A tall man, although not tall enough for professional volleyball, I think he is French when we meet at the Crypto Curry Club lunch in London. The Crypto Curry Club is the brainchild of Erica Stafford and I have flown in especially for the event. Alex is CEO of Coinschedule and his company is sponsoring the event. He had brought a number of the team with him. He is not French as it turns out but Brazilian. How did I get that so wrong? Alex is very polite and says I am not the first person to make that mistake. Funnily enough, although he is multilingual, French is not among his languages. He can speak German, Spanish, Portuguese and, as he says, ‘a little English.’
‘A lottle English,’ I retort, ‘with an inexplicable French accent.’
We move onto the topic of nationalities living abroad. There are many of his countrymen and women in Ireland I tell him. He informs me that the biggest Japanese ex-pat community are located in Sao Paulo. He also tells me there are more than 200million Brazilians in total. This I did not know either. His native country is a divergent mixture of great wealth and great poverty. It is definitely a developing country witnessed by the creaky public transport system. Alex notes that when he arrived in London he felt very much at home — Sao Paulo has a population of 8 million — except for public transport which pretty much always works in London. “You don’t have to think about transport — it just is there and it works for wherever you want to go.”
Growing up in Sao Paulo, he was very much aware of other nationalities. Brazil has been colonised by different empires over the past millennium and as a result the conquering nations have left their mark. For example, his family is of German extraction and so he went to a German school.
While definitely nerdy at school he also enjoyed sports, and was playing semi-professional volleyball up until the age of 16. He returned to his team that summer and he had not grown any taller while his erstwhile volleyball compadres were now touching 2 metres 10. He was relatively sanguine about this lack of height; he was already 1.88 metres and tall by any other standard.
I ask him too about his interest in computers and discover that he was given his first computer at the tender age of seven and it was love at first sight. The computer was a keyboard that used a TV as its monitor — and it was broken. Donated by an uncle, the vertical alignment adjustment was off and as a result, the…