×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

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."
In this article:
Most Popular