Fulfilling the Need for Speed

January 22nd, 2015 | tags: Consulting

Speed in IT

Guest blog by Terry Bennett, Partner at Fortium Partners.

terry_bennett_blkChange is a constant and the pace of change seems to be accelerating. Companies that embrace speed and flexibility gain a natural advantage over slower, less nimble competitors. As the business environment continues to accelerate, those who try to maintain the status quo, or evolve too slowly, will find themselves falling further and further behind.

Technology demand is reaching new heights as CEOs and corporate boards realize the need to become faster and nimbler than ever before. But they are struggling with how to make it happen. As an IT leader, you must recognize that this need for speed is very real. But this is not just about implementing new technologies. Such incremental changes cannot possibly establish the necessary foundation to drive the continual acceleration needed for the future.

How will you and your IT department help your company fulfill its need for speed?

1. Get Your Culture Right

Fundamentally, the changes required to achieve speed and flexibility are not nearly as much about technology as about culture – both inside and outside the IT department. I am observing that people are beginning to understand that digital transformation is primarily about culture. Stephen M. R. Covey concluded in The Speed of Trust that “there is a significant, direct, measurable, and indisputable connection between high trust, high speed, low cost, and increased value.”

To achieve a culture of speed and flexibility:

  • Establish and communicate your vision so that everyone is driving together toward a common goal.
  • Define metrics so that progress can be objectively measured.
  • Use presentations, videos, and hallway marketing to excite everyone in the company about the vision.
  • Eliminate the bureaucratic decision-making that slows things down.
  • Empower your staff with the authority, responsibility, and accountability for the desired results.
  • Embrace failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Instill and reward a mindset of continuous improvement.
  • Then, get out of the way and trust their creativity in determining how to best achieve success.

2. Become a Change Management Expert

Change is hard. Many organizations struggle with it. Habits are difficult to break, and inertia keeps you going in the same direction. As a result, great strategies can go unrealized, new systems can fail, and companies can even go out of business.

For effective change leadership in your IT organization:

  • Become a student of leadership, influence and change.
  • Make the subject of change a routine point of discussion at meetings with your executive team and your staff.
  • Start a book club in your company to read books like Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change and Change the Culture, Change the Game and discuss how the principles found in these books apply to your company.
  • Instill a philosophy that a project is not complete when it is implemented but when the business value is achieved.
  • Ensure that every project plan addresses how the associated change will be managed.

3. Eliminate the sole source mentality, and enable the business

Begin transforming IT toward the model of a professional services organization, a service broker. Train the entire IT staff to attain the mindset of an internal consultant, and assign each business unit a full-time IT professional to become their trusted advisor.

This trusted advisor position is much more than the historical business analyst or relationship manager role. It is a true consultant embedded within the business unit and tasked with helping meet the goals of the business. This consultant evaluates alternative solutions, both internal and external, to business challenges and presents the various options, risks, pros/cons, costs, etc. to the business unit. Then the business unit makes the decision as to the best option to select for their business. Afterward the consultant monitors the implementation to assure that the desired benefits are achieved. This approach will help IT to move at the speed of the business.

4. Transform Delivery

A 2014 Puppet Labs study found a number of practices relating to high performance in IT organizations. These practices include continuous integration and delivery of production changes; automated acceptance testing; version control for all elements required to reproduce the production environment; proactive monitoring, and a peer-reviewed change approval process (replacing the change management board). Furthermore, the study found that those companies implementing DevOps practices ship code 30 times faster and have 50 per cent fewer failures than their peers. In addition, when failures do occur, these DevOps companies restore service 12 times faster. Do you think that will make a difference in the speed of your IT department and in turn, the speed of your company? And lest anyone thinks differently, DevOps can be put into place for any platform, including mainframes.

Will your IT department provide the foundation for acceleration that your company needs, or will it be more like an anchor slowing it down? The answer may not be the same for each company, but right now, in many ways, the choice is up to you.

You can make the difference!

Apple may not call a troll a troll

July 8th, 2014 | tags: Intellectual Property

Honolulu-based GPNE Corp. has sued Apple   for infringing some paging, packet radio and network patents it owns.  In a pre-trial ruling issued last week  the Judge laid down some guidelines for this one.

In the course of the trial, the jury is not to hear Apple use the phrases

– patent troll
– pirate
– bounty hunter
– privateer
– bandit
– paper patent
– stick up
– shakedown
– playing the lawsuit lottery
– corporate shell game or
– a corporate shell

Apple may, however, refer to GPNE as a

– non-practicing entity
– licensing entity
– patent assertion entity
– company that doesn’t make anything or
– company that doesn’t sell anything


I really think it is time to change the Patent laws so that if you do not use a Patent to build or produce something within some reasonable time (say three years) then it becomes public property.





California Minium wage for Computer Professionals and Physicians!

January 17th, 2012 | tags: Board Services

Does this sound like a free market to you?

California Increases Required Pay Amounts for  Computer Professionals and Physicians;

Computer Professionals: Effective 1-1-2012  If paid on an hourly basis: Minimum hourly rate is $38.89/hr. If paid on a salary basis:  Annual salary is $81,026.25/yr.

Physicians, If paid on an hourly basis: Minimum hourly rate is $70.86/hr. If paid on a salary basis:  Annual salary is $147,634.41/yr.

Why would a computer professional or a Physician need the state to set their pay? Remind me again why I moved from CA to TX.

World power swings back to America

October 24th, 2011 | tags: Board Services

A Great article in The Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

“The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.

World power swings back to America 

The making of computers, electrical equipment, machinery, autos and other goods may shift back to the US from China. Photo: AP
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

By , International Business Editor

5:53PM BST 23 Oct 2011

Comments1018 Comments

Assumptions that the Great Republic must inevitably spiral into economic and strategic decline – so like the chatter of the late 1980s, when Japan was in vogue – will seem wildly off the mark by then.

Telegraph readers already know about the “shale gas revolution” that has turned America into the world’s number one producer of natural gas, ahead of Russia.

Less known is that the technology of hydraulic fracturing – breaking rocks with jets of water – will also bring a quantum leap in shale oil supply, mostly from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas, and other reserves across the Mid-West.

“The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d),” said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is “set to expand dramatically” as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.”

I am very glad to be a part of the energy and manufacturing rebirth.

AutoSeis in Finding Petroleum

June 10th, 2011 | tags: Board Services

AutoSeis – simple wireless seismic recording

Friday, June 10, 2011 in Feature Articles

AutoSeis of Carrolton, Texas has gone for a simple approach with its wireless land seismic recorders; the data is stored on the field units
(High Definition Recorders – HDR) and gathered later.

For land wireless seismic recording devices, you’re much better off storing the data on the unit itself rather than sending it back to a central unit in real time, according to Ralph Muse. Ralph is the President of AutoSeis, a Global Geophysical Company, that develops seismic recording equipment.

“Everything must be as simple and reliable as possible,” he says. “We don’t have complex radio systems. You put the units out and they stay there for weeks, and then bring them back to camp.  By keeping the units simple and low cost, it is easy to provide redundant units and over sample the survey.”

Mr Muse is an expert on radio data communication. He was CEO of NextNet Wireless which was acquired by Motorola in 2006; he was also was COO of the wireless internet company Metricom Inc, and Senior Vice President of land seismic imaging at Input Output (since renamed ION), a company also specializing in wireless land seismic recording.

Given his background in wireless data communications, it is ironic that he has chosen not to include radio data links in the HDR.  Mr Muse attributes this decision to his experience with other wireless systems. “Out in the field, there are always problems, and places you can’t communicate,” he says. “It complicates operations for no real reason. I would hate to be the field operators tasked with maintaining a complex communication infrastructure in difficult terrain.”

“When you start trying to connect thousands of units, it is very complicated, and takes up a lot of bandwidth. It’s a problem in scaling. I don’t know what happens when you try to do mesh networks for tens of thousands of units, and I don’t want to find out.”

For example, Mr Muse said he worked with a wireless seismic system which required a radio contact to be made with every unit before shooting began. “Some of them are in ditches, some of them are behind a hill. It’s hard to get a connection to every one, so you end up having a lot of problems, and have to set up relay transmitters to make sure you have all the connections.  You’ve traded cable maintenance for communication system maintenance; so what have you gained?”

Companies often have radio licensing problems, discovering that a technology they can use legally in one country at a certain frequency can’t be used in another part of the world.


RDSeismic LLC was founded in late 2008 by Ralph Muse, Initial product launch and field testing were completed in spring 2010. RDSeismic was acquired by seismic service provider Global Geophysical Services Inc. of Houston, in Nov. 2010. The company was then renamed AutoSeis Inc.

“Global Geophysical used three other wireless seismic systems,” Mr Muse says. “They realized it made sense to own their own supplier. They can have their own technology and customise it the way they want.”

The company is currently building its first 10,000 HDR units, with a further order for 28,000 units, to be exclusively used by Global Geophysical to provide seismic surveys for its customers.

The company is also developing an ocean bottom seismic recording system using the same HDR technology.

The system

The core of the AutoSeis system is the HDR unit, which is “about the size of an iPhone,” Mr Muse says. It weighs just 3/10th of a pound (136g). The unit usually has a 20amp hour lithium battery, which weighs about 2.9lb (1.3kg).

To set up a survey, you decide which specific times you would like the units to record in advance (eg weekdays 6am to 8pm) and program that into the unit, along with the sample rate and tell it what type of geophone you will use. Then you drive out to the field, place the units in position, record their locations and start shooting.

To download the data afterwards, you plug the units into a special rack which can take about 20 units at once. The software automatically downloads the data, uploads programming for the next survey, and checks if the software needs updating. All of this takes about 2 minutes, so by the time you have inserted 20 units into the downloading rack, the first one is ready to be removed.

The unit contains a custom microchip, GPS, clock, motion sensor, infrared communications device and 8 gigabytes of data storage.

The system has one circuit board, and is fitted in a plastic case completely filled with resin. “You don’t have to worry about water getting in because it is full of resin,” he says. “These units are tough, you can run over them without damage.”

The system records in 32 bits, with 26-27 of those bits actually available for seismic processing, which means it can get a dynamic range of around 160dB, Mr Muse says. This compares to 120-140 dB range for 24 bit recording systems. “Our noise floor is a lot lower,” he says. “You can see data you clearly could not see otherwise.”

The 8gB of memory storage onboard is enough to store 85 (12 hour) days of data at a 2 millisecond sample rate, so data storage capacity is not an issue.

The unit also contains an accelerometer (similar to the iPhone). When the unit is moved to another location, the accelerometers detect that it has been moved, and that it needs to start a new record for the new location.

The HDR units can also communicate by infrared, so you can interrogate them with a laptop in the field without cabling them up.

All the units have barcodes. When they are being laid out in the field, the surveyor has a hand held device also containing a GPS which can scan the barcode, so the computer system knows which device it is and where it is.

While in the field, the units can be connected to radio communications if desired, for example if you check if there is background noise (for example from a train or farm equipment) close to receivers which are out of your line of sight, which might make the recording useless. But you don’t need to monitor each individual unit.

Thoughts on D-Day June 6th and Prayer

June 6th, 2011 | tags: Board Services

D-Day, June 6, 1944 by Stephen E. Ambrose: Book Cover

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

by Stephen E. Ambrose , Griffith

I just completed reading this book. Clearly a moving and inspirational story. One thing that struck me was how the nation reacted to the news of D-Day. The President gave a very moving and long prayer on the Radio, all the churches across the country were full of people praying. Stores like Macys, Lord and Taylor etc. all closed so the employees to go home or to church to pray. Contrast this with conditions today where we cannot pray in schools or at a ball game.


More on the book:


Stephen E. Ambrose draws from more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans to create the preeminent chronicle of the most important day in the twentieth century. Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion were abandoned, and how ordinary soldiers and officers acted on their own initiative.

D-Day is above all the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their existence, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination — what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy” — that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.


April Fool’s Roundup

April 2nd, 2011 | tags: Board Services
April 2, 2011 By Alexander Muse Leave a Comment

For those of you who are still wondering, the release of GreyScale yesterday was an April Fool’s joke. When we filed it under ‘April Fools’ I figured everyone would immediate realize it was actually an April Fool’s joke. But some folks didn’t realize we were joking. We got lots of calls and lots of email from folks who didn’t realize it was just a our standard April Fool’s hi-jinx. Why do we do it? Sometimes a team, especially one on a death march of coding like we are, needs a break. Earlier in the week we all dropped everything and started thinking about what to do for April Fool’s. It took us about two hours to come up with the idea, draw the pictures and draft the releases – two hours of much needed light hearted tomfoolery.

I just wanted to thank a few co-conspirators including Mark Cuban, Jeff Clavier, Dave McClure, David Cohen, Jay Adelson, Gabriella Draney and Aaron Patzer. Each allowed us to use their names as investors and help spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and their blogs. This was the first time we included third-parties in our prank. I also wanted to thank Sequioa and the team from Color for giving us the idea for GreyScale – we couldn’t have done it without you guys. Finally, if you are actually interested in developing GreyScale we are willing to transfer all of the IP as well as the $41 we collected in exchange for 2% of the new company (keep us posted). :)

Mark Cuban backs Alexander Muse in GraySale launch

April 1st, 2011 | tags: Board Services

Here is Alexander’s post on the new company. “I had mentioned on my Twitter account earlier this week that I had a big announcement planned for today. We are pleased to announce the launch of a new startup and an app called GreyScale as well as the associated angel finacing. The idea for GreyScale came to us when we saw the launch of Color the photo sharing app that only works when you are with your friends. We recognized three undeniable truths: 1. most of us dont look that great in color, 2. we are alone most of the time and 3. most of us want to keep our photos private. GreyScale is Color for the rest of us. With GreyScale you dont need to find a friend to take revealing color photos of one another, instead just pull out your iPhone or Android phone and start capturing greyscale photos and videos in your own personal album with 100% privacy guaranteed.

Of course we didnt just come up with this idea in a vacuum, instead we talked to some of the best and brightest minds in the Bay Area, Boulder and Dallas to make sure we were on the right track. As a direct result of those conversations we have put together an all-star cast of angel investors including Jeff Clavier, Mark Cuban, Dave McClure, David Cohen, Jay Adelson, Gabriella Draney and Aaron Patzer.

The first GreyScale pitch was to Jeff Clavier who has invested in startups like Truveo (acquired by AOL), MyBlogLog (acquired by Yahoo), Tapulous (acquired by Disney) and Milo (acquired by ebay). I think he liked what he heard because his response was, Let me have the banking coordinates. I knew I was on to something. The next investor I reached out to was Mark Cuban who had two words for me, Im in. I was getting a little cocky at this point, but despite that the next few pitches went equally as well. When I pitched the idea to Dave McClure who has invested in over 100 startups including Twilio and SlideShare he immediately indicated he was in. I had similar experiences with other investors like David Cohen of TechStars, Jay Adelson formerly of Digg, Gabriella Draney of TechWildcatters and Aaron Patzer CEO of Mint.com. Once we had a rockstar cast of angel investors we knew we had to move forward.

We figured it would only cost us $10-20 to build GreyScale, but there was so much investor demand we had to increase the round size to $41 and even afterward we had to turn some investors away.

Taking a page from Jack Dorseys playbook I have decided to divide my time between ShopSavvy and GreyScale and commit to give 200% to both endeavors.”

Why would anyone want to go public now!

January 28th, 2011 | tags: Board Services

Remember when SOX was passed and the cost of being public sky rocketed? Well SOX required the SEC to make only 16 new rules, the Obama administration’s Dodd-Frank Act requires the SEC to make 500 new rules! Get ready for a lot of public companies to seriously look at going private.


October 14th, 2010 | tags: Board Services

Many of my readers have been asking about the status of my company RDSeismic LLC. attached is the Press Release with the latest update. Great news to say the least.



October 14, 2010

HOUSTON, TEXAS Global Geophysical Services, Inc. (NYSE: GGS) Global Geophysical Services, Inc. (NYSE: GGS) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary AutoSeis, Inc. (AutoSeis), will acquire RDSeismic LLC (RDS). Ralph Muse, Founder and President of RDS will join AutoSeis as its President and lead Globals seismic equipment development activities.

In 2010, RDS brought to market the High Definition Recorder (HDR) a small footprint, lightweight, autonomous nodal land seismic data recorder that sets a new benchmark for data quality.

Richard Degner, Globals President and CEO, commented: With our experience in the use of many industry leading recording technologies, the HDR represents a breakthrough system for our requirements. The combination of simplicity, ruggedness, extended dynamic range, and low power consumption is combined in a system at a fraction of the investment requirement of other systems.

Tom Fleure, Globals Senior Vice President of Geophysical Technology, noted As an extension and supplement to our current, industry leading Sercel cable telemetry systems, HDR will support our clients requirements for increasing channel count and facilitate the expansion of our high-resolution Reservoir Grade RG-3DTM seismic data acquisition capabilities. We expect the new AutoSeis HDR to provide a distinct advantage in HSE benefits and operational efficiency, particularly in challenging terrain. We are further leveraging the core technology of RDS in the development of a marine nodal system for seafloor applications.

Global will take delivery of an initial 10,000 land HDR units through the spring of 2011. Global will initially deploy the HDR units on its land data acquisition programs as well as with its recently announced Global Microseismic Services SM business unit.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, subject to normal and customary closing conditions.

About RDSeismic

RD Seismic headquartered in Carrollton, TX develops cutting edge autonomous nodal seismic recording systems. To learn more about RD Seismic, visit www.rdseismic.com.

About Global Geophysical Services, Inc.

Global Geophysical Services, headquartered in Houston, TX, provides an integrated suite of seismic data solutions to the global oil and gas industry including high-resolution RG-3D Reservoir Grade seismic data acquisition, microseismic monitoring, seismic data processing and interpretation services, and Multi Client data products. Global Geophysical Services combines experience, innovation, operational safety and environmental responsibility with leading edge technology to facilitate the success of its clients by providing them the tools to Gain InSight. To learn more about Global Geophysical Services, visit www.GlobalGeophysical.com.