I am back from the DoDIIS Conference in lovely downtown Detroit... I noticed an eerie lack of hustle and bustle in the downtown district, in spite of the conference's success. Cool architecture kept my interest as well as some inviting eating establishments.
Here are my Must Do Items and "Must Not Do" for these kind of conferences:
It was interesting to note lately that the nation's four space agencies, NASA, the NRO, Missile Defense Agency and the Army's Space and Missile Systems Command are collaborating over support tasks and mission areas that they share in common. Things like launch infrastructure and engineering as well as strategic parts sourcing are probably on a list of common items. When Congress fully gets hold of the idea, you may see GAO reporting on the subject, too. This makes too much sense to not pursue. As with all trends in the federal market, the challenge is figuring how to monetize this shift in policy and execution.
I am always thrilled when I can come back from an intelligence community (IC) event with leads... and the best kind come from simply showing up, paying attention and thinking on my feet. I can definitely get better, but if I have a good day generating leads, it's because I applied these rules.
I was reminded this week (while at the NSA) of a common mistake often made by entrepreneurs in the DoD and IC market. It is tempting to claim that your firm is an expert at two dozen areas of focus. On one level, I understand this because the same personality and intellect that would launch a new business tends to see more, do more and want more… than the average professional. So, I understand (if you're guilty of this tendency) your "reach-of-the starts" mentality. It runs in your blood.
Wow! Unless you've been under a rock for the last ten years, you have seen some pretty interesting technology innovations in our market. But this headline really caught my eye: "C2 Technologies Develops iPhone Mobile App for Army's Patriot Missile". It's interesting because the iPhone app is used not to launch a Patriot missile but to train the troops how to launch the missile, and care for the equipment (and all that goes with it). How cool is that?
I am -- yet again, amazed at who I run into at various networking events. I am tempted to go into "listen-only" mode, sometimes when I spend too much time in my cave (i.e., home office) so… occasionally, I have to remind myself to open up a bit and talk at these events. I usually come away with another valuable contact.
Consider this January 31st posting by Michael M. Dunn, President/CEO of the Air Force Association; spend three minutes considering how your company's value proposition supports the IC in these events. The world is constantly changing. What is your contribution to making the IC agencies better in their specific mission, given this list of potential or outright threats?
For some folks, capture management if a four letter word!
To get some insights, I tuned into a Federal News Radio program hosted by Larry Allen. His guest back in 2009 was Bob Lohfeld, President of the Lohfeld Consulting Group; as you'd expect, the nature of capture management is much more than just the proposal effort. (see: http://www.wfed.com/index.php?hlpage=6&nid=46&sid=1805751)
There has been recent news over the last several weeks related to SecDef Gates and his intention to cut $78B from the overall budget over five years and pare-down the DoD IT budgets specifically, which are currently absorbing about $37B annually. I sure hope you haven't lost any sleep over this… it amounts to well less than 3 percent. So, while I give the SECDEF high marks, these would not be considered bold cuts by anyone's definition. (I don't count the congressman or senator who may lose a single program as legitimate criticism... politics will always create disproportionate whining when it comes to cuts).
As readers have noticed, change can mean opportunity, when selling to the IC. But, if you and I don't take a few moments, every quarter, we'll miss the significance of the changes and the chance to leverage them into our own benefit. Here are some examples that strike me as possibly useful.