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“Wow, Matt Harding asked me to Blog it Forward! “. Pause. 3 seconds later… “Damn it! Matt asked me to Blog it Forward!”

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).

Introduction

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.

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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”.

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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.

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25 Comments

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  1. Glen Simpson

    Terrible writer?! You’ve got to be kidding! That was a very enjoyable read.

    I’m a rugby league fan but the “football” thing has never really sat well with me either. Loved the “handegg”. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the kind words and for passing the torch. I’m a bit like you, it seems (I start blogs and never finish them) so I hope I can find some time soon to write my own BIF.

    Cheers

    Glen

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  2. xMoshe Naveh (Old Acct)

    Glen isn’t just being nice! You are a great writer!

    I really enjoyed your blog. One of the things I appreciate the most is self made men/women.

    Reading your blog made me remissness the period I was travelling Braz(s:))il . I started my visit in the Iguazu falls and then took a plan to Sau Paulo. I then visited a friend that I met while I was working in a ski resort in California. I had great time and really enjoyed the people, scenery and food. I even did 42 KM track in Isla Grande. One of the most challenging trips I took. Thanks to me being a worried person me and my Brazilian friends had food (Canard Pate) because they said we would find restruants on the way:) (which we didn’t).

    Falar:) ( I remember my friends saying that instead of goodbye:)),

    Moshe

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Thanks Moshe,

      I’m starting to believe I did good job.

      I haven’t been to Iguazu myself, but it’s on my list. I’ll probably go in 2014 when I go to Brasil for the World Cup. Don’t know when you went to Ilha Grande, but I’m sure you would find a restarant if you take that trip today.

      Falou!

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      1. xMoshe Naveh (Old Acct)

        Good:).

        There were plenty of restaurants in island but only in the main vilages. We did our journey in the jungle in-land of the island. The first resturant we found was when we arrived to the final point of our journey. Of course I had black beans and rice:).

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  3. Matt Harding

    Well you can put your mind at ease – your writing and your writing style with included humour (which, based on your tweet style I can’t work out whether is Australian humour you’ve picked up or whether Basilian humour is identical to Australian – no tv – classic) is great (I also use brackets way too much).

    Thanks for responding to the BIF request and welcome to the SDN blogging world!  Keep it up.  And how about just posting your blog response to Sascha with a “to be continued (maybe)” comment just to get it out there…Those blogs that get stuck kind of suck (have one myself that’s months old too).

    BTW – The fact you survived the project that brought you to Australia means you can probably tackle anything now – but hopefully with the difference that you get more sleep now days!

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Hi Matt,

      Yes, this sense of hunour is another thing braziians and aussies share. It’s nice that I didn’t have to abandon my humor when I arrived here.

      Maybe this boost of confidence you guys are giving me on my writing is what was missing to finish my response to Sascha.

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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  4. Tammy Powlas

    Well done – I really enjoyed it.  I especially liked the “hand egg” with football picture.

    Congratulations on Abriela – what a cute picture too.

    I hope you blog more on SCN – you sound like fun πŸ™‚

    Tammy

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Thanks Tammy. By tha way, I mistyped Gabriela’s name (shame on me!!), which I already fixed. Hope I didn’t mistyped it on her birth registration/certificate form…

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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  5. Tim Guest

    Thanks for the post. My friend is a DJ in Sao Paolo and he told me about the city, 6 hours to leave on the roads at weekends! I also like your “Hand Egg” picture, as an English person I appreciate what Football actually is! πŸ™‚

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Tim.

      I used to work on the North side of the city, and the CBD is actually in the South side, about 22 km from home. In normal weekdays it would take me 1 and half hours to get to work, each way. I would ride my bike, but I think staying alive is a bit better.

      The “handegg” pic is quite popular. I twitted it last week and got quite a few RT and Frank Koehntopp twitted this  video

      [embed width="425" height="350"]https://www.youtube.com/embed/2sD_8prYOxo[/embed]

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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  6. Susan Keohan

    Hi Custodio,

    Like everybody else, I think your writing is great!  It shows great humor, which is always a plus. 
    Other things, like your insistence on calling American football ‘Handegg’ can be excused due to the language barrier. 

    Tom Brady does not play ‘handegg’ but he did marry Giselle Bundchen, who comes from the same country as you, so I suggest you post to Giselle and ask her what her husband plays!

    Cheers!
    Sue

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Hi Susan, thanks for your comment.

      I’m actually a fan of “handegg”, or gridiron, or american football. In fact, I’m a Patriots fan (I like all Boston area teams, especially the Celtics). But I would not discuss the sport with Gisele, as she was quick to blame everybody on the team but her husband after the loss to the Giants in the last Superbowl. Not cool.

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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  7. Fred Verheul

    Hi Custodio,

    Like all the others I can honestly say I love your style of writing! A very enjoyable read, so please keep it up and publish that other blog.

    Any response to one of Sascha’s blog posts sounds interesting already. Come to think of it, as you mentioned this yourself, I feel you now have a moral obligation to publish it πŸ˜‰ .

    Cheers, Fred

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Hi Fred, thanks for commenting.

      I’ll try to get back to that blog soon. Before writing this one I was not confident on my writing, now I have an extra pressure to write a quality post. Anyway, let’s see how it goes.

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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  8. Henrique Pinto

    Hi Custodio,

    after a marathon of work to be done on the past few weeks, I could spare a few hours to get started on my BIF and, of course, to thank you for passing it on to me. And also to congratulate you, what a great history, makes me regret a little bit I didn’t push more to go to that PI (back then, XI) project in BHP back in 2006, since I passed on an opportunity to know better about a great guy like you.

    Cheers, mate.

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Hi Henrique,

      Thanks for comenting. I thought you didn’t work much at SAP and have all the time available!

      Yes, you missed the opportunity to know me πŸ˜€ , but this is no reason to regret as I’m sure you met much (more) interesting people and your SAP career skyrocketed!

      Thanks for contributing to SAP Community, especially in Brasil, and I’m looking forward to reading your BIF.

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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      1. Henrique Pinto

        “I thought you didn’t work much at SAP and have all the time available!”

        HA! That’s for these lucky guys who get positions such as “whatever technology evangelist”.

        I’m in Presales, so sales pressure is all around 24/7. πŸ˜‰

        But I like it, it’s just that unfortunately I don’t get much time to do all the things I’d like to.

        Cheers,

        Henrique.

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  9. Suseelan Hari

    Hi Custodio de Oliveira,

    Good Day!

    Ha Ha Ha! Very nice funny children pics! Nice to read your blog and I am able to relax after reading this kind of blog. Very cool pics and sweet blog! πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work! Keep sharing and motivate us!

    Regards,

    Hari Suseelan

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  10. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    I was reading your BIF and felt some nostalgia about my starting into SAP world in 1998. I was very young and it was my second job after 1 year in a Software house. My new boss also explained what SAP R/3 was and we both agreed I would fit better in the ABAP area.


    I loved the way you write. And I also like using () a lot.


    At the moment I am just feeling exactly as you did: in Sao Paulo you can get everything you want anytime you need, but there will be hundreds of people just doing the same πŸ˜† . What I want now is to live in a small city, until I get too bored and come back. But we here are so addicted to this mess that we just can’t move out of here…


    I hope I can meet you in person soon.

    Cheers,

    Raquel



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    1. Custodio de Oliveira Post author

      Hi Raquel,

      Thanks for your comment. My apologies for taking too long too reply..

      Yes, this addiction to mess is quite common I guess. I’m happy to say I’m over it now. No more mess for me πŸ˜€

      I also hope we meet soon. Maybe SAP TechEd d-code this year?

      Cheers,

      Custodio

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