Blog it Forward – Custodio de Oliveira
Those were my reactions in a 3 seconds spam and I’ll explain why. As much as I loved the BIF concept and I’ve been reading almost all entries and wondering who, if anyone, would put me in the loop (by the way, such an honour to be added by Matt, thank you!), I really hate writing. Especially in English. The reason why I hate writing is quite simple: I’m a terrible writer (again, especially in English) (you will noticed I tend to overuse the parentheses). That’s also the reason why I started my first SDN (will always be SDN to me) blog in reply to Sascha Wenninger‘s blog and haven’t finished yet (and let’s face it, probably will never finish it). But as I said, I loved the idea, loved the stories and the worry was quickly replaced by excitement. So I try not to bore you guys so much (in case anyone is reading anyway).
My name is Custodio de Oliveira and I’m from Brasil (sorry, I can’t write Brasil with the “Z”, it’s just wrong!). I’m the 5th of 7 children (my mum has 6 siblings and my dad 12), the 4th of 5 boys. Now I’m 36, have been married for 8 years, and father of the 2 most amazing children in the world, 21 months old Marcelo and 7 weeks old Gabriela.
I started my SAP career in the last millennium, more precisely in April/1999 in Sao Paulo. Some afternoon I was playing video games at my mate’s house when the phone ringed. It was an old school acquaintance of ours who was a Basis consultant then (now she’s a PM) and she told my friend her company was expanding, wanted young people on the dev team and asked my friend whether he wanted to join. My friend declined as he had a very nice job at the time, but sugested I could be interested. Of course I was interested (I was unemployed) and I went for an interview the next day. At least I thought it was an interview. In fact, I was already hired, and my training would start the following Saturday.
First day of training we did not have a SAP system running so my boss, a former developer, just kind of explained us (we were 3 starters) what SAP was about,
talked about all the FICO/SD/MM/PP/Basis stuff that didn’t make any sense to me at the time (some still doesn’t), etc. Following week, the training would be at our partner’s premises. As we got there (only 2 this time), the boss logged on the dev system, showed us SE38 and SHDB, created a quick BDC program to create customers from a flat file and asked us to do the same. We did. It worked, great. “End of training for now (it was 11 am), next week come back here same time”, he said.
On Friday he called me and said the training was cancelled for that Saturday, and asked me to go to the office Monday morning instead, which I did. Two hours later, I was on my first project .
Years passed by, I helped to train other young guys (I mean proper training ), worked in lots of projects, travelled all over Latin America until I got to Australia in March/2006 just for a project (they told me I would be in Melbourne just for one month, then work remotely from Sao Paulo) where Matt was the architect. Of course I stayed in Melbourne until December that year, then I went back home. But in April 2007 I was back Down Under, this time “permanently” (you never know what may happen), and have worked with so many great people I feel it’s just wrong to mention someone as I could easily forget other just as great.
Some (not so much) fun facts:
When I was 13 I fell from an avocado tree, which I was climbing to “steal” (the owner knew it and didn’t mind) avocados. I had a fracture on my left arm which needed surgery and because of that my left arm is about 2 cm shorter than the right.
The fun bit is that, in Brasil, we usually don’t eat avocados on salads, sandwiches and other savoury dishes. Instead, we make smooths (just blend milk, avocado and sugar in a blender) or just eat them mashed with sugar and a bit of lime. Second fun fact is I ate a lot of avocado in the 9 days I stayed in hospital. And as soon as I recovered I was back on climbing trees (especially avocado and mango).
Another thing: most of my friends in Brasil think Australia is always sunny and they get surprised when I say it’s 5 degrees in Melbourne. Likewise, most my aussie friends think Brasil is always sunny and they also get surprised when I say it’s 10 degrees in Sao Paulo. Fact is, both are huge Countries (5th in 6th largest in the world) with similarish weather (mostly sunny in the north east coast, cold in the south, some desert here and there, etc…).
Some Q & A:
What was your dream job as a kid?
Easy: like 97.62% of brazilian boys, I always wanted to be a football player. I watched the 1982 World Cup when I was only 6. Watching Socrates, Falcao, Cerezo, Eder, and the best of all, Zico was just magic. It was like today’s Spain, only 10 times better. They were probably top 3 squad not to win the WC, with 74 Netherlands and 54 Hungary, and probably top 10 all time. Such a shame
With that said, I did try a career in football, but my 3 try outs for Sao Paulo, Palmeiras (my team, most championships in serie A ) and Portuguesa did not work really well. I had some friends who I knew were much better than me, I they also failed. That’s when I thought “maybe it’s time to focus on studying”.
What is your favorite place in the world?
It used to be Sao Paulo, until I realised how bad the city really is. While in Sao Paulo you can get anything you want anytime you want, the city is just too crowded that the infrastructure can’t cope with 20 million people (heck, this is about the same population as Australia in a city smaller in area than Melbourne!). If you ask me best place to live, I’ll easily go with Melbourne although I also liked Munich a lot. When I’m retired I might go back to Brasil, to live in some remote litle town, away from the chaos of the big cities.
Who has been your personal hero/role-model in your youth and why did you admire her/him?
My parents. Did I mention I’m one of 7? And that the age difference between the oldest and the youngest is only 10.5 years? Yep, no TV. Raising 7 children is probably not easy at all. We lived in a rented 2 bedroom house, and we were probably the poorest ones in a very poor neighborhood. My parents worked about 16 hours a day each to give us the basics so we could all go to school. But above all they gave us the character. My siblings and I can give our families everything (materially speaking) we didn’t have when we were kids (I’ve never owned a bike, for example). But I’m sure none of us would have succeeded if our parents haven’t taught us to know the value of things instead of the price of things, to respect, to care. I know Marcelo and Gabriela will do well in life if I can transmit 10% of what my mum and dad gave me.
Passing the torch…
I would like to pass the torch to this one guy who was the Team Lead when Marcelo was born. His technical and leadership skills were a great factor for the success of this project (and I’m pretty sure any project he has worked) and although we worked in different locations I could kind of feel his presence in the office in Melbourne while he was in Port Kembla. Also, he was part of the team that won InnoJamAU last year. Yes, Glen Simpson, I’m talking to you.
I also want to send the the BIF chain to Brasil, and I will choose 3 guys from there. Firstly, the 1st brazilian SAP Mentor, Marcelo Ramos. Secondly, one of the most (if not THE most) active members in Brasil, who almost came to Melbourne with me for that first project back in 2006 as a PI developer. It’s you Henrique Pinto. Last but not least, to my first idol in SAP development (I have many). Remeber when I had “trainning” at the customer site? That day one guy came to the office I briefly talked to my boss. We were not introduced, but my boss told me “this guy started about 2 years ago, very young, and is already one of the best developers in Brasil. Have him as an example and you will succeed.”. Granted, I briefly worked with him later that year and for a longer period in 2004. But even though it was brief it was enough to get a lot from him, his technical knowledge and will to share were something you simply didn’t see much at the time, and that’s why I want Ronildo Santos to Blog it Forward; everyone deserves to learn a bit from you and about you.
Questions: any 2 from the original BIF blog plus (and this is important):
It’s 1972 in Mannheim, Germany. In the room Claus, Dietmar, Hans-Werner, Hasso, Klaus and YOU! What’s your contribution/role in the company soon to be created?
Thanks everyone for reading (if anyone have read it, anyway) and thanks Matt for asking me to write.