Interview with iJoomla CEO, Published in Joomla.co.il
Here’s a translation of the interview with Merav Knafo, CEO published on joomla.co.il. You can read the original article here (in Hebrew).
Hi Merav, tell us a bit about yourself and iJoomla
I’ve been a software developer for 10 years, I started a few companies before iJoomla.com, one of them was a dating site, and the other was a site that provides photography services for online daters (www.lookbetteronline.com). So before Joomla I had a lot of background creating web applications for myself, but not for mass use. Also because I was working in small teams, I had to wear a lot of hats like marketing, SEO, etc.
How did you start with Joomla and what is your background?
I was familiar with Mambo, the CMS Joomla forked off. I thought it was great! I also thought I could bring some value with my product design experience. So after Joomla was born, when a client asked me to create a magazine for him, I tried to do it with Joomla, but it didn’t look too good, so I decided to create my first extension – iJoomla magazine. It was an over-night success, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Did you get to work with other CMS and what did you think about them?
I tried to work with Drupal but found it very hard to use. I had a talk with Drupal founder a few months ago at the CMS expo, and he told me they are doing extensive usability Testing on the new version of Drupal, so I can’t wait to see how much they improved it. I also worked with WordPress, and liked it, but never had the time to really learn it properly.
The competition abroad is extreme, what made you choose the international market over the Israeli market? Have you tried working in the Israeli market?
On the internet, there is no such thing as “international” or “local” when it comes to creating web applications. It’s all just “the web”. I could have created Joomla Extensions sitting in Israel or in China, but I’ve chosen California as my home. Plus, I am not really afraid of competition. Competition is what makes everybody better. If you have no competitors you become lazy and stupid.
In the past few years hundreds of companies started offering services for Joomla, what are your strategies for dealing with competition? Is it SEO? Social Media?
We try to do it better. We put a lot of effort in creating user-friendly and feature-rich extensions that are also well-documented. We do a lot of QA to ensure as little bugs as possible. We created video tutorials and place a link to the video tutorial right on the feature on the component backend. We listen to our customers. Our customers know they can post suggestions on our forum and we implement many of them, if they make sense of course, which they often do. We have 3 dedicated support people who are available to help with any issues our customers have, support is very important to us.
And yes, we do the whole social media thing, just like everybody else. Trying to be on top of what people are saying about us and address issues if they come up.
The need for different extensions is vast. What is your decision making process regarding which extension to develop? Is it a one-person decision, do you do any market research?
We don’t have a real sophisticated process for choosing which extension to create. The decision is mine and is based on customers demand and also our own needs. For example, iJoomla SEO, iJoomla DigiStore and iJoomla Magazine were all created because we needed these solutions for our own use, as it turned out, many others needed them too.
Do you provide any other services other than Joomla extensions?
Not at this point, not enough manpower.
For the upcoming Joomla 1.6, what kind of features would you like to see?
I would like to see a lot more user friendly interface, so that when a developer hands a Joomla site to a client, the customer can handle it by himself without too much difficulty.
What are you plans for the future? are there any new extensions you’re working on?
We are working on an Joomla LMS extension (Learning Management System), that is very powerful and useful. We also have other things cooking, but they are top secret at this time.