Oleksii Klochai is the founder of Wizard on Demand, a technical content marketing and technical writing company. Wizard on Demand helps companies create written content around their technical software products so that they can get more users and customers. Oleksii’s passion is to accelerate technological innovation through crystal-clear explanations of how things work.
So, who is Oleksii, how did he get the idea to found Wizard on Demand, and how did he get to where he is today?
Introducing Oleksii, the founder of Wizard on Demand
Oleksii’s professional background predestined him for his role as a broker between tech and economic growth. With degrees in both computer science and economics, he’s long been interested in the intricate details behind innovative software and IT products — and how to communicate them to both technical and non-technical audiences.
Having grown up in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oleksii has lived for many years in Germany and Spain. As a result of his travels, he speaks six different languages. When he was younger, he studied music, specializing in percussion, including the xylophone.
He loves to nerd out about coffee and cooking, and voraciously reads creative nonfiction authors such as John McPhee. He is a regular gym-goer and cyclist, and has recently taken up bouldering.
Oleksii’s family are entrepreneurs, so he grew up seeing firsthand what’s involved in running a company. “It’s funny that the first ever thing that my dad asked me to help with in his business was technical translation of an industrial manual,” he says. As he watched his family enjoy their work on a schedule that made sense for them, he realized that he wanted to start his own company one day.
Working in tech is something Oleksii has always loved. He’s passionate about learning how things work, and is an experienced Clojure programmer. In the past he’s worked as a developer, a DevOps engineer, and a product manager. Before starting Wizard on Demand, Oleksii was a product manager at CircleCI, and as part of this job he documented software and wrote technical blog posts. While doing this, he saw how high the demand is for high-quality content aimed at developers: his first posts were getting lots of views and positive feedback from his peers, even though they were far from perfect. "It made me realize that there was a high demand for well-written technical content aimed at a developer audience," he says.
Most content marketing agencies are not able to write for developer-focused companies. Oleksii noticed that general-purpose writing agencies struggled to produce good content when writing about complex and innovation-driven products. As he saw it, the market could be divided into SEO agencies (who promised to help you rank for very high-volume search terms, but often at the expense of a good reader experience) and content agencies (who could bash out a lot of articles quickly but were just not technical enough for companies marketing themselves to developers).
Neither of these offered what Oleksii was looking for, so he decided to create something that uniquely addressed the needs of developer-focused companies.
Founding Wizard on Demand
In 2018, Oleksii decided to take his chances and found a technical writing company, and so Wizard on Demand was born. Being the cautious person that he is — and to be able to pay the bills — he decided to keep his day job, at least for the time being.
Wizard on Demand’s value proposition was quite clear from the beginning: the production of developer-focused content that was well-written and informative. This requires the writer to have not only writing talent, but also an in-depth technical understanding of the subject. At many companies, developers get pestered to write these articles, but finding a developer who is great at both writing and marketing, who also has the time and interest to write multiple blog posts, is like finding gold dust. With Wizard on Demand, Oleksii made it his mission to form a team of such people — not just writers, but also editors, illustrators and project managers of various technical backgrounds.
Let the magic begin!
Once Oleksii had found his first client from his network, he began to think about hiring staff. Since English is not his first language, he made it a priority to hire a professional editor. He was lucky to find Dan, a former sysadmin with a great eye for tone and the intricacies of technical writing. The two hit it off and together were able to produce high-class technical content from the start, allowing Oleksii to soon acquire more clients and grow the team further to support the additional client work.
Oleksii came up with the name “Wizard on Demand” because he wanted something unique that hints at the magical effect that good content can have. “I got a few compliments on the name over the years. Once, I contacted tech support at our hosting company at the time, and their support agent was a Harry Potter fan — he loved the logo and the company name on the website and complimented me right there in the support chat,” Oleksii says.
He saw early success when articles produced by Wizard on Demand ranked #1–3 in Google for competitive terms, and has emphasized the quality of the articles from day one. The focus on quality of writing evolved to represent what Wizard on Demand considers its north star today: delightful reader experiences, a term that covers not only quality writing but also the quality of ideas, the fit of ideas for what the reader needs, helpful graphics, and meaningful promotion.
Oleksii now works full-time at Wizard on Demand, and has expanded the business from being solely writing-focused — Wizard on Demand’s services now include technical content consulting, as well as SEO and paid promotion services and writing coaching for technical leaders.
Even wizards have learning curves
After hiring both technical and non-technical people for different roles, Oleksii has learned that it works best if all his staff have a good understanding of tech (not just the writers!), so Wizard on Demand now only hires people with a tech background. “Because everyone on the team has experience or education in software, we are able to offer better explanations in articles we write. We can also see the bigger picture — how topics connect to each other. This makes our work stand out,” Oleksii explains. Wizard on Demand’s writing process now also runs much more smoothly as everyone (including the editor, illustrator, and project manager) understands the fundamentals of the topics we are writing about.
Another breakthrough came from taking advantage of peer review and feedback. From the start, each piece of content Wizard on Demand produced had at least two contributors. The possibility of discussion made the writing clearer and more interesting, resulting in articles that are more valuable to the reader. These days, some articles include ideas from three, five, or sometimes more contributors, including Wizard on Demand team members, client-side experts, and independent advisors. “Today, our review steps are a combination of feedback and consensus-building. This allows us not only to uncover information that hasn’t been shared before, but to also help clients, many of whom are innovators, clarify their thinking and strategy for the future,” Oleksii elaborates.
What's next for Wizard on Demand — and for Oleksii?
Since 2018, Wizard on Demand has expanded and refined its service offering, delivered many high-value results for clients, and helped clients launch new product categories.
Oleksii’s focus this year, in addition to driving results for clients, is on talking more (through blog posts, presentations, and videos) about the state of technical content marketing, best practices, and the future of the content marketing discipline as a whole. “We chose to focus on companies with complex, technical products and services, and we learned many things on the way that weren’t obvious in the beginning. We must share our views and encourage industry discussions,” says Oleksii.
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