Tag: BillionDollar

Posted in technology

How U.S. Army’s Billion-Dollar Gamble On Drone Defense Could Go Wrong

The U.S. Army has just put more than a billion dollars into a new air defense system called IM-SHORAD to protect soldiers from drone attacks. It is a vital mission – but the last time the Army tried to develop something like this the project failed horribly. And even if the new system works as intended, serious questions remain.

The U.S. has enjoyed air superiority, if not air supremacy, in every conflict for decades. American planes have swept the enemy aircraft from the sky or destroyed them on the ground. The last time an American soldier was killed by enemy air attack was during the Korean War. As a result, while the Russians and others have continued to develop generations of armored vehicles carrying surface-to-air missiles or cannon, U.S. tactical air defense has been steadily wound down. By 2005 the U.S. Army had only a handful of Avengers, essentially Hummers mounting four or eight light Stinger missiles.

In 2015 the Army identified a critical gap in its short-range air-defense (SHORAD) capability as the threat of drones emerged:

“Since 2005…The use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs – drones) has increased exponentially, and UASs have been used successfully by both sides in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict,” noted the Congressional Research Service.

The threat was underlined in 2018 when Iraqi forces supported by the U.S. trying to re-take Mosul came under sustained attack by waves of small, grenade-dropping drones. USAF jets ruled the skies above, but were no use against quadcopters flying at a few hundred feet.

In response to an urgent needs request, the Army fast-tracked a selection process for a new Initial Maneuver, Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) vehicle.

Posted in technology

The 2 Faces Of Billion-Dollar Entrepreneurship

Billion-Dollar Entrepreneurs (BDEs) are defined as entrepreneurs who have built ventures from startup to more than $1 billion in sales and valuation. Billion-Dollar Entrepreneurship (BDE-ship) is defined as the process used by BDEs to build these ventures. This blog explains the difference between the two faces of BDE-ship.

Glam Face: The business press loves to talk about the glam side of entrepreneurship and business schools love to teach it. This includes:

·     Shark Tanks and Pitch Competitions: This is where glamorous judges and investors supposedly pick winners for investments based on a few minutes of presentation. Given that sophisticated VCs wait for Aha, which is real proof of potential, do their due diligence, and yet fail on 80% of their deals, it would be interesting to see audited data to evaluate whether these smart investors on these shark tanks really invest in the ideas they hear and if they do, how do they fare.  

·     Venture Capital with its tales of instant fame, glamor and wealth where 20-something entrepreneurs use capital from super-smart financiers who can predict the future. In the VC world, glam counts. The opportunity needs to reek with potential and the entrepreneurs need to be stars – or they will be replaced by CEOs who are stars. And even with all this agglomeration of talent, VCs fail on 80% of their investments and their funds succeed only if they have a home run. Could this be one reason why only 20 VCs (you read that right, it is 20, not 20%) are said to earn about 95% of VC profits (and this is from one of the most