ISIS as Start-Up: Explosive Growth, Highly Disruptive, Super-Evil

Aug 24, 2014 · 4 min read


in the bank—thanks to military victories in the past few months. ISIS has become the most well-funded terrorist group in the world

ISIS makes $3 million each day from oil, and expanded its capital massively after the capture of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, in June


people already live under its control, across 35,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria, an area captured largely over the past six months


square miles — that’s how much land ISIS aspires to, reversing the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and upending the modern map of the Middle East.

Also, they’ve vowed to “conquer Rome and own the world”


fighters have either joined the cause, or been forced to become part of it. Three years ago, ISIS consisted of just 1,000 armed militants

That’s what they call ‘hockey-stick growth’ in Silicon Valley. Compare those numbers to any non-evil, non-terroristic start-up


tweets were sent in a single day from the accounts of ISIS supporters.

It’s built a huge, sophisticated web of connected Twitter accounts that amplify every single message


Iraqi civilians have died so far this year — the highest death toll since 2008


pages of ISIS’s slick annual report (also available in English) detail the group’s activities—and its efforts to become the world’s dominant terrorism brand, with magazines, T-shirts, apparel, and even passports


seconds of footage in the video of James Foley’s murder.

ISIS’s social media videos are disconcertingly polished, with high-production values.

And they don’t just revel in brutal beheadings: their propaganda shows militants giving candy and ice cream to children and visiting hospitals


days since ISIS declared their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the newly-created Islamic State—the 156th caliphate since Mohammed’s death


months between President Obama telling the New Yorker that

“If a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant”

and announcing after the death of James Foley that

“No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.”


ISIS is arguably now the second most capable military power in the Middle East behind Israel


There is no known ransom being offered for kidnapped journalist Steven Sotloff. In ISIS’s last video, the masked jihadi who killed James Foley instead offered a scenario with no good options:

“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”


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