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The Blackdragon Marketplace

How The Blackdragon Marketplace Works

The Blackdragon Marketplace connects thousands of freelance experts to hundreds of bidder companies to win targeted federal contracts unlike ever before. Each month, more freelance experts and bidder companies join the marketplace thereby strengthening its network effect and boosting our momentum to drive change across an old industry renowned for its reluctance to change.

Whether a person has multiple degrees and years of experience, or a high-school diploma and little experience, there is a place in the fast-growing on-demand “Gig” economy for them to excel. The number of on-demand workers in the U.S. is projected to more than double in the next several years. The days of working for one company that trains a person, employs that person for many years and provides health insurance and a pension are over.

Today, increasing volumes of people are cobbling different income streams together in order to make what they need. In fact, studies show that older, more experienced independent professionals are more sought after for corporate on-demand work than ever before. There’s been a shift in employment that has been going on for the last 30 years.

Blackdragon’s inventive use of combining emerging technology, crowdsourcing, data modeling and predictive analytics boosts federal bidders in ways that no others can offer. Our marketplace helps large organizations move with the speed and agility of a small, high caliber team. At the same time, our marketplace helps small organizations function as a larger body of seasoned experts with more powerful dexterity who step in to share the accountability for making the lesser resourced client the contract winner above all others.

The Government benefits from the Blackdragon marketplace because it promotes the right bidders to provide excellent, compelling proposals for contracts that are good fits for their firms while simultaneously dissuading the practice of wasteful or reckless bidding.

Why Armies of Customized, On-Demand Experts Are Superior to Employing Individual Performers

The genuine advantage of crowdsourcing is tapping into a real-time large mass of intelligence, experience, relevant relationships, and in-demand talent to take advantage of emerging opportunities or to creatively solve problems of all kinds with a rapid response at an affordable price. Enough people with the right backgrounds and sufficient time can transform into a lot of available manpower.

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Not long ago, success in business came from hoarding knowledge and championing the idea of repeatable processes. Corporations previously relied heavily on expensive investments in “proposal centers of excellence” where they cherished their alleged “industry best practice” processes (complete with heaps of antiquated PowerPoint slides to be perpetually updated), their prized “proposal re-use libraries,” their cutting-edge internal control gates and tight budget control over B&P spending to be the Holy Grail of winning that placed their competitive advantage far above all other bidders.

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Historically, bidder firms placed their bets by recruiting recently retired Government and military leaders (aka, “rainmakers”) in the vicious corporate scuffle to gain the greatest access to and immediate influence over current Government stakeholders. Business Developers, Capture Managers and various proposal specialists and in-house gurus were hired, propped up and eventually rotated out through revolving doors all in the name of maximizing the season’s latest business strategy and new angle for competitiveness.

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That’s because these people have been perceived to be the ones who have the key relationships, possess the needed skills, and understand the state-of-the-art products spanning the federal markets and industry trends. Company cultures are a product of who they hire, fire and promote. It is unreasonable to think that traditional payroll employment augmented by occasional hourly consultants adhering to corporate processes can support a long-term competitive advantage. Ultimately, relying on a designated set of individuals as full time or part time creates undesirable overhead expenses that must be managed with new wins in addition to them constantly being faced with scenarios where their combination of strengths and weaknesses are not a good match for a particular opportunity or challenge.

To more accurately anticipate the fierce competition for each new contract, and to develop ingenious winning strategies for survival, today’s federal bidder clients need perpetual access to whole armies of ‘just right talent’ that can be extracted from the pool and shaped into a custom emergency response team for each new opportunity or threat. Custom designed small, rapidly formed, accountable teams with a single mission for each new prospect are the key to repeatable winning. Trying to attempt this level of sustainable freshness, nimbleness and strength by re-purposing static individuals on the payroll who are already naturally limited by all he/she can know, where they can be or how much they can respond to at a moment in time will eventually gravitate to mediocrity, at best—and mediocrity just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The collective insight and institutional knowledge of a large body of complementary talent sharing aligned goals with our clients is superior because of the diversity and breadth of ideas and knowledge these people bring to each opportunity. Crowdsourcing enables federal bidder companies to profitably leverage those with different skills and backgrounds—versus hope for the best from those individuals confined to a department or technical domain.

Today, it is all about sharing. Knowledge is power and time is the new currency. Speed can be the most effective weapon in a company’s arsenal.

Crowdsourcing harnesses the creative and competitive spirit of exceptionally talented (and motivated) people all over the world, enabling them to solve big problems as well as small ones. It also allows businesses to bypass the knowledge-hoarders and built-in bureaucratic process traps they once depended on.

Blackdragon Is A Team of Teams

The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to delegate authority to small tailored groups the freedom to achieve defined outcomes while driving everyone to share what they learn across the entire organization. There are great challenges with being innovative in an increasingly complex competitive environment and this will not change. Small, tailored, and empowered teams are highly effective because they trust one another and share a common purpose.

Blackdragon is a team of teams that quickly assembles perfectly matched teams of best-fitting experts for each new project to be achieved on behalf of a bidder client. Once the project is completed, each custom team disbands, and new ‘just right’ teams perpetually align around the newest opportunities. The dynamic cycle perpetuates in scale, giving energy and strength to itself as it expands. No two teams are ever exactly alike with the same goals or constraints. This is remarkably more effective compared to large organizations who try to break themselves up into many internal teams which eventually try to optimize themselves for best employment preservation and may view other internal teams with hostility/competition.

Published in 2015, General Stanley McChrystal and his co-author colleagues released their enlightening and powerful book entitled, “Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World” . The book makes strong cases that organizations that don’t adapt will simply fade away. This is especially true for federal contractor firms trying to win contracts in a fiercely competitive landscape where the stakes are always rising. The federal contracting industry is notorious for its reluctance to change, but like it or not, business as usual for targeting and winning government contracts is dead. Bidder firms can no longer afford to waste valuable time or resources pursuing contracts that were mathematically poor fits and/or not winnable in the first place.

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In the foreword of this book, Walter Isaacson writes, “Whether in business or war, the ability to react quickly and adapt is critical, and it’s becoming even more so as technology and disruptive forces increase the pace of change.” He further states, “High-speed networks and digital communications mean that collaboration can—and must—happen in real time. The distributed, decentralize, and web-like architecture of the Internet empowers each individual to be a collaborator. Likewise, the necessity of real-time innovation and problem-solving requires integrative and transparent leadership that empowers individual team members.”

Today’s conventional organizations must manage more for competitive effect than just operational and financial efficiency. This means hierarchically managed companies who try to cling to tightly budgeted, repeatable enterprise processes performed by static players managed by layers of bureaucratic decision-making control will struggle to outpace competitors formed into smaller, self-governing, made-to-order teams which operate flatter, more nimbly, with greater speed, finer accuracy and more effectively.

(Blackdragon is not affiliated in any way with the authors or publishers of this book. It is simply mentioned as a reference to support the argument that Blackdragon is different from any other firm within our business landscape and why that is so important to our clients seeking future success).

Blackdragon Is A Mathematical Corporation

Blackdragon breaks free from outdated federal industry perspectives by being the premier crowdsourcing platform focused on winning contracts using data-driven algorithms and predictive analytics to drive better buyer-seller matches and innovating new ways to create value by empowering our users. We invest in new technical capabilities that makes “users creating value for other users” fast, simple and easy. This boosts the value of human capital with the capabilities of both individuals and clients respectively. The sustained network effect of more users creating value for other users propels exponential scalability.

Additionally, we are constantly exploring new ways to improve and automate the unscalable, unpredictable, and inefficient process of human-to-human interfaces with respect to how bidder firms have historically mapped out their pipelines, invested their precious B&P budgets in meaningful capture and ultimately prepared winning proposals for the contracts that are just right for them.

We embrace complexity and love conquering big challenges compared to the traditional alternative of having a too-narrowed focus applied to solving incremental problems. Dragons see opportunity everywhere and are inspired by the bigger picture. Looking at the world differently, they are developing new thinking skills for working with machines. Unlike anyone else in our market space, Blackdragon excels not because of what we already know and tries to hit the replay button for every task but rather how much we do to continuously improve what we don’t know. This culturally different approach to winning helps us be nimble, focused and relentlessly feisty.

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Booz Allen Hamilton employees Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern authored “The Mathematical Corporation: Where Machine Intelligence and Human Ingenuity Achieve the Impossible,” published in 2017.Their book asserts that effective business model of the future will be organizations harnessing the power of merged machine intelligence with the imaginative human ingenuity of great leaders and visionaries. Machine models now outstrip human performance in about half of the portfolio of common cognitive tasks. Success in the future therefore, requires a shift in thinking now. All the leading technologies that help companies gain insights from data are fundamentally based on mathematics – big data, data science, machine learning, AI and deep learning. To reach success across tomorrow’s business landscape, the mindset of today’s leaders needs to change from being purely based on “gut feelings” to a more data-backed, empirical approach towards decision making. We couldn’t agree more.

(Blackdragon is not affiliated in any way with the authors or publishers of this book. It is simply mentioned as a reference to support the argument that Blackdragon is different from any other firm within our business landscape and why that is so important to our clients seeking future success).

When It Comes to Winning Contracts,
Motivate and Empower the Experts to Succeed
On Your Behalf

Blackdragon is a worldwide, living body of Knowledge Workers who passionately share a united mission—to creatively win targeted federal contracts for their bidder clients. Blackdragon is revolutionizing how contracts are identified, qualified, pursued, and ultimately won.

Coined by management expert Peter Drucker in 1959, the term knowledge workers refers to people whose main capital is to think for a living. They work with their heads, not their hands, to plan, analyze, organize, test, program, distribute, search, market, or otherwise generally contribute to the transformation of information in the knowledge economy. He championed the idea that increasing the productivity of knowledge workers was the most important contribution managers needed to make in the 21st century.

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Like all high performers, knowledge workers take pride in their work and want to serve their customers well. And they want to grow and reach new possibilities along their career path. In a knowledge economy, top-down hierarchical management styles that direct traffic one-way with no input will collapse, because employees typically know more than bosses do about their own areas of specialization. And being closer to the ground, they may also know more about the customer's needs, wishes, and expectations to problem solve, delight, and offer a richer customer experience. That's why Drucker advised managers, "Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy".

Conversely, high-performing organizations that empower their knowledge workers are typically flatter. Information is shared openly across fewer reporting levels, and people are able to use it to make the right decisions quicker. These are some of the attributes that help Blackdragon made-to-order teams of freelance experts be successful on behalf of clients who place trust in their expertise to accomplish the goal of winning.