Madhuri Maram

A designer on a mission to empower people through no-code tools

It's true when people say designers have an immense responsibility. In simplest terms, designers are artists who've evolved into something more applied. While being creative and owning a problem-solving spirit — designers bring fresh perspectives into play. Despite fully knowing what makes or breaks a product, they remain unsung heroes. And what goes in their mind? We'll unfold!


Madhuri Maram is a design turned no code entrepreneur and the co-founder of Xperian — a product that champions design and leadership. An excellent aggregate of immersive courses and a great community, Xperian is known for its no-code product. Her friends would introduce her as someone who uses design and no-code to help people build apps. People also call her Moogle — a combination of Madhuri and Google, because she has an answer for everything.

The Creative Spark

Our childhood influences play a notable role in shaping our minds. Madhuri's prime influence was her grandfather, who introduced books into her life. With access to his library and thirst for knowledge, Madhuri spent her childhood reading a lot — around eight books a month. In school, she was competitive and actively participated in quiz competitions, elocutions, essay-writing, etc. While growing up, she read and wrote with zest but lost those habits during her first job. Her appetite for learning stayed, though.

"As a child, I wanted 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 quite interesting, and I didn't know if anyone else was organizing such games. Although I didn't know much about money, those experiences helped me get into design."

The Beginning

A self-taught illustrator, Madhuri started selling her illustrations online during college. Mediums such as Twitter, Pinterest, and DeviantArt came to the rescue. People commissioned her or bought her existing artwork. She earned her first payment of INR 25,000 in 2010 by selling two art pieces.

Although she studied BTech Multimedia, college only gave her access to tools. She was dissatisfied that college didn't teach enough. After going home from college, she'd navigate various tutorials on the internet to learn new skills.. While doing that, she discovered DeviantArt, which helped her explore the range of digital art and all that one could accomplish with Adobe Photoshop. She practiced every day and experimented with various illustrations.

"I was also figuring out what my illustration style was. It took me almost two years, but I decided to do it full-time and spent my nights illustrating and mornings at college. In due course, I also discovered good Indian artists online and met them. It fostered new ideas and learnings, and soon, with just a presence on DeviantArt, I landed a client in Hyderabad and Bangalore."

In no time, people were commissioning her for custom illustrations; since she learned animation, she assembled some professionals, and they started accepting animation projects. One of the earliest projects was for the Karnataka government, which sought animation for their agriculture section. 

"My Bangalore friends, that I met through DeviantArt, would send projects our way. After working independently for a year, my classmates saw the advantages of being more active on DeviantArt and online. They also started working with me on animation projects, and I worked on obtaining our projects."

By the time she graduated, she was making over a lakh or two and was funding her fee. She dabbled in plenty of creative projects. From making websites and launch videos for Bajaj Pulsar to exploring being an illustrator, VFX artist, poster designer — she wore many hats and discovered these weren't interesting. That's how she met Karthi Subbaraman, who was consulting for a project for Phillips at Oghma Design.

A snippet from our interview where Madhuri discusses the importance of exploring diverse things

When she started, she had no clue about grids but used Photoshop to make screens, mock-ups and recreated the entire Amazon UI on Sketch. In two years, she handled Amazon projects and helped launch products in the US, UK, and Japan. At Amazon, Madhuri observed how the internal teams collaborate and work, which served as fine examples for the future.

Choosing The Right Clients

Like most artists, Madhuri too experienced her share of problems — established organizations plagiarized her art and didn't even expend her due credit. 

"It was quite bad because so much effort went into creating that artwork. It was then I understood that people will copy something if it's really good. But, they'll keep you out of the picture and won't pay you too."

Madhuri asked clients to pay an advance to gauge how serious they were, and she filtered the unsure ones through this. The ones who paid upfront were serious about working with her, and those who were haggling were still uncertain about their requirements. 

"I understood that if I don't respect my work enough and keep talking, I won't be taken seriously. That's why I started filtering my clients and it worked. Only 5% of the people who approached me for work hired me after I set this filter."

Working With The Right People

Madhuri didn't start as the co-founder at Xperian; she started as someone who understood the company’s vision and executed it. The path that led to this was paved with reflections and self-discoveries. 

A snippet from our interview where Madhuri reflects on her evolution as a co-founder

She was working at Amazon in the 'customized areas' field. The team invested almost two years of research, developed the front-end and backend and various products. When Amazon saw no monetary gain, it shut this product down. 

"I thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating products and found a purpose. I was exploring its problem-solving aspect and was disappointed that the product didn't go live for business or efficiency reasons. Back then, it was disheartening that what we worked on didn't exist anymore, but as I grew, I discerned the reasons behind certain business decisions. My current co-founders and I identified that it was happening to us and got together to build something permanent. A co-founder position isn't something you get on day one. You work towards it. You show results to get it."

After taking up several projects in the first two years of building Xperian, she discovered her strengths. That led to building Nocoloco — the no-code aspect of Xperian that many people use now.

The No-Code Journey

Xperian emphasizes design and no-code products. While building an ecosystem of courses, community, and consulting — Xperian came up with Nocoloco, the no-code feature of the brand. 

"I spent a year exploring no-code and building day in and out. 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 things, but after gaining knowledge, we floated Nocoloco. We used no-code in building our MVPs too." 

From 2016, the team has been consulting with No-Code and in 2019, they started to teach No-Code. Using the no-code stack, they generated a revenue of $450K so far. 

As an active member of the no-code ecosystem, Madhuri interacted with other no-code enthusiasts, who were excited to try out new tools. Her research affirmed that several people were hustling in no-code. She starter Nocoloco YouTube channel to talk all about no-code. After grasping how both individuals or funded startups like LBB were using no-code, Madhuri started hosting live streams where professionals were more than willing to share their knowledge and present their projects.

A snippet from our interview where Madhuri shares her thoughts on how design, product and no-code come together

Making A Difference Through No-Code

While grappling with the ground realities during the pandemic, some of us rose to support. Madhuri offered a free consultation to people who were actively developing COVID-aid websites.

"After the second wave, the behavior was interesting. Although I noticed people from the US and UK building COVID-related apps for their sides of the world, it grew massively during the second wave. People were sharing information on Google sheets, and in India, some were making apps using Glide. While Glide became the most-used app during COVID, I realized if someone isn't a designer, they may not be able to make a great or a useful app, because they lack the background education."

She reached out to Glide and sought free lifetime access for people developing COVID relief apps, and Glide agreed. Madhuri sent forms to people and submitted them to Glide herself. Through this, various people from different parts of India received free premium access. After this, people from multiple parts of the world, like Indonesia, the Philippines, etc., reached out to her for directions.

The Plunge Into Teaching

First, Xperian leveraged its existing cohorts and educated people about no-code, asking them to implement it in their future products. 15 out of 24 participants built apps in less than a week and launched them as research products in the design cohort itself. This helped them tap into the relationship between product and no-code, and made them launch the 'Weekend No-Code' workshop. Attended by 60 people, it instilled confidence that people were willing to pay and learn this skill. Subsequently, Xperian took five months to chalk out the curriculum and tutorials.

"This was our first No-Code cohort, and it was received well. After exploring various courses, I did realize one thing: I wanted to put out real experiences. The idea was even if someone had no design background, it would get them started — something like zero to one for getting into no-code."

A significant chunk of revenue comes from the courses and consulting. 

"Design and no-code cohorts fetch good traction. In 12 cohorts, we've had over 2,000 people that brought in cash flow. The thing with self-paced courses is that they take a while to make money, but once they pick up, you make money even while sleeping."

Maker’s Guild: Community For No Coders

Purpose brings driven people together, and that's what Xperian’s Maker’s Guild is all about. It converges continuous learning with diverse people building, communicating, and sharing their knowledge. Although it was once a paid community, it's free now and onboards new makers consistently. At the moment, it's a work-in-progress that experiments with various design and no-code viewpoints.

The Way Forward

For one thing, it's going to be exciting and worth looking forward to. More cohorts are in the pipeline. Apart from a design cohort, Xperian will launch no-code and Webflow cohorts, which will enable people to dive deeper into product and no-code. 

"Although people are teaching, we have a style and a method that others are yet to crack. I'm a firm believer that you can learn from anybody and attend others' classes only to realize our style is to our advantage. Our unique meta-learning principle will help people apply it to anything that they pick up. It has evolved in three years, and we apply it to product design as well."

All said and done, Madhuri has emerged into someone with exceptional subject matter expertise in design and no-code and applies that knowledge to build products. And for anyone entering Xperian, she intends to assist them in becoming the best version of themselves.

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