Piotnet launched its first plugin, Piotnet Addons for Elementor (PAFE), in 2018. PAFE is a popular Elementor addon that includes a full-featured form builder as well as several useful and unique Elementor extensions and widgets. In 2020 they followed up on that success with a standalone forms plugin Piotnet Forms, a lightweight drag and drop form builder. Their latest plugin, Piotnet Grid, is a grid and faceted search builder which was released in 2021. Located in Vietnam, the company now has over 20 employees and thousands of customers from around the world.
Lương Phước is the Piotnet CEO and Founder. He agreed to answer some questions about the company and its products.
Q: How did Piotnet get started, how has the company changed over the years, and what are the company’s goals and values?
Actually, Piotnet’s startup story is a very popular case: somebody can not find tools which support his work, so he decides to make the tools himself.
I had been working as WordPress developer for around six years in 2018. Elementor supported my work a lot then. However, there were many cases in which I couldn’t find any solutions from Elementor. So, I thought to just build the missing tools and sell them to other developers. That is how Piotnet started with Piotnet Addons For Elementor.
After about four years, thanks to the success of PAFE, we have grown a lot. From only me and one other, now Piotnet has over 20 employees. There are three plugins under the Piotnet brand on the market: Piotnet Addons For Elementor, Piotnet Forms and Piotnet Grid. In addition, we also have just launched our web development service: Piotnet Services.
Frankly, I had no intention or goals for the business from the initial days. There is a path, so just go and let’s see where could we come out. A vision? No. Core values? No. Just do it.
It is still quite the same now. All we want to do is create fast, light and flexible plugins. I prefer to let the community talk about our values and contributions.
Q: What impact did Covid-19 and the lockdowns have on your business and your development?
Mainly about our health. Almost every one of us got the virus, therefore sometimes one or many of us have to stay at home to recover and can’t work.
Remote working is no problem. You know this industry, a computer, a table and the internet are enough. Zoom or Skype do the communication part. And one cup of coffee could complete the combo.
Covid-19 is a disaster for mankind. It is very sad to think about people who were suffered due to the epidemic. In Vietnam, many children became orphans.
Actually, our business got some advantages from Covid-19 lockdowns and the increase of eCommerce at that time. However, I think it isn’t nice to talk about that while others suffer.
Q: Your first plugin was Piotnet Addons for Elementor. What prompted you to launch a plugin business and why did you decide to start with an addon for Elementor?
The answer to this question is right above. I just thought there was room in the market, and it would be a chance for me to jump in.
Addon for Gutenberg or Elementor? It was also a question at that time since I used both of them to build websites. Look at the result now, I suppose I made the right choice.
Q: How has Gutenberg affected your development plans? Are you shifting gears, so to speak? Any plans for a Piotnet Addons for Gutenberg?
We have a bigger plan than that at the moment. I can not tell you right now since it is not ready to share yet.
Gutenberg is great, and it is developing quickly. However, there are great addons for it out there right now to cover the market demand, I don’t see many reasons for Piotnet to make addons for the builder.
Making our existing plugins better is also our priority. We are going to release PAFE 7.0, which is a huge upgrade from the current version, just like Piotnet Forms 2.0.
Q: Tell us about the development and evolution of Piotnet Forms?
Back to this time in 2020, we were thinking about being less dependent on Elementor. The ecosystem of Elementor is great for addons, but the room was getting smaller for development. So, we can not just stay in the zone forever.
Many of our users asked if we have a Form Builder for other page builders rather than Elementor. They love it, they asked for it, so we did it. Anyway, our Form Builder package is a central part of PAFE, so it was not difficult for us to make the decision.
The important part is the new form builder – Piotnet Forms has to be compatible with major popular page builders. It was not easy for us, and we were in trouble at the start. Piotnet Forms was released first in July 2020. Then we had to call it back because the plugin did not meet requirements. About two months later, we had changed the core code of Piotnet Forms a lot and rereleased the plugin.
Now today Piotnet Forms has come a long way with lots of developments. Our plugin has become one of the most favorite choices of the Oxygen user community. Many more features have been added to the tool.
Q: You just launched version 2 of Piotnet Forms. What are the standout features that differentiate it from other forms plugins?
Light, Flexible and Features Rich are already advantages of Piotnet Forms in comparison with other builders in the past two years of the plugin’s lifetime. My team and I, we always want to bring these traits into all of our products.
There are too many plugins in the market right now, and installing many of them would make your sites bloated. We don’t want Piotnet Forms to be part of that.
Easy to use is not our pros, I have to say that. We sacrificed “Simple and Easy” to have a “Highly Customizable and Powerful” tool. People could build many kinds of forms with the plugins since we provide a lot of controls inside.
In this version, we focus on improving the shortcomings. Piotnet Forms 2.0 is much easier to use than the first one, and UI/UX is really friendly right now. We received a lot of bad reviews about these issues in our previous version. So, just listen to the community.
I think to be better than ourselves every day is more important than being better than others.
Q: Do you have any plans on the Piotnet Forms roadmap that you can share with the community?
In the short term, improving the 2.0 is the job. It is a new one, and there are many things to do. Hopefully, everything will be smooth, but bugs and conflicts are there waiting for us.
Q: What’s next for your team?
PAFE 7. A similar upgrade as in Piotnet Forms 2 will be implemented into PAFE. PAFE is more complicated when it comes to features and functions, so we have to spend more time on this update.
Piotnet Services is also something new. A long time focus on our web development somehow makes us become less understanding of our users perspective. We decided to open a web coding service so we will always have skin in the game.
If you have any complex web development projects, maybe Piotnet Services could be your solution.
Thank you Lương Phước so much for sharing about your story and Piotnet plugins.