@Amber! Wow, what an awesome episode!! Very cool to have the host of the podcast in the forum!
Here are some notes from the episode.
In previous position, he focused on new ideas with existing systems. Using systems outside of original design with disciplined prototyping. Fly (what you actually want to buy) and then go buy it.
Need to work with tech innovators at a speed that makes sense for them. Cash on the day of the pitch is a game changer.
Pitch Day Benefits:
- Companies don’t have to get a bridge loan or make payroll…they can focus on mission/warfighter
- Air Force money doesn’t dilute
- We’re not asking for equity (a shark with no teeth)
- We’re patient vs venture capital
Good moves really quickly (against the clock) vs making perfect moves that take a long time. If we wait for perfection, we’ll be beat by a competitor who has a faster acquisition OODA loop than we do.
Smart phone makers are incentivized to be open because apps mean more data (profit), but doesn’t work for defense contractors. How can we replicate these incentives in defense? If you know how to do it, pull him up in the GAL and email him!
Contracting for Software:
Need to think of it as a service not a supply. A level of effort until the product is complete. Air Force working on the right metrics to measure success. Velocity? Backlog? What else?
What dev tools does the Air Force give programs? Right now you get a phone, computers, Microsoft office. Need to create software development infrastructure that is pre-approved. Air Force is taking it on this year.
What does he need from Contracting Professionals?
- Need to figure out how to contract for software as a service (standardize it)
- Figure out a way to incentivize openness in sustainment
- Shift how we work with startups. How to make it easy to get to pitch event? Need to train people how to think like investors with a portfolio of efforts. We need to figure out how to buy ideas (have to talk to team because you a buying the team’s potential). Goal is to allow companies to use Air Force “orbit” to sling shot into bigger & better things.
If you are out in the field push the envelope until it burns. If you make a mistake, just make it forward and use it as a learning event. You have top cover from him. Will reward risk taking before the result of the risk is known. Smart risk should be rewarded regardless of result. Need to take risk to get big wins.