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How to own your own oil well…

Well at least part of one…

In this episode I’m joined by Philip Racusin who is CEO and Co-Founder of EnergyFunders. He’s a really interesting guy, full of energy and on a mission. He and his team at EnergyFunders are setting out to give people like you and I the opportunity to invest directly in oil and as development projects that would otherwise be the exclusive realm of Banks and the Uber rich. Continue reading

Thailand. Paradise. Tourist and destination wedding location-of-choice for thousands of westerners every year. But this wasn’t always the case.

I know what you’re thinking, what does natural gas have to do with the paradise known as Thailand? The beautiful beaches and rich blue water with islands towering out of it have always been there. But we haven’t always flocked there in droves. Continue reading

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

Hacking Job Hunting

The guest in this episode is Bodie Nowak from Parkwood International who is one of the most dynamic recruiters in the industry. We sat down for a chat at my office in Austin to dig into the art of job hunting. I had a lot of fun recording this episode, trading stories on interviewing – both as the candidate and the interviewer, discussing how to define your true motivations and how to apply the 80/20 principal to the process of job hunting. The ultimate goal is to stand out from the crowd and Bodie and I discuss concrete tips on resume writing, preparing for interviews and selling yourself. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones not looking for a job right now, this interview is full of life hacks that you can apply in all aspects of your life so I really encourage you to stick it out as the second half is full of gems.

I’d love your feedback (good, bad or indifferent) and I’d love to know who you’d like to hear on the show. You can contact me by leaving a review of the show on itunes or simply leaving a comment on this post – I read them all.

Thanks for listening and thanks for being part of the conversation.

Show Notes

Doing what you love – how Bodie found his passion and energy.
How it all started for Bodie – growing up in Lubbock, Texas.
Making the transition into Oil and Gas.
Handling volatility and how it affects the recruiting side of the business.
Early influences on his life, what he learnt from his father.
What Parkwood does differently – embracing vulnerability.
How to keep your head above water when you’re out of your depth.
Learning quickly – applying meta learning to understand other disciplines.
Dissecting problems so you can piece it back together to find a solution.
State of the Industry emails – Have fun documenting Aubrey McClendon’s fall from power.
The Private Equity boom.
The greatest challenges facing the future of the industry – the fluctuations in Petroleum Engineering graduates since the 1960’s.
At the end of the last boom the US barely topped the historical max number of graduates.
Networking is all about providing value to people.
Applying the 80/20 principal to job hunting.
Defining your motivations using the CLAMPS Model: Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, People, Stability.
Being honest with yourself.
Standing out from the crowd of candidates.
The ultimate resume – What did you achieve? What were the tangible concrete results?
How to be a better communicator.
The most common mistakes people make communicating – a lack of transparency.
How to screw up an interview, guaranteed.
The worst interview of my life.
How to gather your composure when it all goes wrong.
How high performers prepare for an interview.
Channelling your inner confidence.
Who do you think of when you here the word successful?
Bodie’s biggest mistake in business.
Leadership influences.
Following the money trail.

If you’re looking for Bodie on the interwebs you can find him here:
Parkwood International
Bodies Profile
Bodie on LinkedIn


Aubrey McClendon
Dr Chase – Marietta College
George Mitchell – the grandfather of the shale boom
Steve Jobs
Vince Lombardi


Warburg Pincus


TED Talk about body language


Steve Jobs Biography

Episode 1

This episode is a conversation with Bill Arnold and Aaron Davis. Bill was Shell’s Washington Director of International Government relations as well as being appointed by the White House as Senior Vice President of the Export Import Bank of the United States. Aaron Davis is an engineer and manager at Oxy who was one of Bill’s first students at Rice University’s Jones School of Business. During the episode we touch on Bill’s experiences with leaders around the globe, including George Bush, former KGB heads and Saddam Hussein. We dissect Networking which is something that I consider Aaron and Bill to be world class at, and of course they debate the pros and cons of doing an MBA. We also reference a lot of people, books and resources that I’ve listed below.

I’d love your feedback (good, bad or indifferent) and I’d love to know who you’d like to hear on the show. You can contact me by leaving a review of the show on itunes or simply leaving a comment on this post – I read them all.

Thanks for listening and thanks for being part of the conversation.

Show Notes

The first class: Geopolitics in Energy. Bringing in the decision makers
Bill’s background – where did it all begin: The tipping point – President Ford on the Board
Being Jeb Bush’s boss/Venezuala with Exxon as client
Making the transition from Banking to Oil and Gas
entry into Shell through the back door – Pectin International CFO – 10 countries including China, Cameron
Engineers underestimating the importance of finance and geopolitics – following the collapse of the soviet union
Strange world leaders – Aliev (Head of the KGB), Turkman-bashi etc
Best world leaders
The Bush family
Negotiating with Iraqi Revolutionary command council and meeting Saddam Hussein during the Iran Iraq war.
Bill’s Biggest strength: Building long term relationships that are mutually benefiical
How to deal with being out of your depth – go fishing!
Deciding what challenges to take on and what to let go.
What Bill is most proud of? Helping Shell revamp it’s approach to engaging the US Government
Aaron’s view on working for small vs big companies – what are the pros and cons of each.
Working in the middle east as an expat
Managing two careers – husband and wife both professionals in the industry
What Aaron got out of working in the Middle East.
Feeling out of your depth in a new role.
Networking advice for early career professionals
Forming mutually beneficial relationships and covering the downside – becoming the president of PetroBras
Why did Aaron do an MBA?
Bill on how the MBA has evolved and learning from history and past crashes.
What advice Aaron would you give to someone considering an MBA?
How much experience you should have before doing an MBA?
Volunteering in Central America and dealing with military governments.
What Bill’s classes are like – bringing in the leaders of the industry to speak candidly about their careers.
Aaron on the wrong reasons to do an MBA.
Alternatives to doing an MBA
What are the common traits that Bill’s most successful students share
Who does Aaron consider successful – the former CEO of Anadarko (Jim Hacket)
Bill on being successful: Donald O’Neil, a former Shell colleague, who introduced role playing exercises to Shell to help staff put themselves in other peoples shoes.
If they had 6 months to focus on one thing, who would they study under and why?
Bill on Teddy Roosevelt
Bill’s favourite movies


Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
Who moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson
William Manchester series on Winston Churchill
The Last Lion by William Manchester
My favorite book on Winston Churchill by Roy Jenkins


Rice University, Jones School of Business


Dead poets society
Sent of a Woman


Jeb Bush
George H.W. Bush
George P. Bush
Saddam Hussein
Eduard Shevardnadze
Teddy Roosevelt
Lewis and Clark
Jim Hacket
Winston Chirchill