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Tec Startup Garage: BATCH 2 2021B

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Joshua James
Joshua James

[S3E3] The Compass

Ambrose finds Sabrina and tells her he may have found the location of the crown in Riverdale. With help from a magic compass, they decide to head there to look for it. It leads them to a tree and upon finding it, Sabrina tells him she wants to destroy it. Ambrose stops her though as he wants to harness its power to restore the coven to its full strength. After they leave, a corpse bursts out of the tree, growling after his crown.

[S3E3] The Compass

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Lyra immediately wanted to run and be sick, but she stuck it out long enough to learn the boy's name was Tony Makarios. His dæmon's name was Ratter. She exited the shed, sat down and sobbed with Pantalaimon clutched in her arms. After a few moments, she got to her feet and asked Tony to come out of the shed so they could take him someplace safe. She led him onto Iorek's back and followed him up there. After a brief internal struggle, her compassion won against the revulsion and she wrapped her arms around Tony as they headed back through the village and across the tundra to catch up with the gyptians. It was a long journey back, but they made it there safely.

Kelly, tells Sarah she knows the woods pretty well. So she can show her where a rare pheasant's nest is. Sarah gets excited agrees, now they head off to find it. When they approach the bushes to where Kelly says it is, Sarah gives Kelly her backpack and heads on in. Kelly ditches her and walks off. Soon Sarah comes back out and realizes that Kelly tricked her and heads off to find her. Soon Kelly realizes that she is lost. She looks at her compass which seems to be spinning around like crazy. Kelly is getting nervous and freaks out a bit. Suddenly her and Sarah's backpacks vanish into thin air.

Welcome to the official Erdos Miller podcast where we spend our non-productive time talking about drilling tech and getting the latest insight from industry leaders on our show. David is on vacation today with his beautiful family somewhere else, so just going to be me and our guest today. And our guest is a really fantastic, interesting, and talented individual that I'm really excited to interview and talk with today, Mr. Clinton Moss. He's the CEO of Gunnar Energy Services. Clinton, go ahead and say hi.Hello folks. Ken, I really appreciate you guys having me on and I'm looking forward to the discussion. I like these free flowing discussions, no scripts. Let's just figure out some interesting things to talk about and see where it goes.Yeah. Yeah. And we're on camera. Don't forget, on camera and recorded. So any who, so I'm an entrepreneur, you're an entrepreneur. That's a very difficult and hard road but it's a very worthwhile one and I definitely would encourage anyone who's considering going down that path to do so. Tell me a little bit about your path. Gunnar, as far as I understand it, is your second company you founded or is there more?No, no, no. We have to rewind. Let's go back. Let's go back to how does someone get involved with starting their own business? Well, for starters, my parents worked full-time, Monday to Friday, nine to five, and at 5:00 PM they would stop their day job and they would start their entrepreneurial activities. So I saw my parents do this my entire life ever since I was a little boy until I left to go to university. They always encouraged this and they always encouraged entrepreneurial spirit with me as well. Now they knew it needed to be underpinned by education, by experience with various companies, et cetera. Or that's one way, and they encouraged all that. But way back when I was just 12 years old, I played bagpipes. A lot of people don't know I played bagpipes. I would go on the street and play bagpipes for money, a busker.Yeah, no, wait, wait. Then I had to pay my way through university, I had a mobile french fry truck and I would peel these potatoes and sell the potatoes, sell the french fries. I did whatever it takes. And where I grew up in Newfoundland, there's not a lot of good paying jobs, so I tried to make my own job. And that's how I went about doing this. So Marksman Ranging, which was the first oil field company that I started, and Gunner, the second oil field company that I started, this is further down the chain of entrepreneurial pursuits.Wow. So let me just make sure I get this right. Was it straight from the french fry truck to Marksman Ranging or were there other little ventures in between?No. So it from the french fry truck to Marksman Ranging. So the last business that I had when I was a teenager or early adulthood was messing around with this stuff while I was going to university. And once I was done with university, I was employed immediately by Halliburton right out of school. And I stayed with Halliburton for oh, I think eight years or so. And then I moved on to other organizations and eventually my own business. Yeah. I would literally peel potatoes, cut up, sell the french fries. And I remember on one particular occasion, I had my bagpipes and stuff like that in the french fry truck because I had to also do another engagement. I was actually playing at a funeral, which I'd be paid for. So I'd put my kilt on, go play the bagpipes, run back to the french fry truck.You're just making this up. You're just messing with me.Nope.Okay.No, I'm not.All right.It's like your brain cycles running through an entrepreneurial activity all the time and testing this, the thought experiment. At every waking moment, almost, of the day when I'm not dedicating, focusing time on my family, which is very important. All other times is focused on this activity. And when you have that firmware running on your brain, some amazing things can happen. I'm not saying in my particular case, but I'm trying. But certainly, it permeates everything that we do. People that are entrepreneurs, it's almost like you're wired for it. Not for everyone, but I feel as if I am.Yeah. I say it's a good sign that if you can't stop thinking about a business or technical problem in the shower, you might be a good candidate for being an entrepreneur. And it's funny because I actually had the same observation about myself a couple of days ago, which was I'm either in family mode and I'm spending time with my wife and my kids or I am back in problem solving mode and the brain's going 24/7. Even if I'm doing a honey do task and hanging some shelves or something, I'm thinking about work or a technical problem or solving a problem with a client or whatever else while all that's going on. It's just absolutely non-stop. I would be really embarrassed to see the statistic because the number of hours that I have thought about drilling tools while taking a shower is probably a pretty astounding number.I bet.So you did eight years with Halliburton out of school. What inspired you to get out on your own and form Marksman?Yeah, okay. So I was with Halliburton and I just learned a tremendous amount there. And really the impetus for forming my own business came when Halliburton acquired a bunch of technology from Vector Magnetics. That group is a fantastic group. By my estimation, by my judgment, they are the original inventors of magnetic ranging, certainly of active magnetic ranging. So I was able to interact with that group. And what I learned, the lesson that I learned was something that was incredibly complex, or at least at that point, it seemed like it to me. Incredibly complex, this concept of magnetic ranging. You can break it down into bite-sized pieces and you say, "Okay well, what do you need to be able to tackle the development of magnetic ranging tools, for example." Well, you look around the place and they had a physicist and electrical engineers and mechanical guys.I said, "Okay, well I can see how it's done. It is possible. It is not something that is beyond my ability to understand or comprehend." So when I decided to go out on my own, well, you know what you need to do. You need to put together a team, people smarter than yourself, smarter than myself. I just amalgamated. This amazing talent and work product is not necessarily mine. I guess my work product is piecing this all together, but it's not necessarily individual components of the technology.I'd say if the majority of people at Erdos Miller were not smarter than me, we'd be in trouble.You surround yourself. Look, it's cliche I guess at this point. Some much greater minds than mine have said this. And I'm borrowing loosely from what they said. But you surround yourself by incredibly talented people. And if you're not learning something from them every day, you're hanging out with the wrong bunch of guys and gals. If I don't learn something every day from my team around me, I've got the wrong team. This is the position I find myself in. What an amazing job, if you will, to be able to get up every day and spend time with brilliant people and collectively generate, produce new things, and to learn and be very happy and content while you're doing it. I can't imagine a better vocation.I have a big software background and don't get me wrong, I love software and the web and iPhone apps and all this kind of stuff. But when you move into the realm of hardware, that's one of the things that gets me most excited is just you go beyond just one discipline, which may be software or IT, into needing the electrical expertise and the physics expertise and math and firmware and AI and ML and everything else and mechanical engineers. And it's so rewarding to work with all those different disciplines and see the perspectives and then work together to build something physical that actually goes out in the world and does something. I could never be an entrepreneur, personally, that's just going for the next app. I want to build the iPhone and the app. That's just who I am. But okay, so you got inspired by talking to Vector. You met those guys. I guess, well how did you make that leap? So they're talented. How do you decide okay, they're talented, but I want to start my own company?Okay. So I'm working at Vector or with Vector, but I'm a Halliburton employee. And of course, I'm involved in this well control stuff because some of the technology that's used in magnetic ranging, which I'm sure we'll get into a little bit later, but what really drove the development was the requirement to more effectively manage the drilling of a relief well. And we can talk about that in a little bit. But basically my work at Halliburton and interaction with Vector brought me around these relief well applications. And inevitably when you do this, you deal with well control groups. And these are the ladies and gentlemen that deal with the expression of hydrocarbons on surface and attempt to cap those wells or whatever the case may be. So I was doing a bunch of jobs and started working with Wild Well very closely. And a gentlemen over there at Wild Well Control approached me and said, "Would you be interested in being well control guy?"And of course, that's very exciting for a younger guy. I thought that was great. So I did that. I took that leap and went to to Wild Well Control. And that gentleman who hired me at Wild Well is now my business partner, Dan Eby. Anyways, so I'm at Wild Well and we're planning relief wells or participating in relief wells, et cetera. And there is only one provider of the technology that is used. So something like 95% of relief wells have been drilled or have employed active magnetic ranging technology. The only provider at that point in time, when we're looking back now 2010, between 2010 and 2012, was Halliburton, was Vector but now the technology was acquired by Halliburton. And I thought, "Well, this is the entrepreneurial spirit now. What, monopoly? That can't be. There's only one group that can do this?"They could do it exceptionally well, but we need a competitive force. We need to stress Halliburton with a competitor so that they get better, the competitor gets better, the customer is better served and all stakeholders. Because you're talking about relief wells, so all stakeholders. The population, governmental bodies, the environment, all better served. So of course, this is Adam Smith's invisible hand, isn't it? That's the way that this is meant to work. So I saw opportunity. There's a monopoly, there are no competitors, and I started my own company to address that.Right. And so that's a really key part is being able to see an opportunity, see an opening, and then just work up the courage to go for it. And it's interesting what you say about making the existing incumbent better by having a new competitor.Oh yeah, everyone has to step up their game.Yeah. Well, yeah. And I totally agree. A lot of times, having a competitor is stressful and I'm sure a lot of people would be like, "Man, it would just be great if I had no competitors and I just owned the market and blah, blah, blah, blah." But I think the market is always ultimately underserved when that happens. And we have competitors here in the MWD space and there's one or two in particular that we really respect and enjoy having in the market with us because I think it makes both of us better. When you have two or three really smart groups all competing and innovating and going, "Whoa, holy crap, [inaudible 00:12:52] a new way to do this," I think it's just so much more when you have that type of competition. Now maybe if you had a monopoly, you could get that by having competing teams internally, but that's just an entirely different conversation.Right. Just let me put some detail to that, how I approach a competitive force. So like we were talking off camera, Ken, in business, it's up and down, there's an ebb and flow. Every day, you're not going to win, but you come back fighting harder the next day. About a month ago, or no, three months ago now. I just want to give a little story. Three months ago, I was set back, something didn't go my way. I forget what it is now. It doesn't matter. And you're driving home and I'm driving home and I'm stuck in traffic. And I say, "What are you going to do? Are you going to feel sorry for yourself? Or are you going to fight back and do better?" So I say, "Well, what is something that I can do that no one can prevent me from doing? They can't out-market me. They can't somehow push me aside. I can invent. No one can stop my mind."So on the way home, I thought, "Okay, I'm going to invent something right now." And I go through this process, I get back to my computer, I flush it out, I submit a patent. And I'll be talking about that, coincidentally, that particular patent today at the Geothermal Resources Council convention. So this is what you do. You never, ever, ever give up. As soon as you're setback, you just find another way to add value, to create, to advance your position. You just find another way. And then, slowly but surely you proceed with growing confidence. This is how it's done. We never give up. You never back down.Yeah, no, I couldn't agree more. And I've had some, personally, really dark days as an entrepreneur and to the point where I felt quitting, I felt like giving up. And especially when you try, when you're in that dark spot, and you try and look three or six months or a year down the line, just from where you're at, what you want to get back to or grow into just seems impossible. But I would just say that the way that I got out of that state and got things moving again was just starting, at least for a short period of time, taking things just an hour at a time, day at a time, and just resolving to keep going and just not worrying about, "Okay, what does three months look like? Let's just get through today, let's get through tomorrow, let's get through Friday." And then just keep going. So Marksman, you started that. You were inspired. You wanted to add competition to the market. So Marksman's not independent anymore. So tell me a little bit about how that all worked out and where that company is now.Yeah. So I started that group with three or two other gentlemen, Troy Martin, and Shaun St. Louis. And we're all ex-Halliburton guys and buddies working in the field. All expert field operators, but none of us had done development before, but we knew what the product needed to be. So we started Marksman, we developed this technology, we funded it all ourselves, and we were successful. We ran the tools in the hole and it checked out. And very shortly after we had some success with field trials with our systems, Scientific Drilling International became interested. And we were able to then reach a deal with Scientific Drilling for them to acquire the Marksman entity and all of Marksman's technology.So how long-So Scientific Drilling now... What's that?How long was Marksman around?I think we started Marksman in 2014 and sold it in 2015.Okay. So that's impressive. That's a very quick turnaround.Yeah. I think from the time that we started development to tools in the hole and proven up was less than a year.Nice. That's a good timeline. That's impressive.Yeah. It's quick. It is quick. But the particular system, the particular type of ranging that we were pursuing lent itself to that. There are more complex systems that one could design. And I'll say that we started initially development on a system that, like I say, is favorable for compressing timelines. You're not always going to do that, but it was fortuitous.It sounds like you're apologizing a little bit, but it also sounds like that's a good example of keeping it simple, stupid. Right?Yeah. The bottom line though is the tool went in the hole and it worked. And then the particular tool was for drilling steam-assisted gravity drainage wells, keeping two parallel wells separated at some precise distance over the extent of their lateral. So the bottom line is we ran the tool in the hole and it worked. So I guess easy or not, or whatever the case may be, it produced a useful result.I'm a hundred percent sure it wasn't easy. So okay, so you guys got bought by SDI. I assume you worked for them for a few years.Yeah, so look, magnetic ranging technology is complex. It will never, I shouldn't say never, that's a strong word. But it should be thought of generally as an expert user system. There is a lot of nuance to the interpretation of the data. Interpretation of the data is key. Okay, why am I saying all that? Because you can't just sell technology to a group and say, "Oh, here's the manual. Go have fun." That's not going to work, not for this particular type of technology, the physics of the measurement, et cetera. So rightfully, naturally, I worked with Scientific Drilling for approximately five years. And that was so we could transfer a lot of the knowledge about how the systems worked and pursue the market together, obviously with the person who designed the system or led the design and introduction of the system into the market. So yeah, I was there for a number of years doing that, enjoyed my time there, but now moved on to other things.Cool. And so now Gunnar is your new venture, right?Yeah. Correct. So as soon as I was done working with Scientific Drilling amicably, I wish them all the best, but the minute that I could go back to some, I guess, vocational pursuit, I elected entrepreneurial path again and decided to form a new business. That's Gunnar Energy Services, yes sir.Once you get a taste for entrepreneurship, it's hard to ever imagine not doing it or letting go. It's quite addictive. So tell me about the name. What does Gunnar mean? Because I expected you to spell that G-U-N-N-E-R and not G-U-N-N-A-R.So okay, you're lo


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