Monday, October 15, 2012

4th Message to the New School

Distinguished Members of the New School,

Things are rolling along pretty quick here at Polemics Applications.  We have 18 Army Applications on the market now and our brand name is starting to take shape.  The New School Army is 95 strong and we have hit around 5000 downloads on the app store.  We have also started branching out into the Android market…even if we like Apple products better.

The New School Army is our flagship app, if you haven't picked up a copy go check it out:

My last email noted it would be coming out soon.  I can fully say it is published and tested on both iPhone/iPad and Android.

So here is my business philosophy and you can decide if you want to be in on this or remove your name from my list.  The Army is lagging in good apps, about a year ago Army Times published this big 'theres an app for that!' article on the front page which claimed that there was an app for everything a Soldier needs.  It featured such things as a bugle call app (super useful) and iCorp a Marine Corp reference app.  

Since publishing of this app we have seen a compilation of apps that display .pdf manuals (the  Storebought Milk LLC business model) and reference type apps built by the U.S. Army Signal Corp.  Every single one of them are text reference of Army material.  

Here we have a unique opportunity to publish real thoughts, philosophy, best practices, lessons learned, leadership help and good Army humor to all Soldiers with a smart phone.  Here we can fight the dinosaurs of the Old School and influence the next generation of awesome Soldiers. 

Right now we are in a stage of loose organization.  I'm not asking for anything besides your help in spreading the word that the New School exists.  We have set up Twitter in the apps and in the next week or so I'll be working on the blog and Facebook pages.  

New content is coming as always.  We are taking requests for new apps.  (We are thinking of going MOS specific after the recent publish of our Engineer Guide).  If you have any philosophy that you think is worth being viewed by thousands of Soldiers send it my way and if it fits our pattern we will put it in.  Likewise if you have any suggestion for content to an existing app my inbox is open.


So I don't want to send out a message just to brag about our success and beg for your word of mouth help.  September was Suicide Awareness month for the Army and National Guardsmen were given until OCT Drill to complete an 8 hour stand down.  4 hours of anti-suicide lectures and 4 hours of resiliency training.  

This is a perfect example of the kind of trash the New School fights against.  If you had an awesome suicide stand down day we would like to hear about it.  Suicide training looks like a mandatory thing pushed out so Headquarters Department of the Army can give a thumbs up to Congress and say 'yep! we are working to reduce the number of suicides in our ranks!'  I suspect most of the training out there is an NCO standing in front of a large audience saying things like 'we as leaders need to know our Soldiers!' and its this big impersonal event where half the audience is asleep because they heard it every year.  

Then we move on to resiliency.  Back in '09 resiliency was cool, people like Dave Grossman talked about how to endure withering machine-gun fire and take an IED blast and still return to society as a functioning human being.  Now the Army has choked the guts out of the word resiliency and contracted a university to come up with a mandatory training program that teaches us how to 'be more like the tennis ball and less like the egg' and to not get suicidal if someone takes the stapler off our desk.  

Is there a better way?  I don't mean to be the Rush Limbaugh spouting out against the Army but can't we decentralize all of that.  Suicide prevention in my mind is decentralized down to the squad leader with no cookie cutter powerpoint crap forced from the top.  

New School NCOs know their Soldiers and don't need to be told to look out for them.  How insulting is it when we hear super generic warning signs 'work and family problems can increase the risk of suicide'? 

Better for them to teach us a little about psychology.  How about everyone has this thing called an identity.  'I am A Soldier, I am married with two boys, I have a Harley, I like Halo'  When the supporting structures of the identity take a hit (oh crap I deployed, my wife left me and cleaned the bank account out) the individual may start questioning the fundamentals of their existence.  

Identities are created, reinforced, degraded and destroyed every day.  At any time any human can change their mind and start working toward a different identity.  We can broaden our horizons to understand that the death of the identity isn't the death of the person who is wearing that identity.

A cold beer with friends will reinforce our identities, how about we do more of that?  I don't know if any of that made sense obviously this is a deep subject.  Anyone got a better way out there?