Military Experience Helped This Vet Run Operations At Video Startup Ustream

Craig MullaneyCraig Mullaney at Ustream

Photo: Ustream

Craig Mullaney uses his military training to help live video startup Ustream plan its next moves.It’s not as big a change as you might think.

“I have a lot of organizational and leadership planning experience. I take the functional skill sets from the military and translate that to a different context. It’s big industry shift, but not really a skill set shift,” Mullaney said.

Mullaney started five months ago as Ustream’s vice president for Operations and Strategy.

It’s quite different than his previous gig in Washington D.C. He was on Barack Obama’s national security staff during the presidential campaign, then became a senior advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan issues for the United States Agency for International Development.

The connection to Ustream was serendipitous. Mullaney’s West Point roommate was John Ham, one of the company’s founders. Since the founders and top management have a military background, it “counts for some of the cultural tendencies for the organisation.”

Craig MullaneyCraig Mullaney on patrol in Paktia, Afghanistan in 2003

Photo: Ustream

The military taught Mullaney how to know where an organisation is today and where it wants to be in the future, one quarter from now.

He also knows how to identify all the steps to go from A to Z and how to keep everyone synchronised and coordinated along that path.

There’s a generic process with any group of people, he said.

“It’s about understanding your competitive strengths and weaknesses. You have to identify partners and allies and threats,” Mullaney said.

Mullaney likes the global reach of the company.

Craig MullaneyDirecting air strikes, Afghanistan

Photo: Ustream

“What’s really amazing is what happens with Ustream overseas. Broadcasters go live from protests in Moscow. We also have brave citizen journalists in Syria and the Middle East. You don’t need a major broadcast network like CNN to get millions of active downloads with the Ustream app,” Mullaney said.

There’s a community that forms during the live broadcasts.

“The reason why people stay and watch is because of the suspense. News is one of them [with the Occupy movements and protests]. Then there’s the animal coverage….you want to know when the eggs of the eagle are going to hatch,” he said.

Last month, 77 per cent of broadcasts capturing the Occupy Movement on Ustream were made from a mobile phone.

Mullaney’s wife is still working as a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. But she plans on joining her husband in the San Francisco area this summer. 

Until then, Mullaney is juggling his new job at Ustream with being a single father.

“My son likes my job. I can come home after work and watch videos with him,” Mullaney said. Their latest obsession is the Penguin Cam at SeaWorld.

Check it out:

Live Video streaming by Ustream

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