Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going Outside the Wire...

FOBS second mission: Conduct an Intelligence Gathering Mission outside of the FOB.

At some point, to gain insight into the environment around the base, you will have to plan intelligence-collection missions outside the base and head out beyond the wire...

...thank God my wife's and my family lives in Seattle, and that we grew up here.  Imagine if FOBS had to relocate back to Oklahoma! I ventured outside the FOB today and started talking with business/technology innovators.  There is a reason why Seattle was named Fast Company's City of the Year (Issue 135, May 2009;,0).  I heard the innovation, witnessed the optimism, and read the entrepreneurism that thrives here.  Like an old military Field Manual, Seattleites are posting blogs (Seattle Urbanspoon founder offers bootstrapping advice:
; Seattle serial entrepreneur post five reasons not to quit startup efforts:,twittering, and facebooking each other to encourage technological creation, business acumen, and financial survival within this difficult economic environment.  There is a reason why I know I will go native again in Seattle and be among my people - technological entrepreneurism is just like unconventional warfare - under the most severe conditions, people innovate in order to survive and increase their chances of success. FOBS experienced that in spades today.

In yesterday's post I spoke of SCRs, and how much business intelligence/data they have access to, and how they could use that information to suit their own ends.  However, I was reminded today that SCRs can be the connective tissue in the business community, utilizing technology to create collaborative space, allowing competitors to work together, thus allowing new products and services to be created. 

FOBS is going to bring this insight back inside the base and analyze the information...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Strategic Consultancy Reconnaissance*

Forward Opinion Base Sollom's (FOBS) first mission: Strategic Intelligence.

In combat, a commander tasks units to gather information from the "battle space," so that the commander may make informed decisions and take calculated risks based upon their assessment of the enemy's known and perceived capabilities and intentions.

Before FOBS was even set up, I started gathering strategic information on Seattle's "business space." To borrow from a must-read book for business leaders, "The Mission, The Men, And Me," by Peter Blaber (Berkley Caliber, 2009), I listened to the people on the ground - I gathered intelligence on the patterns, trends, assessments, and guesses from Seattle's corporate leaders and lieutenants. What's my strategic assessment of their collective strategic assessment? They need more information.

What information do they need, and why? Can someone start a business, or change the direction of one, with new strategic business intelligence - can they simultaneously conduct business intelligence analysis and business operations? Yes, and the trend, the pattern, that is emerging is strategic third party technology reconnaissance (STPTR).

STPTR is where a third party vendor technologically integrates vertically and horizontally into their first party host corporation. You read business technology content describing Customer Relations Management (CRM) or Communications as a Service (CaaS). This is the technological equivalent of Big Four Accounting (or Big Three) consultancy - but with more intelligence and operational integration.

Consider a public corporation wants to modify or create a business line. Much like government, they outsource to a third party contractor/consultancy. That third party consultancy, in the emerging technology space, now offers content creation, human resources facilitation, marketing and branding, and legal management of the above. The third party consultancy becomes a division of the first party company.

Thus, technology becomes the fulcrum upon which business intelligence is gathered, stored, and disseminated. Although business intelligence is not new, the integration of bundled consultancy services is an emerging trend. How profound is this, what are the unintended consequences of such an emergence?

Consider hiring a STPTR that is integrated into your rival's business model. What is to prohibit the STPTR from transferring the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired, funded, and supported by your rival into your business? After all, the technology, staffing, patents, branding, etc., of the STPTR is the STPTR's and not your rival's. Say a bunch of Yahoo emeritus executives start a STPTR as a strategic stop-gap to Microsoft efforts to acquire them. Instead of going to a head hunter, or a consultancy, the Yahoo execs use the STPTR as a trojan horse to integrate into Microsoft operations, and their STPTR is later hired by Google, Linux, IBM, or Cisco. How can you separate Microsoft's technology from the STPTR's technology? Who do you regulate, tax, award patents, sue, acquire, negotiate with, etc?

So, who are the strategic technological Captains of business, the Bill Gates', or the CEO of a new STPTR? Unconventional business warfare at its best and most unpredictable...Machiavellian computing anyone?

*Post-script: A reader suggested that I change the STPTR acronym for stickiness. Thus, to better reflect the subject, I'll change the acronym to SCR: Strategic Consultancy Reconnaissance.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Forward Opinion Base Sollom is now flying the flag


I realize that I don't have any readers at this point - this is more for historical archival purposes. The name of the blog - Forward Opinion Base Sollom - is a take on the U.S. military lexicon to name forward operating bases in combat zones. The bases, usually named in honor of fallen fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, act as a fire bases, logistical way points for scaling men and materiel in times of increased combat, and a location for troops to rest, refit, and rearm prior to the next planned, or unplanned, mission. It is an Alamo; it's is a temporary safe haven. There is even a social and physical classification of the base itself - e.g., those who stay inside the base the entire time of their deployment are known as fobbits, of Lord of the Rings lore.

The reason for the apropos, is that I envision my blog as an unconventional take on social, technological, political, economic, and military matters of the day. Where my content dovetails with other bloggosphere content, I'll consider that mutually supporting fire - in military jargon. Where I differ, I'll consider it an FTX (or live fire exercise) - you have a difference of opinions and facts, you better have the ammo to back it up. Either way, I invite you to my outpost of unconventional thought.