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The Habits of Moderately Successful Somali Pirates

For Starters, Team-Building Is Important

By Published on .

You might have thought the ongoing saga of Somali pirates taking over a Ukranian freighter had little to tell a businessperson -- other than don't get your inventory stolen by Somali pirates.

Au contraire.

A N.Y. Times reporter's amusing first-person account of his experience with the pirates' spokesman shows us that these are thinking man's thugs who know a little about how to control a crisis. Far from the "no comment"-type flack you might expect, Sugule Ali offers the reporter, Jeffrey Gettleman, a number of sound bites that stake out the pirates position not just politically but existentially as well:
  • "You only die once."
  • "These questions are getting strange. Call back later."
  • "They can't catch us like goats."
Mr. Gettleman notes that the pirates are "almost image-consciousness." But based on a video report accompanying his essay, they seem organizationally savvy as well.

"Pirates are not like political party, as I told you," said one man who's face was wrapped in a scarf and was identified only as "Pirate." "We are like teams. We come together like Chelsea or Arsenal. And every team has a job to do."
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