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January 20, 2006

If you ran a virtual firm, you’d do a bin Laden tape 

When I presented my end-of-year keynote to the Australian Graphic Design Association in 2004, and wrote a paper on and , I wanted to get this message across: we have nothing to fear from audio tapes from .
   Today, Mr bin Laden issued a new tape with another warning to the , and the has confirmed that the voice is his, and that it was made recently.
   But if we think of Al-Qaeda as a and not a , it is far less frightening. And I should know: I have run a virtual firm since 1987, long before the term was even coined.
   To me it was just a necessity of having no money to rent an office and were available to us as teenagers.
   A virtual firm has the following. It has a in charge of , and administration. It has individual offices belonging to staff members and contractors, often from home. They are allowed to carry out their own projects using the corporate , provided they are done in a way HQ will endorse. Every now and then, to rally the team, the head of the company will issue an email, do a or contact the principals of the different teams.
   Sound familiar?
   Each is a doing things in line with the .
   Osama bin Laden has to rally the team, issue his emails, and his tapes are merely press releases, or exercises.
   And like , Osama bin Laden is a CEO who doesn’t show up all that often.
   Like a lot of corporations, it uses . We use names to refer to our competitors in a humorous way, which I can’t share outside the firm. They have ‘the great Satan’, ‘infidel’ and similar phrases.
   So for those of you freaked out a little, you need to bring this chap down to size. They like the and the fear that can bring—we call that a , a consequence of a branding . When you examine the structure, there’s a lot less to it all than you might think: there are millions of home businesses operating in a similar way. Al-Qaeda is a lot easier to understand than they would like you to think, even if their business is , and ours is not. tags: Branding | Al-Qaeda | War on terror | Osama bin Laden | Virtual firms
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