StikiPad, Inc. is committed to providing solutions that enhance workflow both at home and at the office. Located out of Wichita, Kansas, the company is founded by two young entrepreneurs.
Matthew DeWaal, 23 and originally from Chatham, Ontario, Canada, has over 6 years of experience in managing both online and offline marketing campaigns and communications. He graduated last year with a degree in Business Administration from Brock University. Matthew serves as CoFounder and Director of Marketing and Community for “StikiPad”:http://www.stikipad.com/buzz/.
Jonathan George hails from Coffeyville, Kansas, a small town on the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Also 23 years old, and a web programmer for over 6 years, Jonathan leads “StikiPad”:http://www.stikipad.com/ as CoFounder and Chief Executive Officer.
*One Degree: Can you give us a quick primer on what a wiki is and why we should care?*
A wiki is basically a web-page that anyone can edit and contribute to without having to know HTML or any other programming language. From a personal perspective, wikis are a great organization tool as they allow you to keep information in one place, rather than scattered across mediums (i.e. e-mails, paper notes, etc.). And, from a business perspective, wikis are great collaboration tools as they focus on real-time communication and can help large or small teams communicate more effectively. Either way, wikis are a powerful tool that have multiple facets and can be used by just about anyone.
*One Degree: How is StikiPad different from other wikis?*
To go along with practically everyone having a use for a wiki in one way or another, a lot of wiki software has tried its own handle on making things easy and in the process has cut a lot of the features out that make a wiki a really great tool. What we’ve done with StikiPad is made things easy enough for a new user to dive right in, while letting an experienced wiki user still have complete control over more advanced features and uses. We’ve essentially designed a platform that makes it really easy to build on – for example, our template system lets you insert our engine into your design rather than the other way around. This proves to be a lot more effective for customization than just letting users build around what we’ve already done.
*One Degree: I find it interesting that Matthew is in Chatham and Jonathan is in Kansas – how did you meet and decide to start a business together?*
We met about 8 years ago doing some work for an online non-profit. Although we didn’t start working together right away, we soon became good friends and were always throwing a ton of ideas at each other – this led to helping each other out on various projects within the individual contracts we both had, Jonathan as a programmer and Matthew as a designer. Over the years it became pretty apparent that we both shared a love for starting a business, and the idea for StikiPad came soon after. We worked remotely with each other in various degrees for well over 4 or 5 years, and we didn’t actually meet in-person until December of 2005. Needless to say, StikiPad became a critical tool for collaboration between the two of us and was really born out of the need for communicating more effectively.
*One Degree: How important is user experience to online applications like StikiPad?*
User experience is critical to any web application, especially since most of them are built with the intent of having the same ease of use as a desktop application. In order for our users to feel comfortable using StikiPad, we’re constantly analyzing our user interface and responding to feedback from users that have suggestions or questions about functionality, navigation, etc. Although we like to think our interface is straight-forward, there is always room for improvement – we really take user suggestions very seriously not only because our users expect us to, but because we want to build a superior service that everyone can use easily.
*One Degree: Pardon me for saying so, but you seem like a “classic Web 2.0” start-up. You’re a few guys with not a lot of money making a really interesting application that allows people to collaborate online. Do you feel that the whole “Web 2.0” buzz will help or hurt your business in the long-run?*
The Web 2.0 buzz has certainly been interesting to watch over the past year or so. There’s a new kind of expectation people have with these startups as well – you have to instantaneously provide information to the user all the while being visually pleasing, responsive and forward thinking. It’s damn big shoes to fill, and something that users give more leniency to with brick and mortar companies than an online startup such as StikiPad. The whole Web 2.0 buzz has definitely helped people pay more attention to StikiPad, but in the long-run it’s up to us to keep StikiPad as useful as possible through responding to the needs of our users. Regardless of the hype, if a product isn’t useful people just won’t use it.