In recent years, the need for a Community Manager has become essential, especially when your entire business operates online and your ‘community’ is a global one. Julia was an excellent choice for this position at AVAST, as her experiences both as a traveler and living as a foreigner have given her insight into the myriad ways communications take shape. I’ve worked closely with her on various projects, and she has a natural ability to empathize with community concerns, promote community interests, and ensure that the avast! Community stays in focus (in the light of our overall company direction). –Jason Mashak
1. I recall that one of our first conversations was about your studies of literature and languages, and so I’m curious how a background in humanities helps you in your current role as Community Manager for AVAST?
The fact that I manage to communicate in several languages helps a lot. But, frankly, I would need to learn at least another 8 languages to be able to cover typical daily communications, as the community of our fans is very multilingual. The first thing that came to mind after reading this question was the “KIS rule”: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and Facebook to 420, so you’re forced you to follow that rule. It confirms what I already suspected attending university: make your text as simple as possible.
2. What challenges do you encounter in terms of interacting with the avast! Community via Facebook, Twitter, etc.? Read more…
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! Read more…
My interactions with Jitka have been brief – she is a no-nonsense kind of person, and so you’ll almost never see her having a chat at the coffee machine. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in one place for longer than a few seconds, unless she has to sit for a meeting or at her desk. At AVAST for almost 5 years, Jitka oversees the interactions between AVAST Software and our business partners around the globe. I of course had to interview her via email, as I doubt she’d ever have time to meet with me. –Jason Mashak
1. Would you say that AVAST Software partners basically enable avast! users to have contacts and support in their own regions and languages, or is it not so simple?
To make it clear from the beginning, our business partners focus on the corporate and SMB segments rather than on home users. When potential customers make contact, our local partners only have a few minutes to establish trust and credibility. Fortunately, combining one of the best-known antivirus brands with our partners’ sales skills and marketing activities has been a simple and effective strategy for this.
Our business partners help alleviate fear of fraud, provide support in the local language(s), design or implement customized deployments, etc., enabling companies searching for an antivirus product to put their trust in avast!
2. How do avast! business partners help contribute to the direction of avast! products or services? Read more…
In a few days I’ll introduce a new avast! Blog feature, in which I’ll interview various people involved with AVAST Software – team members, volunteer translators, business partners, avast! Forum “evangelists,” etc. –with 5 questions.
This will give you a better look inside AVAST, at the people who make things happen on our end.
The frequency of interview postings will be partly “as inspired” and partly “up to you”… that is, the more you like them, the more they’ll keep coming.
Read interviews here:
My boss, Marketing Director Milos Korenko, made a blog post here a few days ago in which he mentioned/linked to an honor received by a book of poetry I wrote. He also said that my job at AVAST is pretty much “crafting IT-terms into words and texts that normal people would understand.” I would argue that my job is not quite so simple as that but I’ll explain Milos’s point.
I’ve been a regular computer user since buying my first PC, an HP desktop, in 1997. It ran Windows 95, and I think it had McAffee antivirus (the engine for which was provided by avast!). I sacrificed sleep on many nights, to try to learn a new operating system that was NOTHING like the Commodore 64 (complete with cassette-tape drive) that I had taken my only real computer classes on 10 years prior. In 2002, I bought a Gateway desktop with Windows XP… that’s right, from Windows 95 to Windows XP.
I’m probably an average computer user. I use my laptop at home for social (and other) networking, Skype calls, research, and word processing, primarily. My job all day is on a desktop PC, from which I handle various writing assignments, web research, project tasks, and seemingly endless forms of communication.
Aside from what I use PCs for daily, however, I really don’t know much about them – which is, in many ways, good for my work. Read more…
Customer feedback, with other companies and industries I’ve worked in, had a tendency toward primarily negativity. There was very little balance – complaints greatly outweighed any occasional positive stories we would receive. In each case we would justify the imbalance with generalizations that “people love to complain” or “nobody has time to give positive feedback”… or the cynical “they probably just want a credit” (and, at least in American culture, the last one is unfortunately often the case, as it has become a norm there to take advantage of the adage “the customer is always right” to secure discounts, freebies, etc. – I know, because I myself have emailed restaurants after a bad experience, knowing I would likely receive a voucher along with the standard apology) .
Something is different, however, at AVAST. Read more…