“Righting the Ship” is a naval term that refers to correcting a process that is not proceeding properly.
I recently took back the reins as CEO of SOFREP, but let me explain how I got here.
Transitioning from 13 years of active duty in the SEAL Teams and going from a regimented schedule to no schedule, no identity on the outside, no Navy SEAL alumni (just SEAL vs. SEAL on the outside typically), divorce, losing my life savings on my first start-up…then SOFREP saved me.
We created a community where veterans could share their stories, a membership base, and a community that supported the site and each other, and then we started to lose our way a bit. We started Crate Club off the SOFREP community, and then it became a pet Godzilla in a tiny New York apartment…just got out of control, and we had to sell it during COVID. Then some more challenges for me personally.
I had a terminal illness to deal with in my family and was burned out, so I left SOFREP to the current management team to run.
I took 2022 to finish business school, spend time with my kids and family, and take a break while I set up my new home in Portugal.
Then just when I thought I’d seen it all in business, I found out a few weeks ago that someone in our finance department was stealing from us. Not a few hundred, or even a few thousand, hundreds of thousands…Bills I thought were being paid weren’t, staff was paid late, vendors were paid late or not at all, store refunds were not being issued, and members (the lifeblood of SOFREP) were marginalized. I’ll leave it at that for now since there’s an ongoing investigation, but I wanted to share it with you because many were affected by store returns.
I fired those responsible for the above oversight to send a clear signal to the rest of the team, and now have the opportunity to rebuild our culture at SOFREP and use my learnings from business school to shore up the company.
We narrowly dodged the rocks with the ship at the start of 2023, but we are clear of the harbor and in the open sea.
So…what’s in store for SOFREP going forward?
I am actually excited about this year and the existing team we have.
Even though our house burned down, we still have a strong foundation with our existing team, membership base, and a long history of telling it as it has been since 2012.
The world of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is here. Unfortunately, the internet of 2023 and the Artificial Intelligence content generators have and will continue to create a messy content space where consumers feel overwhelmed.
We have a great niche at SOFREP, and I plan to invest heavily in quality long-form interviews and in-depth foreign policy, security, and defense analysis.
I also am putting in place a “member first” mandate.
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If it weren’t for members like you, we wouldn’t have a business. So I’m making sure we put our members first, and getting back to regular online and in-person gatherings is a priority for me. Our store is undergoing a total overhaul, so be on the lookout on March 1st for hardcore REP gear.
We are launching a new digital book club with a large NY publishing company in March. Access to thousands of titles available to our members in military history, firearms, hunting, fishing, and more.
That’s the basic warning order for 2023, and I am grateful to all of you. I appreciate your membership now more than ever.
CEO and Founder, SOFREP
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