End of March 2006, I sort of “hung up” my manager career at Intel Corporation, so to speak, and traveled to the city of Natal in the northeast of Brazil to take some time off. In the end, this turned into ten years in which I founded and managed two companies over there in the areas of management consulting and the hotel industry.
From July to December 2006, I renovated a small hotel, in Brazil called “Pousada”, and founded the company “Pousada Jardim das Flores Ltda.”. In January 2007, I opened the “Pousada Jardim das Flores” in Ponta Negra, a city district on the beach in the south of Natal, and managed it until July 2014. Here I was suddenly confronted with the challenges of a completely different industry, which are often very underestimated. A very seasonal business, extremely dependent on external conditions like the weather, very price-driven and with a a lot of competition.
In March 2013, I founded the consulting company “JHT Consultoria e Representações Ltda.” with the aim of supporting German companies entering the Brazilian market and representing them locally. An interesting experience as a mediator between two countries and cultures that are often difficult to match, especially in business terms. To be successful in Brazil as a German, you have to throw some principles overboard, invest a lot, especially a lot of patience, and take specific care of personal business relationships. And even if you speak Portuguese very well and have lived in Brazil for several years, you will never really fully understand the Brazilians.
In these ten years in Brazil, I could gather a lot of personal experiences from this fascinating, but also difficult country. I have summarized these in my book “Jenseits von Samba und Karneval” (paperback and eBook), which I published in November 2019. It is my personal view of Brazil, shaped by my experiences of ten years living and working in the city of Natal in the northeast of the country. The book is largely a critical look at the large South American state and its society. But hopefully it can also convey the fascination of this country and its inhabitants. In particular, I try to outline the economic, political and social challenges of Brazil that I was confronted with on a daily basis. These are first and foremost the corruption at all levels of the society and the ailing health and education systems. But it is also the daily violence on the streets, which in the end was one of the reasons for my return to Germany.