Over the past decade of working as a marketing professional, I have had the opportunity to work with some fascinating clients in almost every part of the world. One of our strong selling points as a company is our “boots on the ground” approach, which most of the time requires lots of travel. Over the years we developed a niche in working with clients looking to break into the US market or US companies looking to break into the international marketplace. I had always believed that a great marketer will also have a great Rolodex. Many of our clients also engage us to do just that: make strategic introductions.
A Russian start-up company focusing on Blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin) approached me to make introductions to the Turkish government. They had an innovative solution to a problem that Turkey could potentially utilize.
They reached out to me through a friend of a friend. After hearing their plans, it was suggested that I be the conduit into Turkey. Hoping to close the account, I decided to take the trip to Moscow to meet my potential client.
Moscow, once the center of power for America’s most dangerous enemy, is now the center of power for the regime of one of America’s most controversial peers. Stepping out of the airport, one almost forgets the images of the former Soviet Union, where streets were once lined with tanks, KGB and unemployment lines. The streets are now filled with luxury cars like Ferraris, luxury hotels and high-end fashion stores.
Although I was expecting to feel the remnants of communism, I did not find anything remotely close to it. True, I was not demonstrating against the Russian government, but I still didn’t know what to expect. After all, this is a government capable of “fixing” a US presidential election (not a political statement!).