I'm John Robb, an author, an entrepreneur, inventor and a former USAF pilot in special operations. Welcome.
Here's some more about me, in no particular order of importance:
I wrote a book called Brave New War, which was published in April 2007 by Wiley. Remarkably, it became a top 25 book on Amazon (only 23 behind a fresh Harry Potter novel). You can purchase it here. In it, I create / detail a new form of warfare/terrorism called "open source warfare," that appears to be where 21st Century conflict is headed.
My work on open source warfare has apparently been influential, since:
- I was named a "Best and Brightest" by Esquire Magazine.
- open source warfare served as the basis for scientific research that made the cover of Nature magazine (the world's top science magazine).
- lots of people involved in warfare/terrorism wanted to meet me and have me teach them about open source warfare (i.e. The DoD, JCS, CIA, NSA, NIC, ODNI, Highlands Forum, Center for Biosecurity, and many more).
- I gave Testimony to the House Armed Services Committee (a couple of hours after Petraeus) -- found out that some of the Congressmen there had read my book.
I've also published some articles:
"Open-Source Warfare" (2005) New York Times
"Power to the People" (2006) Fast Company Magazine (this article became very popular).
Here's what I am currently thinking about, in a nutshell:
- The Future of War. Warfare is rapidly evolving. Torrential improvements in technology and globalization have combined to make it possible for small groups of violent individuals to go to war against nation-states and win. In fact, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are actually accelerating the process of development. How effective are these new methods of warfare? Here's a narrow example. In the summer of 2007, a "defunct" guerrilla group attacked a critical part of a natural gas pipeline in Mexico. This caused a cascade of failure that shut down the just-in-time manufacturing system in the northern part of the country. Network effects turned a $2,000 attack in $2.5 billion in damages. It was so effective, the group did exactly the same thing a month later. Nobody was caught.
- The Future of Peace. Resilient communities. Our tightly interconnected global system is increasingly prone to large shocks from a variety of man-made and natural causes. These shocks can disrupt flows of energy, food, commerce, and communications to produce widespread wealth destruction (at best) and famine/death (at worst). The best way to mitigate these shocks is to build resiliency at the local level so that communities can enjoy the benefits of globalization without being damaged by its excesses. I am exploring what a community needs to do to be resilient.
Here is my CV (reading it has been known to induce narcolepsy in healthy adults):
John has lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Central/South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
John has been quoted as an expert analytical source in newspapers such as the New York Times, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal and has been interviewed on the BBC, Fox, NPR, PRI, and CNBC (as well as many independent radio shows).
John's work experience includes:
- Department of Defense Counter-terrorism. John participated in global operations as a mission commander, pilot, and mission planner in a Tier One unit that worked with Delta Force and Seal Team 6. Numerous medals for exemplary service.
- World recognized technology analyst. John led the move to cover Internet technologies at Forrester Research in 1995. His research provided many of the company's top ideas and his service generated $5 m in revenue during his first year. Every Internet company that launched during those early years met with John.
- Entrepreneur. John cofounded and was the President/COO of a company that recently (2009) sold for $295 million. While at the company, he grew it from $0 to a $45 million a year in revenue (the run rate of the last quarter John worked there) and 135 people. The company is a now a global leader in financial performance testing with customers such as Fidelity, JP Morgan, and Merrill Lynch. John also ran a company that was the pioneer in weblogs, the originator of RSS (both technologies are remaking the publishing industry) and shipped the first RSS aggregator. His guerrilla marketing efforts (helped cut a deal with the NYTimes to get them to use RSS and connect the NYTimes to blogging) brought these technologies from the hobbyist market and into the mainstream.
- Building Complex Systems. John has managed large software projects from conceptualization to design to development to launch and finally to sales. These projects include a) a global performance testing system for the financial sector (54 cities on 6 continents across 23 Internet backbones), b) a consumer focused Web site in financial services that generated in excess of $2 m a quarter in revenue, c) one of the first blog publishing systems and the first RSS aggregator, d) a globally decentralized professional print system (24 cities across the globe).
John's education includes:
Other than the AF Academy, the government spent over $2.5 million training John.
- Masters of Public and Private Management, Yale University, New Haven CT (commendation for excellence)
- Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering, The United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs CO (honors program)
Other licenses and awards:
- Undergraduate Pilot Training, The United States Air Force, Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock TX
- SERE school. Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape.
- Squadron Officer's School. Mid-level manager training.
- Advanced transport pilot training.
- Advanced low-level night flight training (night vision goggles).
- Advanced interrogation resistance training.
- Terrorism survival course (including advanced driving techniques).
- Covert and clandestine mission training.
- Free-fall parachute training.
- Advanced training in multiple aircraft.
Best and Brightest (Esquire 2007)
Airline Transport Pilot's License, FAA
Eagle Scout, BSA
Webby Award 2000
If you are interesting in hearing me talk. My speaking engagements are handled by Jennifer Posda (she also manages the author and big thinker Tom Barnett). If you would like me to speak at a commercial or organizational event, please contact her directly at:
jen (at) themeritagency.com
Example: Here's the feedback I received from a recent event.