We are excited to share news with you. Our two-person, social media team now offers professional support. Since December 2012 Peter Bucek has been helping us respond to your technical and customer care inquiries in English, Spanish, and of course, Czech language. We are pleased to welcome Peter on the board and introduce him to YOU.
I have known Peter since I started 5 years ago with AVAST Software. When I joined the company in 2008 we have been working together in the support team. Peter is a very friendly, kind and cheerful person, always willing to help not only the customers but also other colleagues. Despite the rather routine job, he kept his creative and innovative attitude towards everyday tasks. He came up with idea of creating video manuals. Now thanks to Peter we can easily check: How to download, install and customize avast! Antivirus. He is a proud father of two lovely kids: a boy Jonáš and a girl Emma .
So let’s hear the voice of Peter.
Peter has worked in AVAST Software since November 2006. Peter, how, in your opinion, has the company changed during this time and how is our support team changing?
Fabricia, our famous 160 millionth avast! user registration from Brazil, is coming to Prague with her husband! We at AVAST Software are all excited about their visit and looking forward to hosting them here – especially since it turns out that we are inadvertently sponsoring their honeymoon.
I decided to ask them a few questions before the trip, just to see what their expectations were.
1. Have you ever won any valuable prize before?
Fabricia: No, neither Eder (new husband) nor I have ever been awarded with any prize whatsoever.
2. How does it feel to be the 160,000,000th avast user registration?
Receiving the email notification that we won a trip to Prague was initially a huge surprise. At the beginning, I thought it was a scam message. However, after confirming that it wasn’t spam, we were very happy… even euphoric. Especially since, as I just mentioned, it was the first time I actually won something and that the value of this award is outstanding. On top of that, we were planning to get married, so we agreed that this trip would be slightly postponed so it could be our honeymoon. We are sooooooo happy and looking forward to it.
3. What do you expect from the trip?
Our expectations are the best possible, and we are anxious to meet AVAST people. We’ve also heard that Prague is incredibly beautiful and we will have an opportunity to visit many interesting places. Read more…
I bet most of you have seen the ‘80s Back to the Future trilogy. Back then it had
great special effects, hi-tech equipment, impressive cars and tricks, but there was also a great theme in which the main hero goes back to the past…
You might be wondering how does it relate to avast! antivirus? Well all of us have a bit of nostalgia for the past, a time when we didn’t use PCs and there were no viruses.
So, the other day I asked my colleagues in our marketing/PR department: do you remember your first PC or the first virus you caught?
I was surprised what kind of discussion it has opened and how excited everyone was about it. So here we go (in alphabetical order):
Jason – Copywriter
First real computer I ever used (at school): Commodore 64 (circa 1986-7) with a cassette-tape drive.
First real computer I actually owned was an HP desktop I bought in 1997 (with Windows 95 and McAfee antivirus (avast! engine!!)). I had it until 2002, when I upgraded to a Gateway desktop with Windows XP, which I think came with Symantec/Norton(?)… which I did not renew, instead using free antivirus software (ZoneAlarm, AVG, avast!) from then on.
Milos – Marketing Director
I was a poor kid from a poor village. No computers. Just socialism. Left and right… everywhere you looked. Firsthand experience was the computer lab at school when I lived for a while in Modesto, California, in 1992/1993. PC, Macs and – listen carefully – Amiga.
I hated Mac because the only way to get the floppy disk out was through the software-eject button. So when it crashed – and it was crashing all the time – your disk was in there and impossible to get out.
The PC on the other hand was excellent.
And of course the Amiga… I learned how to animate and draw on it. It was THE computer for graphics!
Known as “CharleyO” on the avast! Forum, Charles O. Prince is one of the 15 most-active avast! Forum members, with more than 6,500 posts since he joined in early 2004. Like his fellow forum members Bob Gostischa (“bob3160”) and Lisandro Souza (“Tech”), as well as many others, Charley helps avast! users around the world with their technical questions. In lieu of my traditional “5 Questions with [person]” interview format, I decided to let Charley paint for us a bigger picture as to how he came to be such an avid supporter of avast! over the years – followed by only 3 questions this time. I think you’ll find his personal IT history fascinating. – Jason Mashak
When I emailed the entire AVAST team about nominations for co-workers that they would want to see interviewed, I saw/heard “Vladimír Černík” more than any other name. It turns out that Vladimir was one of the first people ever hired by AVAST founders Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš, more than 20 years ago. It’s enough of an accomplishment, in modern times, to work 20 years in one place… but to watch a company grow from almost nothing… to over 150 team members, with more than 160 million users of your product… that’s truly amazing.
In the comments below, please join us in offering Vladimír Černík a warm congratulations on his 20 years with AVAST Software. – Jason Mashak
1. You’ve been at AVAST longer than anyone aside from the founders (about 20 years?)… how was it for you in the beginning, and why have you stayed so long?
I don’t remember exactly how it happened. I started as an assembler programmer, then I was programming databases for a while, and eventually I was helping (avast! co-founder) Pavel Baudis with the viruses. At the time I didn’t know a thing about viruses and I was gaining all my experience hands-on. And of course a couple of times I managed to massively infect my computer.
It was back in the good old days of DOS. There weren’t so many viruses around like nowadays, when you are cluttered up with thousands of new virus samples daily. Read more…
From the time I started at AVAST Software, I began hearing the name “Bob” a lot, but never saw the guy, and his handle on the avast! Forum – “bob3160″ – sounded to me like some new industry buzz word, a new kind of machine that would change the way we all live. When I finally asked someone about “Bob,” I was shocked. “He’s one of our biggest fans on the user forum, and he helps us with a lot of stuff in the US.” Bob ranks third on the avast! Forum in terms of post count, with over 15,000 as of this writing (about 4,000 posts ahead of our CTO, Ondrej Vlcek). I began to laugh that the ‘avast! secret weapon’ might be a retiree in the southwestern desert of the USA.
Early in 2011, Bob and some other avast! Forum “Evangelists” came to visit us in Prague, and I think we were all affected in some way by his positive demeanor, charismatic personality, warm heart, and sincerity. It made me think that, yes, it’s “bob3160″ and others like him who are indeed the avast! secret weapons. It was an honor to interview Bob, and we hope he returns soon to visit us in Prague. – Jason Mashak
1. How long have you been using avast! antivirus solutions and how influential would you say avast! Forum members have been in their development?
I first discovered avast! in 2003 while looking for a replacement for Norton, which at that time was using my computer more than I was.
After testing quite a few alternatives, I finally settled on avast! since the protection it offered was excellent and it wasn’t a system hog like the others.
It actually allowed me to gain access to my computer again, something I really had not enjoyed for some time.
2. In terms of innovative practices, can you think of any other product or service that has such a feeling of ‘community’ and user-co-development as that fostered by AVAST?
I honestly can’t – and I do belong to several other forums, even though my involvement with the other forums I frequent isn’t the same as it is with the Avast forum. I consider the Avast Forum my home away from home. Read more…
My first couple times meeting Chris Cantoro, I didn’t know what to think of him but, compared to the Czech personalities I most often work with, I initially thought he was ‘arrogant’. After a few months, however, I had the opportunity to work with him more on various projects, and I discovered that what I’d initially (mis)perceived about him was actually more of an extroverted confidence. As a ‘foreigner’ myself in Czech lands, I started to suspect that his native Italy was somehow involved. The more I’ve gotten to know Chris, the more I’ve appreciated the worldly humor and relaxed energy he brings to our work environment. (BTW, the name ‘Cantoro’ means ‘Singer’ in English, and he can sing in five languages.) – Jason Mashak
1. The general public is often confused about how AVAST remains stable with a ‘freemium‘ model as our flagship product – can you explain how that works?
Everybody has a PC at home, in most cases more than one. We offer a FREE solution for domestic users as we believe everybody has the right to enjoy Internet and at the same time to be protected. If people are happy with our FREE product, then they will consider it also for their business, and they will buy it. Our key marketing strategy has been that the best way to show people we have the best product… is to offer it for free. Read more…
avast! Virus Lab… I once went to their floor accidentally, thinking it was my floor – it was dark and scary, and so I quickly turned and ran out. These folks are like mad scientists, practicing alchemy in white laboratory coats that are stained with hard-drive smoke and smell of burnt ones & zeros. They’re mostly nocturnal – like cyborgian vampires – and yet they’re always awake, online and available for ‘chat’ or email, even in daylight.
Or at least that’s partly the stereotype I had when I started at AVAST. After meeting and talking with a few “virus guys” at a company party, I realized they’re like every other department here… but just a little more reclusive… and thus maybe a ‘typical’ IT crowd. See here for yourself, as this interview is with a guy whose blog posts get a lot of traffic (even though someone of my IT ‘capabilities’ rarely understands anything he writes about). –Jason Mashak
1. You started at AVAST about 6 years ago, while still attending university – what was it like already working for a top antivirus provider while still a student?
I was a young chemistry student (which seems removed from IT, but even AVAST co-founder Pavel Baudis studied the same subject, at the same university ) with no previous job experience or references. Most of the aspects of IT (including reverse engineering, programming in various languages, cryptography, etc.) were my hobby, and thus it was no problem to work for ALWIL [former name of AVAST Software, until 2010]. I had no clue what the business was about – it took me roughly a year to fully understand how a two-person project could become a successful company Read more…
I don’t know much about Lukas, other than that he is respected and liked by his colleagues (or they wouldn’t have suggested him as a potential interviewee). On facebook, I discovered he has an interest in photography. In communicating with him for this interview, I found him to be unassuming, communicative, and laid-back. Considering I’m no software developer (and only a very amateur kind of geek), I would say that those are qualities that have contributed well toward the avast! software we all use and love. –Jason Mashak
1: You’ve been at AVAST since there were only a few handfuls of employees… what, for you, are some of the more memorable moments in the company’s history since you’ve been here?
I joined AVAST seven years ago  when there were around 20 employees. Some of the core team members of today were still at university, studying along with their work. You would see them in the office only once or twice a week. This was a big difference from the 140-something we have today, when we hardly fit into any room all at once. For example, there used to be a habit to celebrate birthdays together in the offices. But as the number of employees grew, we would have to celebrate almost every other week. And we also started to have problems fitting into any one room, so the tradition was abandoned over time.
Moving into a new building, the one we are now in, was also quite exciting. We watched it being built, visiting it several times before it was finished. One of the last things moved were our company servers Read more…
Recently we took pleasure in hosting journalists at our Prague HQ. Among them were Wojciech Kowasz and Jakub Pawlak from dobreprogramy, Poland‘s most popular download site. avast! Free Antivirus is Poland‘s top downloaded software, with over 14,000,000 downloads!
While visiting us in Prague, Mr. Kowasz and Mr. Pawlak recorded a video interview with our CTO, Ondřej Vlček. Mr. Vlček introduced new features of avast! 6.0, explaining how they differentiate avast! from other AV products. If you’ve ever wondered how the AutoSandbox works, what SafeZone is, or how can you rate a website using avast! WebRep, check it out. Mr. Kowasz and Mr. Pawlak also asked about everyday’s life in our HQ in Prague, how the virus lab works, and how we detect viruses. Read more…