy a template of a CRM. So it’s like a template, but as I call it, they’re ultimately customizable. It means you can do whatever you want because you own the source code, you have the source code. You can do whatever integrations you want, right? And you have no restrictions, right? Because we have some cases, not many cases, but some cases where startups build their products with no-code, low-code tools, and then they get locked into the platform. They can’t get off that platform, they have to pay, they can’t integrate, they can’t extend. And if you have the code, you can do whatever you want. So that’s the idea.
Harshit: Okay, now another question, because you give away the source code, what exactly is the business model? Is it like a one-time fee? And how exactly does that work?
Philip: So it’s two like it was from the beginning. So the same business model. So we have a product route, so you can go to Flatlogic’s website, buy a subscription, and subscribe and use a product. The product is the generated application, it’s hosted, you can download the source code, you can modify it, you can reuse it, and it’s yours. You can modify it with your platform, or you can modify it with the source code, it’s yours. You can also use our service and we will build something for you. So we also offer this customization service based on this product, and that way you can deliver real products very quickly.
Harshit: Makes sense. Right, can you share a specific case study or success story where your platform has had a significant impact on one of your customers’ businesses and helped them scale or achieve really big goals?
Philip: Of course, I think there are quite a few. So, for example, the most recent one where we were approached by a telecom company, like it’s a local telecom company, and they were able to build five similar custom e-commerce sites using our platform. So, they built the applications and then customized everything, including adding integrations with local payment providers, including integrations with local, I don’t know, signature services, and so on. So this is one of the examples. And they were able to build like five in just a month or two of work. So, not only did they build the app out of the box, but they also added these custom features.
Harshit: Okay. I don’t know, this is in terms of the generator, because we, the company, the generator, so we’re talking about the platform, right? So, we’re talking about the Flatlogic Generator. So, it’s the tool that you can use to generate applications either based on plain language description or by defining a database schema. But we also, have been in the business for 10 years and the platform has only been available since last year. Before that, we had, the generator only became available last year. Before that, it was just the static templates. But we had a lot of them, we had about 60 templates. But you also had managed services at that time, so I’m sure the team could still go ahead and meet the requirements, whatever they were, right?
Philip: Yes, correct.
Harshit: Makes sense. As a leader in the industry, what trends do you see in the future of web development and how is Flatlogic positioning itself to adapt to these volatile changing needs?
Philip: I see several trends. So the first trend is it’s some kind of recession, maybe not pre-recession, some kind of downturn in the economic cycle, right? It’s a cyclical thing that affects us because we develop software when everything else is being developed. So it’s something that people spend money on when it’s not the priority to spend money on. And the second one, I would say, is remote working. So it has impacted us quite significantly. For example, it’s now easier for companies to hire remotely than to hire some agencies to hire development companies and to go to services. Instead, they can just go and hire locally or maybe hire remotely and have all the benefits like working with the team. And the third one, of course, is AI. AI and no-code, low-code tools. So I think eventually AI will replace at least some of the basic application development, application development, because what we are facing and what we are seeing, what we are observing from our own experience and our users, our projects, is that a lot of these, we call them data management applications, they are very similar. They have a lot of similar components, they have a lot of similar logic everywhere, and that can be replaced. Maybe not, I don’t know, not in a month, not in six months, but maybe in one, two, three years. I think it’s going to be replaced by AI soon, at least some basic core parts of the software development process.
Harshit: Okay. Is the platform currently AI-powered, or do you plan to include it in the future?
Philip: It is AI-powered. It became AI-powered after OpenAI released the API. So we are still considering moving to our big language model, but so far we are using the OpenAI API. But we don’t use it to generate code because the code generator, that’s our proprietary kind of software. So it’s not related, OpenAI doesn’t write code for us. We just use it to interpret user input and translate it into some actionable actions that our platform or generator can do.
Harshit: What is the typical user journey on your platform? How do they do it?
Philip: So, the user comes to Flatlogic, they put the description – it’s better to have the description of the application at the moment – so they describe the application, whatever they want to achieve. It’s better to have it in the form of user stories. Then the generator will generate the application. They can change the schema of the application, they can push the source code to GitHub, and the application is deployed to the cloud. So that’s it, and then they can work with it, use it, and modify it through the source code or the schema editor of the FL logic platform. It’s pretty simple. And now one thing to note, our ultimate goal, ah, also, but now we added a new fancy feature that you can just create charts and widgets from descriptions. So you just say, “I want a chart of orders by month,” and it’s going to show you a chart of orders by month. And eventually, our goal is to move completely to a conversational interface. So it’s like a conversation for you. So you come to the Flatlogic website and Flatlogic asks you, “Okay, what kind of application do you want to build? What are the roles in that application? What changes do you want to make?” And you just type in text and you have the application built for you. So that’s our goal.
Harshit: Makes sense. Finding the right balance between low-code development and customization is critical anyway, right? How does your approach help with that balance, especially when it comes to different business needs? You are targeting a big, broad industry with your platform, so I would love to get some insight into that.
Philip: That’s the biggest advantage we have, we generate the source code and that solves a lot of potential challenges with customers, especially business customers who want to own the code, who want to own the software. For example, if I’m paying somebody monthly, we solve the classic case of our customers when they try to, it’s called business process automation. So you automate some part of the business process of your company, either sales or, I don’t know, administration, operations, whatever, inventory management. And if you outsource that process to a third party and you have to pay them monthly, you have no control, you have a lot of risks, right? Because you don’t own the software, you don’t own the source code. We know that recently a pretty big player in the no-code market announced that they were going to shut down the company. So what’s going to happen to all these users, yeah, who are building their applications on top of the platform? So maybe it’s good for you as an individual to track your expenses, maybe, but if you’re a business and you have a lot of processes, you have a lot of people, people depend on some automated business process, then that’s the main benefit for them. So they own something, they are not renting something.
Harshit: Oh, that makes sense, that makes perfect sense. Now, I want to know, how does your company engage with its existing users? Is there a user community? How exactly do you incorporate user feedback into the development and improvement of your platform? How does that side of things work?
Philip: I would say it has a lot of layers. So first of all, we do a lot of email campaigns, not marketing campaigns, but I just, write a message to everybody after they sign up, “Hey, thanks for signing up, please let me know, please be open, please be brutally honest with me, what do you think about the platform, what is your opinion?” If they cancel, I write that too. If they renew, I thank them as well. We also have customer support, so if you have, you can reach out via chat interface, you can post on the forum, can post via email, your request, and will respond to you. And this is one of the most important parts of business development is to be close to your customers and your clients because they are the guide for you. Because they tell you where to go, right? Because we have a lot of customers that became friends, not customers, customers that signed up, they liked the platform, they generated applications, and they became friends. They ask me, “Hey Philip, how are you? What is your news? Have you seen this new tool? What do you think about this tool?” And just having a good relationship with your customers on a personal level is something that gives you a lot of sources of knowledge on how to make your product better. So I just try to be a friend to them, because, at the end of the day, I see that, uh, business is ultimately about helping people. You just have to do something that people need. If, and they will pay you if you solve something for them. Yeah, if nobody needs it, nobody’s going to pay you. And if you help people, they’ll help you.
Harshit: I agree. Would love to know, because the industry is competitive, how to get your opinion, and you rely a lot on SEO, right, for your traffic generation. Would love to know what strategies are working in your area.
Philip: We’ve been working with traffic for a long time, so that’s our main strategy. So we have never relied on paid marketing campaigns. So, I’m not sure, now I’m starting to understand that maybe it’s our, um, it’s not the best way to go. So, I think for a healthy company, you have to, for a healthy marketing and sales department, you have to have all channels working for you. You have to have the inbound channel, you have to have the outbound channel, all channels. But for us, for many years, only the content marketing channel worked, and it still works. So we just started creating content for our blog, and we started thinking deeply about our SEO, how can we make sure that our pages are ranked high in Google? And yes, we got pretty good results. A few months ago we had 100,000 people a month visiting our site, then it went down a little bit, now it’s up a little bit, so it fluctuates. But yeah, we have, and that’s like the main source. I’m not sure, you know, the good thing about SEO is that it’s kind of cumulative. So, you know, when you post an article, it has an immediate effect, and it also has a long-term effect. And the more articles you have, the more your blog, and your website become your asset, it’s not just that you’re building this content authority, you’re building this expertise in your niche, and Google favors that. Because if you, for example, I can, I can spend $10,000 on writing content or I can spend $10,000 on Google ads. Google ads are going to bring me traffic right today and that’s it and just today, right? And if I spend $10,000 on content, that’s going to work for me in the long run. It’s like creating some value for you, but long term. So that’s why I prefer it.
Harshit: Makes sense. And how do you approach new content? What does that process look like within your organization?
Philip: I think it’s a constant marketing analysis, market analysis. Based on market analysis, how do we understand what are the demands in the market, and what is the news in the market? We respond to signals from the market, right? We see what our competitors are doing, we see what are the in-demand topics, and we identify, like, a content plan based on those topics and create a marketing strategy. And then we either hire someone or have our internal team work on it to create the content.
Harshit: And one, because I think link building is again a big part of your SEO success, although a lot of people argue, that it is the biggest ranking factor out there. And what exactly does that process look like within your company?
Philip: We have a special person who does that, like an SEO specialist who does the, not link building I would say, but post exchange, link exchanges. So it’s partnerships in the form of website presence for Google. So, in social media, you can go and partner with a blogger, right? You’re an influencer, you go and partner with another influencer. So the same thing with SEO, you just go and partner with another website. You either create content together or you just exchange things. And so that is what our SEO specialist does.
Harshit: Makes sense. Are you using digital PR as well, as a strategy to promote your business and your branding efforts?
Philip: Of course, we do. Like, on our website, when it’s something important, we also reach out to our contacts to make a post about our news.
Harshit: What is the target ideal customer profile for your business, and how do you tailor your marketing efforts toward that audience?
Philip: We target small to medium businesses aiming to streamline operations through business process automation. These include customer and inventory management, data and content management, and resource management. Startups are another significant segment. We cater to decision-makers with technical backgrounds—mainly CTOs and CEOs.
Harshit: And because you rely extensively on SEO, what key performance indicators do you monitor?
Philip: We track our active articles, traffic performance on Google Search Console, and respond accordingly by updating content or creating new material for declining topics.
Harshit: Navigating cultural differences can be challenging when serving a global audience. How do you handle localization and tailored marketing?
Philip: Honestly, we haven’t faced major challenges here. Our website is in English, and we’re targeting globally-minded decision-makers who search internationally for products.
Harshit: We’re coming to an end, Philip. Let’s have a quick rapid-fire round. What habit holds you back the most?
Philip: I love to sleep, so sometimes I wake up quite late.
Harshit: What chore do you absolutely despise doing?
Philip: I don’t like waiting, which is why I don’t drive. I hate being stuck in traffic jams.
Harshit: What subject do you find most fascinating?
Philip: Mathematics. I love math. I think it explains a lot. You can apply it to everything.
Harshit: And what did you last search on Google?
Philip: Let me check. It’s going to be something about a no-code tool that shut down recently.
Harshit: Thank you so much, Philip, for sharing your insights and wisdom about Flatlogic, your platform, and your life. I really appreciate it.
Philip: Thank you very much for your invitation. It’s been an honor and you’ll be remembered as the first person to conduct an interview with me in English, so thank you for that.
Summing up the White Pod podcast discussion, it provided a deep dive into a tech company’s journey and its innovative stance in web application development. Beginning with their early challenges, they’ve carved out a unique space by merging low-code/no-code ease with the versatility of custom development. A key emphasis was on granting customers control over their code, with a focus on serving small and medium-sized businesses. The dialogue also sheds light on how the company is adapting to current trends like AI integration and the shift towards remote work, underlining its strategy for organic growth through SEO and content marketing efforts. This conversation underscored the company’s dedication to understanding and fulfilling customer needs, and addressing global market dynamics. In essence, it offered a window into how this tech entity is influencing and navigating the realms of web and enterprise application development.