Rob Weidner

Optimist & Storyteller

Rob Weidner is a gimbal/Movi Pro camera operator based in Cape Town, South Africa who enjoys empowering others with his creativity and optimism. Aside from that, he can also make a mean pizza and is ready to travel the world with his kit.

Check out my Now page to see some of my recent projects :)

Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink

"War is hell, but war is also a brutal teacher. War teaches you about brotherhood, honor, humility, and leadership. In this riveting talk, Jocko Willink explains from personal experience how war teaches you the most when things go wrong. Jocko asserts that when a team takes ownership of its problems, the problems get solved."

First and foremost, this book is unlike any other military book I've ever read. There are no embellished war stories and you can tell by the humility of the authors that they are only touching the surface on the tragedies on the battle theatre. 

While some of the topics that they bring up in the book are obviously for any leader, hearing their "why" reasoning behind everything was extremely beneficial.  This book particularily hit home with the similarities between the film industry and the military, and I will be taking a lot of the themes from this book and implementing them in my day to day career!  

5 out of 5 stars for sure and definitely couldn't recommend more!  I listened to this book via Audible at 1.5x speed ;)

My Notes


  • Ramadi war
    • Believed that this area was lost
    • Ready First Brigade
      • 3 out of 100 were lost
    • Leadership is the single most important part of war
      • Not just the top. All of the smaller leaders are just as important 
  • Effective vs ineffective
    • Only thing that matters
  • Leadership training curriculum in the field
  • All must believe the leader they are following 

Winning the war within. Extreme ownership. Ch1

  • Heavy QRF vs QRF situation at the exact same location 
  • Accidental blue on blue. Friendly fire
  • Take ownership if you can't find the blame
  • Analyze and implement to eliminate 
  • When analyzing what to change, figure out what you need to figure out first then others


  • Buds training
    • DOR drop on request. The bell you ring when you quit
    • Half quit in the first 48 hours
    • IBS. Inflatable boat small. 200lbs empty. Carried by the 7 team members everywhere. 
    • When focused on individuals, the team loses
    • If team lead chosen by random can't lead, you are not a seal. 
    • Swap out the best and worst boat crew leaders to see if it will help. 
    • There are no bad teams only bad leaders
  • Mark Lee - first Navy Seal killed in battle. 
  • Mike Monsure - Jumped on a grenade to save 3 ppl
  • Ryan Jobe - blind in war. Graduated after service from college with 4.0. Climbed mount Rainer. Killed a trophy bull elk with a special gun with camera for spotter as a scope 
  • Mark and Mike memorial run-  at the end of BUDS
  • If substandard performance is not dealt with, then that standard becomes the new standard
  • It's not what you preach, it's what you tolerate 
  • Leaders should never be satisfied. 
    • Push the standards until it becomes the new culture
  • Application to business
    • Good leaders don't make excuses. They figure it a way to get it done, and win. 
    • Believe winning is possible is essential. 
    • Good leadership is contagious. 
    • Repetitive exceptional performance became the habit. Don't need explicit direction from a leader. 
    • If you're not winning, you aren't making the right decisions. 
    • Tortured genius. The one who thinks he is perfect and finds anyone to blame except for them self. 


  • Start with why. 
  • Understand and believe. Then pass on that belief
  • Had to bring Iraqi soldiers along on every mission in order for each mission to get green light. But that was the key, in order to ultimately leave and get out
  • Traditional American and western field tactics were proved wrong by the local Iraqi soliders who know how to pick traditional door locks quietly. Decifer Middle East dialects. Allowed them to better understand the enemy. 
  • If you don't believe, they will not take the risks required to win or convince others to do so. 
  • Ask questions up the chain of command until you understand why

Chapter 4. Check the ego 

  • In order to work together with your this of did deer experience one need to leave your ego behind
  • For how small task force boozer the kill counts were high
  • The seals learned a lot from the 506 brigade but when they tried to pass on to the new unit came in they refused to listen
  • Principle - Ego clouds and districts everything
  • Often the most difficult ego to deal with is your own
  • Ego can prevent a leader from conducting an honest assessment of his or her own performance and the performance of the team 
  • Never think you are too good to fail
  • Never get complacent 
  • Application to business - 
  • If someone makes a mistake, the leader must take responsibility in order to fix it and ensure it didn't happen again 
  • If you blame someone else, then you immediately clash egos
  • If you take the blame on yourself, then you allow the other person to actually see the problem, and adjust the SOP
  • It's counterintuitive for a leader to blame subordinate leaders when something goes wrong

Part 2 The Laws of Combat


Chapter 5 cover and move

  • Sniper over watch is a tactic to get your snipers to high cover first, so they can cover the rest of the unit while they moved forward
  • Made for easy manueverability being able to leap frog throughout the streets
  • Break the team into smaller teams to take turns moving forward 
  • Application to business - reduce downtime
  • Waiting on subsidiary company is hurting your company and minimizing profits
  • It is wrong to think that you can't do anything to help the subsidiary company because you don't work for the same people
  • If everyone has their eye on the same strategic mission, then you must work together to accomplish that mission
  • Work together to win
  • Find ways to work together and improve your tactics 
  • Sit in on coordination meetings to really hear what the SOP is and what their tactics were

    Chapter 6. Simplicity 

    • Keeping it simple is crucial
    • Excessive complexity is dangerous
    • Path of least resistance 
    • The enemy gets a vote. They will disrupt your plan with will compound confusion. 

    Chapter 7. Prioritise and execute

    • BTF. Big tough frogman. 
    • Remain calm. Take a step back. And make a decision. 
    • Problems compound. 
    • Decievively engaged. Committed past the part of no return. 

    Chapter 8. Decentralized command

    • Difficult to give trust to front line leaders.Subordinate. 
    • What am I going to do vs this is what I'm going to do. 
    • Mission statement declares what you are doing, but still doesn't say why you are doing it. 
    • Span of control. How many people can a leader lead?
    •  Trust might be built when the senior leader steps away. 

    Chapter 9. Plan

    • Those who do not risk, will not win. John Paul Jones. 
    • Post op debrief is always made time for. 
    • Must be done so that all people understand even with outside contractors
    • Bold moves -> huge gains
    • PLO or Op Order. Mission brief.
    • The true test of a good brief is not what impresses your senior officers, it is whether or not the people executing the brief understand it. Everything else is bull shit. 
    • When everyone on the team understands the brief, they can theoretically act without further guidance. 

    Chapter 10  Leading up and down the chain of command

    • Regularilynstepping out of the office for face to face communications. 
    • If your team isn't doing what you want them to do, you must first look at yourself
    • If your boss isn't making a decision in a timely manner or providing support, instead look at what you can do to better convey the critical information for decisions to be made and support allocated. 
    • Leading up takes more than leading down. There's no one to fall on. 
    • One of the most important jobs of a leader is to support your leader. 
    • No matter how big your company may be, it gails in the amount of paperwork that the military has to fill out.  And imagine what it feels like when our lives our on the line. 
    • They someone needs paperwork, that means that they are in need of critical information 
      • If leadership needs more paperwork, that only means because they didn't plan well enough. 

    Ch 11

    • Chris Kyle. American Sniper
      • Made his own luck. 
      • When most snipers would get tired, he thought like the enemy and didn't have to ask anymore when making a positive ID
    • Know your target, and what is behind it. 
    • Some decisions can be undone, but taking ones life cannot. 
    • As the leader in charge, regardless of whether or not you pull the trigger, you would of had to lose your job. 
    • Act decisively Amid uncertainty 
    • Leaders must act on logic, when under stress. 
    • When two leaders can't work together, consider firing both instead of one or the other. 
      • Battlefield promotion can certainly put in place. 
      • Already people in place. Check willingness. Entitle each one of them to do better. 
      • Those types of people are cancers. 
    • As a leader you must be willing to make difficult and decisive decisions
    • Being aggressive is the best way to defeat your enemy. 

    Chapter 12. Discipline equals freedom. 

    • Critical information and intelligence is sometimes missed when not properly delegated 
    • Waking up early. 
      • 3 alarms. 1 electric. 1 battery. 1 wind up
      • If you have the discipline to get out of bed at the first alarm, you have the discipline to win. 
      • The first win of the day 
      • Only way to make your own time, is to get up early. 
      • When you have the discipline to get up early, you are granted with the freedom of more time
    • Standarise everything to ensure success. 
      • Packing a vehicle. Standing on a roof. 
      • Allows for creativity and flexibility
      • When a new member of the team comes on board, there is little catch up to do 
    • Leader must be calm but not robotic. Team must know the leader has emotions. 
    • Lose of temper looses respect. 
    • People do no follow robots!
    • Gracious losers
    • Attentive to details but not obsessed with them. 
    • Humble but not passive 
    • Speak up when it matters. Push back when a decision may negatively impact the overall mission success. 
    • Close but not too close to subordinates so that one member thinks they are lesser of another
    • Leader has nothing and everything to prove by virtue of rank. 
    • Good leader does not float or revel
    • To take charge of minute details just to demonstrate ones role, is the true sign of a poor leader lacking in confidence
    • As a leader you have to be close to your people but never put a man ahead of the mission Or Good of the team.