Paulo Ribeiro is a Brazilian entrepreneur, writer and avid reader. I have know him for a little over a year. In that time, he has become one of the most well-connected Brazilian bloggers; especially within the English-speaking blogging community.
Many economists believe that, despite the worldwide recession, Brazil, the 5th most populated country in the world, is thriving.
American money has been pouring into the Brazilian E-Commerce Market:
-Quinstreet is a publicly traded educational lead company out of the US. They opened an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil
-Descomplica is Brazilan SAT type education provider that Peter Thiel invested in.
Here is Paulo's perspective on the online marketing "boom" in Brazil.
1. There have been a lot of comparisons of the online space in 2013 Brazil to the United States in 2000. A gold rush. Do you think this is accurate?
I wouldn’t say a gold rush, it’s nowhere near what happened in USA. It’s important to understand the scenario.
In the past decade, there was a lot of effort from the govern to erradicate extreme poverty from the country. While this was good (and somewhat effective), it had a side-effect: people who were poor but not miserable now have better credit, a little more comfortable lifestyle and, most important to the entrepreneurs: they now own computers and internet at home.
So, the whole country is a huge potential market. It’s not like there is cheap and available credit as there was back in 2000 in the US, but there is a huge new market available. That’s why companies like Amazon are getting here: to establish themselves in this growing economy.
And about infoproducts, I guess the perspective is good, but not equal. Let us say that it is not a cultural thing yet. You can clearly see the market developing: pay attention to the biggest Brazillian website for selling infoproducts: Hotmart. A gigantic opportunity exists in trying to provide that share of the market that I mentioned earlier; that’s exactly what companies like Descomplica are trying to do. They know our market and culture, so they also know that online education is a huge thing.
2. How much do you expect e-commerce to grow in the next 5 years and how tough is the competition?
My guess is that it won’t explode, but it has been rising consistently in the past few years and it’ll continue to rise. I can’t see a reason why it would tip and grow crazily.
Again, from a culture perspective, niche markets aren’t a huge thing yet. They will probably take several years to develop. I’d probably go for something mainstream, since there’s little to no competition on most of them.
And, also important, if it is for Brazil, it must be in Portuguese, which reduces the market (in English, the market is the whole world).
3. We have talked (and worked) on this a bit. Credit Cards, Debit Banking Cards, PayPal... Can you explain the perceptions of Brazilians to the various online payment methods?
Yeah, this is a little counter-intuitive. Paypal is not the dominant player here, there is strong competition, like Pagseguro. The funny thing is that Brazilians usually pay things with something called “boleto bancário”: we generate a barcode on the site, the customer prints it, pay it in any bank and after up to 3 days, we receive the money. So, because Paypal won’t accept this type of payment, you have to put PagSeguro on your site to do it. The downside? PagSeguro requires Brazilian citizenship.
So, if you’re not Brazilian citizen or you’re not partnered up with someone here*, you’ll be losing a lot of clients. That happened with Matt and his e-book, so I represented him on Brazil and signed up for Hotmart services (that includes PagSeguro) and clients increased by a lot.
*Note from Matt: It turns out that foriegners can obtain a CPF (Brazilian Tax ID) online through Receita Federal or via a local Brazilian embassy. The only other hurdle would be obtaining a local Brazilian address and perhaps you could join PagSeguro. Either way it is 10x more difficult than PayPal.
4. English is the standard language for web/software programming, as well as educational resources (books/blogs/training software and apps). For a Brazilian who wants to get involved with internet commerce, how important is English? Can a Brazilian be successful without it?
I know lots of Brazilian internet marketing guys and most of them are not fluent in English; they only know enough to get by. A good share of them work exclusively with the Brazilian market, meaning only Portuguese sites and products. no English.
So, I wouldn’t say that knowing English is a sine qua non condition to start an internet business over here, although it’s good to know because you can use the best material out there.
5. Tell us about your upcoming book.
I help people growing successful and meaningful lifes writing about personal developement, lifestyle, business, science and lots of interesting things at Estrategistas.com. One of the themes I’ve been focusing on a lot is learning, mostly due the recent publication of Ferris's book, The 4 Hour Chef.
Since it’s something I’m good at and since I know there’s noone doing a quality job on the theme (in Portuguese), I’m writing a book on “How to learn anything”. I am going way beyond Ferris, diving deep into speed reading, mnemonics and other memory techniques. Complete material, full of good references, I guess it will be my masterpiece ;-)
Marketing plan will be rolling starting in two weeks and I intend to launch it next month.
*If anyone wants more information about the Brazilian market, or wants help setting up businesses around here, feel free to contact me: paulo at estrategistas dot com. I’m currently creating systems to help entrepreneurs to dive into Brazil. It’ll be fun!
More About Paulo:
Paulo firmly believes that everybody can get more out of life, that money isn’t evil and that trying to make the world better is a win-win game. Paulo’s writing has been featured on some of the biggest brazilian websites. He runs "Estrategistas.com", a placewhere creative and hard working people can interact, learn and discuss all sorts of interesting things.
He currently lives in Recife, Brazil, where is going through college as chemical engineer student. Paulo is now ambassador of Exosphere and wants to see education revolutionized. He has experience in marketing consulting, sales, web designing and tutoring. He intends to help colonizing other planets and fighting death.