Friday, 3 October 2008

Visiting Brazil

I'm just back home from Brazil, where I went last Sunday in order to launch MySQL's presence in Brazil and meet with MySQL users, developers, Sun customers, the press as well as with numerou Sun colleagues. "Is this your first time in Brazil?" was a frequent question (as one could expect), and I was happy to respond that it wasn't. In fact, I have particularly fond memories of my first visit to Brazil in 2001, as that was the trip when I decided to join MySQL AB.

They say Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Whoever "they" are, they're right. The cone in the middle is Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain, der Zuckerhut, Sockertoppen).

As a European, I again noted that Brazil frequently feels much more like home than the US does. In Brazil, they use the metric system, they measure temperature in Celsius, they write dates and times of day in a familiar way, they cheer for Formula 1 drivers and they play football. My Brazilian colleagues and I fought a bit over whether Finland or Brazil produces the better F1 drivers, but despite Finland nearly beating Germany (thanks Jonatan Johansson, Mika Väyrynen and Daniel Sjölund!) in the World Championship qualifications last month, I had to concede to the football superiority of the Brazilians. Nonetheless, it felt good to meet with colleagues to whom I could describe the ethical dilemma my son Alexander faced (and explained in his newly started German language football blog) when MySQL 5.1 user Corrado Pandiani from Inter Milan sent him gadgets that on the one hand are objectively speaking very cool (such as a poster signed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Figo and Marco Materazzi), but on the other hand represent a team which a Bayern München fan like him has hard to identify with.

But back to MySQL. This week, I had the pleasure of not just attending the Sun Tech Days including its press events, but also visit many customers in both São Paulo, Brasília and Rio de Janeiro. It's great to see the broad interest for MySQL. Yet, the interest for MySQL in Brazil didn't surprise me. We know from the download statistics that .br is a top five country for downloads, and more concretely, MySQL had a sizable following in Brazil already in 2001. When Mårten Mickos (MySQL's then newly appointed CEO), Michael "Monty" Widenius (co-founder) and a number of friends of ours visited the Rio Carnival wearing MySQL t-shirts, we were stopped on Copacabana beach and asked whether "we are also MySQL users". What a feeling it was, to personally experience recognition for MySQL over seven years ago, in a country where none of us had been before!

Ah, as I am walking down Memory Lane, let me share a few other pics from 2001 (the ones from this week are still in Philip Antoniades's camera):

MÃ¥rten and Monty looking at where to go in the Rio metro. As this was during the pre-Sakila-lithic era, Monty wore an old, dragon type "mySQL" T-shirt (yes, lower case m).

Helvécio Borges Filho from EAC (to the right of me) hosted us in 2001, and over the years, we've met many times since at MySQL Users Conferences and elsewhere -- such as last Tuesday at Sun Tech Days in São Paulo. Yesterday, Copacabana was quite a bit more rainy than above.

Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) at the Corcovado Mountain.

Monty evidently also wants to redeem (with Corcovado in the background). And I am always fond of teasing Monty for his taste for a particular artificial drink with a closed-source recipe.

As I'm sure you can tell, I was very impressed with Brazil both in 2001 and in 2008. I won't wait seven years until my next visit!

1 comment:

  1. Augusto Bott, the team lead of the other MySQL team @ Pythian, recently relocated to his native time you go (or Sun/MySQL has an event) you should contact him!