Seminal Moments

For some of us, the step from understanding the urgency of the situation and taking concrete actions to developing an internationalization game plan comes easy. For others, they need a little nudge to jolt them off the path to becoming a passive victim of a desperate government. Sometimes it takes a eureka moment where one suddenly says “Aha! Now I get it.”

However when you are dealing with a bankrupt and out of control government, the stakes are huge. And time is running out. The desperate government countdown in the US is currently somewhere between #2 and #3 (overt capital controls); see more on that here.

So, if you understand the situation in the world today (and especially in the US) and haven’t yet had your eureka moment to spur you to action, do yourself a favor and borrow the story below and get going.

Until next time,




Nick Giambruno, Editor

Seminal Moments

By definition seminal moments are those experiences in life that leave indelible impressions on our psyche. They're either positive or negative but they cannot be inert. By their very nature they make us sit up and take notice. In some cases they are life changing.

Right after dusk, on a snowy night in January 2009, I had such a moment.

I'd just driven 4 hours from Toronto across the Ambassador Bridge connecting Winsor Canada to Detroit. To do so you have to pass through a TSA-manned tollbooth where you are either waved through after a quick passport check or tagged for a more thorough going-over.

Lucky me, I got tagged.

I was directed to park, leave all electronics in the car and go into a small freestanding cinder block building. Inside was a dingy, black and white, checker tiled room about 60' x 30' in dimensions.

There were approximately 20 metal folding chairs in the middle with a long, gray, L-shaped countertop behind which sat four TSA agents.

Three had their faces stuck to computers while one was standing over an obviously scared and confused man while screaming (and I do mean screaming) at him.

It was obvious the man knew little English. Why the agent was screaming I do not know.

Roughly a dozen people of differing ages and ethnicities were sitting nervously in the chairs pretending not to notice the interrogation before them. Even though I was instructed to sit, I stood watching, glaring at the officer in furious disbelief.

It occurred to me that these agents were not the typical doughnut-fueled, former Wal-Mart clerks one sees at the airports. Rather, they were big, intimidating fellows all decked out in dark, navy blue uniforms and bomber jackets.

Each had their pants legs stuffed into black, leather boots, trying to go for that snazzy, SS look. None had the "have a nice day" smile on their faces either.

Now, I'm not a small guy, standing over 6' 2". But these guys were gorillas. Even the one female looked tough as galvanized nails. They were absolutely there to intimidate.

I was both angry and curious. I was angry since I knew it was my taxes that paid for them to act like Xanax-fueled chimps. But I was also curious to see if all the stories of nasty US patrol guards from my Internet readings were true.

I can assure you the answer is a resounding "yes."

After about 20 minutes, during which my passport was inspected twice and I was questioned where I'd been, with whom, where I'd stayed etc., I was allowed to leave.

As I got outside I had to assure another agent that the 3 cigars he'd found in my car were not Cuban "contraband" but fine Dominicans bought in the US. I'm surprised he didn't demand a purchase receipt.

All in all, it was a true seminal moment for me—a wake-up call that something has fundamentally changed in the so-called land of the free. And remember, this was all before Edward Snowden's revelation of expansive NSA snooping on US citizens.

For me, the lesson was clear: I need to get serious about internationalization, or I may be the guy who's getting screamed at next time by the border guerrillas.

So what about you?

If you haven't started your internationalization plan, don't wait to have your own seminal moment—just borrow mine above and get going.

Also by Robert Williams:

Internationalizing in Chile

Tags: internationalization,