My overall stats for the blog is 1,399,149 visits with 1,084,375 unique visitors and 2,160,681 page views between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2013. (My first post was on the 22nd of January, 2008)
On August 7, 2013, I had a record post with 2,214 visits! That is a record for the blog and the topic that day was the advent of Assad passing a decree legalizing private security in his country. The reason why is because Syria is involved with an all out civil war and manpower is at a premium, and for both sides of the conflict. Foreign fighters are streaming into that country, and working for both sides as well.
One comment about this year’s stats is that I have not posted as much as I would have liked to. I have been extremely busy with contracts this year and I was only able to blog about half of the year. With that said, for a one man show Feral Jundi did quite nicely this year considering the circumstances.
The hardware used to read this blog is interesting. Smart phones and tablets are making a strong showing, and I noticed this trend big time last year. So this last year I invested in some good mobile platform software. Brave New Code makes a mobile app product called WPTouch Pro, and this year I upgraded to the Pro 3 package. I am happy with the way it looks and happy with the price. It also makes it easy to read this stuff on the tiny screens of smart phones.
Demographics is a new one for these ‘Year in Review’ posts. Below I posted two graphics that showed the age and sex of the readership here. It is surprising to me that I had so many women reading this blog. It is also cool to know that my top age groups are the 25-34 year old range, with the 18-24 year old group being a close second. For those companies reading this, be forewarned–I am reaching an audience that will be your employees/contractors in the future. If I have my way, they will be the most innovative, hard working and kick ass leaders this industry has ever seen. lol
As for advertising and revenue, I am mostly focused on Amazon sales. That is really convenient for me and I can put the ads on mobile. Chitika is not that great and I don’t think I will be using it anymore. I am still doing ads in the Ad Center and the pricing has not changed. Of course the primary reason for these efforts are to cover the cost of the blog and hosting.
My blogging method has changed this year as well.I have been dedicating a lot of my time to reading my RSS feeds through Feedly (Google Reader went away this year) and interacting with contractors and others on Facebook. Facebook helps to keep me grounded with my fellow contractors and readers, and I am able to interact and inspire much more effectively there.
I am still highly focused on leadership and innovation, and Facebook is an outstanding tool for promoting and exploring these two subjects.The speed in which I can share articles and posts I find for Facebook, is way faster than blogging. The blog still attracts way more people throughout the world via organic search though. I use a basic ‘share on Facebook’ tool in by toolbar, and it is the most useful instrument on my computer for what I am trying to do. I am constantly sharing the good stuff and I find a lot of value in the ‘informal’ conversations I have on a daily basis there.
I am also able to do research on new ideas and reach out to my network for answers to questions. There is also an excellent group of folks that are constantly feeding me stories that I either share on FB, or better yet, place on the blog.
FB is also a fantastic way of promoting posts. By putting a small ‘like’ button attached to each post, I am able to share my posts, or empower readers to share my posts within their networks. The reason that the ‘Assad private security’ post was the record post, was because it blew up on FB and was passed around all over the place. It had well over a thousand likes, and it continues to get attention. My LinkedIn and Twitter share buttons work in the same way, but they don’t match what FB can do.
Sharing on FB allows me to quickly interact with my readership about the story. I can edit on the fly if someone caught an error or had something to add. Or they can give me more ideas for future postings about the subject. I have also met some interesting and very smart people on Facebook, and I am truly thankful for that interaction.
Now let’s get to the stories that I thought were interesting and cool in 2013. Google Analytics picks stuff that is technically the most popular posts, based on visits and page views, but it does not compare to my fingerspitzengefühl on this stuff. This year, I will go by each month and run down the top stories that I thought were cool.
Probably the biggest story for this month was the In Amenas Gas Plant attack in Algeria. Contractors were involved in the defense against this complex and coordinated assault, and some lost their lives. This was a wake up call for the oil industry and has led to an increase in security focus at multiple sites throughout the region and world. It has really forced this industry to evaluate it’s security plans and ask ‘can we stop a similar attack’? The Camp Bastion Attack, Benghazi, etc. all have caused the same reaction, and today’s jihadists are catching onto the Sun Tzu concept of attacking weakness with strength.
The other big news this month was a story about Roelf Van Heerden and members of his company, actually leading the PMPF in an operation to free the MV Iceberg 1 hostages. Roelf also wrote the book Four Ball, One Tracer about his time as a commander of forces for Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone.
RAND launched it’s survey on contractor health and well-being. I further delved into the In Amenas Gas Plant attack and posted lessons learned. My one gear review this month was about the Otanashi Noh Ken knife by James Williams, and I really like this knife. I deploy with the Hisattsu, and use the Otanashi at home.
The coolest post this month was a picture that surfaced in regards to Hagel, Biden, and Kerry being rescued by security contractors in Afghanistan, 2008. Not much in the news about that incident, and that photo made it into Prince’s book about Blackwater.
This month I delved into the Syria conflict and marveled at the ingenuity of the opposition, and the brutality of the war itself. From creating a remote controlled sniper rifle to the intense tank battles–this war is definitely interesting to study. We are watching the training and evolution of the modern day jihadist…
Syria is turning into a jihadist factory and producing combat experienced fighters that will go on to cause problems elsewhere in the world. Defending people and things in our industry will be increasing complex and dangerous as these jihadists attempt to mimic what they did in Syria, or what they did at places like In Amenas. I compare it to the operational learning and evolution that the drug cartels have gone through with their fighting in Latin America.
We had the Boston Marathon bombings this month and that was a huge deal. The GWOT comes home… Also, the independent feature called The Project, by Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky came out. This is about the PMPF in Puntland and Lafras Luitingh and Erik Prince both make an appearance. I also talked about the draw down of troops and equipment in Afghanistan and the very important role that contractors have in this effort.
The APPF makes the news with a SIGAR report about concerns of this group’s capabilities and costs. Nothing new there and the APPF will continue to be a danger to those who have to use such an ineffective force. The RMC will have it’s hands full when managing these forces that the companies are being ‘forced’ to use.
My other ‘favorite’ ineffectual group is the UN, and their working group debated the UN Use of PMSC’s. On the positive side, at least they are acknowledging that they use PMSC’s. I also posted a deal about Bancroft Global in Somalia. They are building a highly secure resort, focused on supporting AMISOM/NGO’s/military/contractors.
The big news this month was the announcement of Civilian Warriors coming out, which is the memoir written by Erik Prince. I also had a record number of visits for a single day this month, with the Assad Private Security post.
SIGAR made the news again with John Sopko criticizing the US government on it’s inability to stop contracts that inadvertently support Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pretty damning…
I also posted a Risk Management Consultant gig, and this is the first ad I know of that was flying for the APPF management positions that companies are having to use.
This month, RAND produced the results of it’s survey. The data is sad and it makes you angry that men and women are experiencing such poor treatment.
I continued to study Syria in December and thanks to Matt on FB, he hooked me up with some incredible videos about a disturbing yet effective tactic. The Armored VBIED, and worse yet, a remote controlled VBIED have made a splash in Syria. The opposition has used these weapons several times now to break stalemates, and the armored VBIED is a tough weapon to stop. Yet again, security folks really need to review their plans in order to counter such a weapon and tactic.
The world’s first 3D printed gun came onto the scene and that opens up all sorts of interesting ideas for the industry–like printing up guns and parts OCONUS. It will only get more refined as 3D printing with metal continues to find markets. BAE is actually using 3D printed parts for RAF aircraft!
I also did a Building Snowmobiles post on crowd funding private security which was fun. And the really fun story to check out was the pseudo operations post about STTEP and Eeben Barlow’s work in Uganda and the hunt for Joseph Kony.
Well, that is it for 2013 and we will see where we go in 2014. I imagine Afghanistan will continue to grind away as we draw down, and Iraq will continue to get worse and require contractors for training and security services. Syria will continue to produce problems in the region and I imagine we will see more complex and coordinate attacks throughout the world. Nigeria is really heating up, and I expect Africa to continue being a focus for the war effort.
Maritime security will continue to be a success story and all eyes will be on how ISO impacts that part of the industry. I foresee ISO being used for all PMSC’s at one point, and maritime security will produce the models of operation best suited to work with ISO. Basic security services will continue to be in high demand in the US, Mexico, India and China and elsewere in the world. That is about it. –Matt
January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013: 224,673 people visited this site with 328,080 page views.
January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012: 379,064 people visited this site with 642,625 page views.
January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011: 337,320 people visited this site, with 528,224 page views.
January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010: 307,256 people visited this site, with 436,213 page views.
January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009: 129,409 people visited this site, with 187,698 page views.
January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008: 21,427 people visited this site, with 37,841 page views.
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9. Samsung GT-19300 Galaxy S III
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*It looks like Google analytics is counting this device twice, and there is also a device it is not recognizing (it was at number 3) that I did not put up.
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