When he was offered a position at a large company in Barcelona, Marcos didn’t hesitate much before saying yes. The pull of one of Europe’s largest tech and startup hubs and the opportunities promised by relocation proved stronger than the fact that in his native Brazil, he enjoyed the freedom of owning a consulting company and working for himself. As a skilled agile practitioner with a passion for studying human interaction and advocating its importance in a professional environment, his priorities had shifted – and Barcelona appeared to be the perfect place to find his calling. This is the second part of our interview with Marcos Oda, Product Owner at eDreams.
From São Paulo to Barcelona
“The real challenge is improving the quality of communication between people.”
Coming from the advertising industry, Marcos had moved on to working with startups and tech firms early into his career, and was lucky enough to be introduced to the agile methodology as early as 2010, at a time when agile was basically still a toddler learning how to stand on its own.
“I had the opportunity to work with a company that had adopted the agile methodology in 2008. I think it was one of the first in Brazil. By the time I joined them in 2011, everything was already set up and working smoothly. It was easy to adapt to,” he says.
It wasn’t long before he got the hang of agile and took his newly acquired knowledge to another level.
“At some point, when I was working as a digital operations director for a startup, I realized that the real challenge wasn’t increasing the speed of production, or coming up with better campaigns and features, but improving the quality of communication between people. As I became more and more conscious of this, a friend of mine encouraged me to start a consulting business, and mentored me through a new world of analysis of human behavior, psychology and emotions, and how they affect the quality of communication in our daily routine, including work. I started digging into it and took courses on leadership, neuro-linguistic programming, transactional analysis and personality types, which helped me build a toolbox of communication skills,” Marcos says.
From Self-Employment to Self-Fulfilment
“If you think that having a boss is difficult, wait until you have employees.”
In a world of seemingly endless entrepreneurial opportunities, being self-employed is generally considered an ideal state of freedom, balance and empowerment. So many of us spend hours daydreaming about what life would be like if we had no boss looking over our shoulders, no orders to follow, no one but ourselves to answer to. But is it always the best possible alternative, for everyone, at every stage of their lives?
“The friend I’ve mentioned before – my mentor and my very first client – used to say: ‘If you think that having a boss is difficult, wait until you have employees’. Now, I couldn’t agree more with this statement, because the bottom line is that in the end, it all comes down to the quality of communication between people, regardless of hierarchical positions. I understand why people may feel like they need the freedom of being their own bosses, but I also know that there is a price to pay in return for that freedom, and it may not always be worth it,” Marcos says.
As for what his personal motives were when he decided that the time has come to relocate:
“For me, having the chance to merge my technical knowledge with the communication toolbox that I had built, to apply my skills in a different language, and to work with people of different cultures from all over the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is why making the choice of going back to working at a big company was not difficult all, in fact, I find it thrilling,” he continues.
What Europe Looks Like Right Now
“I would encourage every South American who has the opportunity to work in Europe to embrace it.”
As someone who is truly passionate about the values of agile, Marcos is thrilled to see that Europe is catching up in terms of agility.
“It’s interesting to see how companies in Europe have started making the transition from waterfall to agile – a trend that began somewhat sooner in the Americas, which is why agile practitioners from South America who already have several years of experience are so sought-after and needed here. It’s a win-win situation, and I would encourage every South American who has the opportunity to work in Europe to embrace it.”
Apart from adventure, working in Europe and becoming an active player in Europe’s tech scene may have its own unique advantages.
“I see a huge difference in that in Brazil, a huge, continent-sized country, the tech scene is very concentrated and limited to certain far-off areas like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina. However, in Europe, there are several active startup hubs in close proximity of each other: you can travel from Barcelona to London and Amsterdam basically anytime you want, visit any big city and see how they work there. There is a larger variety of opportunities to choose from,” Marcos concludes.
If you haven’t read the first part of Marcos’s story, you need to catch up and see his first impressions about life in Barcelona!
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