Zoom calls the last Tuesday night of every month at 8pm Eastern Time.
Deep conversations between hyper-intelligent knuckle-draggers.

Talk is cheap... WAY cheaper than making your own mistakes.

You know that talking-in-a-circle thing we do sitting around the wardroom after evening chow, when we're too late to hit the rack and too caffeinated to sleep anyway, but too early to relieve the watch and too tired to do any actual work?

That's a Bull Session.

RINGKNOCKER Bull Sessions are topical, about 90 minutes long, and open to any current or former military officer. Bring a great idea or take one home: we might not solve the world's problems in an hour, but we can take a bite out of one of yours.

Register for a RINGKNOCKER Bull Session below!





Going Agile: Iterative Project Management On Purpose, By Design



This Shattered Wasteland: Navigating Divorce


Tribify Anyone: Generating Affinity and Community from Great Ideas


2020-06-30 The GTD Machine: Getting Things Done in a Mobile, Digital World

This was RINGKNOCKER Bull Session #4!

Today's discussion focuses on the "Getting Things Done" methodology described by David Allen in his book of the same name. GTD was initially conceived as a paper system, but is now the governing paradigm underlying any number of task management platforms. Even so, implementations vary, and GTD aficionados struggle to find that one platform that supports GTD perfectly... frictionlessly... effortlessly.

Everything changed a few years ago with the advent of cloud-based tools like Evernote and integration services like Zapier. Now, the right mashup of mobile and cloud-based tools will give you GTD, exactly the way you want it. It's frictionless. Tasking just shows up in one central inbox: whether it started in an e-mail, in Slack, or even on a paper letter, it's only a click away. And it fits in your pocket: there is NO paper, and the only device you need to operate the thing on a daily basis is a mobile phone.

That's a sweet way to do business. And today we're going to talk about how you can get it.

2020-06-23 Fragility, Robustness, and Anti-Fragility: The Science of Thriving No Matter What

This was RINGKNOCKER Bull Session #3!

Today's discussion focuses on fragility and anti-fragility, twin concepts formalized by trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his influential Incerto series. This is the work that popularized the term Black Swan, a so-called highly unlikely, catastrophic event. The Coronavirus pandemic is a Black Swan: an event that injects extreme volatility into just about everything.

Volatility is a product of randomness. Sometimes there's a little. Sometimes there's a lot. And sometimes there's so much that the whole world blows up.

Fragile things are negatively affected by extreme volatility. Examples: crystal vases. Fancy restaurants. Central banks. Short options.

Robust things are neutrally affected by extreme volatility. Examples: combat boots. Grocery stores. Government contractors. Treasury bonds.

The Anti-Fragile is positively affected by extreme volatility. Muscle. Character. Pizza delivery services. Long options. All these things thrive on hardship.

Today we deconstructed anti-fragility, and examined how that concept can be deployed into a decision-making framework that reliably converts disaster into opportunity.

2020-06-16 Becoming a Digital Nomad: Living and Working Where and How You Want

This was RINGKNOCKER Bull Session #2!

The participants in this conversation range the gamut in age and experience. Some are still in the Navy and are approaching separation or retirement. Some, like myself, have been out of the military long enough to reach the peak of a second career. And one of us received his commission the same year I was born.

But here's what we have in common: like most people, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want interesting, enriching professional lives that do NOT require us to chain ourselves to a particular desk at a particular time in a particular place. We want to be free. AND... possibly because we all grew up in a first profession where accomplishing the the impossible was expected from us on a daily basis... we see absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be able to have that. The question is not IF, or WHETHER. It's HOW.

2020-06-03 The Agile Project Management Framework

This was RINGKNOCKER Bull Session #1!

The topic on the table was the Agile Project Management Framework. At the table were:

  • Jason Williscroft (USNA '95) is a seasoned software engineer who has a ton of experience leading Agile teams building production applications in enterprise settings.
  • Matt Murphy (USNA '95) is a former sub driver who spent the past six years spinning war games and is now approaching retirement and a switch to management consulting and strategic planning. Matt just completed his Scrum Master certification and was interested to hear stories of Agile in practice.
  • Casandra Koistinen (USNA '02) is a Navy cryptologist also approaching retirement and the private sector. Her organization—not to be named—is just dipping its toes into the Agile world, and Casandra is trying hard to help them get ahead of the problem.