AVG is a company that has gone through a rapid series of changes over the last few years, especially after losing its chief executive officer JR Smith during a wider expansion away from its traditional focus on antivirus.
But despite the loss, the security firm has continued to expand its product portfolio. This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of its chief operating officer John Giamatteo, who has ensured that AVG operations keep ticking along smoothly, no matter how stormy the weather outside, since joining the firm in 2011.
Prior to his role at AVG, Giamatteo worked as chief operating officer at Solera Networks from 2010 to 2011, following a longer five-year stint fulfilling the same role at RealNetworks.
Giamatteo's Hot Seat follows those of F-Secure chief executive officer Christian Fredrikson and general manager for Hitachi Data Systems in the UK and Ireland, Stephen Ball, as part of V3's weekly insight into the professional and personal preferences of the biggest names in the IT industry.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Giamatteo: I would say it's the people. I really enjoy working with, leading and interacting with people both internally and externally. AVG's got 900 employees and they make all of this possible.
What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)?
I came from a sports background. I was always a keen sportsman as a kid playing American football, but only growing as big as I did, I got into golf. So now for me being a professional golfer would be great.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
I lived in Seattle for five years and it was really interesting watching Jeff Bezos turn Amazon into what it is today. It started as a simple internet shop and progressed to doing things like the Kindle. The way he expanded it into something very different is something I've always admired.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
It's got to be the smartphone. On a personal level it has changed me, making it so wherever I am, I'm connected and with the 4G networks out now it's all connected.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many highlights but for me the highlight was being part of taking AVG public in 2012. It was a super-exciting milestone. It was this small company started in the Czech republic 20 years ago and has turned into this global enterprise covering many more services. It's exciting to be part of that growth.
What was your first job?
My first job was in the telecoms space in New York, working for Northern Telecoms, which turned into Nortel. I actually started in the finance department working on financial planning and analysis. It was a fun place to start.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
I think cloud services are going to change the world. Soon devices will just be access points, everything will be device agnostic. The cloud will change our lives more than we realise.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
I am in the middle of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, it's a good book, but what I really enjoy is how it talks about how technology has flattened the world, making it so we can be working on a project with somebody in India from the Czech Republic or anywhere else in the world.
Who is your favourite band/musician?
I grew up on Long Island in New York and went to school very near Billy Joel, so I always enjoyed his music.
E-readers or real books?
I like both. I always love holding a book, but the practicality and ease of a Kindle is a big deal. I like a book but I travel and it's not practical.
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
I would say Facebook, just because I got accustomed to it.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
For me it's The Beatles.
Being from New York; The Godfather.
Windows or Mac OS?
I prefer Windows.
What's holding women back from entering the IT profession?
I think the thing that's holding women back, is the lack of women going into engineering. There are opportunities out there, the industry is growing. I encourage my daughters to get into computer science because if you look at engineering schools, they're probably 80 or 90 percent male.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
I don't think there's any lack of interest. My daughters know how to use devices better than me. I think the next generation coming up are going to be the most IT-savvy generation that we've ever seen.
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