Innovation of Business

and the
Business of Innovation™
 
Client Stories S-T

Sierra Geophysics

Sierra was the global leader in 3-D seismic modeling software for the oil industry. A six-person government contractor when Lundquist joined, Sierra changed forever in 1981 when he found the software market. The company was sold in 1989.

Challenges

Higher profits: Fixed fee con-tracts limited growth and ROI.
Product development: Turn internal tools into commercial-quality software products. Become product developers.
Business development: Turn a tiny engineering firm into a world-class software company. Become a high-profit business.
Name recognition: Build visibility from total unknown to recognized leader in its market.
Global expansion: Serve oil companies wherever they were around the world.

Solutions

This is a story of growth – about learning on the job fast enough   to grow a new business from standing start to worldwide dominance of its market niche.
Refocus: Lundquist found the new market via market research, then brought in a retired Amoco executive to help persuade the co-founders to commit. Lundquist was put in charge of software. Over the next three years as software revenues skyrocketed, Sierra consciously abandoned its other businesses. 
Lundquist interviewed and hired a core of developers.

Corporate Structure: As it focused on software, Sierra restructured. With his business line dropped, a Sierra co-founder took over R&D; Lundquist took corporate marketing; and a new operations group took over productization of codes.
The value chain began with customer input. R&D developed code to design specs. Lundquist (marketing) defined each release and began marcom. Operations tested code against the range of supported systems.
Documentation was written by non-R&D people. Trainers all had real-world oil-industry experience. Along with Ops, the code was well tested.
Installation was often done by trainers. Customer service handled problems ranging from how to use the code to bugs to replacing the code in case of a customer crash.
Software development: Lundquist designed the first four-module system and assigned development responsibilities, including his own.      Sierra developed a “middle-ware” system, SierraSET, to enable standard calls to operating systems, graphics systems, databases, and Sierra’s graphics   subroutines. SierraSET supported over 20 types of computers and 50 graphics systems. Thus R&D was able to focus on theory, numerical analysis, software engineering, and coding.
Consortia: Sierra chose to pre-sell new software to a limited number of companies who got a discounted price in exchange for ongoing input in design and testing. Companies like Exxon, Amoco, and Shell sent top experts to quarterly reviews.
Vendor alliances. As an entry to the oil industry, dozens of vendors supplied Sierra with donated computers (or time) and graphics systems.       Even better, these alliances opened doors to customers by co-marketing with Sierra.
Brand: Original products were 3-D raytracing. Lundquist led marketing to create a reputation as “the 3-D company” using five key marketing strategies.
      Images: The software produced dramatic pictures showing seismic exploration in three dimensions for the first time anywhere. The images created an almost visceral reaction. Geophysicists had never before seen into their prospects. Lundquist developed geologic models to show off the software, and resulting pictures became the core of Sierra’s market image.
     Advertising: Lundquist worked with McCann Erickson (known for Coca Cola) to define Sierra’s visual image for brochures, exhibit booths, and slide presentations. Three top industry journals read worldwide, made advertising cost effective. McCann designed; Lundquist wrote copy. Sierra’s two-page color ads set a trend for the whole exploration industry.
      Trade-shows: Sierra’s first products were introduced at fall trade shows. As the only one with oil industry experience, Lundquist designed and performed demonstrations. 
     From a 10x10, the exhibit grew to 80x80 with two theaters and a dozen demonstration stations.
    As a team did logistics, Lundquist focused on strategy and developing   demonstrations.  Trade shows were key to Sierra’s sales, customer relationships, foreign market entry, and vendor alliances.
   Sales: With the right experience and speaking skills, Lundquist became the company spokesperson, speaking all over the world. He trained new sales staff, provided collaterals (brochures, demos, slide shows) and traveled with sales people.
    UserMeetings: Lundquist established a users board for advice, then staged annual user meetings in the US and London. Attendance grew to over 500 in both US and Europe.

Sierra’s Results

Lundquist established an entrepreneurial business and led a team that successfully commercialized a technology developed for another purpose. Sierra is a great success story.
Growth: Sierra evolved from a small engineering services company to a thriving, global, products company. It grew from 6 people in 1980 to 150   people by the end of 1988.  The product line grew from a flagship system to a broad line of competitive   suites. Quality and service matured dramatically, setting standards for the industry.
Structure: From a tiny start-up business, Sierra grew to a fully mature, fully professional software business with powerful marketing, capable of selling to and serving customers around the world.
Software development: Sierra evolved from crude but workable code for in-house use to highly sophisticated, well engineered software systems capable of serving large numbers of cus-tomers on a range of computers and graphics systems.
Consortia: Sierra evolved from software products based on Lundquist’s industry experience to software systems specified by consortia of customers.
Alliances: Sierra evolved from a do-it-themselves mentality to a company leveraging the strengths of a wide range of industry partners.
Name recognition: Sierra grew from total unknown to worldwide respect in under four years. Lundquist rapidly matured Sierra’s marketing from reliance on software images to leveraging of trade shows worldwide, powerful advertising campaigns, effective direct sales, and major user meetings.
INC 500: Sierra grew software revenues from zero to $10 million in six years, earning a place on the INC 500, and achieving worldwide dominance of its market niche.

Tech-Logic

Geophysics - No Story

Sun Microsystems

Sun was new in a heavily competitive market. Lundquist assisted strategy to  develop an oil industry segmentation from huge companies to small. Segmented in sub-industry: exploration, production, drilling, tankers, pipelines, refining, gas   processing, and petrochemicals (0lefins and aromatics

Sun integrated our efforts into larger data sets. The oil industry was clearly a top tier prospect.

Technology Transfer Association (T2S)

A key problem for any businesses is movement of developing technologies from idea to market. T2S was formed in 1975 to integrate and disseminate methods for moving tech from research to manufacturing or from inventor/developer to polishing, packaging, and production.

Challenges

At one time, T2S in Colorado was the largest chapter in the world. We had as many as four members of the board. Our members were individuals from laboratories in industry and government. To make the association visible, we developed draft tactical marketing materials. We found that we did not understand the Society well enough to market it.

Solutions

During that time, Market Engineering developed options for marketing materials. First concepts were not well received. With full board agreement, we developed a Strategic Identity for the association. With clarity on target audience, value to be   delivered, the Board at that time met to develop a Strategic Identity. With   all board members in agreement, the Society had its greatest moments.

Results

T2S reached a wide range of industries and universities. The annual meetings were attended by  members from Europe, Canada, and Asia. Over time, however, the energy  required for continuing that process declined over time. A meeting in Austin was the last meeting held.

The methods and perspectives   developed were and still are keys to effective development and movement of   technology. The Journal was moved to a company who managed professional   journals, and is still in operation.

NOTE: During that time, universities developed technology-transfer programs to leverage ROI on technologies developed in university labs. NASA also set up programs. One of  those was the Mid-Continent Technology Transfer Center. Market Engineering  met with the principles in Houston and developed an Identity for the NASA   team at the Texas A&M.

Texaco Development Corporation

R&D in Houston developed production technologies. Texaco   Development Corporation in White Plains, New York, licensed technologies for the larger benefit of the company.

Challenges

Worldwide use: Move technologies out of the labs into practical use by business units. Since Texaco had no infrastructure for manufacturing and delivering new   technologies, licensees were sought.
License revenues: Overcome vendor distrust of lab results and gain a direct   return on investment. 
High-tech image: Overcome a perceived “rusty-pump” image. Build a strong, positive image as a leader in high technology to aid in negotiations with foreign national governments.
Lab to market: Leverage lab expertise, yet present a distinctly commercial message to potential licensees.
Agents of change: The lab’s strategic plan stated, “We will become better marketers.” Technology wasn’t enough. The lab needed to develop practical agents of change.

Solutions

High visibility: Because of the image goal, we treated lab technologies as fully commercial, off the shelf products. 
Product marketing: We established a routine: 
Develop a rich, detailed Strategic Identity for each technology as if it were a completed product.
Name products. The “Texaco Microwave Watercut Monitor,” TMWM, became StarCut™, a name recognized industry-wide within months.
Create a full-color tri-fold brochure with one expensive picture and specific pages targeted to decision makers, production managers, and technical reviewers. We drafted text, and the team edited.
Produce a tight technology prospectus to present the licensing opportunity: Markets, products, and the opportunity to team with Texaco.
Contact potential licensees, deliver the prospectus, negotiate, and close deals.
Trade show: Texaco was the first oil company ever to take lab technologies to an industry trade show. We created a 20x20 exhibit and taught staff how to man the booth, interact with visitors, do guerilla marketing outside the booth, and follow up.
To find potential licensees, the following scenario was used: Oil company person, “Where can we get one of these?” Texaco, “What vendors would you usually go to for this?” Oil company, “From Vendor X.” Texaco, “Why don’t you ask Vendor X them to come see us.”
Training: Under contract, we developed and taught marketing to technical professionals. To avoid pushback, we named the program How to Define and   Communicate Value and minimize marketing language and jargon. (A   conceptual foundation used consistently for decades)

Results

Licenses: The program successfully licensed seven technologies in 15 months.  Cost recovery: The up-front fee for global rights to one technology paid for the entire effort. 
 Visibility and credibility: Texaco was broadly recognized for its R&D. R&D staff had the chance to be visible as sources of powerful results needed by the oil industry.
Licensee side benefit: Each acquired strong marketing with the technologies. In one case, the vendor   brochure repeated Texaco’s brochure almost verbatim.
Referral for Market Engineering: “Dr.  Lundquist’s unique methods helped our people better understand their technologies from a customer perspective. Skeptical at first, most became eager and constructive participants once they understood the process. The methods Were appropriate for every technology analyzed.” 
Consistency: Years later, technologies are marketed in the same formats and value-driven style we   developed.

 

Technology Transfer Society (T2S)

A key problem for any businesses is movement of developing technologies from idea to market. T2S was formed in 1975 to integrate and disseminate methods for moving tech from research to manufacturing or from inventor/developer to polishing, packaging, and production.

Challenges

At one time, T2S in Colorado was the largest chapter in the world. We had as many as four members of the board. Our members were individuals from laboratories in industry and government. To make the association visible, we developed draft tactical marketing materials. We found that we did not understand the Society well enough to market it.

Solutions

During that time, Market Engineering developed options for marketing materials. First concepts were not well received. With full board agreement, we developed a Strategic   Identity for the association. With clarity on target audience, value to be delivered, the Board at that time met to develop a Strategic Identity. With   all board members in agreement, the Society had its greatest moments.

Results

T2S reached a wide range of industries and universities. The annual meetings were attended by members from Europe, Canada, and Asia. Over time, however, the energy required for continuing that process declined. A meeting in Austin   was the last meeting held.
The methods and perspectives developed were and still are keys to effective development and movement of technology. The Journal was moved to a company who managed professional journals, and is still in operation.

NOTE: During that time, universities developed technology-transfer programs to leverage ROI on technologies developed in university labs. NASA also set up programs. One of those was the Mid-Continent Technology Transfer Center. Market Engineering met with the principles in Houston and developed an Identity for the NASA team at the Texas A&M.

 



 



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