Melvin—a story of growth. At beginning of my oil and gas career, I was partnered with my mentor to be and at the time my supervisor; Melvin. A gruff old cuss, he was a long-time south Louisiana ‘Cajun’ field engineer. Little did I know at the time the next months would be life changing for me.
The task at hand was open hole logging of oil wells using electronics and later computer driven—early digital oilfield solutions. There was the ‘book’ and Melvin’s version of the book. Years later when I used Melvin’s approach in Mississippi and was initially challenged by my operators. I able to show them the method was safe and faster. Accolades later, Melvin’s added value to the process was monetized; again.
What I learned in the early days in south Louisiana was not a short cut or work around. Rather, it was from experts who understood the work processes better than the desktop engineers writing the manuals.
As of this writing, the Boeing Max 8 seems to be back in the operational fleet. Months of financial disaster when knowledgeable pilots already knew how overcome its software short comings. What did they know that the ‘suits’ and desk bound engineers did not—experience in reality!
The BUT is, too many depend on the technology when human override is required. There are many stories of aircraft autopilots destroying the aircraft and killing all. Why did the so-called pilot allowed that to happen? Perhaps, they were not pilots but simply human observes of the technological aviators?
One common human interaction with technology is the computer keyboard. Often, we seek to type faster than the on-line system can accept our input. Impatience, especially with online ‘lag’ prompts frustration and even anger. Sometimes the result is a frozen system.
Melvin taught this young field engineer how the real world worked. Playing it forward, our interaction with technology is not a function of simply accepting what we are told, but understanding it uses and limitations.
The human relationship with technology continues to evolve. Not just IT but all manner of ways to make life better. However, our relationship with it and how we RESPOND to it continues to evolve.
For every ‘by the book,’ there is a Melvin who knows better. Find your Melvin!
How are you managing technology or is it managing you?
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