Somali Pirates Follow Classic Rules of Innovation

Even thugs recognize value in asymmetrical fights, cooperation, and even stock markets


This rebel spirit has since trickled through the rest of Silicon Valley, a hub of innovation that has produced some of the world's most powerful disruptors. Mark Zuckerberg has his own rebellious maxim: Move fast and break things. "If you never break anything," he wrote to potential investors, "you're probably not moving fast enough." Silicon Valley runs on rebellion, and its risks pay off with phenomenal innovation. Today's real pirates, off the coast of Somalia, use the same recipe.

Contemporary piracy is more sophisticated and complex than the broad strokes with which the mass media paint it. Most pirates are indeed unrepentant criminals who threaten global markets, but they are also bright innovators. Buccaneers too must develop organizational structures, streamline logistics, and manage human resources.