Cleargistix turns 5 years old this month and my, what a journey! I formed the company under the name NecesSea to digitally integrate the offshore oilfield. It was my dream to take decades of offshore logistics intelligence and build a software tool that would help bring efficiencies and cost savings to the industry as a whole.
Since I had been working on the business analytics and ROI since the mid-1990’s, I thought that I could build the solution in my sleep. Yet there was still so much to learn – being a passionate entrepreneur does not necessarily correlate to a profitable business.
A colleague of mine asked me to share some highlights and experiences over the last five years. He posed five questions to me; I’d like to share them with you:
1) Describe the moment you knew this was a business opportunity you wanted to pursue.
After speaking to vessel owners and E&P operators, it was clear to me that both entities use the same information – but for different reasons. It was at this point when I knew the oil and gas space needed a tool to streamline data gathering, situation awareness, and better decision making tools.
2) What’s your fondest memory in the last 5 years?
Our first senior developer was a 610 Stomper, so when we were ready to roll out our products in December 2012 during the International Workboat Show the Stompers graciously rolled out our solutions with several entertaining dances. Unbeknown to me, several Stompers took my young teenage boys aside and taught them a dance. I laughed so hard as my boys kept up as “Dirt” and “Grime”. If you don’t know about the 610 Stomper’s – check them out here.
3) What’s the biggest thing that’s different from 2011 and now?
There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears spent over the past five years. The focus of our software solution has shifted from an operator-based solution to an asset owner-based solution. The price of energy has fallen significantly and I believe, more than ever, there are many opportunities to improve profitability of customers by intelligently connecting the field to the office.
4) Anything you would do differently over any point of the last 5 years?
Without a doubt, I would have secured a board of advisors who understood and believed in the end goal of using technology to improve information accuracy and management. The advisors would be industry leaders who meet regularly to create policies and organize processes for the energy industry. An entrepreneur, even with a big passion, cannot change the culture of this industry without the decision makers on board.
5) What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned?
When the price of oil was high and CapEx for drilling was exorbitant, there was little reason to drive for higher efficiencies in the “oil & gas sector”. The goal was to keep spinning to the right. But prices tightened quickly, so no decisions that required expenditures were made. I think this is the time for companies to embrace technology to improve processes and lower cost. When prices recover the bottom line benefits will be magnified.