On Wednesday, Aug. 27, three members of ABC’s reality competition series “Shark Tank” --- Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and “Mr. Wonderful” himself, Kevin O’Leary --- attended the White House's Champions of Change veteran entrepreneurship event. The Champions program highlighted 11 veteran and spouse owned-businesses and nonprofits from multiple industries and geographies. From over 600 applications, these founders were chosen for the success and impact they are having on the veterans community.
The Sharks spoke to attendees about their investing philosophies and offered advice on starting out in entrepreneurship. John brought up how he invests in individuals first and products secondary. In contrast, O’Leary said he invests in a good product, but it’s up to the entrepreneur to make the business grow. According to O’Leary, veterans have the skills and attitude needed to give themselves a 20-30% better chance of success over their civilian peers. This mean finding a good product with a veteran founder makes for an easier investment decision.
One such example is RuckPack energy drinks founded by Maj. Robert Dyer. Dyer went on “Shark Tank” in 2012 and received an initial investment from O’Leary and Herjavec. In telling Dyer’s story, O’Leary offered to attendees some business advice: Create a solution, not a company. RuckPack’s product was a solution to the problem of not having the right energy drinks while deployed. Dyer and his team did not create RuckPack because they wanted a company, but because they needed a solution to their problem.
A second key point addressed by the Sharks and in discussions during the reception was that veterans tend to possess a level of humility that may hold them back. Herjavec’s point was that veteran entrepreneurs need to find the sweet spot between being humble and “…an arrogant SOB.”
John advised that when selling a product, find some “confident humility” and pitch your company, making sure to highlight all of your accomplishments as a service member and as an entrepreneur. Along the same line, make sure to use that confidence to work the veterans network. Reach out to established business owners and talk to them about their successes and mistakes. Simple suggestions from someone who has been there before will make a huge difference in the success of your business.
The more veteran entrepreneurs I meet, the more I find they want to pay it forward and help those coming behind them. Use all the power of the network to succeed and remind people of the success veterans are having after their transition to civilian life.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."