OODA All The Things

USAF Colonel John Boyd, a military strategist, created OODA system (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) to help make decisions when in combat.

When one thinks about the Air Force (and sweet fighter jets!) this makes a ton of sense as a pilot – you observe enemy behavior around your own aircraft, you begin to orient your thoughts and your actions (and the actual craft), you decide to do whatever jet pilots decide to do, and then pull the trigger.

An F-15C Eagle. I had a poster of one of these in my bedroom when I was younger...

An F-15C Eagle. I had a poster of one of these in my bedroom when I was younger…

Of course, I have no idea all of the options and mental exercises that are going through a real pilots head, but I can imagine a few of them pretty well.

Since Boyd’s strategic contribution to military thinking it’s now been applied to more business and commercial endeavors. The approach apparently favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

I’ve begun thinking more about how this can be extended or expanded upon with computing and even machine learning. In fact, with the right science through the construction of algorithms and solid computational pattern recognition you can have both agility and raw power, even when dealing with “human opponents” (i.e. customers or user behavior).


The OODA system of thinking isn’t wrong – in fact, it can be very, very right in the right circumstance(s), but it doesn’t have to be as binary as it might often be categorized.

With ingenious computing the OODA system of thinking can outfitted to do infinitely more than single targeting and even looping through options, even for the smallest (yet impactful) of tasks.

I want to OODA all-the-things.