Merchant Newsletter - November 11, 2006

Management Training: Business IS Combat!

Turning the principles into practice, we prepare for flight!

While this experience was a heck of a lot of fun,  the combination of the information and doctrines in "Business is Combat", coupled with the real life experience of actually sitting in the cockpit, going up in the air and actually performing aerial combat maneuvers was incredibly educational and enlightening.  Now, we can come back to earth, and apply these doctrines.  One, from the book says :Don't use last year's missile on this year's MIG".  Good advice.  Expect new products from us for both handhelds and PC's in the coming months! 

Upon returning from our Air Combat Experience, and after having "killed" each other repeatedly, we walked away with valuable knowledge, experience, and an appreciation for those who do this for a living.


A large percentage of our merchants are entrepreneurs, and so the following scam appears quite interesting to them. The scam starts with an email (first clue), from a company looking for work at home employees. (and who doesn't want that?) All you have to do, is act as the US representative for their company.  No sales involved, simply accept, and cash payments in behalf of the company, sending the funds to them via Western Union, and keep a percentage for yourself!  Some of these scams actually claim to offer health care!

If this sounds too good to be true, it is.  What actually happens, is after you sign up and become an "employee", checks magically appear in your mailbox. They may even be Postal Money Orders.  You start getting dollar signs in your eyes, so to keep the money flowing, you deposit these items, and after your bank issues a credit to your account, you feel safe, so you march off to the nearest Western Union office to send off the company's percentage.

Weeks later, when you think you are getting wealthy, reality hits you like a tennis racket putting some topspin on your head.  All the checks and money orders are beginning to bounce, even the Postal Money orders!  What happened? Basically, when you signed up, the fraudsters started sending you forged checks from hacked accounts, checks that initially clear, but when the account holder sees them, they have it reversed. This technique gives the fraudsters more time to scam you.  The Money orders were faked as well, as they know it takes weeks for them to be rejected and returned to your bank.  The result, you are responsible for 100% of the FULL VALUE of the checks you deposited.

We recently completed the most unique, exhilarating, and memorable business management training imaginableFirst, we started with former F-15 Pilot James D. Murphy's book "Business is Combat". This highly recommended book highlights the analogies between your employees and an aircraft's ground crew: they exist so you- "the pointy end of the spear" can accomplish the mission.  It points out that like fighter air combat, the battle is most often won by the owner of the highest technology (of course, our merchants know this one..).  You can get the book itself from the link above, and find out more, improving your business management skills in the process.

In order to "bring home" these principles, we signed up with AirCombat USA. Air Combat USA is the largest, most recognized air combat school in the world. They have been featured on hundreds of television shows including The Apprentice and Good Morning America. The mission at Air Combat USA is to provide an extraordinary fighter pilot experience. They set the standard for program design and execution, offering a fighter pilot experience second to none. Captain Mike Blackstone, founder and president of Air Combat USA, developed and patented the tracking system that verifies an air-to-air "kill" and equipped the aircraft with onboard cameras to ensure that the entire experience is recorded on digital videocassette for playback after the engagements.  You can see their videos of Air Combat Training here.

As in business, besides being exhausting, the lesson that you must always keep the target in focus- "Keep your Eyes on the Prize" Is brought painfully home in this real exercise.  Taking your eyes off the target gets you a couple hundred rounds up your tailpipe.  In business, losing focus on the goal due to day-to-day problems can be just as disastrous.

Participating in the Air Combat were Dr Blaine Leckett, Ph.D., our CTO:

Flying in the SIAI Marchetti SF-260, a side-by-side aircraft much like the Intruder. with a top speed of 236 kts.

And against Dr. Leckett, was Dennis Ideue, our CEO:

Flying the Extra 300L, a front-and-back seater, configured like the Phantom and Tomcat, with a top speed of 220kts.

AirCombat USA has a rather impressive fleet consisting of there two types of aircraft,  and can even accommodate large corporations who want to follow in our footsteps.

In the air, everything takes on a different perspective.  "Turning and burning" in three dimensions, while trying to line up the target reticule on an opponent who is just as determined to shoot you is a LOT different than it looks like on TV...


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