Getting there faster than your opponent

Observe, orient, decide, act. These are the four elements of the OODA Loop developed by a USAF pilot, Colonel John Boyd. Known as “Forty Second Boyd”, he had a standing bet as an instructor pilot that from a point of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in forty seconds or less. He ultimately saved the F-15 project and helped produce some of the world’s greatest fighter jets.

Boyd was a passionate advocate for the idea that winning was a matter of making decisions faster than your opponent. He believed that decision making occurs in these structured loops and he also believed that corporations, governments and militaries possess a hierarchy of OODA Loops at increasing levels of the organization.

Was he right? He was credited with the First Gulf War’s “left hook” design that was remarkably effective. He designed fight jets.

Complex event processing

The concept of dogfighting was far more intense and complicated (and risky) than business at the time Boyd developed his theories in the 50’s. But today’s Big Data world is quickly catching up with the information streaming through the cockpit in air combat. We have enormous amounts of data available for us to understand, anticipate and act ahead of our competitors.

As Boyd said, we can win by making decisions so quickly that our opponent is making decisions on information that has already changed. Sound familiar?

Complex event processing (CEP) is the core solution for Big Data and makes the all difference in today’s business world. It is today’s OODA Loop. We can’t possibly make decisions faster than our opponents without a system in place that allows for faster capture, understanding, anticipation and action.

This is what it increasingly takes to be competitive in today’s world.

If you want to understand more, here are a few resources on CEP:

Complex Events on Wikipedia

Complex Events Processing website

TIBCO Complex Event Processing


Tags: ,

Categories: Patterns / Rules / Events, Real-time

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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5 Comments on “Getting there faster than your opponent”

  1. August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Great blog Chris – the use of true history really works.

  2. Opher Etzion
    August 25, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Acting faster than your opponent is certainly an important type of event processing application, but not all event processing applications are of the same type,

  3. October 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on Sykes' Blog.


  1. SOA is back! (and critical to cloud, mobile, information and social) | Successful Workplace - October 24, 2012

    […] of computing and certainly core to the Nexus of Forces. In 2012, we have the chance to do what a fighter pilot was doing sixty years ago…making real-time decisions based on what is called the OODA Loop, […]

  2. Big Data must not be an elephant riding a bicycle | Successful Workplace - October 28, 2012

    […] of what was studied and taught by U.S. Air Force Col. John Boyd, a fighter pilot who realized that decision-making occurs in recurring cycles. He called the process OODA, for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. He was amazingly effective with […]

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