In 2001 I started working in a major online marketing agency of Brazil. Internet was still booming here. We developed institutional sites for huge Brazilian companies in HTML.
My job description was to get the layouts created by the art department, slice them up and put together the HTML code of the site, page by page. Man, was this hard! Especially when we had to change some tiny tid-bit thingy that appeared on all pages.
Working at this place, I must say, was a huge upgrade in my career. I learned in a short time what would guide me professionally in the following years. When I started there, I could hardly understand why there was an internal server with audio files for all employees to keep and share their stuff.
Sharing... We shared audio files called MP3s, we shared funny e-mails and, most important of all, we shared information and knowledge.
Someday in 2003 one of my colleagues, Xico, called me and asked: "Elvis, have you seen this?" On his screen I saw for the first time an open source system called Mambo, that allowed anyone to manage content in a website at will. I remembered my jaw dropping at the moment Xico logged to the administrator area and showed me how things worked. I was astonished! At that moment I realized what a powerful tool Mambo was, and that I wanted to learn it right away. In the next days, I was kind of absorbed in my own Mambo realm and found out I could deliver more than I ever dreamed of to my clients.
My very first Mambo-based website was my own www.helvecio.com. For a newbie, I had it up and running in no time. I was amazed! Its management interface made sense to me right away. I fell in love with the system, its possibilities and hardly could believe it was highly affordable at a retail price of $0.00!!!
Later, in 2005, something happened (sorry, but I won't spill the beans here), Mambo was forked and Joomla was launched. At first I was not sure if I wanted to make the move. Both were pretty much the same. After some thinking and reading about what was going on, I decided to start using this new CMS whose name was a phonetic spelling of the Swahili word jumla meaning "All Together". Sounded cool and catchy. It can also mean "As a Whole", but I prefer not to use it. Say it out loud fast and you will understand why.
In 2007 I created my profile in the Joomla.org forum, because I had questions and there was the only place I knew to go for answers. Then, I really didn't understand what "community" meant. For me, the forum was just a repository of solutions.
In 2009 a Joomla Day would take place in Rio de Janeiro, my hometown, and I decided to attend. There I saw a presentation by Ryan Ozimek who introduced us to the concept of the Joomla community and how we could help. At that moment I realized there was more to Joomla than my eyes could see and I found a, literally, world of people making this project a reality.
I had a trip planned to the U.S. that year. I discovered there was going to be a Joomla Day New York and organized my trip around it, the very first Joomla Day in the Big Apple. As a plus, I made an investment in my Joomla education and took a course provided by OSTraining.
It was awesome! I met people of the core Joomla team, made new friends and took my first steps into the community. I definitely had bursted the bubble of my little own Joomla world and realized there was soooo much out there to see and learn. I knew I could go beyond just asking for help whenever I needed it at the forum, for example.
In 2010 I had the opportunity to make my very first presentation at JDay NY. For me it was a big deal! I did my best and it was an unforgettable moment in my life.
Fast-forward to 2012. I attended a local Joomla event outside of Rio de Janeiro and Joomla Day Brasil, where I spoke about Joomla's multi-language feature. In New York, I had another shot on presenting about turning a HTML page into a Joomla template. I love doing presentations!
To wrap this year up I just came back from the very first Joomla World Conference in San Jose, CA.
I must say I had 3 of the greatest days of my life! At the conference I met great people from all over the world and joined the Joomla Community Magazine author team. This, actually, is my very first article. And, of course, I didn't miss the chance to speak about Joomla ACL, one of my favourite topics lately.
Why am I telling all this?
Joomla has changed my life in so many different ways. Until 2006 I was not quite sure where I was heading career-wise. Joomla and the community have helped me find a new path. All the people I met and all the trips I've taken because of this project have helped me realize focusing on Joomla was a good decision.
Where am I going from here? I don't know, but I feel possibilities are endless.
I feel like there's a new horizon in my life and I want to share it with you. I want you to know that Joomla is much more than just a CMS and a way of making money. It's a whole bunch of people from all corners of the world, all together now with a common goal.
And to think it all started with Mambo lessons...