In January, SIDEKICK launched its new website, as well as its new Composer tool — a tool that allows users to create WordPress walkthroughs, for free. The announcement came much later than originally anticipated — but has nonetheless been greeted with open arms.

Torque reached out to Ben Fox, co-founder of SIDEKICK, to learn about the reasons for the delay of, how the company plans to reach new users, its partnership with Go Daddy, and future initiatives.

Why the delay

Torque: What caused the delay for

Ben Fox: SIDEKICK is a bootstrapped company, we have no outside investment (yet). This means we have complete control but it also means that every dollar we spend has to be earned or comes from Bart (my co-founder) and I.

We’re very proud of this fact however it also means that we have to maintain our agency business along with our product development.

Splitting focus and resources can lead to delays. If we’re being 100% honest I’d also add that inexperience and youthful belief that we we can do anything, played a role here. This is our first major kick at the product can and while I know Bart and his development team are doing an amazing job, we underestimated and over-promised. A mistake we aim never to repeat again and we’ve put processes and checks in place so we can be sure to hit that goal.

A new user group

Torque: You mentioned that in the future users will be able to create wt’s for non-WP / SaaS platforms, have you seen a demand of this? What’s your vision for the effort?

Ben Fox: Our vision is to make SIDEKICK easily compatible with (almost) any Web-Based system or website and we’re well underway towards that goal. Wherever possible, we want to help alleviate the time and stress of learning new systems, increase customer happiness and help deflect support tickets and calls.

Allowing developers to build their own SIDEKICK walkthroughs for any system will do just that. Within the next few months we will begin widely testing our simple JavaScript integration. The same integration that’s been working well at WP Engine for 8 months now will be available publicly and at an Enterprise level and customers will be able to create their own walkthroughs, inside their dashboards and websites, just like they can with WordPress now. With regards to demand, it’s been outstanding.

Everyday we get at least one new request (often more) and of the over 1,000 beta testers we have signed up, more than 60% are waiting for a public release our platform agnostic version. From what we’ve seen and the feedback we’ve heard, SaaS owners, support techs, developers and managers all see the potential benefits of SIDEKICK, and they want in.

Lessons learned

Torque: What lessons have you learned from your partnership with Go Daddy?

Ben Fox: We’re a few months into our new partnership with Go Daddy and already there have been some great lessons learned.

  1. Without question, the first lesson is that communication is exponentially more important when working with large organizations.

I’m sure your readers recall the day last month when SIDEKICK was automatically installed on many WordPress sites at Go Daddy and Media Temple without any communication to customers.

This was a failure on many fronts. Ours, theirs. Everyone failed to communicate and when you mix that with genuine drive to improve and excitement to launch something cool, well, this happens. Which leads me to the next lesson.

  1. Go Daddy genuinely cares about Openness, Open-Source the WordPress community, their image within and their contributions to it.

Thanks to the hard work of Jeff King and his dedicated team, Go Daddy has embarked on an internal and external overhaul. One can see evidence of their embracing of everything the WP community stands for in their actions of the last 18 months.

Most recently, their genuine, sincere and empathetic response to our joint misstep (check out the AWP Group on Facebook and the WP Tavern article if you haven’t already) and their support of events like WordCamps, Pressnomics and Prestige Conference show how committed they are to doing right by our community and to changing how they’re perceived by first changing how they act.

Future initiatives

Torque: What’s next for SIDEKICK?

Ben Fox: World domination… Ok, maybe that’s not next, but it’s the goal, especially within the support and on boarding markets. In the meantime, you are going to see us make a hard push to empower our non-WP partners and clients to create their own Walkthroughs.

Our deep commitment to the WP Community means Torque readers should keep an eye out for SIDEKICK to release our Public Walkthrough feature very soon (6 to 8 weeks). This will allow Plugin and Theme developers to easily create walkthroughs for their customers and distribute them automatically to anyone with their product + SIDEKICK installed.

Marie Dodson

Marie is the editor at Torque. She enjoys reading good books, drinking good wine, and traveling to fun places.

The post Interview with SIDEKICK co-founder, Ben Fox, on, future initiatives, and more appeared first on Torque.

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