Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview 15: Thiago Fontes-Doing business in Latin America

This time in the DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN) Blog we do host Thiago Fontes (TF), a young entrepreneur from Brazil who is talking to us about his projects and how business opportunities in Brazil are. Is the future of business in that side of the world? Let’s find out together.

DPN: Thiago you are the Founder of KIOOS ( May you tell us some words about your project?

TF: Kioos is a relatively new project. Founded in March 2011, it provides strategic consultancy in the areas of interaction design and gamification to a variety of industries. Our goal is to create memorable digital experiences that drive engagement and motivation, always focusing on our clients’ KPIs

DPN: What is your vision for KIOOS?

TF: We are currently the only agency in Brazil, and even Latin America, with this focus. Our plan is to consolidate the industry by bringing better UX standards to the country

DPN: Apart from the KIOOS you have also found and the Rebel Hostel, may you let us know about those as well?

TF: is a crowdfunding platform focused on the cultural and creative industries. It is currently the second biggest in the country in term of project, volume of incentives and unique visitors. Rebel hostel was a fun project but unfortunately it has not gone further. It was aimed at a different segment of tourism in Rio de Janeiro, focusing on people who are not necessarily here for Samba, Football and Beach.

DPN: What is your opinion about doing business online?

TF: Online businesses are still a new terrain to me, even though I’m on my second project. Brazil is a great place for online businesses, especially those with social aspects. Unfortunatelly, there’s much to be done in the country in terms of legislation governing online businesses, but we’re getting there.

DPN: Esther Dyson a Swiss journalist stated that “the internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect”. Comment that to us.

TF: I agree to a large extent. In Brazil you can see that in regards to social networking. I believe the online behavior has accentuated the famous brazilian inclination towards socializing. However, I also few that it has given rise to new behaviors here. Politically, the role the internet has played in the organization of recent protests is a good example of articulation that would not have happened otherwise.

DPN: At the past you have worked also in a MN company. What are the main differences of working for such a giant as SONY in comparison with doing business by your own.

TF: I can honestly say that I still don’t know what exactly I did at Sony. It’s so easy to get lost in a myriad of numbers, positions, departments. You’re easily alienated from the process. It slows innovation and makes you react a lot more than you act. I prefer novelty, chaos and maneuverability.

DPN: Originally you are from Brazil. What your Brazil means for you?

TF: I was born 3 years before the end of the military dictatorship (which went from 64 to 85). It was an atmosphere of hope and the sense that brazil was “the country of the future”. The hope soon gave way to procrastination and that future never arrived. I feel like we’re taking that hope back. We’re still a long way to go in terms of an entrepreneur culture and infrastructure, but you can already taste the difference. I believe in a bright future ahead of us.

DPN: What business opportunities may Brazil offer to a young entrepreneur?

TF: Everything! Last week I had a meeting with an established entrepreneur and he said to me: “if you open a bakery in Rio, make good quality products and provide a great service, you can make a killing”. There’s so much to be created and even recreated! However, doing business here is still very different from doing business in America or Europe. You have to accept a high level of bureaucracy and the fact that people are more laid back (which I’m beginning to think it’s not such a bad thing)

DPN: Who is the person in your life that has inspired you most?

TF: I don’t think I have ever been inspired by great names. They all seem to distant. My father and grandfather (each in their own way) have inspired me greatly. 

DPN: You spent a number of your years in U.K. Share with us this experience.

TF: Like Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. I learned a lot about myself and adversity. There’s no better lesson than those you learn about yourself

DPN: You are a person who travelled a lot. Tell us some of your travel experiences.

TF: You think? :) I don’t know... Been around in Europe quite a lot (pretty much all of it, I think). America, a bit of South America. I don’t think I have learned anything from my travels. It has given me more questions than asnwers. The best part was fitting it all back in my daily life. There’s a quote by George Moore I really like: A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.

DPN: May you share with us some words of wisdom?

TF: I think one of the wisest things I ever heard is this: Do what you love. Everything else is secondary (thanks Mr Jobs!!)

DPN: If your life was a book what the title of it will be?

TF: “Not all those who wander are lost”

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