Kawshar Ahmed is the visionary Founder and CEO of Ollyo and has spilled all his success secrets in this exclusive interview with Cloudways. Let’s delve into his remarkable journey, from establishing renowned companies like JoomShaper and Themeum to creating revolutionary WordPress products like Tutor LMS and Droip.
Let’s discover the secrets behind his success, the inspiration that drives him, and his insights into the ever-evolving world of web development and e-learning.
Danish: Hi, Kawshar Ahmed. It’s a pleasure to have you with Cloudways. Let’s start with your introduction. How and when did you start in the WordPress industry?
Kawshar Ahmed: Hi there; thank you for having me. It’s great to be here too. Well, my journey in web development began in 2008, and in 2010, I founded JoomShaper, a prominent Joomla product company. Over the years, we have developed and launched over 120 premium Joomla templates, more than 30 Joomla extensions, and two notable products: SP Page Builder, which is the most popular Joomla page builder, and Helix, a renowned Joomla template framework.
In 2013, I also established Themeum to create the same template or theme for both Joomla and WordPress. Initially, Themeum sold its themes on the Envato marketplace and achieved success with some impressive themes. However, in 2018, our team collectively decided to enter the WordPress plugin industry, which brought about significant changes. I’d be happy to discuss this further if given the opportunity.
Currently, JoomShaper, Themeum, and all our other brands operate under the parent company named Ollyo. Recently, we relocated to Ollyo’s first campus.
Danish: You are the founder and CEO of multiple companies like JoomShaper, Themeum, IcoFont, and Ollyo. Our readers would love to know about your role at these companies and the inspiration behind creating them.
Kawshar Ahmed: As the CEO of these companies, my role is diverse and dynamic. While I have various responsibilities, I take pride in having a self-managed team of over 65 talented individuals who feel like a family.
While our companies are recognized by their names, we are primarily known for the products we have developed. Our focus lies heavily on product development, so most of our flagship products have dedicated teams. Personally, I devote a significant portion of my time to collaborating closely with the design and engineering teams. I enjoy being hands-on with product and feature development, ensuring their success.
Danish: Since you have created various tools, I would love to know about your WordPress products. Which plugins and themes do you offer, and among those which are the most popular ones?
Kawshar Ahmed: Absolutely. We take pride in our range of high-quality plugins and themes for WordPress. One of our standout plugins that has gained immense popularity is Tutor LMS. It has garnered a strong following within the WordPress community and is widely recognized for its exceptional e-learning capabilities.
Also, we are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of Droip, an innovative no-code website builder for WordPress.
Design is at the heart of our company, and we have always been driven by the belief that web design should be a fun and enjoyable experience. During our journey, we noticed that users often struggled with existing tools when creating complex and unique landing pages. Many resorted to installing numerous plugins and even delving into coding. Determined to address this challenge, we dedicated three years of tireless work to develop a solution that users will find truly valuable.
With Droip, users will have the freedom to dream and design without limits. We have pushed the boundaries of what is possible, allowing users to bring their imaginations to life. The only limitation with Droip is one’s own imagination—if it can be imagined, it can be built.
Apart from that, we have some other WordPress plugins and themes, namely WP Croundunding, Qubely, Skillate, Baker, Tutor Starter, etc.
Danish: Tutor LMS enjoys the top spot among WordPress LMS plugins. How challenging was it to create and market such a revolutionary LMS plugin?
Kawshar Ahmed: We are extremely pleased with the success of Tutor LMS. Witnessing how people have embraced Tutor LMS to build and manage their online course websites is truly rewarding.
Undoubtedly, creating and maintaining a plugin like Tutor LMS posed its challenges, especially considering the existing eLearning solutions within the WordPress ecosystem. However, we identified certain gaps in the available eLearning tools and solutions.
We recognized that the majority of those operating eLearning course websites are creators themselves. Consequently, we endeavored to develop a user-friendly solution that minimizes the setup and management complexities. Our primary goal was to enable creators to dedicate more time and energy to the educational aspect rather than the technical intricacies. After four years of dedication and hard work, we are proud to say that we have achieved precisely that.
Tutor LMS has successfully streamlined the process, allowing creators to focus on delivering quality educational content without the burdensome overhead of site management.
Danish: That’s inspiring. Would you like to share what differentiates Tutor LMS from other LMS plugins? What’s its USP?
Kawshar Ahmed: Absolutely, I’d be delighted to discuss Tutor LMS in more detail. One of the key factors that set Tutor LMS apart from other Learning Management System (LMS) solutions is its exceptional functionality and design. The user-friendly experience offered by Tutor LMS is unparalleled, providing a seamless course creation process. With our front-end course builder, creating courses has never been easier.
We have also developed a range of captivating add-ons that enhance the capabilities of Tutor LMS. These include features such as multi-instructors, content drip, automated emails, certificate builders, detailed analytics and reports, course bundles, and much more. The best part is that you don’t have to purchase these add-ons separately; they are all included in the comprehensive package.
Furthermore, Tutor LMS seamlessly integrates with most popular plugins in the WordPress ecosystem, offering a versatile and cohesive eLearning experience.
Witnessing creators benefiting from having all their eLearning features consolidated in one place brings me great satisfaction. You don’t have to take my word for it; just ask someone who has switched to Tutor LMS from a different LMS plugin. Their feedback will undoubtedly surprise you.
And that’s not all. We are continuously striving to enhance the plugin and provide even more enriching features. Stay tuned for exciting new add-ons and improvements that we have in store for the future.
Danish: Cloudways and Tutor LMS have joined hands to bring a comprehensive solution for LMS users. What are your thoughts on this bundle partnership, and how can the users benefit from it?
Kawshar Ahmed: Our partnership with Cloudways has been truly fantastic, and I am grateful to Cloudways for the collaboration. We have received numerous requests from Tutor LMS users seeking reliable hosting solutions. With the Tutor LMS Cloudways bundle, we now offer a seamless hosting solution with Tutor LMS preinstalled.
As I mentioned earlier, reducing the setup time and effort is incredibly beneficial for creators. The Tutor LMS Cloudways bundle accomplishes precisely that. It’s remarkable to see how users can have their eLearning sites up and running within minutes, combining their favorite LMS plugin with high-performance cloud hosting. The positive feedback we have received from users is truly heartening.
With this bundle partnership, users can enjoy the convenience of a preconfigured environment, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. The combination of Tutor LMS and Cloudways hosting provides a comprehensive solution that empowers users to focus on delivering exceptional eLearning content without the complexities of setting up and managing the hosting infrastructure.
Danish: Many entrepreneurs are avid book readers, and this helps them develop their cognitive skills, decision-making, and other skills. As an entrepreneur, would you like to recommend any books to our readers?
Kawshar Ahmed: Absolutely! While I understand that book reading preferences vary, I can certainly recommend some insightful reads that have personally influenced my entrepreneurial journey. As you mentioned, skills, leadership, and innovation are areas of interest to you. Here are a few book recommendations in those domains:
1. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries: This book explores the concept of building startups in a more efficient and iterative manner, emphasizing validated learning, rapid experimentation, and customer feedback. It offers valuable insights for entrepreneurs navigating the ever-changing business landscape.
2. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant: This book challenges conventional wisdom and encourages readers to embrace their originality. It explores the traits and strategies that set innovative thinkers apart and provides inspiration for cultivating creativity and driving positive change.
Remember, reading books is just one way to gain knowledge and insights. In addition to books, staying up to date with the latest industry trends, attending relevant conferences or webinars, and engaging in continuous learning through online resources can also contribute to your growth as an entrepreneur.
Danish: Web hosting is crucial for a website’s performance. What are your thoughts on managed cloud WordPress hosting providers?
Kawshar Ahmed: Hosting plays a crucial role in the success of an online business. When it comes to security and performance, relying on substandard hosting is not an option. Recently, I have noticed a significant shift towards managed cloud WordPress hosting providers, with Cloudways emerging as a top choice among users.
Setting up and managing a hosting server manually can be challenging. However, managed cloud WordPress hosting providers like Cloudways alleviate this burden. They provide a seamless hosting experience, saving users from the complexities of manual server setup.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend of transitioning to managed hosting continues to grow in popularity.
For eLearning websites, website performance is of utmost importance. That’s precisely why we have partnered with Cloudways. Their expertise in managed hosting ensures optimal performance, addressing a significant concern for our users in the eLearning industry.
Danish: It was great to have you with us, Kawshar. Would you like to recommend anyone for our next interview?
Kawshar Ahmed: Thank you for having me; it has been a pleasure. For the next interview, I would like to recommend Matt Mullenweg. He is the co-founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic, a company that has played a significant role in shaping the WordPress ecosystem.
Matt’s deep understanding of open-source software, content management systems, and the future of online publishing would provide valuable insights for your audience. I believe his expertise and vision would make for an engaging and enlightening interview.
Danish: And finally, please share a snap of your workstation/team for our readers.
Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]