Dr. Alan Fyall Interviews Carlos Eduardo Costa

Disruption Comes From All Destinations

Tourism Marketing is a major part of what we teach here at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. In recent years, we have taken a pathway which proved to be a challenging one. That is to lookout for innovative ideas and executions that somehow relate to or better the Hospitality sector through collaboration. We have been blessed to find those, sometimes, right under our noses. Fantastic students coming up with fresh concepts and out of the ordinary points of view. But, some other times, these “great symptoms of the awakening”, as some of us like to call it, have appeared from way out of our bubble, meaning not from the United States or major tourism destinations. When that happens, you have to be ready to recognize it with the naked eye. You got to be sensible or interested enough to depict what you’ve witnessed and compare it to what you know and where you come from. I first came across Carlos Eduardo Costa’s work when he got approved for a Graduate Degree in Hospitality at the UCF Rosen College. I invited him to do the PhD and he mentioned a start-up he was investing his time on to help young professionals succeed. To my surprise, despite being Brazilian, Mr. Costa never mentioned soccer at all. But, enthusiastically, he shared some of his achievements. “I’ve been helping young professionals unleash better versions of themselves and earn a living using collaboration.” That might come handy worldwide, I said. “Oh, that would be a privilege.” replied Mr. Costa, a leading marketing communications professional from Brazil, with a Master Degree in Marketing and Finance. Here is a short interview he gave us from his home in Orlando.

Dr. Alan Fyall: You’re bettering people’s lives with a tourism app. What’s that all about?

Carlos Costa: Yes, we believe one way anyone should add to their income is through their personal knowledge. Nobody knows the streets, farm markets, book stores, kid’s places and charming old theaters better than who lives near those. We are using collaboration through the online realm using a free app. It’s paying off for our users.

Dr. Alan Fyall: That’s innovative. But why not go with a travel agent and use Google?

Carlos Costa: Great question. Google is an amazing tool and it’s becoming more powerful as we all use it. But Google is not a person, it’s an algorithm. Because you live there and have experienced it, you can offer something of value: your knowledge. Travel agents are the classic planners we depend upon. They are great, specially on niche markets. But, like Google, they did not have fresh coffee with a slice of cake at the charming local shop. Local people are the true game changers. Maybe, we should combine agents, google and apps collaboratively. That might work even better.

Dr. Alan Fyall: Tell us about this technology. How does it work?

Carlos Costa: The app is like Skype, Messenger or What’sApp, with live video, voice and text message. The difference is that users can charge for the call. It connects you to a marketplace where people can sell their knowledge on destinations for a preset hourly fee. That levels you up and you can work anywhere and for anyone. The download is free (iOS or Android) and works on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Dr. Alan Fyall: How important is an app to generate income now in Brazil?

Carlos Costa: Extremely important. We have 60,000 plus users already and have barely scratched the surface. Brazil has been experiencing an economic crisis for 4 years now. We hit 13% unemployment in 2017, a total of 14M people without any income. That’s huge. It positions the country amongst the top 5 nations with most unemployment. That’s not fair. We saw that coming and decided to do something about it. Our app is timely entrepreneurship.

Dr. Alan Fyall: Do you think it would be well accepted in the United States?

Carlos Costa: Absolutely. We are now very focused in Brazil. We’re observing and learning. Soon, we will certainly have made it better and adaptable for other markets. Let’s consider the US for instance, where the unemployment rate is around 4%. This is a low number. But, 1 in 2 Americans make less than 30,000 dollars yearly, specially young professionals, who do not make ends meet. We could help them immensely.

Dr. Alan Fyall: You mentioned this is one of many income generator apps. What’s another one?

Carlos Costa: I like to call it solutions, rather than apps. So, another innovative solution we’ve created uses your photos. People travel with their phones and take pictures. Some are good, some are bad, some are great. Now, you can upload the great ones to our app. We will sell it to designers and pay you a commission. That is passive income. You’d be monetizing your pictures effortlessly. Another solution is an intensive collaborative travel program that will help undergraduates and graduates experience their industries for a week in foreign countries. The objective is to enrich the young professional with an amplified perspective. We partner up with universities and companies big and small to deliver unprecedented experiences that can change lives.

Dr. Alan Fyall: What were the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Carlos Costa: I’ve always opted to contribute to empower young professionals. That is one of the biggest challenges in any country, not only Brazil. There is always more young professionals than jobs available for them. It has become common to see highly skilled college graduates performing not promising underpaid jobs. Somehow, I’ve always chosen defying situations that led me to help reduce the young professional-job gap. Fortunately, I’ve been able to help thousands. I would love to assist millions.