Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee

This article was originally published on The Cipher Brief: President-elect Donald Trump recently announced he will nominate retired United States Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense. Gilman Louie, founder and former CEO of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, has written an open letter to General Mattis to suggest how the Defense Department can improve its digital capabilities in order to maintain its military edge. Continue reading "Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee"

Global Teams Should Have Office Visits, Not Offsites

Global teams work better when members get to know one another. Team members give their colleagues the benefit of the doubt, pick up the phone when issues arise, and are generally more effective at collaborating. But given tight travel budgets, the disruption to work and family, and the enormous carbon footprint associated with global travel, it’s not always feasible to give team members the opportunity to meet face-to-face. You have to be strategic about when and how your team gets together. Given that, many leaders opt to have an offsite where a project team meets early in the project to establish strong relationships. While offsites are well-intentioned and useful, my research in several studies shows that the best use of precious travel funds for global teams is actually to invest in site visits. In fact, in the data of one study, conducted with Mark Mortensen, we found that offsites had
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Why the Future Belongs to Tough-Minded Optimists

Unease is rippling through financial markets, and a sense of anxiety has overtaken society. In the United States, the presidential campaign has devolved into a frenzy of personal insults and unhinged behavior. Technology may be heading toward self-driving cars and genomics-inspired medicine, but most people believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. In times like these, even for leaders committed to building a more prosperous future for their organizations, it’s easy to surrender to pessimism. To which I say, as the old joke goes, “I’d be a pessimist, but it would never work.” I’ve just finished writing a book about companies in pretty ordinary settings (banks, hospitals, even a parking garage) that have won big by doing truly extraordinary things. As I think about the outlook on the future that cuts across these organizations, the mindset that guides their leaders and energizes their members, I’m struck by the
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Startups Need Relationships Before They Ask for Money

Many founders fall into the same trap: they focus all their energy and resources on building a product and finding customers, and when they come up for air, they realize that they need to raise outside capital. So they scramble to craft a pitch, find potential investors, and ask for money — and they usually fail. They end up with no money, and, sometimes, no company. Raising capital is often the hardest and most critical part of launching a business, and it can be very time-consuming. The average outside equity financing round, from the beginning of the roadshow to when the money is wired, takes six months. But getting to that point can take even longer, especially since investors like to fund projects from founders with whom they’re familiar. That means you may need to spend twelve months building relationships before you can successfully raise money. Relationship fundraising, as opposed to transactional fundraising,
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