OODAcast: Matt Devost on Hacking Entrepreneurship and Identifying Threats and Opportunities
In this OODAcast, the tables are turned as OODA Network Expert Jen Hoar interviews CEO Matt Devost and they discuss how Matt consistently identified new threats and opportunities by blending eccentric interests into a career as a serial entrepreneur and become an established expert on cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and technology issues.
Having been educated in a one-room schoolhouse in the rural Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Matt identified a way to blend his interests in emerging national security threats and computer science into a bespoke career path and took persistent risks to realize non-obvious opportunities.
Matt began his professional career in 1995 hacking into systems for the US Department of Defense and Intelligence Community and over the past twenty-five years has emerged as an established thought leader in the cyber and security domains. A successful entrepreneur, he has founded several companies including FusionX & the Terrorism Research Center and played a key leadership role in a handful of successful companies including Accenture, iSIGHT Partners, iDefense, and Tulco Holdings. He has served as a senior advisor to DoD, a professor at Georgetown University for fourteen years , and is a founding member of the Black Hat review board.
Matt’s unique approach to technology, business, and security issues is driven by a technique he calls “HACKthink” – applying a hacker mindset to analyze and dissect complex problems and develop innovative solutions.
Matt has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, CBC, CBS News, BBC television, NWCN, Australian television and dozens other domestic and international radio and television programs as an expert on terrorism and cybersecurity and has lectured or published for the National Defense University, the United States Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communities, the Swedish, Australian, Japanese, and New Zealand governments, American University, George Washington University, and a number of popular press books – magazines, academic journals and over 200 international conferences.
Matt has co-written or authored chapters for several books including Cyberadversary Characterization, Threats in the Age of Obama, Information Warfare Vol. 2, Sun Tzu Art of War in Information Warfare, Counterterrorism, and Addressing Cyber Instability. He was the technical editor for Hacking a Terror Network and best-selling author David Ignatius’ book The Director, and advised on the Chris Hemsworth movie Black Hat.
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