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“Time is finite but, unlike money, time is also replenished every second,”

Seth Godin

So as I wish you ‘Happy New Year’, dear readers, here’s hoping you can reach all the goals you’ve set this coming year.

Also I’d like to wish you all a year full of good vibes, positive attitude and, yes, opportunities!

Being an admirer of Godin adds value to my life in a profound manner. I try to keep up to date with his writing, but it’s not always possible.

Too much time

Time wasn’t a problem three and a half years ago when I first arrived in Denmark with my wife Catherine and Ines – at the time our only child.

At that time, we were living at my in-laws and time was passing at a tortoise’s pace – like we like to say in Brazil – and my primary concern was how was I going to find a job.

The only email in my inbox was either some sort of spam or a ‘thank you’ for subscribing to a new cloud-based service from the likes of Google Drive.

Yes, not only did we have plenty of time, but those were desperate times!

 

Too little time

But things started looking up in 2014, firstly due to the arrival of Cecilia, our two-year-old ‘rocket-fire’ daughter.

By then a lot was happening with me professionally. Time by then as a resource had started to become less available.

And now here I am in 2017 looking back at was has probably been one of my busiest years and the best year I’ve ever had professionally.

Making better use of my time has now accordingly become my new year resolution.

So how do you perceive your time today and what are your new year resolutions for 2017?

There are rumors that might be truth regarding South America’s Pre-history:

As it is now well agreed, the first people to discover America wasn’t Columbus and his crew, but it had been long inhabited for thousands by native tribes.

The Viking raiders had been in America long before Columbus. Their presence in North America is well known but did you know that they also sailed down to South America? There is debatable evidence of Norse writing and runes found throughout South America and particularly here in Brazil. Sadly, they left because I can’t help but wonder how Brazil would have been different if they stayed.

The fact that South America remained unsettled by Europeans allowed the Portuguese Empire to colonize Brazil later in history.

Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese Empire and was officially sanctioned as a Portuguese colony at the beginning of the 14th century, more specifically in the year of 1500.

At the time, Portugal was a rich catholic empire whose main commercial activity was commerce and trade. Portugal had strong alliances doing trade and commerce with countries all over Europe and due to the high profits bestowed from India, China and Indonesia the Portuguese crown was carelessly distracted by their other interests. This “little” distraction from the crown in Brazil led to invasions from several countries onto the Brazilian lands. Desperate to find a solution Portugal decided to distribute lands for free in a system known as Hereditary Captaincies.

These captaincies divided Brazil into strips that were donated to Portuguese noblemen who took on the responsibility for that piece of land and, therefore, had to report on a regular basis back to the king which resulted in Brazil being owned by a handful of men. Today, there are still parts of Brazil owned by some of these families.

The system however proved to be extremely inefficient. The lots successfully occupied were São Vicente (in the state of Sao Paulo) and Pernambuco (Northeast). With Portugal´s shift in interest, Brazil became their new exploitation colony. It all began with the extraction of the so-called “Pau-Brasil” or “Brazilian-wood”. Brazil was extremely underdeveloped, and swamped by thousands of local tribes of Indians the only thing the Portuguese were able to work on at first was on the exploitation of this wood. Pau Brasil contained a rare form of ink in its trunk. Using Indian labor to extract the ink, the Portuguese sold it at an overpriced rate all around Europe resulting in huge profits. Sadly the result of this overexploitation of the “Pau Brasil” was nearly the extinction of this tree.

In the meantime, and happening almost simultaneously, the foreign industry of sugarcane started to boost in Brazil, and this later became the cornerstone of the Brazilian economy.

Introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese, the first-sugar mill opened in 1532. At the time, (and still today) sugarcane was high in demand. This perennial grass quickly became famous and in a blink of an eye shifted Europe´s sweet tooth from honey to sugar. Known as “white gold,” sugar swiftly took over the trade market. For the sugar manufacturers and Portuguese empire alike, enormous benefits had as indeed sugar was the new gold, and it was heavily taxed a luxury product.

Indians and the African Slaves

African slavery in Brazil came with the sugar industry. Indians slaves were “too lazy” to get the job done (the Indians had a tendency to flee the job and return to the forests which they knew well), and because they were not resistant to the white man´s diseases, the Portuguese saw no other way but to start importing African slaves to work the plantations. The slaves had no idea whatsoever of what they were coming to.

On top of that they didn´t know the forest as the Indians did which was to the Portuguese´s benefit. This is, of course, is a simplified summary of how slavery first occurred in Brazil.

Slavery in Brazil was the driving force of the sugar business and by 1650, this business started to decline. After this period, by the beginning of the 18th century, gold and diamond mines started to emerge as the “new promising” business which contributed to more African slaves being brought into the Brazilian territory.

Also by the beginning of the 19th century, the rise of the coffee industry started to boom (and it is still alive and well today) which additionally increased the demand for
African slaves. Consequently Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery (in 1888) and according to official data some four million slaves were imported from Africa to Brazil (although this number could be much higher).

Brazilian Recent Economy

The colonization in Brazil has printed a strong mark in Brazilian history and Brazilian economy. Brazil is still a country that strongly relies on its primary sector to achieve commercial surplus in its commercial trade balance.This isn’t only due the colonization in the country but also due to strong political interests

According to the 2013´s report from the Brazilian export Ministry, Brazil´s main exports income comes from Mineral Ores, Mineral Fuels and Oils, Oil Seeds, and from the Meat and Sugars industries.

Below I have found an illustrative image on Wikipedia that represents brazil main income from it’s export

As you can see Brazil still concentrates the majority of its export in commodities. Of course, there is no space for excuses. A competent government and an educated people makes all the difference.I guess Brazil is on the right track, but there is still a long road to follow.

I’m not so sure what would have happened if the Vikings had colonized Brazil. The Danish Kingdom colonized Greenland. Apparently Greenland has a lot of money, and now there are rumors that they sit well on a huge oil basin, however I cannot tell for sure what would’ve been better. What is your opinon?

Hope you enjoyed this article, to read more please visit www.denmarkbrazil.com

Carlos Monteiro is the founder ofDenmark Brazil.com In less than a year, the blog has become an important tool for Danish Decision Makers looking for Brazil as potential Market.

Denmark Brazil. Because Free Information Unites

Recently I was invited to share my experiences as an entrepreneur with recent grads in Odense, Denmark. I thought it was fair to re-write this story so those who watched my presentation, but couldn’t really interact with me afterward, could have a better grasp on some the things I’ve come across so far on my journey. Please feel free to communicate through this channel. I would love to, somehow, help you on your journey as well, regardless what path you choose to follow.

Some people may already know this story, as last year I shared a post talking about all my frustrated attempts in getting a job in Denmark, and how everything began. If you already know it, perhaps you may want to skip it. In this story, however, I’m being a lot more tactical and trying to share some practical actions you can take TODAY to help you move forward with your career.

Hope you enjoy it!

It all started when I got to Denmark in June 2013.

Before moving to Odense, I was the kind of person who used to receive promotional e-mails and only this kind of e-mails. I had the belief that social media did not work and Ι felt myself like an “alien” when someone would say he was recruited by a headhunter, or when someone told me that he got his position in the market through LinkedIn. This is a time not so far away, but because of all the personal changes that happened to me in the last three years, it feels way longer.

I kept these beliefs for a long time, even when I had to move from my country and started to face challenges.

 

The first step to the world

 

During 2009-2010, I worked as an intern for the Danish Consulate in Sao Paulo. Apart from washing a lot of fruits, making coffee, and becoming an expert on Excel, I gained valuable experience and I learned how to work with Danish companies seeking internationalization and expansion into the Brazilian market.

After finishing my course of  Business Administration at PUC-SP  my wife and I decided it was time to begin a new stage in our lives. She, after having lived 4.5 years in Brazil, and having a daughter (Ines) felt it was a good time to go back to Denmark to play some personal projects that were paused for a while and to be closer to her family. I gladly embraced the challenge.  After all, I had never lived outside of Brazil.

 Work on your blog? You must be crazy …

The above statement was probably the most common one among my Brazilian friends every time I told them I had plans to move to Denmark.

Let me explain things a little bit better.

During the time I worked at the Danish Consulate, I had noticed that many Brazilians who came to us came to complain about the difficulty of finding work in Denmark. Having realized that, the idea of creating a platform that could help connect these worlds so different came up to my mind.

Using my network creatively

The first thing I did to get my idea of the paper where videos/interviews with professionals at “C LEVEL” in my personal network. At first I did not have an exclusive focus in a specific sector. I had the help and the patience of many people who put up with me and gave me support – and a lot of luck too!

For a period of about 3 months I had to wait all the paperwork related to my process of legalization and integration in Denmark. That also meant that I could not work in the meantime. It was during this period that I worked full time on my blog.

While writing new articles for the blog and launched new interviews every 15 days or so, I kept asking myself: how could I be effective with my marketing content? This was a really frustrating issue for me. I did not have any capital to invest in paid campaigns – actually, I had no capital for anything.

After studying about digital marketing on the Internet, I started to realize that LinkedIn was “The tool” and that it would help me to do what I was seeing, and to have a voice in the crowd.

I started to understand how LinkedIn works and to realize that through it, I could participate in specific niche groups within LinkedIn.

I also figured out how to link my LinkedIn account to my blogging platform and I quickly realized how important it is to use this tool frequently.

I also saw how important it is to customize a message and to explain why we want to connect with a potential contact. Here in Northern Europe, people are generally open to connect, but the tool is used in a very professional manner.

After all these insights and learnings (which were happening in practice, believe me), I gradually got out of the dark. My articles were read, the blog had more hits, and the interviews had more engagement. I also started to receive emails from complete “strangers” who were praising the work I was doing.

From blog to startup

The day I discovered that the Danish government had released my paperwork and that I could live legally here, I immediately started looking for work.

I sent over three hundred applications for various companies in different sectors and sizes. I was never called in for an interview… At the same time, I continued to work with the Blog, posting continuously interviews and articles.

One thing I noticed was that whenever I would look for some job positions, I ended up using LinkedIn, and, after reading an article by Neil Patel, An Expert in Digital MKT(strongly recommended to all) I changed my tactic. I began to introduce myself as Carlos, founder of a blog that dealt with business matters in Brazil, which is interested in connecting companies and creating future opportunities.

This tactic changed my connections and leveraged decision makers here in Denmark…

Later in November 2013, I received a message from a manager responsible for the expansion of a Danish company in Latin America. He gathered the articles and interviews that I had published and called me in for an interview. After two interviews, in one of which the CEO of the company in question was present, I was hired to help them in their entry and expansion in the Brazilian market. This was probably when I had my first “A-HA” moment.

Quality content generated often could establish my position in Denmark as the “knowledgeable Brazilian guy” and could bring me more customers. From there on I did not look for more jobs, and focused on expanding my network and generating content.

BIASSA IS BORN

With time, more customers were showing up, and along with these customers the same question kept on coming up:

“What is it exactly that you do Carlos? You have this blog, you are generating interesting content, but what’s your focus?”

I really had no answer to this question. In fact, my only goal was to get a job by using the blog, but all of a sudden I had the chance to open up my own company.

I essentially helped companies in the decorative lighting industry, transport, breweries, e-Commerce, education and maritime.

It was only in Nov 2014 and after many lessons that I had the opportunity to join another Brazilian who is already out of Brazil for at least 10 years. Together, we gave a new face to Biassa which has now become a business development company focused on connecting, developing and helping high-performance technology companies (SAAS, eCommerce, Educacão, Fintechs) to expand and grow their businesses in Brazil and other Latin American countries.

This is a briefing of what has happened to me the past three years. For me, the most important lesson of this whole story is one. Attitude. At no point in life can you have all the tools and knowledge to your disposal, and not without testing anything to practice.

A mistake I did here on LinkedIn: I tried to connect with people without customizing messages; I tried to sell without creating any kind of prior relationship, but I learned my lesson, and I am still learning and evolving. I did not stop halfway.

Today, Biassa is expanding. We have five people working in the company. LinkedIn is our main tool to warm up and build relationships that may eventually become a business. We have created a solution called Get Introduced, fully focused on the concept of Social Selling.

To sum up:

Have attitude. No one is gonna come to you if you don’t show why you deserve it.

Be bold: Try different things. Videos worked great for me, and helped me to stand out of the crowd

Ask for help, be polite and be grateful: Other people will help you, I have no doubts about it. Be humble, ask for help, and help without asking. Contribute, generate content without having to be asked for, and be grateful. The reward always comes back.

Carlos Monteiro interviews Mikael Thomsen. Mikael is the former Director of DSV in Brazil. DSV is one of the leading global players in logistics and in this interview Mikael shares some of the challenges a gigantic company such as DSV faces when looking for growth and doing business in Brazil.

 

The Brazilian architecture and design market surely represent a huge potential for Danish architecture offices. But what are the restrictions when Danish companies come to Brazil? Can they use all the creative potential they want in a project?

Are there many barriers and restrictions? How about the opportunities and the future of cities in Brazil? These and other questions will be answered today by Marcelo Maia Rosa, partner of Andrade Moretin, a major architecture and design office in São Paulo, Brazil.