From the time I started working at AVAST, I kept hearing about our avast! Forum “Evangelists” – Community members who have helped us greatly over the years by providing tech support to other users, product feedback (including ideas for improvements), and more. In short, they have been the true heartbeat of AVAST ever since the avast! Forum went LIVE in 2002. As of March, 2011, the top forum evangelist, with almost 55,000 (55 THOUSAND!!!) forum posts, is the Brazil-based user known as “Tech” – known to his family and friends as Lisandro Souza. I was especially interested in interviewing him, as was interested primarily in his motivation for helping AVAST over the years. –Jason Mashak
1. For avast! users who have never visited the avast! Forum, considering that it’s not only a tech-support community, how would you summarize the full range of activity that happens there?
It’s a true Community. We share knowledge, dreams, friendship, professional and leisure readings and thoughts. It’s a very open-minded place, no fanboyism, freedom. There is room for techies and non-techies. You can learn. You can share. You can help and receive help. You can interact with the developers and “interfere” in the future of it in some cases: you really participate. You can rest with some threads about technology and non-avast related. Although, some of us miss the Off Topic forum (sorry Pavel, couldn’t resist…). If you never being in a forum, come, feel the atmosphere!
2. What have been some of the most fulfilling moments for you as an avast! Forum member?
The first troubleshooting with “Vlk” [Ondrej Vlcek, CTO] and Jindrich Kubec [Virus Lab Director]: the professionalism and warm reception caught me! The premium model (the permanent free solution and then the higher paid one) was another dream for me. Other moments? The first translation of avast 4.0 finished in 2003, the last translations we did with Trevor Robinson [Localization Manager], made side by side with Igor Glucksmann [Senior Software Developer]. The first 1000th post… And each moment that a user posts a big “thank you”: we feel that we do not lose our time, we helped. Also we had sad moments: the death of Cojo from cancer and the exit of some members, due to personal reasons, like Sasha. Oh, sorry, the new users will say: “Hey, c’mon, I don’t know these people, Vlk, Kubec, Igor… nor avast! Forum members like Bob, David, and all the others.” I’ll simple answer: “Here, you’re not a number. We do know each other. We do work together to develop a better and safer Internet and world.”
3. Why do you think Brazil is such a hot market for avast! antivirus software?
In October, 2010, Brazil had 81.3 million Internet users, just behind China, United States, Japan, and Germany, according to these numbers. The volume of Internet shopping and banking is rising every day. People look for security. People need security. The activity of social networks and their presence in corporate business are other goals in this equation. The fact that the Brazilian economy showed great recovering from the recent economic crisis and also because the country has a very good perspective for the future. Online security demands a solid antivirus. Unfortunately, Brazil is one of the biggest hotpots for banking Trojans. Since avast is on the top of the global antivirus market share, AVAST could find in Brazil a potential and hot market. Avast! had already discovered that: avast! is at the top of the most popular download site in Brazil.
4. Brazil being the fifth-largest country in the world, it’s not surprising that the country hosts an extensive space program and other high-tech research – so how does this national focus on technology research affect the average Brazilian, in terms of internet access and communications?
The internet access and communications are a great factor of human and economic development. The technology is present in all human levels nowadays. Here, people improve their quality of life – slower than we dream – and makes this wonderful and friendly country that has his arms opened to everybody around the world. We’re proud of Brazilians. Avast! has a history that we dream for our countries and people: accessibility for all (as it is free and user friendly); high quality (detection rate); respect (from the CEO and the staff to the users); openness worldwide (more than 30 languages); started small and constantly looks to the future (like most of us…).
5. How would you describe your ideal day away from the forum?
A sunny hot day, running, running a lot among the trees and with the wind in my hair, running forward with the ones I love. Oh, yes, I have a lot of these ideal days in my life, finished with a glass of wine!
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