Why Am I Writing This?

I’m fascinated with using data and science to facilitate the best possible decision making. Because I didn’t make the best decisions when it mattered.

In a past career and past life (i.e. before data science), I led convoys in Kabul during one of the deadliest years of the war. There were plenty of threats - especially bad guys hunting for our convoys hoping to hurt us and anyone nearby. As convoy commander, I was responsible for the lives and safety of my people, and I owned our route planning strategy in hopes of avoiding these bad guys.

I survived, and everyone under my command survived…but a lot of people didn’t. People who had decades of more experience lost their lives there. Many years later and having left the military behind, I asked myself:

Was I a good decision maker?

After pondering this question for a long time, I came to realize that no, I was not.

I operated mostly through instinct and intuition and didn’t believe that there were quantitative methods that could have helped me make better strategies and see alternatives. And my mental model for dealing with it took years to discover and to undo.

I’m now on a journey to answer the question:

What advice or strategy could I have given to that younger version of myself?

I’m capturing what I learn here, and a few other tips and tricks along the way. If you’re able to help me on this journey, let’s get in touch!

Why Bandit Kings?

The name of this website is based on an old Koei historical simulation game called Bandit Kings of Ancient China, which in turn was based on The Water Margin, the same book that inspired the amazing Suikoden series.