Imagine the excitement. It’s 2008 and the industry is booming. Oil was over $140/barrel and the business opportunities were abounding. That’s the environment in which Al and Conor, the guests in this episode, decided to quit their well paid jobs as petroleum engineer and lawyer respectively to start Rigforce. Six months later, everything changed. The world economy was imploding and all their assumptions were being put to the test.

In this episode I sit down with Alastair Haldane and Conor O’Brien, to dig into what was going through their heads at this time and how they were able to come out of it stronger, wiser and more resilient to the current downturn. But this conversation is not just about the trials and tribulations of starting a business, it’s about living a fulfilling life. Both Al and Conor are extremely insightful individuals and this episode is full of take aways that we can all apply in our own lives.

I hope you get as much out of this as I did, particularly the discussion around personal productivity. If you have a personal productivity hack you’d like to share then I love to hear about it in the comments below!

Once again, thanks for listening and thanks for being part of the conversation.


Show Notes

What we cover in this episode

The value of having a fall back option and covering the downside.
What Alastair learned from the family business in Tuna fisheries
The importance of having a belief in what you’re doing
How the two of them met – the benefit of not going into business with a good friend
Evaluating a potential business partner
Starting a business in the Global Financial Crisis
Dealing with fear and the silver lining of starting a business during a down turn
Conor on what Al is world class at
Al on what Conor is world class at
How working in a bar teaches you to be a better manager
What areas of weakness they are each working on
Alastair on consistent peak performance and breaking through a creative wall
The importance of exercise to manage stress
How to manage the 24/7 connectivity that comes with having your email in your pocket
The benefits of a morning routine
The difference between this downturn and the last
Keeping the fear of loosing it all in check
Trends in the industry that are being overlooked
How a graduate in Perth is advertising himself with a sign on the street in downtown
How different companies are cutting costs so they don’t have to cut people
The biggest challenge the industry is facing today
Networking and building relationships – how they have forged their strongest relationships
Managing customers – on being genuinely interested
Advice to graduates on networking
Circumventing the typical big company recruiting “system”
Prioritising what to work on when you don’t have a boss setting your priorities
Dealing with cling-on tasks
Mastering delegation
Morning routines – deep dive
Food hangovers
Pocket Yoga App
Common habits of successful people
How to facilitate a state of flow, when things just get done
The Panics, “House on a street in a town where I’m from” – a great album to listen to when you need to focus.
Tailoring your environment for the task at hand
How to recover from a low point in life
Who Conor considers successful
Who Al considers successful
Committing to a goal and sticking with it
Responding to adversity – building a yacht, wrecking it, then starting again.


Rigforce website
Tim Ferriss interviews Arnie
Pumping Iron
Start-up Podcast


Warren Buffet
Arnold Schwarzenegger

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