I remember when I encountered Smart Slider for the first time. The concept enchanted me so much that I thoroughly looked at all the features. The way they presented their product (and its multifaceted capabilities) was different from what I used to with WordPress plugins. Since then, a few years have passed, and its charm still has not worn me. I still feel it today: it’s a professional product.
As I followed the team’s work, I realized they are Hungarians as well. That’s why I wondered: who and what kind of people they are?
We know that to rise above average in business is the result of many components: conscious decisions are just as important in advancing as coincidences. I’d like to add that great people can make great things. I was most interested in how Nextend creators Daniel and Roland think.
What is it like to conquer the world of WordPress from Győr?
We do not feel that we are conquering the WordPress world. We are just trying to use our talent to make useful software which helps users to accomplish their goals. Our most famous plugin is Smart Slider 3 which is a tool to create simple sliders and animated blocks. Also, we are behind Nextend Social Login which can help you to allow login Facebook, Google and such social providers on your website.
What does this small Hungarian town have to offer to you? Why are you still there?
People. We have a great staff behind our plugins who handle development, support, tutorial videos, articles, etc.. Daniel and I would not be able to manage our plugins alone.
How much time remains for friends? Does the team spend time together besides work?
We have fixed working hours from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm and our working time is really intensive. We spent more time together in the past when we lived together. It is less frequent nowadays.
Roland, sometimes I read your posts on forums where you help people with information. Why is this important for you?
The forum at WordPress.org is our top priority which is a great place to find help for plugins. Also when a question pops up from a Facebook group, and I have a free minute, I try to help.
Are there any roles in the team? Who is the leader of the pack?
Yes, everyone on our team has a main role. We try to distribute tasks based on the interest of our employees. We think that if you like what you do, the result will be great. For example, Daniel is responsible for design and marketing related stuff, and I’m in charge of the development and both of us coordinate the team.
What was the moment you felt that Smart Slider would be successful? Did you suspect it during development or did it only materialize after feedback?
I think it was around when we reached 100K active installations at WordPress.org and got a lot of great reviews and feedbacks. Currently, Smart Slider 3 is the most trending slider, and we reached the 300.000 active installs a month ago.
Looking back to development, what took disproportionately long, and in hindsight how could you have done it faster?
We always try to make Smart Slider 3 better and better. I think the most challenging task is to design user-friendly interactions and processes. I think we spent an incredibly lot of time on this topic and we had to throw away a lot of ideas which did not work.
For how many years do you think the demand for Smart Slider will persist?
We think sliders won’t lose their popularity. A few years ago, some people buried them, but we are still here and growing. If you want to read the reasons, Raelene Morey wrote a great post on this topic. Why the Research Against Sliders is Wrong
According to WordPress.org statistics, Smart Slider 3 free acquired more than 17K active installations in the last four weeks, which we are very proud of. WPTrends.net
If you weren’t doing plugin development, in what areas could you imagine yourself working?
Roland: I would not live without programming, so probably I would develop indie games or something like that.
Daniel: My passion is UI/UX design, so probably I would like to work in it but rather at a bigger agency. Outside of IT, there are tons of things which is super exciting for me such as renewable energy, cooking, and astronomy.
Has your attitude changed toward work, or did everything remain according to plan?
I think we work as hard as we worked at the beginning. When we started our business, usually we worked more the 10 hours a day, sometimes at weekends too. As our experience grew, we were able to produce the same quality with less work, and this resulted in a right balance between work and private life.
What caused the most significant difficulty so far, and what helped get over it?
It was hard five years ago to recognize that our previous company (which was founded to develop Joomla extensions) and that team didn’t work very well. It was hard to quit and start again, but worth the hassle.
Where do you want to be/live 20 years from now?
Roland: I hope that our company will grow in the future. I would like to see much more people in our team and much more great software which we could be proud of.
Daniel: Nowadays my priority is to grow with Nextend and find new talented people for our team. In 2038 I’ll be 50, so it’s tough to say anything, but I hope I have a happy, balanced life with my wife and with my kids.