Thursday, November 02, 2006


C found chaos in Turkey. I don't know his entire work history, but he had spent some time in a Fortune 500 company, with all the bureaucracy that entails. He did do some stuff with a start-up in Nevada, but I would imagine that was a luxury of support and infrastructure compared with this.

This company had three American employees overseas. Three. C was one, Ryan Manelick was another, and the third was J, the guy who drove in and out of country negotiating contracts and delivering goods. When C showed up, delivery timelines, prices, everything was based on what J had figured out on the spot with whatever local military guy he could find. Contracts were signed on the fly; payments were in cash.

Kirk described J to me as a cowboy - almost a Hollywood type maverick who has the guts to drop into a combat zone and start making deals on a handshake and a scrap of paper. He was, Kirk said, the sort of guy who would make things happen, make a success of things, because he would be the first one there. The problem was, it was a few months into the war now; being the first one there wasn't enough anymore.

C found contracts that were signed with unreasonable delivery dates - and serious penalties for lateness. He found not broken processes, but a complete lack of process.

I can't avoid the cliche. They were flying by the seat of their pants. They were operating on adrenaline. It worked... barely. But the climate was changing. This sort of stuff wasn't going to work much longer, not if the company wanted to survive in the Haliburton environment.

C saw the challenge, he saw the potential. He needed help.

He called Kirk.

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