Written by Emily Gordon, Manav, Khurana, Ejededawe Okogbo, James Parnham, & Raphy Chines
It’s another cloudy day in Florianopolis, Brazil. May is considered Fall in Brazil and the clouds are rolling over and engulfing the hills, blocking out the sun. But no amount of poor weather can dampen our moods.
Floripa, as it is known to the locals, is called both the “Magic Island” and “Silicon Island” in Brazil and is home to 500,000 people. This population triples during the summer, swelling to over 1.5M, because of the 40+ beaches, amazing southern Brazilian food, and huge influx of vacationing Argentines. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of the beaches.
We are here working for Resultados Digitais (RD), a digital marketing platform similar to HubSpot, and one of the sexiest companies to work for in the entire country. They receive thousands of resumes every month and feature perks like an Xbox and a PlayStation, a $5,000 massage chair, a ping pong table, and weekly Cake Days. Currently sitting at 500 employees and with over 80% market share in Brazil, they are looking to take their company to the next level and expand internationally. That is where we come in.
Upon arriving in Floripa, we learned that RD has been tackling this project on three different fronts. First, the CEO Eric has been traveling to different countries in Latin America to get a firsthand perspective on the markets and to help start building the RD brand. Second, the company hired trainees from several different Latin American countries to provide a firsthand cultural perspective and to work in several divisions of RD’s business in support of international expansion. This is the first concrete investment that RD has made into the project and much of our recommendations will be developed from this trainee program. We are the third front. We were unaware of the several other projects already underway to support international expansion before arriving, so we pivoted once we were in-country and decided our time would be best spent by synthesizing these learnings into an iterative playbook that incorporates our research.
Our first task was to interview as many people as possible to understand the company and the work already being done. In the morning, we had interviews set up with the trainees from Mexico and Colombia. In the afternoon, we were set to meet with a couple of RDoers (RD employees) and Bruno, the director of product/engineering.
After our morning interviews, we had a brainstorming session prior to lunch. We used this opportunity to collect each of our perspectives from the interviews and come up with diverging recommendations for RD. PFPS for the win!
Frank, our Faculty Mentor, repeatedly told us about 2 hour lunches in Brazil, and he wasn’t exaggerating! Different RDoers often invited us to lunch. Then to coffee. Then to grab dessert. It was almost impossible to do a lunch in less than two hours! Today’s lunch was with the executive team at a Brazilian steakhouse. The food was delicious, even the chicken hearts, and we were lucky enough to spot a Brazilian celebrity from the 80s who was described as “Brazil’s Aerosmith.”
How can we work after so much food?
We tried our best to converge on a few recommendations after lunch, but the Bruno interview was looming (Was the product scalable? How did the development process work?) and the food coma was real.
Bruno gave us a better understanding of how the product team viewed the expansion effort and some of the specific challenges they would face. We spent the next 6 hours in a small, freezing room diverging on opinions of how to best help the company. Tempers flared. Emotions bubbled to the surface. But we got through the day relatively unscathed.
After the workday was over, everyone was ready to unwind. Manav and James played FIFA in the office (James is still undefeated), and Ejede, Emily, and Raphy went to the gym in the mall next door. We cooked a home-made meal of beans and rice and watched an episode of Master of None in our laughably large RD shirts before calling it a night. Tomorrow, we needed to be ready for another day of rain, interviews, divergence, buffets, desserts, and Master of None.