My name is Mark Jacobsen. I am an entrepreneur, leader, and strategist in the U.S. Air Force who believes in a holistic approach to life: continually improving oneself, then one’s relationships, community, and work. I continually envision new possibilities and work to realize them. My life’s work is inspiring, building and leading transformational teams to renew organizations and communities.
I have an eclectic career defined by continual learning, invention, and leadership in pursuit of a better world. As an Air Force cargo pilot I criss-crossed the globe during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, learning about foreign policy and national security. Dissatisfied by what I found, I obtained an Olmsted scholarship to learn Arabic, lived in the Middle East for two years, and earned a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of Jordan. I went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Strategy. I founded a nonprofit that aimed to break sieges and end the weaponization of starvation in Syria. I earned a PhD in Political Science at Stanford, with the goal of understanding the collapse of states into anarchy. I founded and led an agile software development team at the Defense Innovation Unit aimed at stopping the use of drones for terrorism. I have written a novel, various short stories, and numerous articles to help think through the changing dynamics of warfare. I have also written numerous software applications to make my organizations more effective. I am currently a Professor of Strategy and Security Studies at the Air Force’s School of Advanced Air & Space Studies.
As for my personal life, I adore my three children. I rock climb in order to stay strong, continually expand my limits, and overcome fear. I read. I write. I develop software. I love to learn, create, and lead.
A few of my core beliefs:
- A well-lived life should be holistic—motivated by core values that span family, work, and personal life.
- The Stoics were on to something; how we interpret and respond to events is perhaps even more important than the events themselves.
- Innovation for its own sake is empty; innovation should be motivated by values, meaning, and a higher purpose.
- One can live a happy, fulfilling life while being part of a large organization. This requires taking responsibility to co-create the lives we want.
- This is the best time to be alive but the modern world is sick; we are alienated from ourselves, from others, from nature, and from meaning.
- If there is hope for our country and world, it will be found in renewing local communities and institutions.