From a designer to a no-code product champion — Madhuri Maram’s journey is one that every creator desires. As the co-founder of Xperian and Nocoloco, she has been creating online courses and fostering a not-for-profit Maker’s Guild with her co-founders Karthi and Arjun. She is also a self-taught designer.
We caught up with Madhuri to decipher all that she does (1,000 things and more) and how effectively she has been giving back to the community.
Psst. her friends call her Moogle, a combination of Madhuri and Google. 🤠
Thousand Faces Club: Do you remember any particular instances from childhood that nudged you towards design? 📜
Madhuri: As a child, I remember wanting our house to resemble a mini play area with dedicated zones for carnival games such as ring toss. I was around seven then, and I'd host competitions at home; people would come, pay and play these games. I made money and looked for a business opportunity in these games. It was pretty interesting, and I didn't know if anyone else was organising such games. Although I didn't know much about money, those experiences helped me get into design.
Thousand Faces: So, what was your first step towards making it happen?
Madhuri: I took up BTech Multimedia, but college only gave me access to tools. Most of the learning happened outside the college — I started selling my illustrations online and people commissioned me too. Platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and DeviantArt helped me discover the scope of digital art and all that I can do with Photoshop. I used to illustrate every night and soon, I took up animation and landed clients for both. By the time I graduated, I was making about a lakh.
Thousand Faces: That sounds incredible! How long did you illustrate?
Madhuri: For quite a bit! I made launch videos for Bajaj Pulsar and explored VFX and poster designing, which led me to meet my co-founder and mentor, Karthi Subbaraman, who was then consulting for a Phillips project. We began working on some projects together.
Thousand Faces: So, when did you embark on the no-code journey?
Madhuri: First came Xperian, which commenced as a consulting firm for products and design. After working with several clients, we began to explore a no-code stack for our community to build products. I spent a year exploring no-code — it reminded me of my illustration days when I worked through the night. Soon, I introduced no-code to my team at Xperian, and they were fairly comfortable with it. We were using Webflow and similar products, but after gaining knowledge, we floated Nocoloco. We used no-code in building our MVPs too.
Thousand Faces: You've always believed in giving back to the community. Can you tell us if no-code has been making such an impact?
Madhuri: I offered a free consultation to people who were developing COVID-aid websites. After the second wave, I noticed people from the US and the UK building COVID-related apps for their sides of the world. While people were sharing information on Google Sheets in India, some built apps using Glide. Glide became the most-used app during COVID and I realised if someone isn't a designer, they can't make a helpful app because they lack background education. I also reached out to Glide to seek free lifetime access for people developing COVID relief apps, and Glide agreed.
Thousand Faces: Right! And, of course, Maker's Guild also has been building a community of no-coders. How's it going?
Madhuri: We started Maker's Guild as a paid community, but it's fully free now, and we regularly onboard new makers. It works like a continuous learning platform where we build and discuss no-code and design aspects.
Thousand Faces: One piece of advice you'd give to creators working with clients?
So, that was our conversation with Madhuri, and if you’re keen to understand her journey in detail, we recommend reading 👇
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