Bin Laden Dead. Now What?

Wow, what a historic day yesterday.  It will be one of those moments for me, like the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster or Princess Diana’s death, where I will remember forever where I was and what I was doing the moment I heard the news.  I was gathered with friends, including Sudhir “Suds” Kandula, to watch the finale of “America’s Next Great Restaurant” in which Suds was a top 3 finalist when the NBC News Special Report interrupted the broadcast.  Unfortunately, Suds came in 2nd place, but the Bin Laden news was an epic prize for all of us.  A particular sweet justice for all of service men and women who have sacrificed so much over the past decade.

I’ve been amazed at the pace of information flow, particularly on Twitter, regarding the Bin Laden situation.  Twitter stated that at the beginning and end of President Obama’s speech, there were over 5,100 tweets per second on their network.

I’m certainly not qualified to talk intelligently on the subject of what Bin Laden’s death means to global terrorism, so I’ll instead share a few of the most interesting articles I’ve come across in the last 24 hours.

However, I will say this – I for one don’t believe that Bin Laden’s death spells the end of Al Qaeda or that Al Qaeda becomes so fractured and disorganized that it becomes completely ineffective.   If there is any organization in the world that should have a detailed succession plan in place for leadership, it would be Al Qaeda.   Setting emotion aside for a second, Bin Laden created an evil but effective worldwide organization that operated efficiently in a decentralized way – and did so at the same time that all superpower countries built their own organizations with the sole purpose of destroying Al Qaeda and killing its leadership.  Can you imagine operating an organization under those terms?  He was a ruthless mass-murderer, but he was not stupid.  I fear that in some respects Bin Laden may be more powerful dead than alive, at least in the near term.

Here are links to several interesting, and differing points of views on what Bin Laden’s death means for the world and the U.S.:

  • The Special Ops Team that executed the mission against Bin Laden.
  • Maps of the Bin Laden compound, in unbelievable detail.
  • An alternative and somewhat brutal point of view on Bin Laden’s impact on U.S. Government and U.S. citizen behavior entitled “He Won“.
  • Debate among New York Times columnists on the impact of this historic event.

What do you think Bin Laden’s death means for Al Qaeda, global terrorism and the U.S.?

My Favorite Twitter Follows

I wanted to follow up a prior post on my favorite startup blogs with a post on a handful of my favorite Twitter follows.  These are a group of folks, most of whom I only know by reputation, that have something to say or news to share about technology, startups or entertainment.  As I mentioned previously, Twitter has become a go-to source of news and insights for me, an incredibly efficient way to absorb a lot of information quickly.  Enjoy!

News, Technology & Startups

  • @TrueCar – of course.
  • @TechCrunch – the leading startup blog, news feed.  Good iPhone app too.
  • @TEDNews – news source for incredible human innovations
  • @venturehacks – Startup advice
  • @nytimes – Also on my iPhone
  • @cnnbrk – CNN Breaking News
  • @GOOD – An association of “pragmatic idealists” focusing on issues of Good in the world
  • @Oxfam – An international group of 15 organizations across the world developing solutions for poverty & injustice.
  • @bfeld – Brad Feld, VC and prolific blogger, highlighted in a prior post.  Highly active on Twitter.
  • @msuster – Mark Suster, Entrepreneur turned VC, very active blogger and on Twitter.
  • @sacca – Chris Sacca, Entrepreneur and early investor in Twitter.  Highly active.
  • @Bill_Gross – Founder of Idealab and 100 other companies over 30 years
  • @tferriss – Tim Ferriss, author of “4-Hour Work Week” and “4-Hour Body”.  Interesting and unique.
  • @fredwilson – Highly regarded VC and daily blogger.
  • @cdixon – Chris Dixon, entrepreneur founder of Hunch.
  • @davemcclure – Founder of 500startups, a seed fund and startup accelerator.
  • @hnshah – Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of KissMetrics, great insights for entrepreneurs.
  • @bhorowitz – Ben Horowitz, Founder of LoudCloud turned VC.  Phenomenal blog that I inadvertently left off my previous post.

Entertainment & Other

  • @SudsNYC – Sudhir Kandula, a friend and top 3 finalist in “America’s Next Great Restaurant”.
  • @playgrounddad – Connecting modern dads with products/events that help them spend better time with their kids.
  • @StartupJesus – Fake Jesus, runs a startup that is “going to change the world”.  Of course it will.
  • @ConanOBrien – love his humor and his show.
  • @BorowitzReport – Andy Borowitz, hilarious quips on current events.  King of the one-liners.
  • @donttrythis – Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters
  • @TheOnion – America’s finest fake news source
  • @bobsaget – ever since he appeared on Entourage, I can’t get enough of him.
  • @shitmydadsays – Justin who lives with his 74-year old dad.  4-letter word alert, but freakin’ funny.

What are some great Twitter follows that I missed?

My Love Affair With Twitter

OK, so I have been a little slow on the uptake as far as social media goes.  I’m an Ops guy after all, not a self-promoting marketer, although this blog is an attempt to come out of my shell just a bit.  Sure, I’ve been a Facebook participant for years but more in a voyeur sense than a true active participant.

I never really “got” Twitter, largely due to a misconception, my second such realization in the past month when it comes to the use of technology.  My perception of Twitter has been based in the belief that its value (or lack thereof) was solely to communicate “what someone is doing right now” whether that be picking up a 6-pack at the grocery store or spying on Tom Hanks at the Beverly Hills Starbucks.  Like I have the time, energy or desire to receive up-to-the-minute status updates from quasi-friends or in many cases people I don’t know at all.  Or worse, that I have to have the added pressure in my day to tell people “I just saw Tom Hanks at Starbucks” or some other unimportant tweet.

But as I’ve committed my personal and professional development to dig deeper into social media, branch out professionally, write this blog and most important, dedicate a portion of my day to consume more information (technology news, trends, insights, points of view from respected voices in the technology community), I’ve discovered just how incredibly useful and productive services like Twitter can be to accomplishing the efficient consumption of large amounts of information.

Most of the folks I follow on Twitter are technology industry participants – entrepreneurs, VC’s, bloggers – who have been successful and have something, usually insightful, to say that is interesting to me from a personal or professional development standpoint.  It’s like a giant filtering mechanism for me, they filter and highlight news, information and their own point of view so I don’t have to find all this juicy content on my own.  I can scan tweets quickly and choose to click through links when something catches my eye.

So, it’s not just about trivial, useless updates of personal behavior or whereabouts (although there is some of that), but also about “following” those on Twitter that you genuinely respect and believe that the content they “tweet” is somehow useful in your life, whether personal or professional.

Another key point and major distinction from Facebook – the majority of the people I follow on Twitter, I’ve never met and they don’t likely know me, so I can “follow” or “un-follow” people based solely on the quality of the information I’m getting.  Much more difficult to do on Facebook.  As much as I’d like to, “un-friending” someone on Facebook who you know can be painful to do.  As a result, I get limited useful knowledge-based information from Facebook, it’s simply a way to keep up with folks and what’s going on in their lives and share the same in return.

Finally, I do feel a sense of responsibility to also contribute content to the social communities that provide value to me.  So posting on Facebook or tweeting content on Twitter is something I’m doing more regularly now – not that anyone cares, but hey, if it’s not valued then I’ll be un-followed or un-friended.

Until then, follow me on Twitter!

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