Archive for March, 2013

Tuesday, March 12 Corcovado & Petrobras

March 17, 2013

IMG_2583We made it, up the trenzinho, up to Corcovado, and up to the great views of Rio from, as Pablo would say, from Jesus Christ.

We then headed to Petrobrás where we met all of the people who will be coming to Austin in two weeks.  Two Petrobrás lectures, a nice coffee break, and then another Orlando lecture, really!  Hopefully you enjoyed the day at Petrobras and you are all looking forward to receiving our visitors in Austin.

Today was the last official day of the program.  Some are heading home, some are staying in Rio for a few days, and some are going to points unknown.  Rob, Deidra, and I would all like to thank you again for having the pleasure of traveling with you.  We enjoyed the opportunity to share Brazil with you and we have enjoyed your insights and observations as well.

See you all back in Austin.

Monday, March 11, 2013 CEBDS & FMC

March 11, 2013

IMG_2576Today was a day of abbreviations.  We started our day with Fernando Malta of CEBDS (Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável) and we then moved on to FMC, hosted by Clinton Metcalf.

Fernando taught us that sustainability is more than just being green.  Profit + Well Being + Endure = Sustainability.  His passion, mixed with insight, data, and recommendations for solutions to problems left us with understanding about how business can be a major player in sustainability development.  What did you learn most from Fernando’s lecture and what does it tell you about Brazil’s role in sustainability?

Next we arrived at FMC.  From the cafeteria lunch, to the visit at the warehouse, to the contruction of the ANM (Christmas Trees), and the machine shops, every part of FMC gave us a greater appreciation for engineers.  They are awesome.  After the tour of the plant, Clint filled in the gaps with a perfect description of the role of FMC and the future of petroleum extraction.  He also gave us insights into the life of an ex-pat.  What did you learn most from our FMC visit?

We ended the day with dinner at Porcão, including the best cuts of picanha, fraldinha, and alcatra, not to mention a sushi salad bar and tons of salads and cold meets.  How did Austin’s Estância hold up by comparison?


Sunday, March 10, 2013 Free day in Rio

March 11, 2013

IMG_2480Yes, a free day to hang out in Rio!  From hang gliding to beach chillin’, today was a chance to go at your own pace and do your own thing.  Along the way, what did you do, what did you buy, and what did you eat?  And even more importantly, what did you observe that taught you more about Brazil or even taught you something about North America?

PS.  Picture of sunrise at Copacabana.

Saturday, March 9, 2013 Cantagalo

March 10, 2013

IMG_2546When we hear of Rio de Janeiro, references to favelas come out over and over again.  Today we were hosted by the residents of the community of Cantagalo.  They escorted us up the cantagalo elevator, to a feijoada lunch, a mototour, a hike up the morro, a soccer game, stops at local bars and homes, English lessons, kite flying, and a batucada in the street.  We met up with Fumaça, André, Ronaldo, Gabriel, Mara, Sidney, Daniel, and a whole host of local residents.  Myself, I was most impressed to meet Acme, the local graffiti artist who even created a picture of the blue-eyed Americans and the “Olá Texas” that was painted on a home near the soccer field.

Estimates are that nearly 22% of all residents in Rio de Janeiro live in favelas, over 1,300,000 in Rio.  To understand Rio and Brazil, an understanding of favela life is essential.  Hopefully today you were able to get a sense of that interaction.  What were your take-aways from today’s visit to Cantagalo?  How did your experience there expand your understanding of business in Brazil?  From my perspective, it is amazing to think that we have experienced the extremes of one day at Embraer and another in Cantagalo.

BTW, here’s the link to Sidney’s web site:


Friday, March 8, 2013 Rio de Janeiro

March 10, 2013

IMG_2417Say good bye to Rafael, take an extra suitcase from some poor guy from Turkey, head to Congonhas airport, and welcome to Rio de Janeiro.  Our trip today takes a turn from the skyscrapers of São Paulo to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.  Say hello to Pablo.  Upon arriving in Rio we had lunch at the Real Astoria, in Botafogo bay and then we headed up to Corcovado.  Opps, mechanical difficulties closed down the train.  Let’s hope that we still get a chance to go to the Christ Statue another day.  The evening gave us a first shot at night life in Rio.  As a travel day we didn’t have any company visits, but hopefully you are able to make some initial observations about the differences between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 Corinthians

March 10, 2013

IMG_2411At 1:00 our bus headed out to the new Corinthians arena, out in Itaquera, where the opening game of the 2014 World Cup will be played.  Paulo met us in the reception area.  His presentation and movie was only topped by the photo of his son, Tomas, that was on the desktop of his computer.  The stadium is 66 percent completed, on track according to them.  We just got the pictures taken at the viewpoint to see the stadium when the rain hit.  We just made it back and a minute later we would have been soaked.  From the stadium we then went to the Corinthians Club where Thiago and Alessandro described the business and marketing side of Corinthians. A few fried foods, grilled meats, and unlimited drinks set the stage for a small reception, included David Kaul’s visit, UT alumnus and current employee of Google Brazil.  Top it off with a final night on the town, and that’s our São Paulo portion of our global connections.  What did you learn from today’s activities?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 US Consulate & Embraer

March 7, 2013

IMG_2391Isn’t it nice to have wifi on the bus?  And today it was especially helpful because we were on the bus for a few more extended trips.

First stop was the US Consulate office, where Miguel Hernandez gave us insights into how to do business in Brazil.  After nearly four years in Brazil, Miguel will soon be heading off to his next assignment in Russia.  We were lucky to hear his presentation that was centered in 4 years of experiences and stories here in Brazil.  From Mattel toys to McDonald’s happy meals, Miguel helped us to understand the ways that the US government can facilitate business in Brazil.  What are the things that you got out of the visit to the US Consulate office?

Next we headed on the bus towards São José dos Campos for our visit with EMBRAER. (And yes, it is true that Jazmin was able to purchase more clothes in the brief time that we were at the Center Vale Shopping Center!)  George began his questions with, “Not that I’ll ever have my own private jet, but…” and Megan got identified by Denilson Lobo as the person in our group who would be most likely to have her own private jet.  EMBRAER, a chance to appreciate the expertise, professionalism, know-how, and vision of one of Brazil’s most successful private companies.  Both the lecture and the factory tour offered new insights and appreciation into what it takes to build a jet and what it takes to logistically maneuver such a supply chain.  What did you take away from the visit to EMBRAER?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Itaú

March 7, 2013

IMG_2385Really, loan applications from the ATM machines, finger print identification and back up servers that would cover area larger than soccer stadiums?  Today we began our visits with Gustavo Lopes’ presentation about Itaú Unibanco.  Not only did we learn about operations at Itaú, but Gustavo’s presentation touched on Brazilian characteristics in spending, use of credit cards, mortgage payments, not to mention how the new middle class has changed the way thy purchase things as well.  The visit was excellent in terms of actual new and insightful information we received.  What were your take aways from the visit to Itaú and what did you learn today?

Free time, that’s right, free time.  No official activities and a whole afternoon and evening to check out São Paulo in whatever way you choose.  How did you spend your free time and what did you learn about Brazil in doing so?

Monday, March 4, 2013 Natura, UNICA

March 7, 2013

IMG_2378After a good night’s rest, it’s now time to start the official parts of our tour.  After a breakfast that included those sweet slices of papaya, we were off to our first visit: Natura.  Weslei gave us the grand tour, and we peppered him with excellent questions all along the way.  So what were you take aways from the visit to Natura?  What part of this visit gave you new insights into business in Brazil?  What parts do you think are unique to Natura?

After lunch at A Mineira, including our first feijoada, we then stopped off at Itaguemi Shopping, just before our visit to UNICA.  At UNICA Luana Maia treated us to an in-depth description about the production, distribution, and political ramifications of sugarcane-based ethanol. Talk about what you learned about UNICA and what you learned about Brazil, based on things that you heard at UNICA.

After the visits we got you back to the hotel early enough that everyone could rest up a bit before taking off for the evening’s activities.  What activities did you do that evening, which for many was the first time to get out and experience the night life and sights of São Paulo?


Sunday, March 3, 2013 – Arrival and First Impressions

March 7, 2013

IMG_2347They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression.  And you have now had the experience of first impressions of São Paulo and Brazil.  From the airport to the hotel, first meals, first sights to see, first encounter with the Portuguese language, first interactions with people.  Some of you went to the old center of town, others when to Ibirapuera Park.  In the evening we had our first taste of Brazilian-style pizza at Viridiana Pizza.  We’re three hours ahead of Austin, so get ready for what will seem like an early rise tomorrow.

First impressions sometimes hit us even when we make no effort on our part.  Other first impressions only happen when we consciously  look around and observe things around us.  I am anxious to hear about your first impressions of São Paulo and Brazil.