What Command & Conquer Taught Me About Business
Aug201414

As I built my outline for this editorial, I nearly halted the piece altogether because of a little known gentleman named Sun Tzu – you may have heard of him.  While The Art of War is sitting on my home office desk’s bookshelf right now, I decided to follow through with this article because while there will be similarities, I am writing this through my own lens – a lens which arguably pulls the worlds of business and war together perfectly through maybe my most beloved gaming series of all-time, Command & Conquer.  While I am still a fanatic of the series, this post could easily be re-titled to encompass the entire RTS, or real-time strategy, game genre since fundamentally they are all pretty much the same.  That being said, as I approach the end of my MBA, and having been in the business world now for nearly six years, I bring you six key tenants that Command & Conquer has taught me about business – there are actually dozens more, but I’ll leave those for the comments!

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Jul201404

If the United States Marine Corps knows how to celebrate any holiday well, it would be July 4th – both the original holiday celebrating our independence from British rule, as well as the more recent victory against the alien invasion which Capt Hiller (Will Smith) and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) so thankfully repelled.  So to honor this stellar beer-drinking, sunburning three day holiday weekend, why don’t we start it off with what we Marines do best: blow stuff up.

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Jun201430

If you’re soul is searching for some much needed Monday morning motivation before you have to face Lumbergh – or maybe the company 1stSgt -, then look no further than the epicness that is the UH-1Y Huey aerial arsenal.  Firing up to 6,000 rounds per minute, the Huey’s minigun literally lights up the sky at night with rounds pouring down so quickly it looks like spiraling lasers, and the rocket system?  That’s not too shabby either.  They are even more motivating when you watch them in slow-motion; enjoy the video and hit the link below for more commentary!

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How to Lose Your Job, If You’re a Lieutenant
Jun201406

Newly commissioned officers in the Marine Corps – and I can only assume this guide will translate to my counterparts in the Army – get absolutely inundated with leadership advice, and for good reason: they are about to take responsibility not just for some company’s new project or marketing plan, but for a platoon of Marines.  So why do they fail?  Where is the disconnect?

I would argue that the consistent theme of failure is actually more precise than many believe – especially at the entry level leadership position that is Second Lieutenant.  In fact, I would argue – and I will below – that there are six primary causes for relief of command at the platoon leader level, some stronger than others, and quite frankly none all that revolutionary.

What this article is not  is another guide on leadership advice, as there are plenty of those – in the past two months alone I’ve come across three different platoon oriented leadership guides on Tom Ricks’ Best Defense Blog at ForeignPolicy.com here, here and here.  Rather, this is a guide for new lieutenants on what not to do – from a practical, bottom-line-up-front perspective, when they take that first coveted step into platoon command.  The goal, or end state if you will (hey, I’m in the IRR), is to provide awareness to those wide-eyed, leadership advice-seeking sponges with gold bars on their collars so that they can focus their time on not only what they’ve been trained to do, but their most important task: leading Marines or Soldiers.

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Jun201405

What’s better than a live SMAW rocket exploding on a known Taliban position in Afghanistan?  Two SMAW rockets – because in the Marine Corps we don’t like to fight fair.  Ever.  Maybe that’s why we win all the time?  Anywho, above is a stellar moto video out of one of my former vacation spots – Helmand Province – which features a patrol that unleashes not one, but TWO Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon rockets at what started off as a Taliban position, and then likely ended up being more of that lovely Afghan moon dust.  More after the video and the link below!

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Funny Marine Corps Pictures for Well, Marines
Jun201404

It’s crazy to think that I have now been off active duty from my beloved Marine Corps for two and a half years – the time has really flown by, and while I miss a lot of it, there’s a lot that I don’t.  The tendencies – all good ones, of course – will always be a part of me, which is why I’ll always get a kick out of pics that really capture the true humor of the Marine Corps.  So therefore, I present to the swelling military and Marine Corps community (all branches welcome!) here at SQ, part 1 of funny Marine Corps pictures for well, Marines!

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Books We Like: Inside the Jihad, My Life With Al Qaeda
May201425

“Gentlemen, at this very moment, there are Al Qaeda forces that are training to kill you and your Marines.  They train high up in the oxygen-depleted mountains of Afghanistan, and if you think our training is hard, then try hauling a PKM (Soviet-style, medium machine gun) up to 12,000 feet, in bare feet over rocky terrain – oh, and at night without NVG’s.”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that comment during my four years in the Marine Corps – which included a seven month hunting trip to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province – but it was a lot.  And it was motivating.  Little did I know however, was that this quote was actually legitimate; it’s not that I thought it wasn’t true, but you know how things can be exaggerated. I uncovered the truth just a few short weeks ago as I finished up maybe the most thrilling spy story I have ever read: Inside the Jihad – My Life with Al Qaeda, by Omar Nasiri. It is the jaw-dropping story of a former spy that infiltrated the most dangerous terrorist organization on the planet, and lived to tell about it.  And this is a post telling you to go get this book – as in right now.

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Week In Review
May201417

Week In Review1

Posted like a champ in Laugh, Listen, Live, Play, Watch

You’re quickly learning that Slightly Qualified likes all things pop culture. Throw in military videos and gaming panache, and we’re probably one of the more eclectic websites you’ve had the pleasure of viewing. We’re a diversified portfolio of interweb goodness.

Raffman posted about a crossfit chap who did 106 – scratch that – zero pull ups at once. He also talks about a 500 lb bomb that almost hit the wrong soldiers. Raffman also discusses a few iOS games like Knifehand and Wayward Souls. And to keep us in touch with our memes, he collected all kinds of fun ginger and Canada pics for your perusing enjoyment. Make sure you don’t miss out on Bill Murray impersonating Harry Caray either.

I had fun writing about some Pandora stations you probably should be listening to. We’re still quoting from these five movies and cannot, for the life of us, stop it. Technically, these were from last week, but make sure you pick up the new Black Keys album Turn Blue and three minutes of your life is a small price for watching Eric Bana in the Deliver Us From Evil trailer.

Our friends at Linkiest are covering everything from athletes to unicorns. LFGdating remains the only dating site for the gamer/geek/nerd in you. And Clumsy Crooks catalogues all things insanely stupid about criminals and their inability to do their job well.

May201417

Oh, CrossFit.  You’ve become so popular over the last decade – and even in my Marine Corps – but sometimes you make me laugh. This video is one of those times.  You see, and our Marines out there in SQ Nation will definitely get this, when I watch this video I started laughing hysterically because I pictured a gunnery sergeant or SNCO standing in front of this dude with his arms crossed across his chest, shaking his head left to right in disgust and saying one word over, and over again.  That one word is “zero”, because if this guy tried to count any of those “pull ups” as actual freaking pull ups, none of them would have counted, and if it were boot camp or OCS, this guy would have been swarmed worse than a guy I know at OCS who asked the drill instructor on the morning of Day 2 if he could get a cup of coffee.  HAHA, I just laughed again!  More on this hilarious CrossFit video after the jump!

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KnifeHand: the iOS Game for Marines Standing By to Stand By
May201416

Listen up Marines: sit, kneel, bend, or do whatever you have to do to keep yourselves awake for this brief, because it pertains to that rampant boredom naturally overcomes every single one of you after hours upon hours of standing by to stand by.  Just recently I came across a new iOS game developer – a former Marine – who makes iPhone games specifically for us.  The game development company’s name is SgtBit, and the game I present to SQ Company, 1st Civ Div is KnifeHand: an addicting, but simple side scrolling platform runner in which you run across mud rooftops in Afghanistanimationland in nothing but skivvies, police calling as much as you can along the way while avoiding NJP’s and some guy named Jody (creator’s name, perhaps?).  Can you beat my high score? Probably not; more details and the official SQ KnifeHand High Score challenge below!

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May201415

Alright, everyone check your pants.  Okay, now check them again.  In a combat zone, direct air support – whether it comes from a Huey or an AC-130 Gunship – is almost always a motivational, morale-boosting, and Taliban-smoking experience.  I say almost always because sometimes mistakes are made in either the chain of communication when placing the order for a Super Sized, 500 pound bomb, or in the actual delivery by the pilot in the sky.  In this instance that was one of those moments in which a mistake was made, but thankfully no friendlies were hurt.  Don’t pass on this video – as always more salty commentary after the link!

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Marine Gets Hilarious Deployment Letter from Kid
May201414

If you’ve deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq over the last decade, then you’ve likely received or seen one of your buddies crack open a care package filled with dozens of cards from kids.  I have a mother, sister and multiple cousins that are school teachers, so you could say I got my fair share of cards from kids back home, and I would say one out of every ten or so was an absolutely hilarious one.  Kids – especially when they’re young – don’t know anything but honesty, so that can result in some award-winning deployment cards.  I thought I had seen some awesome ones until the one below (hit that link – you know you want to) pretty much trumped it.

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