Why Virtual Reality Will Change the Way Our Military Prepares For War

April 9, 2016 in Veterans, Business, and Security

It was towards the end of 2014 when I first heard about Oculus Rift and the advancements they are making in the world of virtual reality (VR). Since then, I’ve made it a point to follow news about VR and understand the players in the industry. However, over the past few months since the releases of the Samsung Gear VR headset last November, Oculus Rift headset in March and the HTC Vive last week, the amount of press, blog articles and commentary about the future of virtual reality has increased to a staggering level. This trend initially had me worried because, while there are some truly incredible advancements happening in VR technology right now, the true opportunity that VR represents won’t be fully realized for a number of years (here is why Gary Vaynerchuk thinks maybe 10 more years).

As current press about this technology has led to increased awareness about what the technology will provide, the additional commentary has also resulted in increased expectations. This worries me as it might also lead people to become disillusioned about the true opportunity that VR has to offer as current technology will likely fail to deliver on those high expectations. Yesterday I was reading a blog post written by venture capitalist Fred Wilson where he posed the question to his readers of how they see the future of VR, and as I read the comments, I started to notice that exact trend of negative perceptions that has likely resulted from unfulfilled expectations. Because Wilson’s audience is made up of people who understand and follow the technology sector, I was a bit shocked at their overwhelmingly negative views about the prospects and opportunities that VR offers. As many of the comments were technical in nature and simply engineering challenges that will have to be overcome, as those improvements are made, virtual reality will offer the military a training capability that they have long sought, creating for an incredible opportunity for not only businesses, but also for deploying service members.

Why I Believe Virtual Reality Will Succeed

My perspective on the opportunity that VR represents comes from my belief that the military has already determined that immersive experiences are a capability that they want for Marines and Soldiers before they deploy. A facility called the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT), Continue reading »

It’s About Community: The Genesis of Beer In Boulder

January 20, 2016 in Veterans, Business, and Security

At the beginning of December I posted an article to Medium titled, “It’s The Age of The Active Shooter and We Can’t Talk About It,” where I presented my ideas about long-term solutions that can get America further and further left of bang. The premise of the article is that strong, close-knit communities offer significant advantages to ensuring our own safety against the risk of mass killings and terrorist attacks at a local level. That article was a shift in many of the concepts that I typically write and teach about, as we primarily focus on the improving an individual’s ability to recognize threats here at The CP Journal. In Left of Bang and in the Tactical Analysis program, there is an implied assumption that, by developing a single person’s ability to identify those with violent intent, the collective community will benefit as a result of a the time spent by that person attaining a level of informed awareness.

However, in my “Age of the Active Shooter” article, the goal was to shift our awareness to a point even earlier on the bang timeline. Whereas behavioral analysis is designed to recognize people who have already made the decision to become violent, strong communities can also prevent some of the conditions that might lead a person to making that decision in the first place, ultimately reducing the number of people that protectors have to identify hiding within the crowd. But there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. It isn’t enough to simply write about community as the solution; those words only have meaning when we are actively contributing to making it a reality. It is in that pursuit that I’m excited to announce a new project that my fiancé Lisa and I have launched called Beer in Boulder.

The Role of Community

If you were to look at the last decade of my life, it would be pretty clear that “community” wasn’t something I was committed to developing or contributing to. Community has been something that has remained fairly Continue reading »

It’s the Age of the Active Shooter and We Can’t Talk About It

December 9, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

America is in the middle of what historians will one day call the “Age of the Active Shooter.” Despite empty words from public figures about how shootings have not become the new normal, the increasing frequency of attacks with mass casualties proves otherwise. A couple days after the San Bernandino shooting, NPR ran a story about how companies in the security industry that are providing “active shooter response training” are part of a growth industry. As disturbing as that is, it is unlikely that these attacks will slow down in the near future because Americans cannot even have an honest, intellectual and meaningful conversation about how to stop them from occurring. In response to the attacks that have occurred in the last decade, it has become clear that there are four topics that have the power to effectively derail any conversation about how America can ultimately get left of bang and prevent the next attack or shooting.

We Can’t Talk About Guns

The topic of guns is the first surefire way to immediately end any rational conversation about how to prevent violence. Whether you believe that we should erase firearms from the planet or think that the only way to keep people from being violent is to arm every person in America does not matter. The moment that you bring up either gun control or the 2nd Amendment is the moment when you lose 50% of the people you are talking to. Because the most vocal people in each group are the ones who have already made up their mind on the topic and will never even consider information contradictory to their views, the words used and emotions that present themselves when discussing the topic of guns eliminates any rationality whatsoever. Regardless of which view that you have, we cannot make progress towards stopping an attack when a conversation about the weapons being used to kill hundreds of Americans each year can’t even begin.

The real reason why my opinion and your opinion on guns are irrelevant to furthering the conversation about violence prevention is because the actions our country has taken in the last decade show that gun control is unacceptable to Americans. If there was going to be any event that made people find some common ground and move away from one of the two extremes on the issue of guns, it would have been the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 when 20 children were killed. While there were Executive Orders made about gun control after this Newtown shooting, no gun control legislation was passed by the people elected to represent all Americans. If the lives of 20 children are considered “the cost of living in a free society,” whether you like or agree with that statement or not, it seems that Americans has already made their decision. Bringing up your opinion on the role guns play in violence is only going to end the conversation because it is a debate that will not make progress towards finding a way out of this dark period.

We Can’t Talk About Religion

The second foolproof way to eliminate any pursuit of common ground or consensus when talking about preventing violence is to bring up the topic of religion. Continue reading »

For School Leaders – Three Steps to Improve Readiness

November 12, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

As more and more potentially life threatening events impact the day-to-day operations of schools around our country, we at The CP Journal are often asked by school leaders what steps they can take to improve the overall sense of security for their staff, students, and parents. While there are many things that schools can do to improve the overall safety of their facilities, the work that we do at The CP Journal primarily focuses on teaching people how to improve their overall sense of situational awareness and gain skills in recognizing the signs of potentially threatening human behavior. Bear in mind that once a person with violent intentions enters a school building, your time to prevent a harmful situation is significantly reduced. Because of that, we often work with schools to build processes to observe people much further left of bang to identify actions that warrant further attention. “Bang” in this context serves as any harming incident that you are working to prevent on school grounds, and we want people to be able to get as far left of bang as possible. Here are a few steps to consider when you are building your internal processes of observation and threat recognition in order to get there.

The first step that school leaders can take is to define Continue reading »

How We Work – Technology and Platforms

August 14, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

I got to sit down with a friend this week before I presented at the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) conference. I listened to him talk about how he was getting ready to strike out on his own and start his own company. As he talked, his excitement was hugely apparent, but he had a few questions about how we at The CP Journal work, set up the underlying processes that we rely on and what technology we use. Since I was getting ready to speak in just a little while, I only gave him some big picture thoughts, but told him I’d follow up with more detailed information. The email that I was planning on sending to him grew to be quite long, so I figured I’d break it up into a series of posts to share it here so that any other entrepreneurs getting ready to make the leap can find it useful as well.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting new pieces to this series to show how we collect information to stay current, the technology that runs our website, and some of the processes we use to run our company. If you’re looking for the usual weekend reading article we post each Friday, sign up for the Weekly Profile to see the articles we are reading and want to pass on.

The technology and platforms that we use to stay connected are chosen because we work remotely and spend a lot of time travelling, which requires that everything powering our business is synced across our MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. While the software we have chosen to use make life easier for us, they also help us to deliver better service to our clients.

Platforms and Software

Everything we do is stored in and collaborated on through Evernote. With different Continue reading »

The State of the Internet

July 8, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

The purpose of this post is to make you aware of an annual report, “The State of the Internet,” that was recently released for 2015. Venture capitalist Mary Meeker and her firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, publish this report annually on their website and deliver it in person throughout the tech world as a presentation to a live audience. This report serves as a deep dive into what is happening online today and trends associated with Internet usage (you can find the complete report here.) This post will outline some key takeaways from this year’s report, how some of the research in the report aligns with the work that we do here at The CP Journal, and how these trends have led to some product enhancements that we are making to continue to improve the work that we do with our clients.

The complete presentation of “The State of the Internet,” is also delivered annually by Meeker to people in the tech world. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the “State of the Internet” report, and it was delivered at Re/Code’s Code Conference this June. To learn about this annual conference and what goes on there, you can check out their site here.

This report is packed with useful information that can be helpful for anyone. In particular, people that use the Internet as a part of their everyday life will be able to put their time spent surfing the net into context, such as who is using it, how often they are using it, and to do what. Companies that rely on the Internet for their businesses will find the content useful and parents who have children that spend a significant amount of time on the Internet will have some data to help better understand what’s occupying the attention of their children. There are also trends within the report that directly correlate to the work that we do here at The CP Journal and that have shaped how we have enhanced our programs to improve the experience for our clients.

  1. Benefits of Online Training: Meeker points out that the impact of the Internet on people and organizations has been extraordinary and broad, specifically in two areas that we at The CP Journal operate in: Security/Safety/Warfare and Education. The degree, however, to which the Internet has changed behavior and individual decisions that people make still has room to grow.  We have found when working with new clients that people’s original inclination is to continue to train people by setting up an in-person training seminar. While we thoroughly enjoy delivering in-person classes, participating in our online training has enormous benefits for organizations. The e-learning capabilities that clients can utilize are opportunities that we continue to encourage clients to seize. While in-person training does deliver great results, online training does as well. Students and leaders benefit from the ability to replay modules, take the course on their own time, and not be visibly benchmarked against other people in the same room.  We have noticed that once leaders embrace The CP Journal’s online program, they see the direct benefits of having a scalable way to train their team on these valuable skills that can enhance the way they do their jobs. This conversion, however, takes time, as online training has only rapidly become prominent in recent years.

Continue reading »

Changing The Negative Narrative: How the 20-60-20 Theory Can Improve Public Perception

June 18, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

This article was also published in the Journal of Illinois Tactical Officer’s Association.

Public perception of and support for law enforcement is a “point in time” statistic. It isn’t fixed or written in stone. It is something that can be influenced and improved or it can deteriorate and decline, but it isn’t permanent. I know how frustrating it can be for many of the 1.2 million law enforcement officers in America[1] to be judged because of the actions of a few people. It was no different for the 1.4 million members of the military who were judged because of what eleven soldiers did at Abu Ghraib. While national news outlets have been effective at shaping the current negative perception of police officers, that image does not have to endure. In the wake of the Baltimore riots this past April, allow me to provide an approach and a method to police officers who want to rebuild trust and support in the communities they patrol and overcome the negative narrative.

The 20-60-20 Theory is a framework that I recommend law enforcement officers consider when seeking to earn the trust of the neighborhoods they work in. The 20-60-20 Theory helps to define things that you can control and should in turn focus on, as well as the things that you can’t control and shouldn’t spend time dealing with. The 20-60-20 Theory is built off the Pareto Principle, which is often discussed as the “80-20 Rule,” which says that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. If you were to apply the 80-20 Rule to business, it would say that 80% of a company’s revenue comes from 20% of their customers. Another example is that 20% of a company’s employees cause 80% of their problems. If you apply a standard distribution to the 80-20 Rule, you would create a bell curve with an equal 20% of the population on each end of the spectrum and a remaining 60% of the population in the middle, as shown in the diagram.

20-60-20 Theory

From Theory To Policing

When you apply the 20-60-20 Theory to law enforcement, this principle shows that there is going to be 20% of the population that is never going to support police officers. There is simply nothing Continue reading »

Free Virtual Job Fair – June 5th

June 3, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security
A virtual job fair will be held on June 5th from 11AM to 4PM for all veterans, transitioning military members and spouses.  Anyone interested can visit Job Fair Friday to sign up for free.
Get My Vet a Job, based in Gilbert, AZ, has coordinated the event with companies from around the country.  There will be representatives from organizations with 3,000 job openings.  Here is the link to the article from BizWest with more detail and helpful links.  Before you attend the virtual interviews sessions, check out our blog at www.cp-journal.com/blog for help putting your best self forward.  Here are a couple of posts that might be helpful for you:

Good luck and, as always, let us know if there is anything we can do to better support you and your career advancement.

Articles in ITOA News

April 2, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

This week, Jonathan and I had articles published in “ITOA News: The Journal Of The Illinois Tactical Officers Association.”

The longer our friendship with ITOA has continued, the more impressed we are with the resources and training they provide their members.  If you are an officer in Illinois, make sure you check them out.


The two articles were:

  • “What Keeps You Up At Night and What Are You Doing About It?” by Patrick Van Horne.  This article looks at how the various “solutions” that police departments are offered in the wake of the increase in officer ambushes and how officers can evaluate their effectiveness.
  • “The Three Buckets of Control” by Jonathan Smith.  This article takes a look at the time people spend focusing on things out of their control and the impact that this has on performance reviews, interviewing, learning and development.


Our CEO Will Be Sitting with You Today

March 31, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

While working on a sales desk some time ago, my team and I were told that we were going to be visited by some of the senior executives of the organization for a half-day. The goal, they said, was for the senior members of our organization to spend some time with us to see what we do first hand to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day issues we faced. This would ultimately help with their strategic decision-making going forward.

To prepare for this visit, my team and I had meetings to cover what would be expected of us and which people would be targeted as those that the executives would most likely shadow for the day. We then had a stream of meetings to review what the routine would be for that day and what we were going to try to accomplish. Some of these meetings were to serve as reminders of existing policy and some were meant to highlight the things that needed to be emphasized or deemphasized during the visit with the senior leaders.

At the time, I did see a lot of value in senior leaders spending time with my team. What bothered me about the process the most, however, was that there had to be special attention given to the visit. I didn’t agree that when senior executives were coming to the office for the day there should be special meetings or advance warning of any kind.  Later on in my career, when I became a sales manager at another organization, I used this instance from my past as a building block for my management style.  I feel very strongly that it is important for senior executives in organizations to spend time with teams like the one I was a part of. It is one thing for managers to report things to senior executives, but it is also very worthwhile for them to sit down and see for themselves. Every person on the team should be operating as if the CEO of the organization is sitting right next to them at all times.  If a team member determines that part of their workday should be spent browsing the internet, that is fine.  It is part of the day.  If someone makes a great sales call, that is excellent. On to the next one.  If someone on the team makes a mistake on the phone, that is ok. How can we learn from that mistake and scale it out to the rest of the team? You should feel comfortable and encourage the mentality that the CEO could and should be watching all of this.

As a leader it should be your goal to get your organization to the point where you trust that, if anyone within the organization, no matter what level, were going to Continue reading »

Take Blame, Give Credit

March 18, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

In 2013, I had the fortunate experience of serving as a mentor at my prior organization.  The mentor program was a leadership development program within the company and I was asked to serve as a mentor to an employee in another department to help them see a different side of the organization. One aspect of this program included a panel discussion day where three mentors hosted a talk, answered questions, discussed their careers and, if asked, gave advice to the group of mentees, which totaled about 40 total audience members.  I was told following the session that people felt they had gotten a lot of great insight from the discussion, but it’s important to note that serving as a mentor and sitting on this panel was also personally rewarding for me.  I took pages of notes during the process that I still refer to today.

One of the questions that sticks with me to this day from this panel discussion was, “If you had to sum up your professional beliefs on a bumper sticker, what would it say?” As basic as it was, I didn’t answer the question.  I told the group, which included mentees, other mentors, and various leaders within my organization, that I couldn’t think of anything just then that summed up my beliefs so succinctly.  I think that was the truth, but I also honestly had no idea what to say in that moment.  Having now spent nearly ten years with two large financial firms and in my capacity at The CP Journal, I have an answer that I feel confident in.

Take Blame, Give Credit.

In my personal and professional experiences leading me to where I am today I have found only a couple of constants.  One Continue reading »

The Three Buckets of Control

February 10, 2015 in Veterans, Business, and Security

One of the first managers that I ever had was a tremendous leader.  I thought that he was great as a leader because he was a good motivator, he was knowledgeable, and he genuinely cared about the people on his team. I was in my first role out of college and he sat me down and walked me through a concept that would continue to be a methodology for the way I think in my personal and professional lives.

To help illustrate the concepts that he taught me, the diagram above shows three circles.  For the purposes of this post, think of those circles as buckets.  In each of those buckets you could place everything that could happen to you in your daily life, including all of the things that you think about throughout each day.  Think about the buckets as follows:

  • Bucket #1:  In bucket one, place those things that you have total control over.  These are decisions that you consciously make everyday.  For example, the clothes that you chose to put on this morning, the food you purchase from the grocery store, what time you leave the house for work, etc.
  • Bucket #2:  In bucket two, place those things that you think about and can influence but don’t have total control over.  I use examples from friends and family here.  My friends and family might call me for advice on a matter and I can influence their decision by giving them my thoughts.  Ultimately, though, the decision is theirs and what they decide to do is up to them.
  • Bucket #3:  In bucket three, place all of the things that you have no control over whatsoever.  These are things like the weather, traffic, sporting events, television shows, and the stream of items on your Facebook newsfeed that you have no control over whether they are posted or not.

The buckets are drawn to the above scale because people tend to think about things in these proportions. I have met people that spend a significant amount of time thinking, worrying, and contemplating things that reside wholly in the third bucket, the things that they have no control over.  Comparatively speaking, those people spend very little time deciding how they are going to actually spend their time, what they will wear to work, or what to put into their bodies, the things that they have complete control over.

The same comparison can be drawn to people I have met in my professional life.  I have met many people that spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about third bucket stuff, and it doesn’t get them very far because Continue reading »

TED Talk Review – The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get

December 12, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

A former colleague of mine sent me this talk this week. Here is Susan Colantuono speaking at a TED Conference in Boston in 2013. I suggest taking a few minutes to watch it, as the concepts can benefit anyone who ever plans on having a job, keeping a job, or moving up in a company.  I found it extremely interesting and relevant to the work we are doing here at The CP Journal because we spend a lot of time working with and talking to military personnel and veterans, many of whom are entering, or have entered, the corporate world after service.  While this talk focuses primarily on women and their career progressions, here are my three biggest takeaways for anyone looking to land a new job or develop the skills needed to earn promotion.

Financial Acumen – In my experience interviewing military veterans, I have found that vets rarely like to go down the path of demonstrating the value that they will provide to an organization.  In their prior roles these are some of most confident and relied upon people in the world and yet they have significant amounts of doubt about their worth to an organization.  One of the first ways that a candidate can begin to think about the concept of financial acumen is to Continue reading »

In Review – The ITOA Annual Conference

November 26, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

This past week I had the honor of getting to speak at the Illinois Tactical Officers Association Annual Conference. As the threat of ambushes on law enforcement continues to grow, being able to talk to the officers who make up the organization about how the concepts in our book, Left of Bang, can help ensure their safety beyond simply “armoring up” was incredibly rewarding. It was exciting to be part of such a great line-up of speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, all pushing forward with the common goal of providing officers with resources to make them more safe on the job.

As is often the case at conferences, I had the opportunity to be introduced to many like-minded professionals. While there are a number of new blogs and books that I will be
taking a look at in the coming weeks, one resource that I wanted to pass along is a blog about recognition-primed decision making run by Fred Leland, the co-author of Adaptive Leadership Handbook: Law Enforcement and Security. I’ve only had the chance to scratch the surface of the website at this point, but there is no shortage of free resources that relate to decision-making and training available for anyone to read through. You can dig into them at: www.lesc.net/blog.

My personal highlight of the week was to be able to meet Al Mampre. If you aren’t familiar with the name, he was a medic with E Company, 2nd Bn, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne division, the unit that the book and HBO series Band of Brothers was based off of. To be asked to sign a copy of Left of Bang for someone who jumped during Operation Market Garden, was incredibly humbling.

We want to thank all of the attendees that stopped by The CP Journal booth to talk to Jonathan and I or to pick up a copy of Left of Bang. We certainly are looking forward to coming back out to the Chicago area in February for more training. If you attended the conference but didn’t sign up to receive information about that training, you can contact us to learn more.

A Difference in Support: What The Stability Institute Does Right

November 11, 2014 in Veterans, Business, and Security

I’m a pretty big football fan. On most Saturdays and Sundays, you usually don’t have to look to far to find me. I’m either in front of the TV watching a game or checking scores on my phone. This past weekend was no different, and it was great to see the NFL bringing so much attention, support and money to some worthy veteran charities.  But as this time of year brings so much attention to the military and to veterans, what does it actually mean to support the military?

As a Marine, I was taught that in every mission, there are two elements: you are either part of the main effort or part of the supporting effort.  As the Marine Corps’ doctrine, “Warfighting,” explains, the main effort represents the entire unit’s focus of effort – the bid for victory. The main effort gets assigned those tasks that need to be done to accomplish the mission. The supporting effort’s mission, on the other hand, is to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the main effort’s success.  This structure of main effort and support effort is established to provide unity of overall effort, prioritize supporting fires, and facilitate decision-making in changing circumstances by letting commanders ask themselves, “How can I best support the focus of effort?”

In both military and business settings, my experience has shown me how empowering the distinction between these two efforts can be and how it can align everyone to the focus of effort, but I’ve also seen the impact that the distinction can have on the relationship between the two groups. I have been in units where the relationship between the infantry and those in support roles is pretty contemptuous, where the support folks are treated like second-class citizens unworthy of even being associated with the mission. This is obviously not conducive to the overall effort. I’ve also seen units where the support personnel have earned the respect of those they are supporting and are considered an essential piece of what will be needed to succeed.   Since the units that “got it” and had a good relationship between the main effort and the support were constantly succeeding, the units who had abrasive relationships seemed to be constantly swimming against the current.

While there should never be a reason for someone to look at those supporting them with contempt, the difference between the units that had good and bad relationships was always the mentality of those in the supporting role. How the support forces approach their job can have a direct effect on how well the unit works together. While I have tried to quantify this for myself in the past, it really comes down to four elements that Scott Faith writes about in brilliant simplicity in his article for The Havok Journal, “4 Rules For Supporting Special Operations.

While I recommend that you read the article in its entirety, below are the four rules that Faith establishes:

Rule #1: Continue reading »