Startup Leaders Need to Learn how to Build Companies Ready for Crisis

Startup Leaders Need to Learn how to Build Companies Ready for Crisis

It’s been a tough year for the business. Cloud downtime and supply-chain disruptions from ransomware attacks and power outages, communicating with customers and stakeholders about what is going wrong and why is never important. Yet, it has never been harder to deliver accurate and timely messages, often with partial information and misinformation than official words. Considering the complexities of this environment, I wanted to invite a team of experts at the outset to talk more broadly about what the concept of a critical future is for technology companies and businesses.

We had a great set of three people on how to create preventable orgs, how to manage decentralization technically today, and how to prioritize crisis management in everyday worldly activities. Joining us was:

  • John Wisniewski is Acoled’s Chief Information Protection Officer (CISO), and he was previously the director of data protection at the Pokemon Company. He served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as chief of executive communications and, yes, Brother Anna.
  • Admiral Thad Allen, who was the Coast Guard Commandant and Commander of the Atlantic Coast during his career during 9/11, and Katrina Hurricane, led the federal response during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • Anna Wisniewski, who worked with Allen as the Coastguard’s first digital presence officer and head of media, is now senior director of communications and community at H20.I and former global director of disaster communications for Amazon Web Services.

Danny Crichton: You’ve all been in contact with disaster for decades. What are some of the top-level things you have learned about the field?

Admiral Thad Allen: People with great communication and great communication cannot save a dysfunctional organization. Only you, as the parent can know for sure. I want to say that this is as a proviso because I have seen a lot of people try to contact them to get out of trouble.

The big difference between Katrina’s 2005 and Deepwater Horizon oil spills in 2010 was that Katrina preceded Twitter and Facebook, and Deepwater followed. In the old days, you went out and did your job. There may have been a post-work report, but it was quite effective within your organizational structure. I’m really going to date myself. We sent troops to Somalia [around 1993]. It was the first time in history that CNN saw people coming ashore from amphibian vehicles and I knew life had changed dramatically.

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