Hi. I'm Marcel and i love Drupal. I am born in Cluj-Napoca, the heart of the famous romanian region called Transylvania and also the youth heart of Europe in 2015, when it was the European Youth Capital. I was really happy to have the chance of taking my small part into the volunteering activities involved. Holding this prestigious title was a unique opportunity for a city to demonstrate how its young people can bring a city alive through community involvement and participation, youth-focused activities and creativity. Cluj-Napoca is the second largest city in Romania, after the capital Bucharest. Due to the 11 universities present here, the city is considered one of the best places to study in this part of Europe and also a good source of high caliber IT talent.
Even so, my previous experience is mostly based on the activity on my small networking and telecommunication company, ZetNet, which I started myself back in 2003, after actually quiting my Telecommunication studies at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, but keeping in touch with some teachers in there after. With ZetNet, I managed to provide the best Internet connectivity services for a couple of thousands people in my city, while high Internet connectivity was not that affordable for normal people. I provided speeds of upto 100 Mbps when that was just a dream for some, and later with the help of Interlan, I even tested the 1000 Mbps Gigabyte speeds on national connections between my network and other small and medium players. At the same time others big fat companies with huge profits and no recent investments into modern infrastructure were bragging about and advertising (to the fools) their ADSL connections of just upto 2 Mbps like the speed of light.
So I managed to bring the biggest national IX in Romania to my city, hosting an Interlan device in my own datacenter, and interconnecting all small players in Cluj-Napoca, into the biggest national IX , bringing better services to all local clients. If you're wondering what a IX (Inter Exchange) is, here you have a short video about : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuBde4Sn3f0.
INTERLAN IX is a non-profit organization started in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, by small ISPs with the objective of defending the small internet service providers interests, while big companies did not even allowed them to interconnect into their RONIX (Romanian Network interexchange - the only national IX in Romania back then) based on a requirement of a high company income. Kind of an Open-Source community. Just that physically connected. Starting with cheap cables and devices thrown over the poles and buildings, and evolving to fiber optics and high performance devices hosted into racks in a professional datacenter. Showing again the power of a tight community. So Interlan got bigger and bigger, surpassing the RONIX traffic spikes and averages and hosting local presences of big sites like Youtube. Kind of like Drupal surpassed allot of big players in its field. :) Later Ronix and other big players asked to take part into Interlan too, but Interlan had their word to say now, but while allowing them to join, it was possible only as partners, for a higher fee, and not as members, based on their too high annual turnover. Interlan has been mentioned and congratulated at the european IXs gathering in Amsterdam ( The 2012 Euro-IX Forum) for it's results and for opening a point on presence in a different city that the one they started in, and in a so small ammount of time. Interlan is now a member of the Euro-IX ( https://www.euro-ix.net/ixps/ixp-profile/?id=37)
All that until after almost 10 years later, big companies competition kinda forced me to quit, pumping big money borrowed from banks into customer aquisition based on dumping prices and free internet offers for six months or more. I just reached the step were I needed a helping hand, which I was not able to get at that time.
But I'm happy I was able to provide internet connectivity to people which could not afford one back then, and besides this, not only provide them connectivity, but the best one for almost 10 years. My small company was able to be in the European Top 10 providers based on bandwith speed, on the statistics of speedtest.net site, publicly available back then. And it was so nice to work with satisfied customers in very friendly environment.
While working at ZetNet, besides learning from all fields related of running a business: management, marketing and communications, finance and accounting, I also learned or further developed my previous experience in the technological field, from networking and web services administration to web developing and designing. Using the power of Linux and open-source software and after previous experience of designing websites from scratch in Html, CSS, PHP, Mysql, I always liked to try to do it a bit better and more efficient. So I discovered the power of open-source CMS systems. I discovered Drupal and it's community about the same time while playing a bit with Joomla, Wordpress and other not so good for me CMSs, many just pretending to be open-source ones. I developed some websites based on Drupal for my own personal usage and for others, mostly friends. That's when I started to fall in love with Drupal and its flexibility and scalability. I knew it from the start Drupal's a winner. That's why, a bit later I also started a local romanian community group on groups.drupal.org/Romania, trying to gather some local drupalists together in there. I was kinda disappointed and sad too about it back then, seeing no real response in new romanians intersted into Drupal, since we have many good programmers in Romania. Only until after a couple of years later, when the romanian community got to be a more vibrant group and even managed to host some DrupalCons and DrupalCamps too, and now even some big romanian companies are getting involved into Drupal, sendind their people to international Drupalcons and sponsoring a couple of good Drupal modules.
Currently I am living in UK , while often travelling back home in Romania too, and I would love to get involved as much as I can in the international and local open source community of Drupal, which I highly admire and respect for all the efforts they've put until now into such a great product, and for their phenomenal results.