16 Jul 2021

Tony Tether On Technology Leadership and Lessons Learned From DARPA

Dr. Tony Tether was the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, from 2001 till his retirement in 2009. In this OODAcast we examine some of Dr. Tether’s formative experiences, including a very unique job he held while awaiting entry to Stanford. He was a door to door salesman and while doing that learned 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. As we hear in the discussion, this type of approach, very consistent with the famous “Heilmeier Catechism”, ended up producing a wide range of DARPA breakthroughs, including one that is now in every cell phone in the globe (next time you use your cell phone’s mapping and location services, remember to thank the Fuller Brush company!).

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