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.
2. In your view, why does the AVAST approach of having avast! Business Partners for commercial products and using eCommerce for consumer products integrate so well?
Companies usually do not like to purchase their network security online, especially if they have a large number of machines. They want a professional from their own city or region to help and to recommend the best solution for their particular business operations. Tech support in a local language is also necessary. So avast! Business Partners are trained to provide that, making them more capable of providing the services that businesses need, whether SOHO, SMB, or large enterprise.
3. What are some of your overall goals in terms of continuing to develop avast! Business Partner channels?
The main goal is to increase the number of our partners and, of course, channel sales. It is amazing to see how good our relationships are with most of our partners. Some of them are real friends already! And this is probably the best part of the job, when you can see that all your efforts and work help somebody to be successful. After that, one of the key goals is to keep offering our support and to make our business partners feel a part of the avast! family, to share our worldwide success with them.
4. How does your Italian background contribute to your understanding of Czech and other cultures?
For me to talk about Czech culture and habits… I can tell you that it is sometimes the same as throwing water on a frying pan full of hot oil! The mentality here in Prague is so different from Italy, that sometimes I hardly understand things. Czechs use to say about us: "Italians don’t work in the winter and they dance in the summer!" – just to say that we are lazy?! They are forgetting that we also play football!!!!! ;-)
But at the end of the day, I’ve been here almost 10 years because I love the city, the atmosphere, and the fact that you can meet people from all around the world. To understand other cultures, and to be able to "dive" into them, the Italian spirit helps a lot. We are curious, talkative, and friendly… so, it’s pretty easy for us to "merge" with other cultures. I love being an Italian citizen abroad!
5. How would you describe your ideal day away from the office?
A combination of traveling, sporting, and eating. But the ideal day would definitely be at the sea. After a beach volleyball match, a nice swim and a bit of snorkeling, to go back to the beach and get refreshed with a cold watermelon. Then, the day ends with a fish barbecue and red wine (who said you have to drink white wine with fish?) and the rest you can always imagine...... Though this might be an ideal day for many people, it’s the standard in my hometown in southeast Italy....or "EATaly" if you prefer! :)
Read other interviews here: