As you may be aware, we are currently working on the 2nd edition of my book about the origins, growth, and practices of SAIC, titled The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company. The manuscript is currently being edited by our publisher, and we hope to have the book available for purchase in April or May.
SAIC itself has gone through great change over the past several years, and I believe many of these changes were not for the better. For example, the IPO resulted in significant loss of shareholder value, while the dismantling of the employee-ownership culture has removed one of the company’s most important tools for recruiting, retaining, and engaging talented people. And the recent split up of the company into two new businesses has greatly lessened SAIC’s economies of scale. I address these issues and more in the 2nd edition of the book.
To reflect these changes in SAIC, I am considering the possibility of changing the subtitle of The SAIC Solution. Instead of “How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company,” I would like something that better reflects the entire history of the company. That is where you come in. I am reaching out to the readers of this blog to suggest a new subtitle for The SAIC Solution. The winner will get to join me for a cruise on San Diego Bay on my boat Solutions, with lunch at Sally’s at the Manchester Hyatt. You will, of course, need to arrange your own travel to San Diego to redeem this award.
While we’re at it, I would also like to see if anyone has ideas for a tagline for the book — a short, dynamic statement that sums up the idea of the book in just a handful of words. If we use your idea, then you will also get to join me on my boat and for lunch at Sally’s.
Please submit your ideas to email@example.com no later than Friday, January 31 to be considered.
I hope everyone has a happy and successful 2014.
We will soon be publishing The SAIC Solution 2nd Edition and would love for current and former SAIC/Leidos employees to be part of the book cover photo block. Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of yourself while working at SAIC/Leidos (at least 1 MB), the years you worked at the company, your department, etc. Thank you.
I hope you are all looking forward to the New Year like I am. It has been quite a year for me, but I still have much to do. I am very pleased with the progress we made in 2013 on a variety of different projects and initiatives. It gives me hope that there still is a future for employee ownership. In fact, from what I can see, interest in it is growing.
I am happy to see that the economy continues to improve by most measures, though the Republicans and Democrats both stumbled badly with their handling of the government shutdown. It was unnecessary, and it caused disruptions within most federal government agencies with ripples throughout the government contracting industry. I sincerely hope that our politicians in Washington will stop their partisan bickering and work more closely together in 2014.
Of course, the big news this year was the split up of SAIC into two separate companies. It is something I did not favor, but now that it is done, I wish both companies and their employees all the best.
In February, my wife Betty was selected by the San Diego chapter of the American Heart Association to be recognized among their Legendary Women of the Heart.
In March, the FED’s new film about employee ownership We the Owners went into wide release, with screenings for a number of universities and business groups in the US and Europe. The film has been received very well by the public, business schools, and the employee ownership community. It has earned endorsements from a variety of organizations including the MIT Sloan School of Management and the National Center for Employee Ownership, and has received awards and selections by numerous film festivals.
In April, SAIC’s new CEO Tony Moraco stopped by my home for a visit, and he left me feeling good about the company’s leadership and future. I was saddened that month by the passing of my good friend Ed Frieman, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy and was director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.
In May, Katherine Sebeck was named as a 2013-2014 fellow for the J. Robert Beyster Computational Innovation Graduate Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, and in June my daughter Mary Ann attended the opening of a time capsule buried at Campus Point 25 years earlier.
In July, the FED hosted its fifth annual Beyster Summer Symposium and the number of fellows — and the research they are producing on employee ownership — continues to grow. While I made it to the ripe old age of 89 that month, Detroit wasn’t so fortunate — declaring bankruptcy and going on life support. For someone who grew up in Detroit during its heyday, this outcome was particularly tragic.
In September, SAIC was officially and irrevocably split apart, and in October my new book with Mike Daniels — Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions — was published.
All in all, it was an exciting and productive year. I would like to thank everyone at the Foundation for Enterprise Development and the Beyster Institute for all their hard work in 2013. I look forward to following your future accomplishments with great interest. I invite my friends and colleagues to let me know how you are doing from time to time via this blog.
Have a Happy New Year.
Mike Daniels has been very busy speaking on behalf of our book, Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions. He is doing a great job — I wish I could be there in person.
Two of Mike’s recent talks are available on the Internet for viewing. The first is an Entrepreneurship Hour Talk Mike gave at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan on November 1st. The second is from George Mason University where he participated in the Brown & Brown Distinguished Speaker Series on November 4th. If you have an interest in the role of Network Solutions in the commercialization of the Internet — and how SAIC played a key part — I think you will find Mike’s videos of great interest.
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Betty and I attended the FED Christmas Party last week and we had a very enjoyable time. It was great to see many of my long-time friends from SAIC, along with FED and Beyster Institute staff. The party was at Roppongi in La Jolla, and the food was good.
Speaking of Roppongi, I have been having lunch there with Robert Craig every Tuesday. Ralph has been inviting some of my old friends to join us at these lunches. Please contact Ralph if you are interested in having lunch with us.
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I am still making field trips away from home every week. Last week we drove to Santa Monica, where we had lunch at Water Grill, right across from the beach. I had a 1.5 pound spiny lobster, calamari, an oyster, and bread pudding for dessert. I was pleased with my choices.
My wife Betty recently showed me an interesting article about a proposal to turn parts of the original Los Alamos Laboratory property into a national park. The proposal would include 17 buildings in six industrial sites within the lab’s boundaries.
The Pajarito site and some buildings in downtown Los Alamos are also a part of the proposed park, as is the V-site, where the Trinity device (the “Gadget”) was assembled and the Fat Man device was tested before being dropped on Nagasaki. It has been some time since I have been to Los Alamos, but I would enjoy seeing some of the historic areas of the labs turned into a national park or museum.
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I am sure by now you have seen the video of Amazon’s proposed Prime Air delivery system, which uses drones to deliver items to customers within 30 minutes after an order is placed. I am impressed with this idea — it is an ingenious use of something originally built for military purposes.
This is similar to what happened with the Internet, which was originally developed by the Department of Defense, and was eventually transitioned to commercial use — in great part by Network Solutions when it was a part of SAIC. According to Jeff Bezos, there are a number of hurdles to get over before Amazon will be able to roll out this new service, but they are regulatory in nature, not technical.
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We had a good Thanksgiving at the Beach and Tennis Club. It was a beautiful day at the beach. In addition to Betty and the kids, we were joined by Joe Pasquale and Paul Kouris. The dogs had to stay home this year.
The big news in Washington today seems to be the deal that President Obama reached with Iran on their nuclear technology program. As you probably know by now, there are a number of limits placed on Iran which are meant to prevent the country from developing a nuclear device.
This includes limiting the number of centrifuges to 11,000, stopping the production of uranium beyond the 5% level, and diluting or converting any existing uranium that is above that percentage to the 5% level or below. In exchange, we will provide Iran with between $6-7 billion in sanctions relief.
While I understand the Administration’s desire to strike a deal with Iran, I personally do not believe that we can trust them to follow through on their promises. Their track record has been poor at best.
Israel has much more to lose from a nuclear Iran than we do here in the United States, so I hope that they decide for themselves what they want to do to respond to Iran’s growing threat. They have much more flexibility than we do.
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We will be doing our traditional Thanksgiving at the Beach and Tennis Club this year. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.