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Pulkit Gupta: Softaculous Helps Many People. We Learn From Them

Posted by hosttycoon On February - 3 - 2012

I met Pulkit Gupta at HostingCon 2011 in San Diego. I did’n have too much time to get to know him there, but at some point I decided that his Softaculous is not just a very interesting product, but it is a success story. At the time Softaculous was released there were at least one more well-established auto-installer software library, in a market that didn’t seem to need more. So I was interested to find out how did Pulkit maker breakthrough and how did he made Softaculous probably the popular auto-installer  software library.

Please tell me how did you come up with the idea to create Softaculous?

I noticed the difficulty people had in installing and maintaining their websites if they don’t have a technical background, which many people don’t have. The idea came from this very observation.

Were there any other auto-installer libraries before the launch of Softaculous? I think Fantastico was there, wasn’t it?

Yes, Fantastico was there. Later when we launched I realized two more were there as well. Installatron and SimpleScripts.

Then, I should to ask you did you resolve any issues that other auto-installers had and did you learn from them how to improve Softaculous?

Yes and no. As I said during the time I made Softaculous, the only one I knew was Fantastico. They were not regular updates n Fantastico at the time and that was one flaw we improved upon. I made sure our updates reach fast. Apart from that I found that we could innovate to such a great degree (as it is Softaculous now). And hence there are tons of features in Softaculous which were not there in our competitors and they now copy us. I guess the industry has also shown that Softaculous is a better product by adapting it.

Can you tell me how did you make the breakthrough? Is there any specific thing that helped you to make Softaculous so popular?

Not just one. We had so many innovative features such as: faster updates, demos, ratings, reviews, better UI, one click installation (many are still not one click till date). The only marketing we did was post at Web Hosting Talk in the “Announcements” forums whenever we released a cool new version. Rest was all word of mouth. The Softaculous success came because of the community of users, and also because of the hard work and innovation!… or the very

Do you remember the first web host that installed Softaculous?

Well Softaculous was a free installer for the first 6 months and we didn’t have any tracking of licenses in use then.

Is there a real competition in the market of auto-installer software products or the market is just too big so the companies would compete one to another?

The market is surely big and there is intense competition now. Before we entered the other players were, I guess, happy with the status quo. Fantastico with the one being the dominant one, Installatron being the an alternative to Fantastico and being dominant on DirectAdmin servers and SimpleScripts being the BlueHost installer. This was before Softaculous entered the market. But we did alter the way the market worked. Today I guess the competition has increased nearly 10 times what it was back then. It is good for the market.

What does Softaculous mean? Is it a word play game?

“Software” + Spectaculous” = Softaculous. This is how I thought of the name.

Were you the only one who created the core of Softaculous or you had partners in the development team?

I was the only one. I have been a coder since I was 16. I guess I learned quite a lot while writing Softaculous.

What was the most important project or job you had before the launch of Softaculous?

I used to maintain a forum software. I had also written an ERP for my Dad’s Factory which is still in use and handles production of over 100 Tons a day.

100 tons of …?


You obviously didn’t decide to lay on your father’s business and to have an easy life? What motivates you to work hard, to set and achieve goals and to move forward in business?

Well I guess one should do what one enjoys. And I enjoy software more than yarn (till date). Also in software you can play God as you are the creator of a whole new stuff! One single thought that motivates me is the fact that I want my software to be used by millions and millions of people.

Now I got it. You like being in charge :) ?

I guess yes :) Who doesnt !

Let’s get back to Softaculous! How you do you decide which scripts to add to Softaculous? What’s the objective? Is it to have the highest number of scripts automated for installation?

We see which scripts have a good potential and decide. Many suggestions come from users. Also we do want to have a very vibrant list of scripts in our library. I think the user should be given as many options as possible. The new script vendors should get a fair chance to enter the market. E. g. if a new blogging software comes along which is better than lets say WordPress, why should that script not be given a chance? Let the users decide which is the best in the market.

At the same time there are tons of scripts which come and go. We don’t add them.

Would you sell Softaculous one day or merge it with another software producer in order to achieve a certain business goals? Or you see it as a core, traditional business for you?

I really cant foretell the future. But I would do anything which is beneficial to the customers first. And yes Softaculous is a business for me which I enjoy.

So you are not one of those guys who would love to sell their business when they get a very good offer?

No, I wouldn’t sell Softaculous, its the way I am able to touch so many lives and help so many people who don’t know how to install or upgrade scripts.

So it is not just business, it is for cause?

Yes, I read this quote by Benjamin Franklin: “If you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing”!

I was just about to tell you that if you one day decide to enter politics it might work :) Business persons usually do care mostly about profits. You seem to think a little bit different?

I do care about profits as well. Also I feel rich people should do more to help the underprivileged people. I feel “With great power comes even greater responsibility”. I feel in sharing wealth when I have some considerable wealth that is to be shared.

OK, tell me is there any software scripts you have found and planning to add to Softaculous, which you find outstanding? Do you see any new application which would make a big breakthrough within the next few years?

I feel our 6 months our new product AMPPS which is a WAMP or MAMP stack is really a game changer. Its got Softaculous inbuilt and its free.

Thank you for your time Pulkit. It was good to talk to you!