5 Questions with Bob Gostischa (avast! Forum “Evangelist”)
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. I do miss the Off Topic Forum, which has been closed for quite some time. (Hint, Hint)
On the Avast forum, we are even able to criticize some aspects of the product and are able to express and discuss our opinions as to how to improve parts of the product. That's something I've never found on any other forum.
It's getting harder to find fault with the product since avast! 6 was released, because it contains so many innovative features. I especially like the new sandboxing feature.
3. Can you tell us a little about the work you’ve been doing recently for AVAST, which leads you away from your PC now and then?
Well, at the beginning of this month, I attended the South West Computer Conferenceto make all those who attended aware of what great things Avast has to offer specifically in their FREE version. I also did my presentation entitled "Protecting yourself and your identity online" for those that attended. The presentation was done during the day, and at night my wife Alice joined me in talking to several hundred people interested in what avast! 6 had to offer. We handed out brochures and installation CDs to many many interested converts. On June 25th, I'll be doing a presentation in Dallas for the NTPCUG.
July and August will send me to Ohio, Connecticut, and New York. One of the stops in NY is actually bringing me back to the little town where all four of our children graduated High School (Brentwood LI, NY). I'll be doing my presentation at the Brentwood Public Library before returning back home in Aug.
I've had a few jobs in my life but can honestly say that talking to computer users and helping them increase their security and computer knowledge is probably the most emotionally rewarding thing I've ever done.
4. You have family roots in this region – is that what initially drew you to try a Czech product, or was it something else?
My Grandfather came from Yugoslavia with the intention of migrating to America. He made it as far as Germany, where he met my Grandmother and that ended his quest to come to America. My Mom and Dad immigrated to the US in 1953, which is how my brothers and I also got here. The first time I returned to Europe was in 2009, when I received my invitation from Avast to visit Prague.
To be very honest, I choose avast! for its ability to keep my computer safe and because it didn't hog my system resources. At the time I chose this product, I had no idea that it was a Czech product. All of this just proves that God works in mysterious ways and we certainly live in a world that seems to get smaller every day. Distance really is no longer a boundary and people no longer need to live next door to be your friends.
5. How would you describe your ideal day away from the office?
I've been retired since 1983, so for me being back in the office is actually a pleasure. My original retirement was forced on me by a medical condition, and since my recovery from that condition I've been very active in my community. I'm a director of the MLPAA and active in local politics. I'm also active in my local Senior Center, and Alice and I enjoy traveling whenever time permits. Right now, it's actually my "day at the office" that's made some of our traveling possible. :)
I'm always happy and proud to say that "Avast has made a vast difference in my life." That little statement right now holds true in many ways. Thanks avast! 6 for keeping my computers safe, and thanks Avast for making my life very interesting and enjoyable.