Let me tell you a little about a country I’d not been to before until recently: Chile. Beyond its abundant natural resources and terrific terroir for wine grapes, Chile has become a hub for banking and retail companies with operations that span Latin America. Through the continued growth of business and the Chilean public sector and government leadership going through a period of change, Chile continues to adopt cutting edge technology to become more connected. In short, Chile is quite amazing.

When you visit, you will hear how Chile is “protected to the North by the driest desert in the world” and that it is “protected to the East by the mountains.” Chileans also oftentimes include that they are “protected to the West by the ocean” and “protected to the South by ice.”

Unfortunately, they know that none of those protect in cyber. As such, the Cybersecurity problem set facing Chile is just as advanced as anywhere else. The same threats, and (probably) the same hackers exert constant pressure on Chilean private and public sector organizations and it felt great to discuss strategic security strategies with committed teams and companies while I visited.

I also had a chance to visit StartupChile, an entirely different way to start companies, change cultures, and bring globalization to “home.” I was super impressed and you should check them out!

When I travel to a new place, if possible, I try to see the local region and experience the culture and people first hand. I was struck that Santiago, Valpariso, and Chile all have connections and similarities to California and the San Francisco Bay area. While in Chile, the 8.2 earthquake and aftershocks happened, and I was impressed by how Chileans dealt with this and how this is just a part of life. In Valpariso, there is Viña del Mar, which is a sister city to Sausalito. I was also able to visit a winery, enjoying another California and Chile similarity. It was a reminder how the world is interconnected and smaller than you think.

Lastly, my Chilean hosts, other guests, and I participated in something of a competitive sport. A restaurant served us a platter of stuffed chili peppers, with the peppers arranged in several columns. The stuffed peppers became progressively hotter as we worked our way through the columns. We reached our limit at column four and congratulated one another for perseverance and commitment.

The platter game quickly became a metaphor in my mind for cybersecurity. In both endeavors, one of the main questions is always, “How hot can you stand it?”