DevReady PodcastHow to Build Functional & Secure Websites with AIP with Stephen Downey – Episode 82 – DevReady Podcast

In this episode of the DevReady Podcast, hosts Andrew Romeo and Anthony Sapountzis talk to Stephen Wilson Downey, CEO & Founder of AIP Technology. AIP’s technology automates website maintenance, keeps sites up-to-date and secure, and identifies and fixes bugs so that customers can utilize their time elsewhere. Listen in as the three of them talk about the endless possibilities that the world of WordPress has to offer and how customers’ needs and requirements are of utmost importance.

Ever since AIP Technology was set up, Stephen and his co-founders, have had a goal of catering to the needs of the customers. Multiple plugins and their unique features often make the job of maintenance of WordPress a challenging issue—it is much like finding a needle in a haystack. But having realized that WordPress powers around a third of the internet, Stephen believes that aiming to solve the problem for the customers have been worthwhile.

The possibilities were endless and so were the challenges, underscores Stephen. With data covering 55,000 open-source plugins and a few thousand more private or closed source plugins, comprehending that data, let alone what to do with it was a huge barrier to breakthrough. To overcome that the goal was to ensure that AIP was as agnostic as possible in terms of what type of server clients were using and what kind of hosting they were engaged with. Two things that are prerequisites for this type of undertaking are:

1. Having the trust in your team to get you there

2. Having fuel in the tank i.e., money in the bank to get the job done

63% of WordPress websites are breached due to out-of-date components which means that maintenance of websites has much value and that is what AIP technology does with its ability to find, for the users, the best mix of plugins, while also automating the most monotonous tasks.

Stephen calls it a balancing act, having to develop a product while also ensuring that the doors of the company are kept open. And being able to demonstrate the problem that you’re solving and being able to show that there’s a valid enough market opportunity there are essential to ensure the same. He talks of the company being lucky in those regards as their work has a healthy overlap: not only do they work on new websites, but they also test AIP technology on the new websites that they are building (which is a massive part of the debugging process). Stephen furthers that having dedicated resource for such tasks can make or break projects of that nature.

63% of WordPress websites are breached due to out-of-date components which means that maintenance of websites has much value and that is what AIP technology does with its ability to find, for the users, the best mix of plugins, while also automating the most monotonous tasks.

Stephen believes that customers are the prime focus. He underlines that it is important to keep the conversation centered on the problem and listen to the customers on how much pain they are

experiencing. While the needs and requirements of the customers are the key focus, Stephen says that the following are going to be company’s priorities moving ahead:

– Working on identified core functionalities

– Making the server as agnostic as possible

– Making it available on multiple WordPress market places

– Having a ton of early adopters by releasing it to the masses

– Focusing on automated speed optimization and search engine optimization

– Automating long, strenuous, monotonous tasks

Even though marketing and sales are important, Stephen also stresses that keeping the early adapters in the feedback loop is primary as there is no way of knowing how a given customer might comprehend and interact with the product. Keeping the fingers on the pulse is important as any business and product requires not just the understanding of the industry but also understanding the customers and customers’ present needs. For it is only the customers who can tell you the following:

– What your product needs to do next?

– What are the gaps?

– What insights are lacking from the competition around the market place?

As Stephen sums it up, “If you’ve no customers, you have no business.”

Topics Covered

· Possibilities in Website Maintenance

· Finding Solution to a Unique Problem

· Building a Team and Having Enough Funds

· Focusing on the Needs of the Customers

Key Quotes (Time Stamps)

“And you’re right. It was a big undertaking. WordPress powers around a third of the internet.” (3:46 – 3:54)

· “No two WordPress websites are the exact same. There’s always a different plugin mix and they’re trying to figure out how they are all going to work together and play nice at one another. That was a huge challenge.” (3:56 – 4:11)

· “Having AIP being accessible and frictionless to adopt—that was a very-very big objective of ours to fill. Because the way we’re doing it is: install AIP as a plugin. And if you’re doing that, you do want to make sure that you’re as agnostic as possible in terms of what type of server they are using and what kind of hosting they’re engaged with also.” (5:51 – 6:18)

· “We have a really good infrastructure here in Ireland when it comes to research, development, fund raising. The Irish Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has various support for microenterprises just starting off at idea stage to really get that step up.” (8:15 – 8:35)

· “If you can solve that problem of paying yourself—it’s one of the biggest problems to solve because let us be realistic: everybody’s gotta eat.” (10:53 – 11:07)

· “The goal is to create an operation that can run without you and that’s automated and improved, and it’s adding bigger value.” – Andrew Romeo (16:55 – 17:02)

· “It’s essentially just keeping the conversation centered on the problem and listening to how much pain they are experiencing.” (20:58 – 21:07)

· “There’s WordPress Security Plugin and they released a report saying that 63% of WordPress websites are breached due to out-of-date components.” (23:49 – 24:00)

· “The WordPress Universe is so diverse and fragmented. And when anybody can enter it, anything with content management system—it’s gonna lead into a whole world of problems. It’s a very-very tough one to solve. But it’s well worth going after.” (25:48 – 26:10)

· “Your reputation and your product offering are much more important and you need to get that right from step one.” (31:32 – 31:40)

· “If you’re not in the territory of being told how to improve what you’re doing, it really doesn’t matter what age or what maturity your business or your product is. If you’re not being told how to improve something then: a. you’ve either lost the customer or b. what you’re offering isn’t relevant to what they need anymore.” (35:48 – 36:14)

· “A business is established to solve the problem for somebody, you know, and problems are changing all the time.” (39:33 – 39:40)

· “Just focus on the customers. Because if you’ve no customers, you’ve got no business.” (42:38 – 42:43)

Social Media Clips (Time Stamps)

· Solving a Unique Consumer Problem (3: 46 – 6:35)

· Trust in the Team and Fuel in the Tank (7:20 – 8:41)

· Balancing Act: Developing Product and Sustaining Business (11:14 – 12:42)

· Ensuring Websites are Secure and Functional (22:32 – 24:41)

· A Problem Worth Solving (25:27 – 27:15)

· Optimizing Speed and Automating Strenuous Tasks (28:43 – 30:52)

· Prioritizing Customer Needs and Requirements (34:08 – 37:19)

Useful Links:
Connect with Andrew Romeo

Connect with Stephen Downey

Connect with Anthony Sapountzis

Visit AIP
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