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Saychass

For those who do not speak Russian, saychass literally means “now.” It is sort of like the Spanish word “manana,” but without the Latin sense of urgency. Spend much time in the area and you suddenly both understand and appreciate the length of Russian novels.

Because we do so much business in the former Soviet Socialist republics, we know this, and, as a rule of thumb have learned to deal with it. Recently, however, we became impatient over the length of time it was taking to acquire a piece of information. Rather than wait, we called someone we knew who claimed to have good sources of information in the region. While we didn’t really believe that their people could be any faster than the people we had on the ground, it seemed worth a shot. Shortly thereafter we got a concerned call from our Berlin office saying that they had received a request, oddly enough, for the very same information we were seeking!

While there were a number of possible explanations, some good and some not so good, Occam’s Razor suggests that, as a rule of thumb, the simplest explanation is generally the right explanation. More to the point, although we are not financial gatekeepers, we follow the same kind of Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines as if we were. Because we recognize that the work we do can be used for good or evil, two of our four inviolable company rules are that we don’t work for bad people and we don’t do bad things, which means we need to know a lot about our customers before we deal with them. Thus, when we finally worked through the daisy chain of information receivers, we discovered that the intermediate client was the person offering me information, and that the end client was me. Our acquaintance’s great source of information was in fact … us!

This in itself was no big surprise to us, there being so few players in the region. It was, in fact, rather comforting. It also confirmed to us the importance of our strong KYC procedures.

In the meantime, we have gone back to reading longer novels while waiting for information to arrive from the former Soviet republics.

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