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Of Low-Code, Hip-Hop and Wu-Tang Clan

Roland Alston, Appian
June 12, 2019

What the heck can low-code development possibly have in common with hip-hop and Wu-Tang Clan?

It might be that if low-code and hip-hop were algorithms, innovation would be part of the code. The innovation connection is right in so many ways. For example, low-code is a faster way to build custom software because it breaks through the innovation bottleneck that has undermined the competitiveness of large organizations for decades.

Let me break it down even more simply:

Low-code empowers a developer to turn an idea into a working business application 20x faster than writing code.

Which means faster time to innovation, revenue and growth. There's a parallel in the mainstreaming of hip-hop and how this trailblazing genre has revolutionized pop music and reversed a two-decade slide in music industry innovation and sales. Today, hip-hop not only dominates digital streaming but recently surpassed rock as the most popular genre in the U.S.Here's the math according toBuzzAngle Musicwhich tracks U.S. music industry consumption:

    • Last year, hip-hop dominated U.S. streaming with just over 25% of the total, up from 22% the year before

    • Add SpotifyandApple Music to the mix, and hip-hop scored 26.9% of the streaming market

    • As for video streams, hip-hop ruled with 22.8% of all music streams onYouTube

It's worth noting that hip-hop quickly embraced digital streaming as a new way to drive consumption which is precisely how innovation happens. Perhaps Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine said it best :

"All of the innovation and incredible things happening in music are (happening) in hip-hop...."

But of all the threads you could pull from the hip-hop meets low-code story, the one you might not expect is digital transformation. And, yet, if you poke around the edges of digital transformation, if you put a telescope on it, you can find unexpected places where hip-hop and digital transformation intersect. For example:

    • Members of the Wu-Tang crew launched cryptocurrencies to fund albums, concerts and brand related projects

    • Rapper/actor Common partnered with Microsoft on series of TV commercials about artificial intelligence

    • Black Eyed Peas' frontman incorporated augmented reality into his act and teamed up with Intel as Director of Creative Innovation

    • Hip-hop moguls Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg backed a digital stock trading platform calledRobinhood which is valued at over $5 billion

From Fringe to Mainstream

Embracing the new vernacular, the new trend is precisely where forward motion happens.The hype machine has run podcasts, Facebook groups, chat rooms, tweet storms and other campaigns on social media. But a videodoesn't have to have guests. In fact, it could be less than a minute long and pack a viral punch. What matters is that it connects with people and helps to shape the conversation.

Every day, tech pundits sit at their machines, clicking and typing and talking about low-code development and other hot trends. But it's the unscripted, serendipitous events that tend to get all the hits. Speaking of serendipitous, I came across an impromptu video (below) of a hip-hop fan doing a freestyle low-code rap at the Appian World 2019 conference in San Diego last May. The buzzworthy performance clicked with the crowd because it was unexpected and embraced the hip-hop vernacular to put a tech topic (low-code) into perspective. Check out the following lyric snippet and video:

"...Everybody knows that we got a (low-code) hit

Everybody knows that Appian is down with it

Yo, bust a groove, then bust a move

Everybody knows that we got the (low-code) attitude

Developers know it's the better move

Everything we gotta do, making it fast

Everybody knows that Appian (low-code) is built to last..."

[video width="568" height="320" mp4=""][/video]

Low-code has evolved from the fringe to the mainstream and caught on with CIO's looking to inject agile development into their IT organization. As a result, platform sales will surpass the $20 billion mark by 2022, up from $4.3 billion in 2017, according to recentnews reports.It's also worth mentioning that:

    • A whopping 84% of enterprises have turned to low-code to reduce strain on IT resources and increase speed-to-market

    • Companies with the lowest tolerance for downtime and data loss are running top applications on low-code

    • More than half say they use low-code because it has the fastest speed of delivery

    • 49% say low-code has the greatest ability to automate processes

So say the industry analysts atForrester.

Long story short: Low-code drives innovation. So does hip-hop. We can embrace both.

Peace out!

(For a deeper dive into the low-code trend, check out Forrester's:Large Enterprises Succeeding With Low-Code.)