This blog post will explain how I went from being a security guard, physical labor worker and college dropout to an early employee at a tech startup — thanks to one tweet and a cold email, defying all expectations set for people like me.
Skip to “The tweet” to see the process on how I got the job.
A bit about me first.
My name is Diego Diaz. I am a 21 year old Latino from Los Angeles and have always dreamt of joining the tech industry.
For as long as I could remember I’ve always felt I was meant for more than what was considered normal in my life, my family and my city. (Don’t we all?)
The problem was I never knew what would be that pathway to success. I never gained any set of solid skills (software development, design, accounting, etc.). I’ve only worked low-end jobs like fast food, security, and physical labor, so getting a real career seemed out of the picture.
Growing up, I’ve been interested in so many things and never could fully commit on what I wanted to pursue. At first, to family and friends it was exciting when I would start taking interest in a new area, project or industry — they knew I was ambitious, smart and had what it took to succeed.
That belief quickly faded as I continued to get older. I was still in the same spot as the year before (or worse off), failing at everything I did. It got to a point where if I mentioned something new I would get a blank look or negative response, like it wasn’t something they really cared to hear or they would tell me to find a job (if I didn’t have one at that time) because they assumed I would try it out, fail/it would be too hard and then move on to something else — again.
With my grades getting worse throughout high school, barely graduating with straight D’s, and a failed attempt of going to college, the pressure for me to find something became bigger and bigger, while my family’s belief in me got smaller and smaller. As time passed, my own belief in myself got smaller, too.
How things slowly started to change
Fast forward to 2020. I hoped this would be the final year of my life-long struggle. I wanted to change things around, but still didn’t know how.
During the early part of the year I was a security guard working graveyard shifts. Since no one was around all night I’d bring my computer to be on social media or watch YouTube videos — you know, things security guards do.
One night in February during a shift, I came across the world of no-code on Twitter.
I was instantly hooked.
Being able to make web and mobile apps without having to code? Wow.
I started diving in every day, searching tweets with the #nocode hashtag, exploring and discovering new no-code tools like Webflow, Ycode, Bildr, Adalo, and Play, and talking to makers in the space.
It was amazing.
After a few weeks of it, my patterns started to show their faces again.
I would still research the space and follow people who are in it but I stopped using the tools as much as before. I kinda just gave up learning for a while and went through the motions of life. I then got switched to a different post and no longer could use my computer so I would use my phone when there weren’t people around trying to get through the day, everyday.
Again I started to feel hopeless that my life wouldn’t become anything.
Due to covid I quit and was self employed for a few months, doing anything I can to pay my bills.
As I was getting a haircut one day my barber mentioned his job was hiring. Interested I applied.
I then became a delivery driver helper. Driving around and dropping off XL packages all day.
It’s actually my favorite job I’ve had.
My boss is super cool and I get to travel around SoCal with no one breathing down my neck throughout the day since it’s just my driver and I.
Since I was the helper I wasn’t busy driving so if I wasn’t making a delivery or talking to the driver I’d be on my phone, checking Twitter mostly.
I finally made a decision to stop just being a consumer and start being a producer. (I don’t really know what caused that decision) I then started trying to tweet about things I was passionate about, no-code (throughout the year I never lost my passion for no-code, everyday I would search the hashtag, follow more people in the space and try to get off beta lists to use more tools) business, and whatever else.
Starting to do that for a couple days I decided to reply to a tweet from the CEO of Mailerlite (Ignas) who was in the process of building a new no-code web app tool I was super excited to use ( I think I heard of them back in February alongside others).
It looked perfect, beautiful design functionality and a powerful/robust backend to create advanced web apps.
It was what I’ve been searching for all year.
Like stated before, I came across a tweet from Mailerlite’s founder and CEO Ignas who was replying to a person asking about his new project “Ycode” and where they were on the roadmap.
He replied that they had their front end in production ready mode, alongside their internal database but were still working on their automation/logic before they could launch their beta.
It was a few days past (more like over a week) when I came across it but I also was super excited for it to launch so I tweeted:
A very simple tweet that came to my head instantly after reading his response. Why not release it for website creation until the backend and logic were 100%?
I honestly didn’t think much about it when tweeting it (the content of the tweet) and funny enough I debated if I should even hit send since it was over a week old. (weirdo status)
I decided to just send it.
A few hours later, to my surprise he responded back to me in a very positive manner.
He really liked the suggestion and agreed that it made perfect sense.
Confirm your subscription
To bring it back a tiny bit, a day before this tweet I double checked to see if I signed up for their beta list with an email I use for all my no-code tool accounts.
I knew no way of contacting them besides tweeting so I replied to their confirmation email asking if there was an ETA on beta invites and launch.
This was sent on October 7th, 2020.
(BTW if anyone who owns a no-code web app builder reads this email, it is not a diss or hate in anyway, I was simply stating no tool was working for ME personally. I have a huge amount of love and respect for all in the community)
Ignas (I think) then replied to my email answering my question about ETA, and again said how much he really liked my tweet about the website (he replied 2 days later (Oct. 9th) which was 1 day after my tweet (Oct. 8th) and asked if I could help him with any feedback.
I then proceeded to send a long list of insights and feedback I had from my own experiences and experiences/pain points I’ve gathered through countless hours researching and speaking with no-coders. (too much to screenshot on here) and that was that for this email exchange.
Now to where it really begins.
Cold Email Outreach
I don’t know if it was my fresh haircut or what but on October 9th, 2020 I was bold and gassed.
I had this random idea after sending the feedback response that “ Damn, what if I try to use all this knowledge I have about no-code to work there (Ycode) and help make sure it’s a great product for the community I love?”
I don’t know why I ended up doing it, but I sent a cold email to Ignas and the teams job email.
Look how bad this email was.
I wrote it in like 20 seconds and didn’t even proof read or edit it.
Right when I wrote it, I sent it just out of excitement.
No-Code PM? (WITH NO EXPERIENCE AT ALL FAM, COME ON.)
BREH (shout out to DJ Akademiks.)
I honestly had no real expectations at the time that this would do anything but be seen and ignored or deleted ( I even said it was super out there and not sure it’ll happen but I wanted to try)
Then 2 days later I got a response.
I was so surprised.
I mean maybe not that much looking back at it because I did send a message out through the job email so it makes sense that they’d at least respond the first time to ask for more information.
Ok, now I’m nervous because I literally had no previous companies I’ve worked for (besides the jobs I’ve listed before).
I had no projects finished, no university or ANYTHING that could logically qualify me for a tech job.
So, (AGAIN, without proof reading or making edits) I sent another email back.
This time trying to sell my knowledge and understanding of a target audience.
It was all I had.
I definitely knew there was no way I was going to get a response after that first one.
Literally no way.
If anything it would be a “ Thanks for your interest, we’re looking for people with experience” or “ We’ll keep you in our system for future opportunities” and never hear back again.
Damn. At least I tried.
Then a few days later, I get an email notification.
No. Way. I thought to myself.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I. got. a. response. and. he. wants. to. meet. me. on. Zoom.
I was at work at the time so I was going craaazy in my head.
I instantly replied and booked a time, speechless.
As soon as I got home from work, still unable to believe it, I calmed down and I decided to do what I’ve seen my mom do before an interview — research the company and who I’d be meeting with.
I went straight to the internet and went on every link and site imaginable to learn about the man who would decide the fate of my biggest opportunity in my young life.
Youtube, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Linkedin etc you name it.
I learned everything I could that was public information.
Then the next day comes and it’s time for the interview.
I’m dressed up in a button up shirt (that no longer fits me well since I filled in a lot throughout the year) because it was all I had and to match: my basketball shorts and slippers (he wasn’t aware…)
The meeting starts.
We talked, he asked questions and I responded with the strategy to show my value not based on my experience but my knowledge of the no-code industry and how the target audience thinks and their pain points.
I was authentic about who I am and what I’ve done in the past.
I tried to just be my outgoing, goofy and confident self to persuade him (again, the man who founded and runs Mailerlite, a multi million dollar company) that I am an asset.
I’m young and hungry and ready for someone to give me a shot.
Besides me being nervous it was the most fun I’ve had in an interview actually.
He’s a great guy, very nice and humble.
I got more and more relaxed and more and more confident that I could really do this.
We get closer to the end after almost an hour and he makes a decision.
I really don’t know how I did it but he tells me: (not his exact words I think, I honestly forgot how he said it)
He wants me to join the team and is going to make me an offer.
A guy who did terribly in high school and didn’t go to college.
A guy who’s best job was physical labor.
Everything has changed for me.
I am officially a member of the Ycode Team as a Community Manager and a Project Manager Assistant.
Thank you for reading.
I know this was a VERY long blog post and I’m truly thankful for anyone who read the whole thing or even read this at all.
This is my first ever attempt at writing anything since high school (which I failed in English smh)
I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it can inspire people who are in my previous situation to believe in yourself and take risks to do what you love.