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Blake Bartlett, CEO of Janes, On Leadership and Decision Making In The Modern Age

Blake Bartlett is the CEO of Janes, the well known and trusted provider of open source defense intelligence. In this OODAcast we examine lessons learned from Blake’s career and path from a young student with a desire for a career in sports to success in the domain of sales.

Blake believes sales is a perfect area for someone who has harnessed their passion for sports and winning and the ability to connect with people.  From there he grew to leadership of several highly regarded market intelligence organizations culminating in his current role as the CEO Janes, the first and arguably most highly successful provider of open source analysis for defense intelligence. 

Blake’s insights into success with sales is relevant across multiple domains of products and services, and has clearly served him well throughout his entire career. And his ability to connect with people and form trust based relationships has also clearly helped him as he needed to connect with customers, employees and stakeholders of Janes when he tool the helm in 2014.

Janes is a widely known brand with a rich history. The firm began in 1898 when Fred T. Jane began selling encyclopedic insights and sketches of ships in the now iconic “Janes Fighting Ships”. From that beginning Janes evolved into a major media publisher, then with the rise of the Internet age evolved into online services and now has evolved more into a provider of verifiable, trusted and accurate open source intelligence across defence equipment, military capabilities, security and defence budgets, markets and forecasts.

Blake walks us through his assessment of the strengths of Janes when he assumed his leadership position including the trust and strength of the brand, but also spells out clearly how he recognized the need for change. The way one of his customers put it was that Janes was in danger of becoming the “Blackberry of the information industry ” where data and information was the best but the hardest to find.  This motivated a push to make Janes information more findable, digestible and actionable by users and resulted in the Janes of today.

In the discussion we examine some of Janes more interesting capabilities including new applications available now to any analyst seeking insights in to defense capabilities and operations of nations around the world. Janes now provides streams of data to organizations that want to integrate these insights into their own systems but also provides advanced applications that enable analysts to interoperate directly with data and analysis. Their content includes:

– More than 40,000 profiles of military equipment (air, land and sea) in production and use around the globe
– Inventories for more than 190 countries, ORBATs for 17,700 military units and 8,900 bases
– Structured, consistent database of events related to terrorism, risk and security
– Defence budgets for 105 countries and procurement programmes across military aircraft, combat vehicles and military ships
– Market assessments, opportunities across 19 markets and data on over 7,000 defence industry organisations
– Security assessments and analysis of CBRN response capabilities, production and proliferation

Janes also provides training and education on the art and tradecraft of open source intelligence and services and support to organizations seeking to operationalize Janes capabilities to optimize decision-making.

Podcast Version:

For more see:

Janes.com

Additional Resources:

A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence

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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

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OODA LLC, the technology research and advisory firm with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which publishes OODALoop.com. Bob is the co-host of the popular podcast The OODAcast. Bob has been an advisor to dozens of successful high tech startups and has conducted enterprise cybersecurity assessments for businesses in multiple sectors of the economy. He was a career Naval Intelligence Officer and is the former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency.