This is part 2 of a short series on tools you can use to increase your efficiency in hunting down targets and understanding your IC and Defense markets. It would be a challenge to use all of these but without much trouble, you’ll find the right mix for you and your business. Side Note: understanding your core market is critical to solving problems in it, especially with technology and innovation. Put yourself in the shoes of a defense or intelligence program manager: would you listen to someone trying to sell you something if she/he did not understand the larger context of your challenges? Maybe yes, may no. Good business developers are constantly trying to remove barriers to building relationships with clients and prospects. Ignorance of your client’s world is an easy barrier to remove.
Free news feeds, such AFCEA Night Watch (http://www.afcea.org/mission/intel/aboutnw.asp) and Signal Magazine should be considered part of your standard routine of news scanning; Night Watch can be very useful if you’re tracking a region or nation and its activities, from an intelligence standpoint. Actually, this service is probably the best free service of its kind. Signal Magazine has great in-depth analyses of complex DoD activities, programs and issues. If you prefer the perspective and sometimes more opinionated output/insight of a private news service, try www.STRATFOR.com. Their free news tracker is a teaser and is intended to get you hooked. News is that way, isn’t it? I have heard CEO George Friedman speak in person and he definitely has the intellect to understand the broad and long term trends affecting our nation, from an intelligence standpoint.
Google is free and if you enjoy staying current on any news items, you can use Google News Alerts. This can be trained to notify you via e-mail when news (that fits your criteria) appears or you can choose to see the pertinent articles whenever you log in. I am sure that, although this is very good, it does not capture all the news that’s available (see below). This easy-to-use tool will help you rapidly stay current on a topic of choice or many topics (or persons), but it will help to develop a daily or weekly routine for reading the news.
And don’t forget, if you’re not seeing articles from the main stream news outlets, it does not hurt to peruse these directly since they have staff writers who cover the IC and defense markets well. Of the three main daily newspapers, the NY Times, the Washington Post and the Washington Times, my favorite is the Inside the Ring by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.
There are several investment bankers that track the $80B intelligence market and its ability to drive even more spending in the $500B defense market. Aronson Capital Partners has a blog that is phenomenal and even better is the Kipps Desanto quarterly newsletter and market analysis, named MarketView. Wow… this blogger envies manager who have research of this caliber at their fingertips!
For fun, please consider the evening lecture series at the Spy Museum; perhaps I am biased on the subject, but I have never been disappointed in one of their speakers or programs. Most are near free or nominally priced. I suggest Metrorail in this case, since the District of Columbia seems to delight in writing parking tickets!
Next entry… procurement tracking … there are some new players in town that you may want to know about! Have I missed any from the above list?