President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, in conversation with Cyrus Farivar. Filmed by Chris Schodt/Edited by Jennifer Hahn. PALO ALTO, Calif.—I don’t usually dress up for interviews, but I also don’t usually interview heads of state, either. On a recent afternoon, I waited patiently in a generic conference room with yellow-tinted walls at the Westin Hotel, dressed in a grey suit and a tie, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. My videographer, Chris Schodt, busily set up his camera and light rig.
Minutes before his arrival, a Secret Service agent came by and introduced himself—he didn’t search us. As we made small talk with him, he did show us his red lapel pin, identifying him as an on-duty agent wearing the color-of-the-day—a signal to other agents that he’s friendly. (How do agents find out what color it is that day? Apparently via a Windows phone app!) The agent disappeared back into the hallway. We didn’t see him again.
I tried to make myself useful, by removing some of the extraneous chairs and bottled water from the camera’s frame, but mostly I just waited around. Soon enough, in strolled President Ilves, dressed in an impeccable…