Does leading counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban have any application to a purely civilian realm? Yes, and more than you can probably imagine. I explore this question in this episode and there is so much wrapped into the answers, that it makes for an enthralling discussion about leadership, war, discipline, decision-making in the midst of uncertainty and so much more. I think you’ll love it!
My guest is Nick Copperwaite. Nick currently works in the finance sector here in London. However, prior to this he spent 17 years in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. He led operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
I know many of you have a wide range of views on war, foreign policy and military intervention. However, regardless of your perspective, I am certain that you will get a lot out of this conversation.
Nick is a great guy, with a huge amount of knowledge and insights and a very interesting journey from the battle fields of Afghanistan to the his current role working in the office complexes of Canary Wharf. I have a great amount of admiration and respect for him.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Nick’s background and what led him to joining the military – and to be clear, it is not an interest in fighting or conflict!;
- The benefits of military training;
- His time doing counter-insurgency operations, particularly in Afghanistan against the Taliban. I found this to be a fascinating discussion on Nick’s efforts in winning hearts and minds, armed conflict in the 21st Century, working with local Mullahs and local communities, and the broader limitations of counter-insurgency.
- Leading men and women into war and how he prepared for the prospect of losing lives
- Transitioning to a civilian life;
- Things he learned in the military that are highly applicable to civilian organisations, particularly:
- Leadership and how to motivate and treat others;
- Planning in the midst of uncertainty
- Whether or not we (as in Western governments) do enough to help service leavers transitions to a civilian life
- And much more!
This is an amazing conversation and I am sure you will enjoy and get a lot out of it!
The book “The Utility of Force” by Rupert Smith:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/211972.The_Utility_of_Force?ac=1&from_search=true
Today we talk history, international diplomacy, and the life of a foreign correspondent in the USA. My guest is Stéphane Bussard. Stéphane is the US correspondent at Le Temps (www.letemps.ch), the leading French-language newspaper in Switzerland and a world-class publication.
Stéphane has a very interesting background which has included being an exchange student in Leipzig, in late 1989 when it was still known as East Germany or the German Democratic Republic, and being an eye witness to the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the most monumental events in the history of the 20th Century. This event greatly influenced Stéphane’s decision to become a journalist and a foreign correspondent in particular.
We talk about this in the episode, as well as loads of other interesting topics:
- Geneva, and its place in world diplomacy;
- Uncovering secret talks between the United States, the EU and Iran;
- Being a foreign correspondent in the USA;
- Stéphane’s work tracing Barack Obama’s youth and how it shaped him as a President;
- Stéphane’s take on Obama’s legacy, including thoughts on Iran and Cuba;
- His coverage of the civil rights movement;
- The Ferguson riots;
- The upcoming US elections;
- The role of the media and journalism
- And more!
Some of Stéphane’s work:
How did everything come to be the way it is? My guest in Episode 12 of the podcast (I very deliberately decided to post this conversation in Episode 12 – listen to the episode to find out why), runs a blog and is working on a forthcoming book that attempts to answer this very question.
Kevin Knabe is a User Experience Designer. He has worked at Apple, Rodale and other leading organisations . He designs and improves the way we work with products. His blog (and book by the same name) is called “The Making of Sense” (www.themakingofsense.com). It’s awesome.
In it, Kevin applies his design background to all kinds of things and asks the simple question, “why did they design it like that?” When you read his posts, you come to understand that many of the things that we take for granted and our quite common in our everyday experience were actually designed on the basis of randomness, quirks of history, the needs or other factors present whenever the thing was invented, and many other interesting phenomena. I find the whole concept behind his blog and book to be strangely empowering.
In this episode, Kevin share many of the excerpts from his blog and forthcoming book and it makes for a very interesting and fun conversation. We talk about:
- The origin of language and writing;
- The origin of the calendar – and how it could be improved (including a proposal to celebrate Festivus);
- The concept of time – where Kevin discusses Einstein and the theory of relativity, a very trippy part of the conversation;
- Randomness and risk in design
- And more
I am sure that you will enjoy it!