We are Hans Skillrud and Donata Skillrud, the founders of Termageddon, a generator of Privacy Policies for your websites that automatically update when the laws change. We have been into WordPress for the last couple of years and never looked back, that’s all because of the awesome WordPress community.
Let’s start with the introduction.
Hans: I am the co-founder of Termageddon and oversee sales and marketing and agency partnerships. I live in Chicago with Donata, my dogs, chickens, and bees. Prior to Termageddon, I ran and sold a 12-person web agency over the course of seven years. I was a chemistry and finance double major in college and quickly realized after an internship in investment banking that my true calling was entrepreneurship.
Donata: I am a privacy and technology attorney licensed in Illinois. I’m the President of Termageddon and the legal architect behind all of the policy questionnaires, options, and texts.
I am also the Newsletter Editor for the ePrivacy Committee of the American Bar Association and the Chicago Chair of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
I’m originally from Lithuania but we now live in the Chicagoland suburbs. In my free time, I enjoy beekeeping, hunting for morels, and taking our two dogs on long walks.
The Journey Began
Hans: I really didn’t have a digital life before WordPress. I thought of web designers as modern-day magicians and wizards. I found WordPress in 2012 when a client from my digital marketing agency asked if I could build websites and I said “yes” without really knowing how to do so.
After a lot of research, I decided to build a WordPress website and fell in love. I would find myself working ten or more hours on website projects without realizing it. This is when I knew that I found my calling.
Donata: Before finding WordPress, I did not realize that this wonderful community was just out there for anyone to join. I think that joining the WordPress community has helped me make amazing new friends, travel, and speak at really fun events.
I was originally introduced to WordPress in 2014 when I was also working at a web design agency. While I was doing Operations, I noticed that our designers and developers could build websites way faster using WordPress than any other platform. Also, the designers and developers were happy to use WordPress and our clients loved the designs. WordPress just seemed like the best solution and that’s why I love it.
The Need for Termageddon
Donata: I do not like writing Privacy Policies from scratch. I felt like I was asking my clients very similar questions and using the very similar language for small business website policies.
I realized that a big portion of my job could be automated, and thus policies could be made more affordable to small businesses. That’s a big portion of why we started Termageddon. Also, I felt like other competitors were charging based on compliance with different laws, and I thought that this was not fair – you either get full compliance or you don’t.
That really pushed us to create a pricing model where you get policies with all of the required disclosures for one price.
Hans & Donata: When we first founded Termageddon, we really thought that our product would be of interest only to companies based in the United States so we created our questionnaires to be US-centric. However, we quickly realized that this was not the case, and had agencies contact us from all over the world, especially Canada, the UK, and Australia.
We’ve had to change our questionnaires to be compatible with other countries and we are still working on that. It’s been amazing to see the response but we wish we would’ve known this from the start.
Hans: I was amazed by the response from one of my first interviews with a WordPress influencer Facebook group called The Admin Bar. It was such a great feeling to see so many agency owners register for their free license as a result of this interview.
Donata: I couldn’t be happier more when we took our first law firm client through the policy generation process and they absolutely loved the questions that we asked and the end product policy. It was amazing to see that validation from another attorney.
A Brilliant Team of Two
Advice for Business Owners
Hans: Know your target market. We cannot stress enough how important this is. Because my background is being a web agency owner, there are little details that I made sure our application provided but did not realize how important those little details were until we had web agencies using the platform.
Donata: Double-check the work of your vendors. Making sure that you have a good relationship with your vendors is extremely important but you should ensure that you verify their work.
Hans & Donata: If you are running an agency, we would highly recommend having a standard website providing services to anyone while creating a separate website focusing on a particular niche so that you can test out your niche strategy without boxing yourself in.
WordPress & Beyond
Hans & Donata: WordPress’s focus on open source and community allows it to grow rapidly with quick adoption by both agencies and DIY business owners or hobbyists alike. While some WordPress competitors may have new features, the fact is that they do not have the community that WordPress has.
The community makes it easier to use WordPress, with countless tutorials from how to build a website on how to monetize it and that’s what will keep WordPress above the competition.
We think the gap between entry-level agencies and experienced agencies will get greater over the next five years. Little details like privacy and accessibility compliance will become more important requirements that businesses seek in a web agency vendor as time goes on. We think that compliance will be driving a lot of the growth and changes that we see in WordPress over time.
For Termageddon, we plan to launch in additional countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia to start.
Love for the WordPress Community
Donata & Hans: We have attended many WordPress meetups and WordCamps all over the United States. It’s been extremely beneficial for us, from both growing our business to learning more about websites, meeting agencies, and becoming a part of this wonderful community.
Donata has spoken at multiple WordCamps about privacy and it’s amazing to see how engaged the community is with a topic like privacy. It’s always funny watching Hans who is an extrovert, become shy the moment he meets a founder of one of his favorite plugins or themes at a WordCamp.
Here are a few names in the order of who we met first (not necessarily in favorites order):
- Vito Peleg – WPFeedback
- Andrew Palmer – Elegant Marketplace
- Rian Kinney – eComm Legal and MindSize (Rian’s actually going to be a bridesmaid at our wedding)
- Mike Demo – WebVentures and InMotion Hosting
How We Keep Ourselves Updated
Hans & Donata: Kori Ashton’s YouTube channel, The Admin Bar podcast.
We Have a Life Other Than the Work
Hans: I enjoy reading books about history and philosophy and love places where I can fish and it’s not too humid. For the last twenty years, I’ve been going to Montauk State Park in Missouri for trout fishing and Grand Island in Michigan for smallmouth fishing.
Donata: I really enjoy beekeeping, hunting for morels, working outside in my garden, taking our dogs for walks, and reading books about submarines.
I’m originally from Lithuania so I’d have to say my hometown – Palanga, Lithuania. My family still lives there so I really enjoy seeing them and going to the Baltic Sea and my great grandmother’s farm.
Hans & Donata: We usually spend our holidays with Hans’ family in Bloomington, IL eating lots of delicious food and just hanging out.
Besides all of this, we have:
- Two dogs – Skolli and Loki;
- Two cats – Dora and Blergnog;
- Three chickens – Patricia, Costa and Constantine; and
- About 40,000 honey bees, none of which have names.
Hans & Donata Pet
Donata Honey Bees
We Reward Ourselves by
Hans & Donata: At the end of a long day of working, we love to watch a few episodes of the hit show Lost. We also end the night with some reading.