An interview with Merav Knafo, Founder and CEO of iJoomla.com
1. Tell us about your background
I started out as a web developer 10 years ago, as a software designer for my own companies: LookBetterOnline.com – a photography service for online daters and PeopleFishing.com – a dating site network. I started using Mambo that then turned into Joomla in 2005, and never looked back!
In what project are you currently involved?
2. Tell us about iJoomla and usabilitytesting.tv? What inspired you to found iJoomla and usabilitytesting.tv?
I started iJoomla.com right after Joomla forked out of Mambo. I noticed many of the developers were doing Joomla apps as a hobby and I thought there could be a good opportunity to do it professionally.
It was fun! I was the first one who had an affiliate program, the first one who wrote press releases, etc. the market was fresh, eager and open. As for usabilityTesting.tv, that came about as I got more into Usability Testing. I’ve always been interested in Usability and how to make a website more user-friendly, but only a few years ago, I discovered another totally open and neglected market for usability testing. Most people haven’t heard about it, but if I told you that you can DOUBLE your business by doing it, that would get your attention, right? So research done by Jacob Nielsen, the usability guru, found that indeed, by doing usability (usability testing + fixing the problems found), sites double their ROI. The fact that so many websites are not aware of it, is mind boggling, and I work hard to spread the word.
3. What makes iJoomla stand out among its competitors?
First, we are probably one of the only apps developers who separate the software design from the programming. This is KEY! To design and to code a software requires a completely different skill-set, most coders aren’t good product designers and most product designers are not good coders. In iJoomla I am the one who creates specs and mockups and my coders implement it. This created by default a much better and more user-friendly software.
Another differentiator is that our apps are extremely well documented. We have links to video tutorials on each feature on the software’s backend, manuals, tutorials, etc. And of course, our team is excellent! Support is at the top of our priority list, we want our customers to be happy!
4. Can you tell us more about LookBetterOnline.com? How was the company founded?
LookBetterOnline is great solution for people who date online and don’t get the result that they want. In most cases this is a result of a bad and unflattering photo. My co-founder and I met on matchmaker.com many years ago and he, as an ex professional photographer, thought about this idea. We combined his photography knowledge and project management skills with my software design and marketing skills and created a network of 500 amazing photographers nation-wide. The result, 8 years later is over 10,000 photo shoots with 99.9% customer satisfaction. We are responsible to many people getting married and even having children. It’s very satisfying!
5. What were your business challenges?
On iJoomla.com, Trying to satisfy 25,000 customers is not easy. Each customer has their own needs and agenda and we need to cater to as many as possible and try to please them. For me this is hard, because I don’t like saying “no”. But I can’t implement every suggested feature and as fast as customers want it.
6. What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date?
Trust my instincts and make sure people I hire do what they are good at and what they really enjoy doing. Trying to force someone to do something they don’t enjoy simply doesn’t work.