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[S3E6] Something There That Wasn't There Before

While he was helping clean up the Side Step after the big party, Colton called Geri to give her a briefing on the situation at the bar. Nothing was damaged, thank goodness, but there was a big mess to clean up. He just wanted to give her a heads up before she came in and saw it.

[S3E6] Something There That Wasn't There Before

Liam then thanks him for taking the leap and doing this with him. He knows they both still have a long way to go but this was a big help. He was able to face his worst trauma and move forward from it. He also feels a lot better walking down this road now that he knows Cordell will be there with him and listen to him. Cordell promises that he will and Liam reiterates, saying that sometimes all people need is to be heard. The sooner the better, really.

And then there is Jerome. He embraces it all: the rot of humanity. He is the Wolf, or the troll. He is the one who basks in our misery. And while I hope we can all see what is terrible about that, we should also see the pleasure. This is an option: to luxuriate in the darkness of the world. And given that the night is dark and full of terrors, there can be a certain pleasure in that. Maybe take their side?

Welcome to the official Erdos Miller podcast, where we spend our nonproductive time talking about everything good in tech and featuring the latest insight and distributors on our show. I'm Ken Miller.I'm David Erdos. Today we brought on a good friend, Dave Harry from Drillers Directional up in Edmonton, Canada.Hey, guys. Thanks for having me on.Thank you for being brave enough to join us. I know we can be an intimidating bunch.I'm not worried.So Dave, tell us a bit about your path to the industry. We always love to hear how people got into the industry, and I'm sure the people on the podcast are tired of hearing my path, because I think I keep sharing it every time someone shares theirs. But how did you get into this fun little industry we're all in?Well, I started off going to post-secondary school. That was neat, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology here in Edmonton. Once I graduated, the allure of the oil patch is pretty strong, mainly the money, and getting the fancy new truck is always a good thing, too. So my brother was already in the industry, working for a company called Sperry Son. They were actually just recently bought at the time by Halliburton. So I spent about a year working in the city and then decided that, "Yeah, you know what? I could probably handle some of the oil patch money."So I got hired on with Sperry Son back in 2001. So that makes this 20 years of directional experience for me now. I spent about six, seven years there, working in the field, doing projects anywhere from southeast Saskatchewan up to northeast BC all through Alberta, working on several different tool systems that they had at the time. From there, I jumped over. It was a new startup company called Departure. A few of the guys from Sperry Son started to another directional company. I think that was in 2007, I believe. Jumped over with them and helped them get that company running.Partway through my time there, I eventually moved into the office and started taking on some of the roles of coordinator. I spent a lot of time in the shop as well. Their philosophy there was that we would integrate coordinating with maintenance of tools. Therefore you kind of take that roadblock out so that the guys that are coordinating also have an in-depth knowledge of the tools, and hence the troubleshooting and stuff like that, it gets out much better when you actually service the tools and have a good idea of what's going on with them.So it was pretty good there. I learned a lot from the guys there. They had a ton of experience. But unfortunately, they eventually sold to a little company called Enzyme, and I'm not much for big companies after my experience with Halliburton. So I opted out of that and went out. Just kind of freelanced for a little bit and then eventually found Drillers Directional. I was actually working in the field again. So once I started on with Drillers Directional, they were a new startup at the time as well. I think once they saw that I had the experience of coordinating and a lot of the shop technician stuff and stuff like that, they eventually decided that I'd be a good fit for a role in the office, in a management position. So that's how I ended up becoming the manager here at Drillers Directional for the NWT department.Nice.So that's the background.Fantastic questions come out of that. I as well do not work well with big companies. I don't think I'd last six weeks inside of a big company anymore. I think I'd lose my mind. I am not somebody you want to have employed at a 100,000-person organization or whatever, right?I agree.I spent four years working for Texas Instruments, and I learned a lot, but one of my favorite moments from TI was we had a brand new tester for the semiconductors that we were bringing online. This is what really made me want to start ... One of the things that led to me wanting to start my own company and run things really efficiently was we had a tester. It was not working. We had, I don't know, 10, 12 engineers, PhDs or whatever, on the line from probably three PM in the afternoon until about seven PM, right? It's all getting late. We haven't made any progress. Everybody's trying everything out, right? I'm sitting here, going like, "Yeah, what is the amount of money we're burning per minute here on the phone?" I'm just doing that calculation on the side while I listen to these guys. I'd written some test software that's for the tester. That's why I'm on the call.Finally, one of these PhDs at the end goes, "Did you plug it in?" The guy was like ... He goes ... "Oh, that does it. Thanks, guys."That's awesome. Yeah. That's a good one.I was like, "Oh, you're kidding me. I just wasted five hours of my life and 50, 60, 70 hours down the drain there," right?Yeah.Well, I have to ask, could you compare and contrast for us what is it like from your perspective of what Sperry had back in the day, I guess, because they're always kind of legendary for having really good tools and service compared to what the independent technology groups have to offer today, right? What's the biggest differences, in your mind?Yeah. I mean, just a little bit of the background with Sperry, when I first started with them, they're a well-run company. I honestly thought they were the only directional company in the game. I mean, I didn't know what a tensor tool was until like 2007. So yeah, I mean, it was well-run, and the equipment was all built in-house, so of course anything that goes wrong with that equipment, you get instant feedback direct to the engineers that know how to either fix it or make it better. So, I mean, you can imagine the advancements in the system when everything is done in-house like that.Obviously, being a big company, there were certain things that held back certain advancements and stuff like that. There's always the bean counter, so to speak, that wouldn't let you run away with stuff. But yeah, I mean, it was really good tools. The MTBF there was just amazing. With the right people involved on the operation side, that equipment just ran flawlessly, and so much more advanced than this stuff we even run today. Battery management, things like that, with the feedback that they got and stuff, it was just amazing. I still compare the tools that I ran back then to what some of the tools today should be like. The third-party industry is obviously catching up leaps and bounds now, which is nice to see. But yeah, that's all I can say, is that it was excellent equipment back in the day, just because it was done in-house.Yeah. I love that tight feedback cycle, but what's been really interesting to me is, I mean, if you look even at the majors today, I mean, you could make some argument that they're kind of struggling to keep up with technology, right? So anybody who's tried to have service and technology under one roof, it's been a big challenge, right? Nobody's been able to really keep it consistently ahead of the game for a long time, and you even kind of see Slumber J starting to fade in that respect, right? Becoming less competitive in the independent industry. I don't know if I'm just talking bullshit because that's what I hope is going on or whatever.Yeah, you notice I said back in the day, right?Yeah. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Right.It's definitely changed lately. I mean, since my brother was still over there, he just got laid off last year with all these slowdowns up here. But he was telling me that they were starting to adopt some of the third-party stuff at Sperry Son. I'm like, "What? Since when does Sperry go out and buy tools from third-party vendors?" I was just shocked. So yeah, I mean, this is back in the day, obviously.Well, but you might find some parallel even to the semiconductor industry, because there was really big news this week in the semiconductor industry that Intel replaced their CEO. They're falling behind AMD and ARM and Apple and everybody else with all these processors. I mean, hell has already frozen over twice now. I mean, Apple went from two Intel processors and now they're making their own processor that's the fastest, as opposed to the Mac being really nice, but slow, right? But even Intel now is looking like they're going to start outsourcing some of their production, right? So forever it's been you design the semiconductors and you fabricate them under the same roof. That trend started tearing apart 10 years ago, and now it's kind of culminating with Intel looking like they're going to go that direction. So you even see some sort of separation of the company, your responsibilities there, right? Service and technology, chip design and fabrication. It's just really interesting to wonder if there isn't some parallel there, right?Yeah. I mean, absolutely. I think a lot of it is how the ship is being steered, obviously. I mean some of these big companies, they're just not run properly, and they lose sight of what's important. I mean, you're going through your big company story, and I was thinking of mine, is we're having an operations meeting or we're supposed to have an operations meeting first thing Monday morning. Part of that's always a safety moment. We're in the safety moment, and we're getting calls, because we've got problems on the rig, and we're talking about choking babies. I mean, that's horrible. I don't want to see babies choke any more than the next person. I want to know what to do about it. But I think we should probably answer the phone and deal with our customer's problems before we worry about this topic, right?So, I mean, the big companies, they lose sight of what's important, and what's important is to deliver a good product to their customers. So I think that's what I'm seeing more and more with these big companies, is they're losing sight. Other companies that are focused on delivering good products are getting ahead leaps and bounds.No, I fully agree with you that the top leadership in the company has to have a product focus. Come on, Dave. Tell me, what would you think?Yeah, I was going to say it's so important, like you mentioned early on with Sperry Son, where the engineers had direct feedback from the field. Having that direct feedback loop between the field and the engineers we've found is so critical. If there's an in-between layer, it just slows down everything, and there's additional confusion and ...Complexity.But it's so much more than that, right? Because so much of human communication is non-verbal, right? It's body language. It's how you say something. It's the inflection or whatever else that you use, right? So when there's someone that goes out and talks to the field and then there's a layer of communication in between the engineers in the field like that, even if you just transcribe exactly the words that are said, so much is lost, right? If the engineers can hear directly what's going on, I mean, they can learn so much more, and there's so much more insight. Then there's this natural human ability to capture and infer a lot more information when you hear it from the source, right? It's worse than a game of telephone, right? Because it's not even like the words are getting lost like the game of telephone teaches you, but it's just so much worse than that, because you're missing out on so much communication that was never transcribed in the first place, right?Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's not just that. It's the impression you're leaving on the people that you're working with as well. I mean, just motivation comes from seeing the person above you work just as hard as you do, right, and being involved and there, dealing with the same problems. So there's so many levels that are missed out on if a company's not steered the proper way and management doesn't take that upon themselves to be involved.So I really appreciate what Elon Musk said the other day, which was, "We've had way too many MBAs get ahold of companies and start running them from the numbers," right? So I couldn't agree with that more, right? I think that one of the things that pissed me off when I got into entrepreneurship was I read a whole bunch of articles, and they were saying, "Oh, yeah, the best thing for a company to do is ... After the founder gets it up and running, it's really the best thing to replace them with a professional CEO." I'm like, "No, that sounds like a terrible idea. That sounds like the worst idea you could possibly imagine." But I kept reading that over and over and over again in business textbooks, and I just utterly emotionally rejected that. I was like, "No, I'm pretty sure it's more important for the founder to figure out how to become a good CEO after they figure out how to get the damn thing running," right?Luckily, I think the whole business world is kind of coming around to that, right, and kind of thinking that that's actually the better way to do things and kind of losing some of that bad habits of the past, right? So I couldn't help it. You talked about the company that you went to work for after Sperry. It was kind of the Sperry ex-pat startup. They tried this combined coordinator tool service mindset. How did that go overall?It was excellent. I mean, the tools we were running at the time were the pilots, basically the Bluestar tools, and I really admire the guys that were running the MWD side of that. They were basically my mentors, and why I became what I did in the industry is because of seeing them work. Just the basic philosophies that they had were excellent, one of them being that every problem needs an answer and a fix. So no matter how small the issue, there's always a reason why it happened, is provided, and then some sort of fix for it. So we make some sort of modification to the tools, and fleet-wide. I mean, I remember spending many nights there just trying to ... We'd find a major issue, and it was priority one to upgrade the entire fleet to make sure that we had that fixed so that we didn't see that problem reoccur anytime soon.That was just one of the great philosophies. The other one, like we touched on, was just having coordinators out, turning around tools. I mean, what a great idea. It seems like it's beneath the coordinator to spend his time servicing tools, but you know what? When problems arise and they're thinking of ways to come for solutions to fix issues in the field, having an in-depth knowledge of those tools, it puts you above the rest when it comes to trying to figure out what the issues are. Not only that, a lot of problems are just stupid little problems, like, "Hey, can you check if that O-ring was on there?" or "Did you remember to check this setting on the tool?" or whatever.Field experience alone does not make a good coordinator. A good coordinator needs to be rounded completely out with the maintenance side of things as well. I haven't worked for too many NWD companies, but I don't think that's entirely true for a lot of people that coordinate. I think a lot of coordinators just come right in out of the field, and they're expected to do their job without any real understanding of how the tool works in depth.No, that's a fantastic point. This is going to sound a little arrogant, but I kind of feel like that if you feel like anything's beneath you, you're probably doing something wrong, right? It's one thing to know that you're capable of more and that you could do a whole lot better, but to think that something is just not ... I'm all for being efficient with your time, right? But you've got to have the CEO will sweep the floors if you have to kind of mindset, right?Yeah, and having that in-depth understanding, I think, at least at a system level within the organization is critical for brainstorming and troubleshooting and finding solutions to the problems that do come up.If I had my way, I'd even have the techs in the shop spend time in the field. I actually like it when there's a technician that has some field experience. They always seem to make the best technicians, because when you do get troubleshooting or ... They just see things that ... because they understand how the tools are being used, and then when they're servicing them, they catch things that wouldn't necessarily be looked at by a guy that really has no understanding of how the tools are used downhole or how they're built or how they're treated or any of that. So just company-wide involvement in all aspects is important.Then, again, the field hands coming and spending some time in the shop, too. I think a lot of companies do that. I hope they do, but definitely I like to have my field technicians come and spend some time in servicing tools and seeing the insides of the tools. I hire a lot of guys that have worked at other companies that say that they ... I'll roll out to the field to do some sort of modification. I'll crack open a barrel, and, "I've never seen the inside guts of that thing before," right? You're a 10-year hand and you've never seen an electronics package opened up? You've only looked at beryllium tubes your entire career? Wow. [Crosstalk 00:17:59].I'm really glad you said that, sending everybody out to the field, because we actually have a ... We were joking about getting a school bus or something, because we're sending even our software developers and everybody else out to the rig now so they can really get that hands-on experience. We've believed in that for a long time. We believed in that back when I worked with Teledrill, and we hired this young kid out of college to be our IT guy. Even though he was never going to have any responsibility whatsoever as far as designing the tools or whatever else, he was just there to manage the IT for the company, and we still wouldn't have to have rig experience and understand what it is we're up against, right?It was really hilarious. We brought him out to the rig, and he went up to the rig floor with brand-new boots on, brand spanking new boots. It was a Pemex rig. So it was a bunch of guys that ... I don't think the guys spoke English, right? They all had the [inaudible 00:18:52] kind of, FRs on and everything. They thought that clean boots were the funniest thing in the world. They grabbed a big old thing of pipe dope and just rubbed it on his boots.Clean hard hats are always good. We haven't brought anybody new into the industry in a long time, but when we were bringing green hands in, I think back at Departure was the last time we hired guys straight out of school


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