Welcome to the official Erdos Miller Podcast, we spend our nonproductive time talking about everything, drilling [inaudible 00:00:11], insight industry leaders on our show. I'm [Kendall 00:00:14].
And I'm David Erdos. And today we've brought on an industry leader and a good friend Hunter Simmons from Gordon Technologies. Welcome Hunter.
Well, Hunter it's the end of January, the rig count has been going pretty green, pretty positive, my new joke is, as long as it goes up by one per week forever, I'm pretty happy but how are things going for you and you guys right now?
Well, Gordon is, we're accelerating our activity, I think just to give you guys a reference point and October, we were like 10,000 circulating hours that's North America, today I think, well, in December, we closed out December at 18,000, we're going to beat that again in January. So, we're growing again after that long 2020, slump.
Yeah, that was a not fun slump, right? That's great and that's doubling from October almost, right? Which is crazy.
Yeah. Were you guys thinking we're going to grow recount throughout the year? Do you guys have any thoughts on that?
Well, we dropped off in March at, I want to say we were 105 [inaudible 00:01:25], rigs, 85 active rigs or active jobs running and then we got as low as 23 in August or so. And so, we have the capacity to run or the kits to run 115 jobs, not the people right now. So, we're still spooling on people to anticipation of this growing market and we're seeing the growth really happened in the Hainesville right now.
Really? And so, I'm a little surprised by that because I guess the natural gas price is going up, it must mean people were expecting that to be for the long-term if they're commissioning additional rigs to go to the Hainesville?
That and there's been a void in the market from Weatherford exiting that area and it's left a lot of rigs needing work, needing servicers. So, we're stepping into that gap.
Okay. Now that makes perfect sense. Yeah. And so for those of you who don't know, so Weatherford decided to ... Did they stop all services in North America or is it just drilling an MWD at least drilling MWD?
At least that.
Yeah, I don't know how much further they went. And so, one of the cool bits of technology that, was like, Weatherford, I always had the hardest time with their market acronym or whatever it's called initialism.
My brain always reverses the T and the F. But anyways, one of the really cool bits of technology they had in the portfolio was the aptly named Hel tool, right? H-E-L, I assume that stands for some retro created acronym. I'm like, Oh, we can make it less offensive that we just take one L off and just call it the Hel tool with one L, no one's going to be tempted to write heck instead of Hel. But, anyways, extremely high temperature tool. I mean, I think it was hybrid technology throughout instead of PCB technology, is it a legendary tool really. Right. And I think they decided it was a better business decision for them to take their assets, equipment and focus internationally instead of domestic U.S.
I thought so as well.
Yeah. So very, very interesting. So tell us about your journey. So, I mean, where are you in your career right now? How'd you get here? How did you get into this fun industry? Tell us a bit about that?
Okay. Well, I'm a mechanical engineer by education, I graduated in 2010, from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. In my time at UL, we are in the middle of oil field culture down here but I didn't get much in that in the way of education is really focused on the mechanics, the basics of engineering design and all that goes with that. But I interned at Pathfinder here in town for Terry Frith, our president now at Gordon. At that time he was a VP of assets and he needed someone to come be an intern and write manuals for him for a semester. And so, I did that. He liked me enough to keep me on full-time, I graduated that May and so, when I started that Summer in June, it was right at the time that Schlumberger was purchasing or acquiring Smith, which owned Pathfinder.
So I came in right during the transition. I got a few good years before any major upsets to the Pathfinder culture, Pathfinder way of doing things but I worked for Terry in that position for three and a half years as basically a district engineer, helping with sustaining some R&D locally on the products we had on that facility. It was a great well-round experience where I had exposure to both operations, R&M and engineering from Terry's perspective. And that was very valuable.
He retired from that position in 2013, I went on to move into a quality type role, basically put in charge of all of the Pathfinder legacy tools and watching over their failures and reliability in interacting between R&M and engineering in Houston, that was my role as a local engineer in Lafayette. And that was a very good role, I've got a real appreciation for what reliability is, exposed to some new concepts, data analysis tools, how I understand failure modes dig into these things, got to experience what is it FMEA, through a seminar at Schlumberger, FMEA, what does that stand for? Now I can't remember-
Finite Element Analysis?
No, it was, I really shouldn't have said it, if I couldn't remember the acronym, I'll figure it out later. But it's about digging the failures, it's a method of, that's it. Yeah. And so it's a long-term improvement system for existing technology, right? You take a mature technology and dig into all of its failure modes, breaking it down in the ways they can fail the jobs that's supposed to do and really get into the nitty gritty of it and it's an exhaustive process. But it was revealing and something I learned from for sure.
So, from Schlumberger, I went from that office in on Pinhook in Lafayette to the D&M facility in Youngsville, which is the offshore facility for Schlumberger, worked there for just four months before I fell victim to the 2016, layoffs. From there I bounced around to a couple of different locations or jobs in engineering before Terry called me up in 2017, to come work for him at Gordon.
So, Terry called me in 2017, I believe Gordon had just been acquired by Pelican, the private equity firm and he had the green light to hire people he needed. And I was first in his list, I'm proud to say that. So, I came in in November 17, late 17 to basically work in R&D projects with him. But one of the things that I brought with me since my experience at Schlumberger, was this an eye towards reliability, statistics and data analysis and it was more of a hobby than a main job for me at the time.
But it's since grown to a point where we are offering and using the data we're gathering to not only drive our quality improvements for our tools, reliability improvements for engineering of our patent technologies, also pushing out improvements to our vendors. But we're using this data in marketing and sales to drive Gordon's name into the marketplace. We have fantastic reliability and we've got brag on it.
So, that's become a bigger part of my job here at Gordon, along with R&D. So developing tools like PWD for Gordon [inaudible 00:08:30], for gamma ray, working on things like acoustic telemetry with you guys and a real time hard link data link, these are things that are currently the worst. So yeah, it's been a good career at about 11 years, I've been doing this and it's exciting. I've been through two downturns, which is, I feel it's accelerating, I hope that's not true.
At one time we were the new generation with the missing middle generation, right? They talked about that a lot and now time is going way too fast and we're going to be the old generation before we know it, right? So, I have to ask how well do you think college prepared you for real engineering in the real world? Did you feel it really did a good job and give you some good fundamentals or did you feel like, Oh my gosh, you just throw all that out and learn the real way to do it when you got there?
Okay. I think fundamentals were there, right. In your basic maths, your understanding of sciences, you get that but when it comes to industry specific things, of course not. But what I think it proves is, you have the capacity to learn, the capacity to stand up against something difficult, a challenging curriculum or whatever else. And that's in itself good for your resume for a future employer, it's enough.
And so, yeah, I got the fundamentals, but had to relearn a lot of things, working for Terry, working for Schlumberger and Pathfinder, having to learn everything. I mean, you come in as engineer thinking you can change the world and you know nothing, you're not even valuable until 18 months in, maybe, I don't know, I mean, I felt I was just king of the world at first cashing those cheques and not doing hardly anything, glorified, technical writers, is what it felt like.
Well, it's funny you mentioned manuals and I had a [inaudible 00:10:29], when you said that was what you started off doing because, men manuals are a pain in the butt, it is-
It is amazing how hard it is to write a good manual, you think that, Oh, I developed a good product or prototype or whatever the manual should just write itself. Right? No, there's a whole lot of hard work waiting for you in that manual stage to get a really good one. And a lot of people and we've definitely been guilty of this, it just don't do enough right?
Right. Now, we do the same thing, I mean, I think it's a little bit of a product of maybe you get to a point where, well, at first you starting, I'm going to do just manuals, it's going to be great and you put a lot of time into it, many, many man hours, the pictures you've got the diagrams, the correct instructions, the revision history everything's in there. And at some point you graduate in your mind to a point where you're designing now and you're producing commercial product and now the minutiae of writing a manual and then tracking changes becomes almost too much to bear. And it's such a Herculean task to move my mind into that place where I can sit down and do that. I guess it's why you hire engineers to do it for you, I don't know.
It's definitely mental thing for me as well.
It's a mental thing.
I mean, that's not very fun usually, but it is really important.
It's very important.
I think as engineers we have a tendency to look at it and say, that's not the real work, right? Manual, Oh, it's just a follow up work, that's why it should be easy, that's why an intern should be able to do it. It's not the real work is designing the components, the real work is making the circuit and I think that that is an unfortunate bias that engineers tend to have that is not reality. I think certainly everybody's a little bit guilty I think of a little bit of a self-importance but I think engineers have a pretty bad case of engineering is the most important thing and sales, marketing, administration, accounts payable, technical writing, those guys are just there to facilitate the engineering getting out into the world, it's all secondary to the engineering. I'm not saying that that's how you are, I think a lot of engineers are that way.
I think it's a common bias and it's unfortunate because the engineering process, having that deliverable, having that technician facing document or whomever is going to be consuming that document, that's part of the whole thing. I mean, you've got to deliver on that because you are the most, I mean, if you're the designer and the person who maybe leading the project, you're the most intimately aware of the details of this assembling, of this product. And if you can't communicate efficiently how to service it or how to take it apart or whatever it is, how to even just test it, I mean, what have you done for the past six months?
Well, and this is what in a really, I think stems from my or at least is a source of my passion for building products that go out and impact the world because anybody, any engineer can build a good prototype in the lab, that's a particular art, like getting one working on the bench. Right. But you have to master so many other skills besides engineering like manual writing communications, marketing, sales, administration, corporate partnerships, vendor relationships, finances, you have to master and have all those things intersect and come together for that wonderful engineering, piece of engineering you've created to go out into the world and truly impact it and do it at a large scale.
There's so much more that you have to go through and otherwise it's just ivory tower, it's just a cool prototype that stayed on the bench or in your mind or in solid works or whatever on your computer, that could have been great. But, it is all those things come together is just such a hard bar and it's really fun thing for me to chase after. So, as you were describing your journey, you talked about doing things the Pathfinder way when you guys were there. And I know that that can often be hard to quantify, the Pathfinder way, the Intel way, Apple way, the Google way, whatever, the technology companies they have their culture and everything else. If you can for us, what can you capture? What can you communicate about the Pathfinder way of doing things that just worked?
Okay. Well, I can try. When I got to Pathfinder, it was on the tail end of it being passed on before it became a Schlumberger company but I got to experience two, three good years of a culture that hadn't changed much. And what I can tell you is that we had a people there who had grown from a small company, they've grown quickly to a large company of over 2000 employees and had gone worldwide but there was still a very strong sense of service and quality and kind of small business attitude towards the customer and not so much the corporate way of doing things. And I guess that was unique even for such a big company as Pathfinder.
And so, that comes into Gordon because we were able to hire a lot of those same legacy Pathfinder guys, technicians, operations personnel, field engineers because as Gordon was coming up in 15 and into 16, that was when all the layoffs were happening. So, we got all these guys free from non-compete contracts and everything else being laid off or being fired or whatever else it was, got them to come work for us. High quality people who we knew and had relations with and so, it's really been the foundation of our group over here at Gordon is this expansion off this Pathfinder labor base.
And at Gordon, we have a very familial culture here and atmosphere but it's one that continues this attitude towards the customer of we're here to serve them, we're here to make them most successful and I hate to contrast or disparage the big companies like Big Blue but it was very corporate. And you've heard that there's a Schlumberger way of doing things and it's true. And I still have lots of friends over there but I'm not sure [inaudible 00:17:11], very happy.
It's tough, right? And you hear that a lot. And there are definitely a lot of big companies that have a corporate culture that are really effective but I mean, I really think that just comes down to just having a great product mindset. And Elon Musk, was talking recently about the disadvantages of MBA [inaudible 00:17:33]. So sorry to everybody who has an MBA, but there's too many finance guys, too many spreadsheets, not enough product guys, not enough passion.
And so, I mean, it's tough to sum it up and anytime you try to ... The guy who wrote, I think it was either [inaudible 00:17:50], Kiyosaki, he was the guy who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad, he said, anytime you go in and try to find, people always attend a lecture or a seminar or whatever on how to be successful in business or how to do things the right way or how to build the right product. And they're always hoping when they go in there and it's like counts three out of four people out that there's some easy secret sauce that can be bestowed upon them. It's like, Oh, here, let me tell you the real secret. Here's the secret about how we do it. You just got to do this.
But the reality is that just doesn't exist because success in good products is the culmination of so many things, there's just no, it really could be pointed at you just doing everything the right way and we're doing everything well. And so, a lot of people are often disappointed when there's no secret and to some extent that quantifies, why is it hard to say what was the Pathfinder way?
It's interesting, I mean, I just think a lot of these big companies have just lost their way and okay, this is going to get a little political on you here, but the opponents of capitalism, so people who are anti-capitalists, they paint [inaudible 00:19:07], picture of these mega companies accumulating all the capital, then squashing all the competition and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think one thing that they failed to underestimate is the power of human incompetence and which-
If you think about it? Go back a hundred years. If you go back a hundred years and you say guys in a hundred years, Sears, Roebuck will be a shadow of their former selves and on the verge of bankruptcy. And if you said that today about Amazon, you guys say in a hundred years, Amazon will totally lose their way, they'll be a shadow of their former self, they'll be nothing, they'll be a hoax, right? I mean, if someone said that you call them crazy.
It's like, no, there's no way, I mean, Sears are so successful, there's no way that they can't continue to be successful forever into the future but here we are. And so, even as these big companies get really, really big, I mean, it's almost a ongoing, continuous challenge, the bigger you get to not just die from your own size. It's so hard managing five people, much less 50 or 500 or 5,000, or God forbid like 500,000, which I think what's in the biggest companies in the world where millionaires people, I think Foxconn and Walmart are of that size. Right?
And then, you talked about was funny, you alluded to coming in at the end, and I guess, it's just a given that when the small passionate company gets bought and makes great products that ultimately the culture from the big co will come in and ruin it? And it's very interesting, I actually a big fan of computer history. And so, Pixar and Disney, it was a really interesting story to read. And one of the ways that when Disney bought Pixar that they fended this off is they had in a contract, they had 50 culture points that as a term and condition of the acquisition of Pixar, Disney had to enforce these culture points forever.
And one of them was Disney is not allowed to remove the pool tables in the Pixar office. And so, they actually recognize that and they put up this massive contractual wall to preserve their culture as best they could. And I think it's actually flipped around to where Disney had fallen so far and Pixar was so full of talent that they ended up getting on top from a culture perspective and pushing their culture through Disney versus the other way around but it's still a really interesting story. And it's a massive challenge, right. I mean, anyways-
Well, it's not surprising if you think about that, just that one example, who has a more attractive culture Pixar or a corporatized Disney? If you can't change it, it's going to disseminate, it has to.
Yeah. It's crazy. Right. So, I hope one day I have the high class problem of trying to figure out how to keep culture good at a thousand person company, We'll see. I hope so. So, you also said, you said one more thing that really caught my ear, which is you said what reliability really is or what real reliability is. And I was hoping you could expand upon that, because you think reliability just means reliability, it just works [crosstalk 00:22:36], when you put that word real in front of it, that word real means something other than just what it says on its face. So, can we talk about that for a second?
Sure, sure. I mean, I guess what I meant there was, there is the reliability of your car turning on every day and getting you to work. And I drive an old car because I'm cheap and it gets me to work every day and it is not pretty. And as long as it does that basic functions, I can probably get along but then there is the incremental failures of things that you expect from that vehicle, whether it's paint chipping or something even bigger, like in Louisiana, if the AC stops working but the car still runs, it's failing to provide a service to you that's pretty key, keeping you comfortable on your vehicle.
And so, to take that analogy and move it into MWD, we look at failures in light of the customer at first, okay, did the tool issue cause, did it affect the customer negatively, fill out a whole from MWD, did we fail to provide them the service they asked for or expected, but then there's the reliability towards Gordon as the consumer of, or as the purchase of the prize and the owner of the product, so maybe that GAM issue didn't cause [inaudible 00:24:04], failure, maybe we drove the head, detection TD and we pulled out whole and changed the gamma and no big deal. But for-
The MWD hand copied the gamma from the offset [inaudible 00:24:15].
To real into your data to provide you a real picture of your liability, I think is important as a consumer of that technology is what we are. Gordon is a data company, right? We're selling data to our customer and we provide data and we use that data. So, I guess that's where I was getting at with that.
No, It makes perfect sense. Right? Once again, going back to the tech industry, it's been interesting watching SpaceX, right? And it's funny for the longest time no one's really seriously tried to pursue this just yet but the questions come up a lot of, man, it is so hard to keep A MWD reliable run after run after run and it's still even hard today to predict when it's going to fail and really achieve that ultimate reliability of never failing. You know it'd be nice if we could just have disposable tools, it's run one tool, they're all brand new, they go in there and they run in and just they're cost-effective enough to just throw them away right?
It's funny because you look at the rocket guys and the rocket guys are going, gee whiz, it sure would be nice to use this thing again right? We have a lot of costs in here. And I think there's a time that we in the interview the industry can learn from SpaceX. One is they've been able to attain reliability with a lot less expenditure on R&D than others have in the past, right? And so NASA would, for instance, the hatch on the capsule. To really understand the reliability, that thing, back in the day they build 10 capsules and they drop them out of airplanes and the concrete and they'd submerge them and they fire the explosives a thousand times and make sure that they catch opened all thousand times and all this stuff and pretty much to map out the reliability curves and understand all this device was going to do over time.
They really just built tons of prototypes and put them through every scenario they could imagine and studied it, right? Which is as you know, being in the hardware business, it's extremely expensive, extremely expensive, it's shockingly expensive, it's government level expensive which was always what has amazed me about MWD so much because it's almost like we have all the requirements of space not the budget. But SpaceX has been controversial because they've been able to achieve that same reliability without building all those physical prototypes.
They've been able to use different types of statistical modeling, et cetera, to make a bunch of really educated assumptions about how a component is going to perform and so far it's worked out pretty well for them right? And additionally, I mean they almost have a higher standard of reliability than we do even because I mean, it's if you have a bad couple of runs, I mean, you might lose a job right? And that's horrible. It's really rough for your company, but you've got a chance to get back, right?
If SpaceX blows up four astronauts with the Falcon 9 on the launch pad, all their techniques and everything else could have come into question, they might just kill the company, they might just be done, even with everything that they've achieved to date. And it's interesting looking at the reusability of the rockets, I've just got to think that there's got to be some inspection or statistical techniques for reuse that they're looking at that could be applied to any MWD tools and give us a lot of oomph behind what we do and how we manage stuff. Right?
Yeah. I'm sure you have to like track the structure of the rockets and look for tiny little cracks like you do with aircraft, you have to inspect them periodically and look for fatigue and the aluminum and all that.
Right. Well, I wonder though which way is better, so if we're talking about disposability of tools, if you can make PCBs cheap enough, cheap enough to the end user to where they can dispose of a board after so many runs just to because the new ones are so cheap, you take a board and it's got maybe it's $400 or whatever else and they pay [inaudible 00:29:09], dollars for it. That might be cost effective to prevent a failure.
But no, I think you're right. I think the circuit board level is probably the most candidate for considering a disposable phase, especially as we try to push to higher and higher temperatures, which is a huge talking point right now. How do I operate at 200 degrees Celsius, right? Which is really non-trivial right? Going from 175C, which I guess has been the bar of the industry of high [inaudible 00:29:39], 185C or 200 degrees Celsius is very aggressive. Right?
And so yeah, especially at a circuit board level and the electronics are one of the hardest things to get right, I mean, I think it's going to be much more practical to potentially have a disposable approach, like a one run, two run approach to electronics versus trying to make electronics that is going to survive for 500 or a thousand hours at 185 or 200 degrees C Celsius and take the time and build enough prototypes to explore all the wonderful ways that [inaudible 00:30:16], likes to chemically react with everything around it for 2000 hours at 200 degrees Celsius. Right? No. Thank you. And so, I think you're dead on, right. So maybe we don't get to full tool disposability to where the entirety of the thing gets chunked but portions of it for the right job.
Yeah and then you just consider the financial part of it, this board cost X and we get a payback on it after three runs, maybe it's a three run board. So, there's limited disposability too, there's not one run, but maybe it's three runs and so if you find that payback and you just avoid the failure. But then you never do find the weak point. Do you?
No. I mean, but that's not true because you could always start with disposability, use that to attain a new level of performance that you can't get now and then continue to push that bar because if you can get those units back and study them, what you can do is, let's say you make one run circuit board, right? And you go and you run 10 of those or 20 of those, you get your value out of them in a hot hole. Then bring all 20 of those back, put them in the hot chamber and precipitate them to failure in a safe environment, which is the lab, look at what breaks, fix it, rub the board, do it again, and just keep pushing forward.
So that could be incredibly interesting. So that's been one of the things that's been hardest to close the loop on because okay, we researched and develop the asset, we produce the asset, so [inaudible 00:31:48], the asset, they even drilled on it and got a long life out of it. It's done man, we don't have time to go back and after action review this thing and take it to precipitate all the way to failure and keep studying it. That may be a level of lacking discipline that can really, really make a big difference in this industry. So, anyways, go ahead. Good.
Yeah. Hunter, you had mentioned before we started the podcast, talking about the transition from a sole contributor to more of a management role. Can you tell us a little bit about how that's been for you and what are some of the challenges with that?
Sure. Yeah. In 17, I came into a team where we had my manager Ben Frith, and another engineer with me and or alongside me and in a few years, now there's a little bit of a team and manager type aspect for my role where I'm looking at a team of four or five engineers below me and trying to manage them out and I was telling Ken that it's been a difficult transition for me to relinquish control of some of these aspects of projects or R&D that I need done but maybe my own pride limits me from either training them to do the job that I need them to do or letting them go with it and learn from their mistakes.
Typically, not to say that I'm a great designer but in almost anything where you feel you've got a leg up on a task or a project you might say to yourself it would take more time to train someone to do the job that I can do but the fact is you'll never do it because you don't have time in the first place. You have no time to do it nor train them, So who's going to do the job, but really you have time to train them because if you train them, then you're just that much more productive as a team.
So, it's a difficult transition to go from being a solo type engineer or having that all in your shoulders and then you get, let me just say this, You guys probably know this, as an engineer, as somebody who solves problems for a living, when you display that you can solve problems, you're never without problems and so it goes across the organization and pretty soon you've got many hats to wear.
Well, let's just be honest though because pretty much all a business life can be boiled down to solving problems of one nature or the other, right?
Well, from my point of view, it comes from an engineering aspect and but I agree with you, it's broader than that, but so you end up getting handed a lot of hats put on and wear and pretty soon your day is filled up and the thing that you thought was your base task to do become secondary or tertiary and you've got to find a way to hand it off and if you haven't or you haven't prepared yourself to do that, then maybe you haven't done a good job of preparing your team to do that and that's what I'm realizing.
Yeah. Well, what I was always told was if you don't want to do your job anymore, train someone else to do it. And so, maybe if you don't want to solve the problems anymore, that's what you should do. But now I definitely identified with the struggle and I went through the same thing myself and I think you asked me how long did it take to get over that? And it was a long time, it was like half a decade of me having to knee-jerk back and forth between thinking I could do it all versus delegating to people and all these things and I'll tell you what, I've learned a lot from, is Mr. Chris Conger, who's our president and oversees the operations of the company. He's a master at it. He never thinks for a second about doing something directly himself, he always, even when it's infuriating and you'd rather just get something done, he's always dedicated to taking the time and training someone else up.
I'll tell you that was a huge shift for me because I'm the go getter, I'm the problem solver, I try to solve everything as fast as possible, design everything as fast as possible and keep the pace up that way. You can only do that for so long before things become this unmanageable ball of momentum and falls apart naturally because you didn't put a bunch of infrastructure in place but watching Chris, work of the last couple of years, over time slowing down to speed up has really worked.
Taking the time to just slow down, invest in people and then train them up and get them going to the point where we're in the speed up part now and it's starting to scare the shit out of me because it's going so fast. It's like the roller coaster took so long at the top of the hill and now it's finally going, Oh my God, here we go. And I think this is a really interesting thing to talk about because I think a lot of people are going to go through this transition in their career and it's tough, it's one of the toughest things to do.
Yeah. It's definitely been really hard for me as well and one of the things Chris Conger, was also telling me about the importance of focusing on high leverage activities. I can train somebody once and then bring them up in that and have them take over or I can do myself but in the long run, it's what is going to bring the most leverage to my time and to the activities that I'm doing for the company.
Well and I'll say a lot of the things that come up on a daily basis that keep you from, "Getting the real stuff done." I mean, those things are in the moment, the problem of the day, you cannot solve the problem of the day, but that's not really investing into your company per se. When you can sit down and focus internally on training someone or when you can sit down and focus on building something internally and not getting interrupted like making some new invention or product or whatever, those are the things that really make it overall big difference.
And let's not poo-poo the idea that you need to take that time to be creative and spend the time doing those tasks, which maybe you had [inaudible 00:38:06], to do, but it's good for, you can sit back and do a coding project for a month or even in your off time because it lets you explore that part of your brain and you got to do it every once in a while. And so even if I've got a team of engineers who would go and do all the work, we give them and it's going to be fantastic, it's also good to take a break and do some engineering work, do some design work, get back into it and remember what it's like to model a project, put together, look for the interferences, check your threads, do all the stuff that you have to do anyway, when you're checking drawings, do it yourself, it's important to do that and I don't want to forget what it's like but then again, I also don't want to do that often.
Well, it's so funny because I remember reading [inaudible 00:38:56], about Bill Gates and I think he went through a very similar thing and he was complaining of why everything was getting so complex and slow one day and its like we wrote the original file system on the plane and so he was, okay, Bill you go ahead and write it. And he's okay, that's not going to work anymore. But no you nailed it. I have come to the realization that at least every 18 months I have to really most of what I'm going to be focusing on is, I get called the internal title, which is very embarrassing to say out loud is visionary.
So I'm supposed to be talking to people about the industry and what next to do on the product and the customers and all that stuff and that's what I keep getting told is the most valuable way to spend my time and not necessarily building something myself, but every 18 months is I have to get in there and roll my sleeves up and build or test or do something to scratch that creative itch and honestly, I think keep my head grounded in the reality of what's going to work and what's not going to work because I think that really is a big part of problem solving.
Speaking of problems, I think one problem we tackled together was low cost [LWD 00:40:14]. And as [inaudible 00:40:19], gamma has always been a really sought after an interesting measurement but it's always had a problem for years that, I mean, it was just too expensive to really go mass market. And so I think one of the things that we saw as necessary was to take that tool which used to be I mean, and we actually built one of these things, once upon a time we built a big eight foot color, it had four crystals in it and electronics and a short hop back to the probe and everything and big expensive tool, for as a gamma and a really miniaturize that, make that cost effective to slash the cost of running it by, I don't know, 80%, 75% and get that as [inaudible 00:41:04], gamma measurement to the point where you could run it on every single LWD. Right?
It was funny because, I really remember talking to everybody in the industry at the time and I can't tell you how many times I was told that can't be done, you have to go to the color to get a good image, the gamma ray won't penetrate through the color to give you enough resolution, you can't put enough shielding in there, it's not going to work, you're not going to get a good image. And I don't think anything could be further from the truth, I mean, you absolutely can build a cost-effective tool that gives you a great image and miniaturize that measurement to the point where we can consider deploying that on every single LWD [inaudible 00:41:45], now. Right?
So, and then the other important thing to keep in mind is the workflows right? And getting that data on the surface in geology, et cetera. So what do you think is the next measurement we need to look at? Is it resistivity? Is it neutron? Is it some Sonic, what's the next thing on the chopping block to become miniaturized and made more cost-effective?
Well, I don't know about miniaturized, but we are currently working on bringing real time, weight on bit [inaudible 00:42:17], bit to the market, with our acquisition of Maxwell Lodestar. We're going to have capability and probably with next quarter to send up, compress one of [inaudible 00:42:31], useful data. So, I think the push is, there's a two-prolonged push and there's always this tension between or I believe there's tension between the geologists, the petrophysics part of the oil companies and then there's the drilling engineers who are engineers, they want to do things efficiently and fast, right?
There's a lot of data to be gathered so that the [inaudible 00:42:57], gamma ray answers the, it scratches that itch for the geologists, the geos-tiers, it gives them the data they need to stay in zone, stay in target, great news. The [inaudible 00:43:08], gives our engineers bending [inaudible 00:43:10]. It gives them the ability to know or acknowledge if they're getting weight to bit, I think they're getting weight to bit, right? Stacking weight up, if not getting there, [inaudible 00:43:20], good are they doing? So, Gordon now going after that, along with you could say PWD, that's nothing new, we are bringing PWD to market but our big push right now is to bring these drone dynamics real time.
I think when we were drilling mostly vertical wells weight on bit was probably a pretty reliable measurement and I think as soon as people start seeing real time weight on bit consistently across many rigs, they will realize what a garbage measurement that is when you're in the lateral.
Oh yeah. I mean, it's best, it's a not close approximation, if anything. Right?
I mean, how could you possibly, I mean you think you're trying to, I mean, really what you want to know is how hard is the BHA press on the rock face. Right? And you get a strain gauge right above the bit and it'll tell you, right? But when you just pick the string up off bottom, which it really isn't off bottom because it's a couple feet from the rock face, you're breaking up but it's still tons of it is laying on the ground. Right?
And then zero it out there and then you push back against rock face and not only do you have gravity dragging the string and causing all sorts of other issues and it's coiling up on itself or whatever else, I mean, I'm sure it's going to be night and day different when you see that data. I'm sure it'll be shockingly, shockingly helpful and what's the word I'm looking for, I'm really struggling here-
Informative, right? Oh my God, we really need to do something different here. Right?
And I can't wait for that stuff and that's going to be a key element of [inaudible 00:45:02], drawing well, as being able to measure those variables. Right?
So we're good.
Thank you Hunter. Great to have you.
Well, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks again, Hunter for joining us and be sure to check out our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube. Be sure to review and subscribe. Thanks for tuning in today's episode.