Could you tell us a little about yourself – how you ended up creating
Hannes and I met back in 2009 when we were both working for a company called SuperReal in Hamburg, Germany. Back then Hannes was already working on his University Master thesis for computer science. I got hooked by the topic immediately and jumped straight in. The main idea came from a need we experienced whilst working in and with multidisciplinary teams in our former agency (designers, coders, copywriters, concept folks, usability experts, project managers). We realized that all wireframe software tools, we’ve been using at the time, were lacking main benefits: usability, collaboration and interaction. So we said cut it – let’s build our own tool. Hannes doing the tech part and me taking care of creating a brand, all UX and communication relations.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your online business?
Since HotGloo is something you won’t find in a dictionary it was really easy to get the domain name. The brand name derives from a hot glue gun used to attach things to surfaces that usually won’t be capable of holding those things. It was really important to us to have a catchy name people will remember instead of going with the common techie terms à la Protosomething, UXthis, Mockupthat – how boring’s that?
What exactly are Wireframes and what is the best usage for them, HotGloo particularly?
Wireframes are basic illustrations of the structure and components of a web page and generally wireframing is one of the first steps in the design process. Put simple: a wireframe is the blueprint of a website. You can look at wireframes like you are looking at different floor plans. A floor-plan maps out where your bathroom is located or how big the kitchen is, tells you if the flat has 2 or 3 bedrooms, where doors and windows are located. Our tool supports creatives to create wireframes. It makes it easy to wireframe web and mobile sites and to co-work with team members. HotGloo has been designed for all those engaged in the website and app creation process: project managers, information architects, usability experts, freelancers, small project groups, or large agencies.
You also have a blog included within your site, so tell us – do you enjoy blogging? How much time do you spend blogging?
On our blog, which you’ll find at blog.hotgloo.com, is basically a hub where we try to not only communicate app related content like the introduction of new features, server maintenance… but also come up with value content for our customers. We therefore have a content strategy plan where we decide which topics we would like to cover during the next weeks and then we’d come up with topics and take it from there. A lot of articles are covered by ourselves, others that are a bit off our main scope we try to work together with content partners. Often it’s an exchange of articles like we did lately with Tony who has a really great expertise on e-commerce projects. So we asked him to come up with an article for our audience and we provided content that is hopefully equally interesting for his audience. It’s all about collaboration 🙂
Having an online business is a great duty —how would you recommend others go about evaluating whether or not they’re ready to make that leap?
Since we are a brand that only works on the web it was a no brainer. And since we were all working in the web industry before this wasn’t completely new to us. For a classic business, operated offline, I’d say it’s absolutely necessary nowadays to also have an online presence – it’s most often the only way to stay competitive if you are visible in both worlds. So if you haven’t started being visible in the digital world do it now – if you need help – just get in touch – we are the experts! For those thinking about starting their first business: evaluate your chances and risks. If your idea is great and sustainable – run with it.
If you had to pick the top three reasons for your success what would they be? And why these three?
Taking risks. Being patient and being focused. Success takes time. You have to be persistent and always look forward. Of course we also do have our ups and downs, we don’t have constant growth, there are good and bad months but we love what we do and we are still around after 7 years of service – still trying hard to make our tool better every single day and all of this without any funding – so we have no obligations towards anyone except our customers. This makes us proud and that’s why we also call ourselves an anti-startup. We do things differently here.
If you had to pick the top three things people do wrong, the things holding them back from success, what would those be?
Not taking risks. No vision and no flexibility. If you want a scheduled, easy going life you’d probably have to look somewhere else. This one’s for makers.
How would you suggest people avoid these mistakes?
Plan and evaluate. Think outside the box. Take risks. Step up and have the balls to try doing things differently.
Please give us some advice for web beginners and for people who considering starting an online business?
Get some advice or at least someone you trust that knows a thing or two about the web. There are some great resources around that are free of charge so go and do your homework. You don’t need a lot of cash, VCs and funding to start an online business if you believe in what you do and made your homework. Oh and test test test before you go life and of course use HotGloo during the process. Best of luck!
ADDITIONAL INFO: Make sure you also check out Wolf’s personal site at www.wolfbecvar.com/
Photos ©: HotGloo