Gambiarra is an amazing Brazilian expression. It means doing something in an improvised way, accomplishing the same results you would have with plenty of resources using limited ones. You can check the English definition here. In a simple comparison, you can say “Do a McGyver” in English.
The Rio 2016 Olympics are over. I must admit I was part of those people who were absolutely nerve wrecked by it. As a Brazilian, I know how this country works, and I’ve been to Rio many, many times. I was prepared to be embarrassed, since the country had 7 years to prepare, and actually decided to do something about it a couple years ago. I also understand the many idiosyncrasies we have to deal with — politics, corruption, poverty, lack of infrastructure, and the list goes on and on.
The opening day was getting closer and closer most buildings weren’t ready. Police strikes, urban chaos, all set for a disaster. Local and international media were predicting the apocalypse. I thought to myself — we’re actually doomed. Australia arrived at the village, and dorms weren’t ready. It is going to happen, seriously, I thought — here we go into becoming an international shame.
This is where I will stop. You know the story now. You heard the news, and gosh, do I feel uneasy with myself. I’ve been defending this region for almost 18 years, our capacity to overcome difficulties. When we were chosen to host the Olympics, Brazil’s GDP was growing 3-4%. 2016 will register an 8% recession. So much has changed, but one thing hasn’t — we are still Brazilians.
Watching the simple, yet magnificent opening ceremony, I remembered why we created GamePlan: to help international business navigate Latin America and vice versa. Since we started, I have been listening to the same mantra from our clients and networking — GamePlan has a unique value proposal, because it is not focused on simply selling services. Our focus is to make you successful, lending a trustful hand in dealing with an unique ecosystem.
When the opening ceremony directors used the word Gambiarra, I panicked, because Gambiarra is something we all Brazilians are very used to — when our plumbing stop working, we don’t sit and scream that things aren’t working (yep, I’m looking at you, Head of Team Australia) — we simply try to fix it with simple, smart solutions and then go for a potential hard fix. Why? Because this is what we are experts at.
The ceremony happened, and I was humbled by my own lack of understanding of what the directors’ actually meant — the true meaning of Gambiarra: doing your best with what you have.
Yesterday, I cried in front of the TV, with the Brazilian anthem sang by children over the sound of atabaques. Most agencies are already predicting an 1% GDP growth for 2017 — that’s overcoming the worst crisis in the History of our country in only 18 months.
The next day, I woke with a renewed sense of purpose. I feel silly, because, as a Brazilian, I should know better. Whatever happens, Brazil will strive and deliver. Brazil is not its politicians, it is not perfect and it is definitively not what the international media thought we were.
By the way, it the end, almost all incidents at the Olympics was caused by misbehavior of foreigners (Lochegate, Australia — you again? — cloning credentials, the ticket mafia).
More than ever, I’m confident about our mission at GamePlan. Brazil and Latin America are open for business and the time is now. We have just shown the world what we are capable of, you saw it — this is no longer a sales pitch.
Paraphrasing the now very clear message from the Olympic Opening directors, I invite you and your company to come to Brazil, come to Latin America, we will always do the best we can with what you have to achieve the best ROI possible. Yep, you heard it right: It’s Gambiarra time.
Want to know more how GamePlan can help your business in Latin America, or do you have a business in Latin America and want to conquer the world? Talk to us.
André Faure, CEO GamePlan