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Part II: DARPA, NASA, IARPA, DoD, Courage, Leadership and Aurelius’ Meditations

We continue our effort to underscore certain patterns and themes found throughout the OODAcast library of close to 100 conversations with leaders and decision-makers, on topics such as leadership, empowering a team, clear decision-making while operating in a low information environment, the qualities and best practices of a true leader, the future of intelligence, the future of cyber threats, the cybersecurity marketplace, innovation, exponential technologies, and strategic action.

In July of 2021, OODA CTO Bob Gourley had a conversation with Dr. Tony Tether.  Dr. Tether was the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, from 2001 till his retirement in 2009.  In April of 2021, Bob spoke with Dr. Lisa J. Porter, who has successfully led some of the world’s largest and most critical technology efforts. Porter’s career started with a focus on academic rigor in pursuit of some of the toughest degrees (a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford).  She would later lecture at MIT and then became a researcher for DARPA-related projects, eventually becoming a DARPA program manager.

In Part I of this conversation, we highlighted previous generations of great technology leaders, with Porter recounting several situations in her early career where she learned from role models like George Heilmeier and Dr. Tether.  A core theme of the conversation is the importance of quickly assessing challenges that were not being addressed and then forming an ability to express what needs to be done and how to do it quickly This approach is very consistent with the famous “Heilmeier Catechism”, which ended up producing a wide range of DARPA breakthroughs.  Porter and Tether discussed the framework at length, with Tether sharing a really interesting personal anecdote from his early career.

In Part II,  Dr. Tether shares the origin stories of DARPA, NASA, and the “Heilmeier Catechism.” Dr. Porter shares her experience at NASA, IARPA, and the DoD.  The role of Congress is discussed in a variety of contexts, as well as courage as the primary quality of a leader. Finally, Dr. Porter discusses why Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is her go-to book when the heat is on and she needs a stoic reminder to stay true to herself as a leader.

Source:  Slides Dr. Tether Reviewed in the original OODAcast:  Dr. Tether Presentation

“It went downhill when NASA took over space and it came roaring back with DARPA solving a major national security problem.”

Dr. Tony Tether:  This is the thing that created DARPA (slide above). Can you imagine these two pages?  And look at the date, February 7th? It was four months [after Sputnik]. I mean, can you imagine today, anything in the government now…?  This is Eisenhower pushing this.  Eisenhower understood this. How he understood it, I don’t know, but he definitely understood it.

And so he created DARPA, and this is the document that creates DARPA in the DoD.  And in fact, the Director, as you can see, he had him reporting to the Secretary of Defense. And this person is reporting to the Secretary of Defense and is not subject to congressional confirmation. Deliberately, he did that.  There was nobody that could get to him and harm him except the Secretary of Defense. So he knew who his boss was.

This was amazing to have this done. Now DARPA almost went away because people talked to Eisenhower and said it is not good to have the whole space business  – remember he was really answering, from his viewpoint, the Sputnik question – people said, it’s not good to have the space program of the United States being done by the military.  And he agreed. I know he agreed because he created NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).  NASA would do the space program.  NASA once again has a creation like [DARPA], Director is not subject…it’s not an agency, even though it’s called an agency. It’s a thing <laugh>, I guess, is one way to put it. And it does, in this case, it reports to the President.

Now DARPA almost went away. Remember the whole thing was created [in response to] Sputnik to get us back into space.  It almost went away.  As luck would have it. We were trying to get an atmospheric test ban treaty, a nuclear bomb test ban treaty.  The problem was nobody knew how to tell if somebody violated it.

DARPA created a program called Project Vela. Vela is a satellite. A nuclear explosion has a very distinct signature, an electronic signature to it.  And it’s partially to do with the way that the bomb has to go off. So we knew the signature. The question was, how would we know if somebody set it off in the atmosphere?  We would know from the signature, we would know something happened, but we didn’t know where it happened.

DARPA created a program that had many satellites up. In fact, they’re still up there, still working were.  These satellites could take that signature and basically put them together and figure out what time, and how long it took to get them. And they could find a point on the ground or the point in the year that bomb went off and that would allow us to go along with the test ban treaty. It wouldn’t have happened. DARPA did that. And that basically gave DARPA the shot in the arm it needed.   It went downhill when NASA took over space and it came roaring back with DARPA solving a major national security problem.  Again, somebody already on the far side knew all of this, and DARPA was the organization that got them to accelerate that into reality.

“They hated him for it. They hated him for it. But these questions endure today.”

Finally, George Heilmeier put all of this down on paper, and there’s an interesting story. George Heilmeier was the DARPA Director in the late seventies.

When George came in, he had a computer department and the guys in the computer department would come and give him this document and ask him to sign it. This is what George told me. And he would say, “Well, wait a minute what is this about?” just sign it, George. And so he was not going to do that.  He said, “Where does this tell me what this is going to solve? And why do I care?”  George, just sign it.  He said, no. So he stopped signing them.  And so finally time went on and they weren’t getting any more money to they came to George and said, “George, tell us what you want and we’ll do it.”  So George sat down and he wrote down these questions:

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?

The first two are obvious. What is the problem you want to solve? Articulate your objectives with absolutely no jargon. How is it done today and what are the limits?  What iss new in your approach?  And what do you think will be successful? Who cares? What difference will it make? Well, those four questions are really wrapped up into the two that I’ve talked about [in Part I of this series].  George Heilmeier is the one who put it down and then he made the agency execute those programs.  And that was the only way they were going to get him to sign for the money. They hated him for it. They hated him for it. But these questions endure today.

Bob Gourley:  I see them every day. They definitely have endured today.

Tether:  In fact, when I got there – I was there twice – so I was there in the early eighties. And George had just done this. So, I was one of the first people who embraced this when I was at the Strategic Technology Office.

“And so when you look at someone like Heilmeier again, the word that comes to mind for a great leader, including him, is the word courage.”

Bob Gourley:  I wanted to ask you:  at DARPA, in all places where there are technologists, some people are great individual contributors, and we need people like that. The big brains that create, and then sometimes they’re not so good at leadership. Unfortunately, some people can never make the transition from independent contributors to a leader. George H. Heilmeier clearly was a leader and technologist, and there are so many others, including you.  Why can some technologists make that transition to a leader and others cannot?  What is the difference there?

Dr. Lisa Porter:  Well, first, thank you for the compliment.  I don’t know if I am a good leader or not, it probably depends on who you ask, to be honest.  So let’s talk about others that we know are great, like Heilmeier. I’ve had the benefit of wonderful mentors throughout my career. So I think a lot of what makes someone good at something is having people help you and be willing to be honest with you about your own strengths and weaknesses so that you get better.  I’d like to think I’m better than I was 10 years ago. And 20 years ago, I may not still be good enough, but I’d like to think I’ve at least improved. And I think we would all like to think that and I think the way you improve is in part by seeking out people who are going to tell you “Okay, this might be a way you want to think about doing something differently.  This is your strength do more of this.”  That kind of thing.

And so when you look at someone like Heilmeier again, the word that comes to mind for a great leader, including him, is the word courage. So the courage of your convictions, the courage to say this is what I as a leader believe must be done. Therefore I’m going to be very transparent and open with you guys about why I think this is the thing to do. I will be open to listening to rational logical points of view that may differ from mine. I don’t want to hear emotion. I don’t want to hear arguments from authority. I don’t want you to tell me how, in Heilmeier’s case, I don’t want you to tell me how brilliant you are and how stupid I am for not realizing your brilliance. (Note:  In Part I of this series, Porter shares the story of the pushback Heilmeier received from the AI community in the seventies when they were pursuing DARPA funding).

Those are not credible arguments, but I am open to those conversations. I am always open to changing my mind. But until you’ve changed my mind, here’s the path forward. I’m going to be very open and I’m going to stick to the courage of my convictions. That sounds easy. That is just like, okay, that sounds good. The challenge is you must, if, if you are going to do that, you must be willing to accept that some people are just not going to not like you.  Heilmeier pissed off a lot of people in the moment at that time. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve pissed off.  And I know it.  And it’s not like you enjoy doing it. It’s not like you enjoy having people be frustrated with you because you’re not willing to acquiesce and accept mediocrity and accept people not doing what they should do.

“…the whole thing is about getting other people to do good work, holding them to standards and dealing with them being mad at me.”

That is the consequence of not setting the standard and sticking to it, That outweighs the fact that somebody might be upset with you for setting that standard. It’s a lot about courage, honestly. It’s the courage of being willing to say, okay, I know some people are not going to like this. Some people are going to say really mean things about me. Some people are going to work behind my back to get rid of me. All of that is part of being willing to take on the mantle of being a leader. And I think people like Heilmeier in the hindsight. Now we just look at them – all the perfection, he was able to do this.  At the moment -that’s why interviews [of Heilmeier] are so fun to read  – was not easy for him. People of high esteem were mad as hell at him for daring to challenge them.

And I find that to be comforting in a way. Because it reminds you that it is never easy to take the mantle on of a leader because you have got to get people to agree. These are the standards. We’re not going to compromise. This is where we’re going. We’ve all agreed. You can be mad at me but have got to get on board. That kind of thing.   And some people don’t want to do that. Bob, some people are like that’s just not for me. I’d rather just, you, do what I’m good at is going on over here and you give me the hardest problem and I’ll work on it. But the whole thing is about getting other people to do good work, holding them to standards, and dealing with them being mad at me.

No, I don’t want that. And that is fine, by the way, and to your point, it takes all kinds. The problem you run into is when somebody in the latter camp decides they want to be a leader. And then what happens, of course, is they’re so afraid of people being mad at them. They don’t want to deal with people. They don’t want to deal with the challenges that come with having to confront when someone is not meeting the standards. And that’s when you get a whole bunch of mediocrity, and we see that every day.

“Some people were really willing to embrace change. Some people really weren’t and how do you deal with that.  So it was great learning.  It was a great experience.”

Gourley: Lisa, everything you said [about leadership] is so totally applicable to technology leadership and leadership in general.  I mean, it resonates with good military leaders too as they are thinking of the same thing. So I appreciate your context.  And it leads to the next part of your career. You went to NASA where I know you must have had to apply leadership principles there because you oversaw an organization. You were Associate Administrator for Aeronautics. Well, first, what is that organization?

Porter:  At the time, and it’s still true today. It is the organization that’s responsible for all the aeronautics research throughout NASA. So most of that research is done at four different research centers. They are not called research centers anymore. They’re just called NASA centers. Langley, Glenn, Armstrong, and NASA Ames. And so there were over a thousand researchers, a thousand staff spread among those four very different centers who were doing aeronautics research in the name of NASA,  doing it for the benefit of the nation for a variety of reasons.

And so that was what I walked into and was asked to lead. So that’s kind of what it is. It, when I walked in there, I mean, it was one of those, “Okay, there is real change that must come about here.” The OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. At that time, before I came in, it had nothing to do with me, but it was because of where NASA had gotten – they were very unhappy with aeronautics. They didn’t see a vision; they didn’t see a plan. They didn’t understand what was going on. It wasn’t being articulated. So they cut the budget by 20%, which was a huge cut for the smallest part of the overall NASA budget.

To begin with, aeronautics is just a tiny fraction in terms of the NASA budget.  So the morale was low. There was no clarity on what NASA Aeronautics should be, and what should it be about. Mike Griffin was the administrator. I had never met him before. I was asked to go and interview. And so I walked into his office, sat down, and said,  “Here are my thoughts” at first blush, just sort of very broad.

And he said “I’m willing to take, take a chance on you. And, and we’ll bring you on board and we’ll see what we can do.” And so I ultimately had to go through a process, but I was hired as the administrator I would argue, to return NASA back to pursuing the excellence that it’s really known for in aeronautics.

So across all those centers, engaging more broadly with the private sector, pursuing really the cutting edge of aeronautics that had led to all this great invention and creation in the prior decades. We needed to return to that. And so it was a hard thing to do. It wasn’t the linear story I just told. It was a lot of bumps all along the way. But I learned a tremendous amount for sure. I learned a lot, I think, about how challenging it is to deal with a large organization, lots of different perspectives.  Some people were really willing to embrace change. Some people really weren’t and how do you deal with that.  So it was great learning.  It was a great experience.

“…the knife fights that happen have nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with what I was talking about earlier, the courage to keep fighting, and the willingness to be as open as you can be with clarity and transparency of what you’re trying to do.”

Gourley:  That must have served you well at IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity).

Porter: It sure did.  Yeah, it sure did.

Gourley:  IARPA, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which most people I think quickly will say that it rhymes with DARPA, so it must be DARPA for the IC. And I know it must be different…

Porter:  …well, that is exactly what it is. That’s exactly what it is. And, when I was at DARPA, I had interactions with the IC (as many people at DARPA did) because DARPA had sometimes done research and projects that had relevance to the IC, obviously.  So the problems are so similar in many cases. But we all wondered at DARPA at the time why doesn’t the IC have its own DARPA.  because there are some problems that the DOD cannot really take on. They are just much more intelligence-focused. So the 9/11 Commission made that recommendation. It had recommended IARPA, now it took several years between that recommendation and its stand up of course.

Gourley:  But by the time you were named,  it did not really exist yet, you were the first…

Porter: …I was the first one. So it didn’t exist. It existed for a few months. They had established an organization. There were people who had done a lot of the political elbow fighting, if you will, to make it happen. It would not have happened, nor would it have survived, frankly, if it weren’t for Congress and the CISE.  I mean, they really understood why it needed to exist and they frankly protected it. I have got to give a nod to that because people don’t know the history of IARPA and how contentious it was.

It was a tough environment.  There were people who really wanted it and they understood it and they backed my play, so to speak. But there were a lot of knives out, a lot of knives. And I learned a lot about the knife fights that happen has nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with what I was talking about earlier, the courage to keep fighting, and the willingness to be as open as you can be with clarity and transparency of what you’re trying to do.

“Maybe there are other ways they could help, by creating laws or creating something and finding out what DARPA could do better if only the law was a little bit different.”

Gourley:  Let me return to this topic of Congress, which is reportedly now deciding [in 2021] to double the budget of DARPA from $3.5 billion to $7 billion a year.  What is your opinion on that?

Tether:  When I came in and they wanted to take my two up to four, five, eight, it really is the wrong thing to do. You can, you will end up with – and look the Congress is trying to be helpful, they are really trying to be helpful – but if, again, back to the old saying that if your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails, right? Well, Congress, their only tool is money. Whatever else, it really comes down to it.  They can pass laws, but it is money. So their tool is money. And so from their viewpoint, [DARPA’s] problem is they don’t have enough money. Well, that’s not the problem at all. In fact, in my mind, having that much money would get a place like DARPA, because if you didn’t spend that money, then they come around and they really get on your butt:  “How come you are not spending the money.”

So you end up in an organization that is becoming very good at throwing the money out to people but not really finding out what difference it would make. And so they’re not getting ideas in and somehow figuring out what are the really good ideas that I’m going to put a lot of money on. And what are the ideas that are maybe I’ll bring them along a little bit longer? Maybe something happens there?

Source:  Slides Dr. Tether Reviewed in the original OODAcast:  Dr. Tether Presentation

But that next step?  That value of death is what keeps [organizations like the NIH] from being well known for delivering anything.   They can’t get across the valley of death. So DARPA is the only organization I know of whose whole purpose in life is that valley of death.

And they could have too much money now than they should have.  I think it has a dangerous effect.  I doubt it will go through, I mean, remember, this is only one part of Congress that is proposing that. But again, I don’t want people to…they are trying to be helpful. Right?  They’re really trying to be helpful. I mean, they really are. And the only way they think they can help us is to give you money. And I’m saying, no, no, no.  Wrong.  Maybe there are other ways they could help, by creating laws or creating something and finding out what DARPA could do better if only the law was a little bit different.  And they did change the laws for DARPA, by the way. We don’t have to go and award somebody a contract without going out and having to have it go for a full-blown competition.  we can do a single source.  If we didn’t have that ability, we would be back to having these big competitions.

“Look, no tents on the table. I don’t care what your title is. That’s irrelevant.  I don’t want anybody to be worried about who should be here because I happen to wear a four-star title. Who cares? We are in this together and we are busting our butts.”

Gourley:  Lisa, this also gets into your experience in the Department of Defense in your last tour [as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering].  And obviously, another thing that you had to apply was your leadership skills. This is one of the most senior positions in the entire Department of Defense. And, if I had to tell people what it was who had no real DoD experience, I think would it be fair to say that that is the role of the chief technology officer for the Department of Defense?

Porter:  It is. In fact, that is what was in the language, the NDAA language I believe was, that it is the CTO. So I was officially like the deputy CTO if you will. And the responsibility is, as you can imagine, significant.

You had to be current and aware of what’s going on in the broader acquisition community because you will get called into various reviews. And you’ll be asked for the technical perspective, what’s technically credible about this or what is not technically credible. And so one of the things that we did  – that I think was, ironically, I look back on now that I’ve had a breather, I would say it was fun in a strange way – we were asked by Secretary Shanahan at the time “I need you guys to take the lead on figuring out what the DoD 5G plan is.  What should we be doing? What’s our strategy, what’s our execution plan?”  He was smart enough to know we had to go fast. We have got to figure this out. Things are moving really fast. I don’t even know what the DoDs role should be versus the commercial sector, but you guys all have to figure this out like now. And we did.

Gourley:  I have seen that, and I have also seen that there is a 5G consortium of some sort, the National Spectrum Consortium.

Porter:  Yes. The national spectrum consortium was part of that.  So a little over two years ago, we started down this journey. There was no budget. There was no plan. There was no program of record, blah, blah, blah. None of those formal things. There was me and a team of folks who were just willing to say, let’s figure this out.   They were from all the services. They were from USG, I’m not naming all of them because  I’m forgetting, but it was literally a team. And I said “Look, no tents on the table. I don’t care what your title is. That’s irrelevant.  I don’t want anybody to be worried about who should be here because I happen to wear a four-star title. Who cares? We are in this together and we are busting our butts.”

And now you look at it and you go “Wow, that looks like you guys had that planned all along. It was really linear.  Oh yeah. Look at that.” No, no.  Nothing is ever linear.

“All you guys are all smarter than me. My job is to protect you so you can go run fast.”

Gourley:  It’s interesting to hear your story. Because if had not heard your story, I would’ve thought, oh, it must have been easy. They just did it.

Porter: Yeah, no. It was like all things. It’s hard. It looks really messy when you’re in the middle of it. That’s one of the things I tell young people today when they ask me, I say, it is never easy. First of all, don’t stress. When you’re making the sausage, it looks really, really ugly. It does. And when you are in the middle of that, again, what’s your role as the leader, quote, unquote, it’s really to just allow the team to succeed. And you’re the umbrella. That’s what I told people. I said, “My job primarily is the umbrella. I keep shit from raining down on you. Sorry guys for using that language, but I am from Boston. And you guys go do what you are good at. And I will protect you. And I will keep us focused and going along the vector.

But everybody in the room was smarter than I was at my job. Again, that courage to say to the higher-ups Let my team do the work. We’ve got to run fast. I’m not creating a CFT. I’m not creating a da, da, da. I’m not doing this. I’m not having tents. I’m not having any of that crap. We’re just going to  get stuff done.” And in hindsight, again, people were like, how did you get all that done to the point where now you have in the president’s submission, a significant amount of money, a plan for executing, all the services engaged, nobody fighting over each other. How did you do that?

I said “Well, this is what happens when you just empower the people and you tell them, you will cover for them. If they go and run fast.  Honestly, that is what it takes.  And that is when you get higher and higher up and you lose all your specialty skills. That is what you end up doing as a leader, you say “All you guys are all smarter than me. My job is to protect you so you can go run fast.”

“Remember not all the DARPA things are successful, but even those that fail are successful in that we know why they didn’t work.”

Gourley:  All right. Well, thank you very much, Tony, for this.  I really appreciate it.

Tether:  Thank you. I enjoyed it too. I really enjoyed the conversation.  You ask good questions. You’ve got a good background.  It is just fun. In fact, you’d be a good DARPA program manager.

Gourley:  Oh, thanks for saying that. <Laughs> I really appreciate it.

Tether:  No, you would. You’d be a good DARPA program manager or maybe an Office Director too. Yeah. If you want a job, I’m sure they’ve got job openings over there.

Gourley:  What an honor, I think I would love to be able to help say that I shaped the future by doing that.

Tether:  Well, hopefully, somebody will listen to this conversation that we just had, and they might say,  “What? I think I’ve got a solution!” And now they kind of know where they need to go, right?  They know how to approach it. So who knows how many people we just got DARPA money for…

Gourley:  Right.

Tether:  Remember not all the DARPA things are successful, but even those that fail are successful in that we know why they didn’t work. And so what does DARPA do? We go to work on the why it didn’t work part and solve that problem. And then we’ll come back to this other problem.

” One of the books that I have found most useful to me recently is…Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. So I now have that book by my bedside. And whenever I’m having a day when some of those things I was talking about, where I’m dealing with people who are just…it’s like…don’t let the turkeys get you down is kind of the subtext of that book.  It is how do you deal with making sure you’re staying true to yourself, staying true to your principles, and treating yourself and others with respect.  All those things that we know that we’re supposed to do. It’s a wonderful book.”

Gourley:  I have one final question for you, Lisa.  And that is: what are you reading today?

Porter:  One of the books that I have found most useful to me recently is one that I’ve read and many of us are asked to read in college, and then we kind of forget about it because we’re too young for it in many cases, at least I was, and that is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. So I now have that book by my bedside. And whenever I’m having a day when some of those things I was talking about, where I’m dealing with people who are just…it’s like…don’t let the turkeys get you down is kind of the subtext of that book.  It is how do you deal with making sure you’re staying true to yourself, staying true to your principles, and treating yourself and others with respect?  All those things that we know that we’re supposed to do. It’s a wonderful book.

And of course, why I love it so much, in part, is because think about when it was written almost 2000 years ago.  And it kind of reminds you that all the stuff that we deal with today on our own level of personal issues, and we all deal with very similar things, but so did someone like Marcus Aurelius 2000 years ago.

Gourley:  …isn’t that fascinating…

Porter:  That is what I think is amazing.   This is a Roman emperor. And he wrote that book, as you probably know, to himself.  He was not intending it to be for anyone else’s reading, which is why I like it. There is such an honesty to it. But it is so fascinating because he is holding himself to a standard, he is reminding himself every day, that this is the standard, and you need to hold yourself to it. And I find on days when I have been frustrated, I’ve got it by my bedside. I just pick it up. I just kind of go through. It’s very simple for those of you who haven’t read it yet. Just written like in little quotes, almost little book sections. Anyway, I recommend it because it is inspiring, it will help you do the inhale, and exhale on those days when you just want to pull your hair out. So that would be a book I would recommend to everyone.  And it is one you just read over and over.

Part I: Tether and Porter on DARPA, The Valley of Death, and Answering the Crucial Project Questions Upfront

Part III: Dr. Tether and Dr. Porter on Cybersecurity (forthcoming)

The Original OODAcasts

Tony Tether On Technology Leadership and Lessons Learned From DARPA

Slides Dr. Tether Reviewed in this OODAcast are at this link: Dr. Tether Presentation

Lisa Porter On Innovation, Technology, Security and Lessons in Leadership

Heilmeier’s Rules

George H. Heilmeier, a former DARPA director (1975-1977), made all who came to DARPA (with a new idea or project request) answer a set of very simple to understand questions that are still in use today. These simple questions, now called Heilmeier’s Catechism or Heilmeier’s Rules, were not always simple to answer, especially if an idea was not firmly rooted. They are:

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?

Further Resources

Deep Tech, the “Valley of Death” and Innovative Technologies for the Warfighter

Nate Fick on His Early Career, Writing ‘One Bullet Away’, The Stoics and Dynamic Leadership (Part 1 of 2)

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Decision Intelligence

The greatest determinant of your success will be the quality of your decisions. We examine frameworks for understanding and reducing risk while enabling opportunities. Topics include Black Swans, Gray Rhinos, Foresight, Strategy, Strategies, Business Intelligence, and Intelligent Enterprises. Leadership in the modern age is also a key topic in this domain. Explore Decision Intelligence

Disruptive/Exponential Technology

We track the rapidly changing world of technology with a focus on what leaders need to know to improve decision-making. The future of tech is being created now and we provide insights that enable optimized action based on the future of tech. We provide deep insights into Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Security Technology, and Space Technology. Explore Disruptive/Exponential Tech

Security and Resiliency

Security and resiliency topics include geopolitical and cyber risk, cyber conflict, cyber diplomacy, cybersecurity, nation-state conflict, non-nation state conflict, global health, international crime, supply chain, and terrorism. Explore Security and Resiliency

Community

The OODA community includes a broad group of decision-makers, analysts, entrepreneurs, government leaders, and tech creators. Interact with and learn from your peers via online monthly meetings, OODA Salons, the OODAcast, in-person conferences, and an online forum. For the most sensitive discussions interact with executive leaders via a closed Wickr channel. The community also has access to a member-only video library. Explore The OODA Community.

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.