At the end of March 2006, I sort of “hung up” my career at Intel Corporation and traveled to the city of Natal in the northeast of Brazil. I simply planned to take a sabbatical for a while. In the end, this turned into more than ten years in which I set up two businesses.
Pousada Jardim das Flores Ltda.
From July to December 2006 I renovated a small hotel, called “pousada” in Brazil, and founded the company “Pousada Jardim das Flores Ltda.”. I opened this pousada in January 2007 in Ponta Negra, a beach district in the south of Natal, and ran it until July 2014. Suddenly, I got confronted with the challenges of a completely different industry, which are very often underestimated. A very seasonal business, very price-driven, with a lot of competition. And extremely dependent on external conditions like the weather.
JHT Consultoria e Representações Ltda.
In March 2013 I founded a consulting company called “JHT Consultoria e Representações”. The primary objective was to support German companies entering the Brazilian market and to represent them locally. This was yet another interesting experience. I was, so to speak, an intermediary between two continents and cultures that do not really fit together, at least in business terms. In order to be successful as a German company in Brazil, you have to be prepared to turn some of your principles upside down. You need to invest some time and money, and you need a lot of patience. It certainly applies to other countries in the world as well, but especially in Brazil, the personal business relationship is very important. And even though you may speak Portuguese well, you will never fully “understand” the Brazilians.
My book about Brazil
During these ten years I could gather a lot of personal experiences in this fascinating but also difficult country. I summarized these in my book “Jenseits von Samba und Karneval” (paperback and ebook, German only) published in November 2019. It is my personal view on Brazil, which is shaped by my experiences from ten years of living and working in Natal in the northeast of the country. Therefore, the book is to a large extent a very critical view of the largest South American state and its society. However, hopefully at some point it can also convey the fascination of this country and its people. I tried to outline in particular the economic, political and social challenges of Brazil, which I got confronted with on a daily basis. For instance, corruption on all levels of the society, the ailing health and education system and, last but not least, the daily violence on the streets, which in the end was one of the reasons for my return to Germany.
Natal and surrounding areas
Pousada Jardim das Flores (2007 – 2014)