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ThoughtWorks Brazil: The First Day

In the next few weeks, I’ll be putting together a few posts that tell a little bit about the stories behind the scenes of opening the ThoughtWorks Brazil office. They’re entirely from my point of view, might contain an embarrassing moment or two and are absolutely not to be taken as the official voice of ThoughtWorks on any of these matters. I’m not a PR person ;)

- Hi Sid! (Sid Pinney, sales guy extraordinnaire)
- Carlos! Heard you’re definitely leaving the UK?
- Yeah, not really happy around here anymore. Personal stuff. I really want to head back to São Paulo. And I really want to stay at ThoughtWorks…

At this point, I had already written my resignation letter from the ThoughtWorks London office. Hadn’t handed it in yet, but I did tell Sid and a few others about it. Sid and I had been chatting for a few years about getting a Brazilian office together, and since then we’ve been trying to make some business contacts and hire more Brazilians to expand our network and reach.

Both turned out really well: at this point we had something like 12 or 13 Brazilians from all over the country working at various ThoughtWorks offices around the globe, and some really interesting prospective business and contacts in some 4 or 5 companies and universities. Sid was in Brazil a month or so before this conversation with a group of Brazilian TWers to meet more those contacts and to attend a couple of conferences in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. I tried to help organize it, but the Personal Stuff got in the way. Props go to Danilo, Francisco, Paulo, Phillip and a few others I might be forgetting who stuffed their agendas with interesting trips and talks. They gave me the confidence to leave London without letting go of all the good stuff going on at ThoughtWorks, which I wasn’t that prepared to miss.

I left the UK a few weeks after that (and still don’t know how I survived the leaving drinks!) and went to Louisiana to spend a month cooking, crabbing, drinking and fishing for sharks (!) in the Gulf with some friends who lived there. Meanwhile, Sid was working his magic and we caught up every few days. Talks about salaries, incorporation, general number-crunching, potential clients and what to do in what order and hardly any sleep in the meantime.

- If I got you a 3 to 6 month gig at that last client we were talking about, with you contracting to ThoughtWorks, would you be cool with that?
- Sounds good! Are we incorporating in Brazil later, then?
- Yeah. Need to get you on the ground first, and then we’re hiring a law firm to help us with the incorporation. It’s not too far down the road!

A few days later, Sid emailed me the contracts and I ran off to a public library in the small town of Carencro (population: 7000), where I was told they still had a fax machine. Signed, sent and $1.50 later, I was employee #0 of ThoughtWorks Brazil and a couple of weeks from that, I’d be starting at the client site, in São Paulo.