Balan Ayyar is the Founder and CEO of Percipient.ai, a Silicon Valley based artificial intelligence firm focused on delivering products and solutions for the most pressing intelligence and national security challenges.
We have been tracking this leader for years and have watched him inspire many to achieve great things. His leadership in senior officer roles in the US Air Force (he is a retired Brigadier General) included tours in combat zones and commands back in the US, including at one point leading the entire Air Force recruiting system. His visionary leadership in the corporate world resulted in the creation of a new firm providing new AI capabilities that are already serving some of the most critical missions in the nation. He is a disciplined visionary with an incredible thirst for learning and a knack for connecting with others.
We loved the fact that we recorded him while he was at his desk and when we started asking about what he is reading he could quickly grab his favorite books and give his his insights. It is also always great to talk to a real Air Force leader about the OODA Loop and the model of continuous action and how it applies to not just military ops but business.
Topics we covered included:
- How the national security establishment needs to change to get ready for the new world
- Views on the struggle between open societies and closed/dictatorship/communist societies and how that relationship is
- Role that AI can play to accelerate the return of our economy
- Concepts for getting classified information to users where ever they are, including at their homes. Seems technically feasible, and seems like the risk/reward equation may have shifted a bit recently.
- Ideas on how US tech firms can better support the nation in the new economy.
- Lessons learned from leadership of Percipient that could be helpful to other CEOs or other leaders in government.
Organizations in competitive environments should continually look for ways to gain advantage over their competitors. The ability of a business to learn and translate that learning into action, at speeds faster than others, is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have. This fact of business life is why the model of success in Air to Air combat articulated by former Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, the Observe – Orient – Decide – Act (OODA) decision loop, is so relevant in business decision-making today.
In this business model, decisions are based on observations of dynamic situations tempered with business context to drive decisions and actions. These actions should change the situation meaning new observations and new decisions and actions will follow. This all underscores the need for a good corporate intelligence program. See: A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence
This post dives into actionable recommendation on ways to optimize a corporate intelligence effort. It is based on a career serving large scale analytical efforts in the US Intelligence Community and in applying principles of intelligence in corporate America. See: Optimizing Corporate Intelligence
Cognitive Bias and the errors in judgement they produce are seen in every aspect of human decision-making, including in the business world. Companies that have a better understanding of these cognitive biases can optimize decision making at all levels of the organization, leading to better performance in the market. Companies that ignore the impact these biases have on corporate decision-making put themselves at unnecessary risk. This post by OODA Co-Founder Bob Gourley provides personal insights into key biases as well as mitigation strategies you can put in place right now. See: An Executive’s Guide To Cognitive Bias in Decision Making
We strongly encourage every company, large or small, to set aside dedicated time to focus on ways to improve your ability to understand the nature of the significantly changed risk environment we are all operating in today, and then assess how your organizational thinking should change. As an aid to assessing your corporate sensemaking abilities, this post summarizes OODA’s research and analysis into optimizing corporate intelligence for the modern age. See: OODA On Corporate Intelligence In The New Age
This post discusses standards in intelligence, a topic that can improve the quality of all corporate intelligence efforts and do so while reducing ambiguity in the information used to drive decisions and enhancing the ability of corporations to defend their most critical information. See: Useful Standards For Corporate Intelligence
Broadly speaking, a weapon is anything that provides an advantage over an adversary. In this context, data is, and always has been, a weapon. This post, part of our Intelligent Enterprise series, focuses on how to take more proactive action in use of data as a weapon. See: Data is a Weapon
Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity
The best business leaders are good at spotting falsehoods. Some joke and say the have a “bullshit detector”, but that humorous description does not do service to the way great leaders detect falsehoods. Bullshit is easy to detect. You see it and smell it and if you step in it it is your own fault. In the modern world falsehoods are far more nuanced. Now more than ever, business and government leaders need to ensure their mental models for detecting falsehood are operating in peak condition. For more see: Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity