Monday, 28 January 2013 01:30

Introducing Gev Balyan

Written by Lilit Asatryan
Bang2Joom Blog: Introducing Gev Balyan Bang2Joom Blog: Introducing Gev Balyan
Bang2Joom itself is reflected in every one of us - It is our lifestyle. And it all began with a modest guy with an interesting story. We had a talk about it with Gev a couple of days ago and I just have to tell all of you about this great guy who rarely talks about himself.

Gev, so what was the first time you got acquainted with IT world?

It was a long time ago, in 2006. I was a sophomore studying Economics at the Yerevan State University (Yerevan is the capital of Armenia, that's where we are ;)). We had a class I couldn't stand as it had no connection with what I was studying. So, my IT instructor told me that I am going to fail as I did nothing and it was already the end of an academic year. That was the moment I thought that I will build a website and let him know that I am a smart guy and it's not about my knowledge, it's just that economics is far away from IT. I had a deadline and the first thing I did I downloaded a Joomla! template from the Template Monster and "created" my first website: . Whoala! And I did it! My instructor was speechless, impressed. Sure, it took me a while to let him into believing in what I did.

It may sound simple, I know, but why did you choose Joomla! over any other CMS like Wordpress?

Actually, I tried Wordpress too, but you know after comparing it with Joomla! the difference was too evident not to notice even for a newbie like me. At the very first moment Joomla! was something I fell in love with. Wordpress is a great tool for blogging, but hey, Joomla! is way more than that, it's the greatest CMS ever! (the excitement could not be hidden from Gev's face) The case at the university was to give me a lifelong passion which I was yet to understand. However at that time, it hit me! I got curious about Joomla! I grew interested in it day by day! I started playing with Joomla! - Installing some modules, refreshing the tabs ...It made me happy to see the results and the changes I made in the backend to appear in frontend. ( he giggled going over his first memories of Joomla! )

I know that you did some volunteering at the university? Tell us more about it!

Well, yeah. After all I got more in depth in the IT world, I made up my mind to buy hosting and domains. Meanwhile, I got an offer to build a website for social networking among university staff.

Hmm, seems like the second Mark Zuckerberg was born in Armenia, huh?

No, no (Gev laughes). When I say I was to "build" a social networking website, I mean it in brackets "Build". I was a noob, I was surprised myself, but I thought why not? We got a grant from US Department of States, so funding was not a problem. However, I decided to go on with this project as a volunteer, as getting paid for something that I was not even sure will work was insane! Haha. Also, I was a student at that University and so it was also for me too.

I am guessing again Joomla!?

Yes, you are right! I surfed the net, it was the Joomla! 1.5 times and I came across with JomSocial component, I loved it! So I used JomSocial + Facebook integration and got the job done! I recall that was the time I first got that there is a concept such as CSS. I learnt how to deal with shared hosting, how to create databases and a lot more.

Wait, Gev, so you mean building social networking website using Joomla! was as easy as 1,2,3, for a Joomla! newbie like you?

Oh, I wish it was! No it was not that easy by far. I got all the uni staff and students to test the website and got all these errors and mistakes... i.e. bugs... Bug? What is Bug? I had no idea of what a bug was. I did not have a single friend/acquaintance who had any idea about developing. So I was to depend on the internet!)) I scanned the Joomla forums for the answers and got my project done. +1 experience - Proud as ever!

What were the first Joomla! extensions besides JomSocial you were familiar with then?

Time passed and I realized that Joomla! was taking much of my time. I frequently checked on JED, installed various modules and plugins - just trying them all. It all went on for 2 years. Taking a glance back to the past I realized I knew a lot about K2, Flexicontent, sh404SEF, JomSocial, Community Builder, Kunena and hey! I knew Joomla! Having proper experience and knowing Joomla! in detail, I started building websites for local businesses for money. Sure those websites were not distinguished in design at first, CSS was like the worst part (Oh Man!)... Basically Joomla! extensions were the only properly displayed and working parts on those websites. As I had more offers, I started paying attention to CSS, correcting things as I went.

Besides, these projects what other ones could you note as being crucial for you?

I got an offer to create a website for a newspaper. I remember I used a template JA Teline IV from JoomlArt, hired a French guy to help me out with K2 featuring and got it all ready really quickly. This really gave me a stimulation to move on with Joomla! and specifically with K2. My life with Joomla! took another road when I met some like-minded people, who joined me in this "websites' building campaign" (giggles). I shared with them my addiction to Joomla! and showed them that Joomla! is indeed the greatest CMS that we should stick with!

So our squad – me, a designer and a developer built websites that were no comparison to those made earlier, the recent ones were high ranked and soon we were offered to make a mobile layout for a bank's website. This was different - I knew banks were serious. The designer who I worked with is my childhood friend who is still by my side. We were sure to use Joomla! mobile! component, K2 and RSS Feedgator! I had this idea deep in my heart connected with Joomla! and I decided to make it happen if I succeed with this project.

How did all the pieces come together for you to end up with something amazing like Bang2Joom?

The project was a real success and sometime later I got one of these chances that you probably get once in your life. I was able to speak with some really important guys about my dream who helped it to become a reality. Initially they just wanted to found a local IT company. I revealed them my personal secrets, my dream about Joomla! and offered to open a Joomla! Dev Club and help those guys searching for templates as I have been in their shoes at the university. Fortunately, my offer got accepted. I founded Bang2Joom! My childhood friend, designer - Mher Galstyan, ( He is the designer of and important investors helped me to have the B2J I've always dreamed of and I have now.

Being part of Bang2Joom family it is, indeed, really touching to realize how Bang2Joom started and what Gev has achieved through his dream of B2J! To conclude I just want to cite the Bob Marley words ( Gev is keen on Bob Marley, as most of us in B2J) he mumbled at the end of our conversation half singing: "And soon we will find out who is the real revolutionary"