Fathom Intel Josh Shaner PopSmoke
The PopSmoke Show 2

Never Mistake Motion for Action (PS001)

Meet Josh Shaner

Fathom Intel Josh Shaner PopSmoke

Josh Shaner, founder of Fathom Intelligence

My friend Josh served as an Intelligence Officer in the Air Force.

For his latest assignment he led a team of U.S. and foreign military analysts, civilians and contractors in support of a national intelligence mission in Anchorage, Alaska.

He also directed day-to-day operations for the largest NATO-led intelligence processing facility in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Josh holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio University and a Master of Arts Degree in Intelligence Studies from the American Military University.

He enjoys backpacking, globetrotting, technology, public speaking and connecting with other entrepreneurial mindsets.

I met Josh at TechStars in Washington D.C. We also attended the INC. 500 Military Entrepreneur Program and then traveled together for Defense Entrepreneur Forum’s first ever conference in Chicago.

Currently, he serves as an officer in the Air Force Reserve in Washington, D.C. and is the founder of Fathom Intelligence.

About Fathom Intelligence

Fathom Intelligence provides innovative threat reports for companies who operate in unsavory places overseas, so that they may defend against certain threats for their people and infrastructure and assets.

Show Notes

In episode 1, Josh answers:

  • What’s the most challenging and biggest obstacle you had to overcome so far in your business?
  • What’s 1 piece of advice you would give someone transitioning out of the military right now?
  • How would you describe Fathom Intelligence, the business you started after transitioning out of the Air Force?
  • Why are people getting out of the military more risk adverse compared to civilians?
  • What’s one thing you did not expect when starting Fathom? (x2!)
  • How did you come up with the idea for your business?
  • What’s one thing you’re doing well right now, one thing that’s making you money?

Key Topics

  • The importance of systems in your business
  • The gap between crap and creating good stuff (Ira Glass quote below)
  • Veteran Entrepreneur Steve Blank explains the difference between action vs. motion

Favorite Book

  • Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Gorilla [David Kilcullen]: Kilcullen gives concrete examples on how today’s conflict is shifting and forecasts what future conflicts will look like.
  • Find The Lean Startup [Eric Reis]: “I’d say it’s the best book for anyone looking to start a business. Reis explains what a minimum viable product (MVP) is and why it’s so important when starting your business.
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Favorite Quote

Never mistake motion for action. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Favorite Weapon

  • Evernote: Josh’s go to tool for everything. He uses it for task-list, check-lists, business cards, etc. Evernote is hands down my favorite app. The app instilled the habit of writing things down for me — a game-changer.


  • Drafts: Allows you to capture super quick notes.
  • AnyDo: Works great for your everyday tasks.


If you’re not embarrassed with your first version of what you’re creating, you waited too long to ship. ~ Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin

Great artists ship. ~ Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Ira Glass’s beginner talk:

Like a Boss.

Like a Boss.

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  • Pepper Shaner

    I love what you are doing. Not only because my son was your first episode, but you are willing to go out there and promote people. Good luck with PopSmoke. I will keep an eye out and tell my friends.

    • Thank you. Josh was my first episode and now you’re my first comment! That’s awesome!

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