Steven Noske

Steven Noske was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia where he developed an interest and talent in math and science at a young age. From 1975 to 1980, Noske attended Haileybury College and went on to complete an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, graduating in 1985. Steven Noske had a successful academic career, receiving the Melbourne University ICI Prize for Mechanical Engineering Design in 1983, and graduating as a top graduate Australia-wide. Upon graduation, Steven Noske worked with Woodside Petroleum, the largest oil and gas producer in Australia. This was the commencement of a long and incredibly successful career in energy.

Over the last 30 years, Steven Noske has developed a varied career that has included working with Woodside, BHP Petroleum, Shell International, Petronas, Energy Australia and APA Group. As a result, Noske has traveled the world and lived throughout Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Currently, Steven Noske resides in Perth, Australia and provides management consulting services to clients seeking to improve business performance, establish new businesses and transact in energy assets.

Where did the name for Ausoco Energy Management come from?

Ausoco is an abbreviation for Australian Oil Company. I created Ausoco Energy Management in 2008 out of an identified need for experienced management consulting within the oil & gas industry. Now Ausoco has a wide client base that includes Mitsui, Texas LNG, Kwik Logistics, P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LLP and many others.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day usually involves undertaking consulting activities from the client premises or from the Ausoco office. I provide all equipment to help me enter into a client’s organisation seamlessly. Currently I have a full-time client looking to enhance their business processes to improve employee accountability for business performance. In parallel, I am advising an international company on the purchase of equity in a US based LNG project. I love to get an early start to the day, bicycling to a client’s office and then the actioning of multiple parallel tasks.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe that whilst ideas occur to all of us, it is only a few that are able to filter the great ideas and act on them. In my field I have to constantly come up with ideas of ways to improve things for my client. Usually this includes observing workflow, talking to employees and executives, and other tasks depending on the clients needs. Once I identify the problem or areas that require improvement, I immediately start working on how to implement a series of actions that allow my ideas to blossom. These actions are then methodically worked through to animate the great idea. Often I develop various ideas, but many do not grow and are discarded to help determine the greatest one. For example, I worked with an international client to secure equity in an LNG project. I thought of a novel approach and delivered to the client.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am excited by the current trend to fall back on electronic software to manage business decisions and day to day activities. The propensity to rely on an Apple Watch or a smartphone app to drive daily actions and decisions is very interesting. Although face-to-face interaction is important in business, the truth is that many people are uncomfortable with this, or are unable to do this because they are working with business across different time zones. Technology allows these individuals to comfortably work closely with people without being face-to-face.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I believe maintaining good habits whether they be related to my professional or private life. One habit to make a person more productive is the habit of health management. Keeping fit and exercising regularly, drinking only in moderation, eating foods that make you feel energized, all help to positions oneself for a productive day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

A discussion on the pitfalls of a youthful existence was entertaining. My advice to my younger self would be to not waste time or financial resources. When I say wasting time, I’m referring to not only business, educational achievements and career, but also recreational activities. For example, when I was younger I loved to golf, but I never challenged myself to improve my skills. Now I see that discipline at a young age helps to mature individuals. Additionally, wasting financial resources is always taken for granted when you are young. When we get older, we tend to believe that our abilities to earn good financial income will go on into our later years. That being said, I advise others, no matter their age, to always look to use your financial resources strategically and not waste money. When it comes to the business world, cash or capital, is key. Never miss an opportunity to raise capital or access cash. Once accessed, use it wisely.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

If we are truly concerned with saving lives and the equality of mankind then we would not waste financial resources keeping the Australian road toll to as low as possible. Australia would donate this money and our expertise to a country where a greater number of lives could be saved for the same amount of money spent. Australia should be content to let the Australian road toll plateau or even rise slightly in return for saving lives in other Asian countries with significantly higher road tolls. An Australian life is equivalent to any life, so why not save more lives in a poorer overseas country using the Australia road toll budget?

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

The most important part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to connect business ideas and opportunities to the capital markets. All great ideas need money to develop the ideas into great businesses. The one thing I would recommend would be to always raise funds whenever an opportunity arises. Never stop getting connected to capital.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The one strategy that helps me continuously grow Ausoco is to always give the client more than they expect. This way, you can never disappoint. Remember your performance review is that your client pays your invoice. You must ensure that when the client reviews the invoice he or she knows that the services provided are of a value greater than the payment required for the invoice. Always assume that you should do more. Using this philosophy, I was able to consult to Mitsui through Ausoco for over 8 years. Honest and experienced people are hard to find. Consulting opportunities provide Ausoco an opportunity to build strong relationships with our clients.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

During my time in business I have tended to trust in the integrity of my fellow workers. Mislaid trust is always devastating, and I have seen colleagues betray the trust of others for their own selfish needs, whether that be career advancement or pure job survival. Unfortunately, in this dog eat dog style of business, you must develop a ruthless approach early to ensure success of the business. If a friend or colleague is not up to the task, it’s no good protecting him. It could end up damaging your reputation and career.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

That’s a tough one because your readers probably won’t be satisfied with a nothing answer. Over the last 3 to 4 years we have seen the capital markets run from Oil & Gas investment, as the oil price declined. Now we are seeing the signs of a slow realignment of the capital markets in this area. Over the past few years, many companies have closed their doors and many assets are for sale. Readers should look to align themselves with capital and investigate capturing an oil & gas asset base. Capital is required but assets are many and a well structure portfolio of assets will likely see many multiple returns over the next few years. I recommend readers look at The Seychelles as the next opportunity to explore of major oil.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I spent was on a meal with my family at Ultimo Italian restaurant in Bali. My family loved the beautiful style of the Balinese people and the fantastic food at such reasonable prices. Meanwhile in Perth, Western Australia, you are lucky to get a meal for one for $100 all with poor service!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I am a great fan of ensuring all computing is via Google Drive so I can access files anywhere, and most important while using my cellphone. This is extremely helpful when I am traveling and do not have access to my computer. I believe everyone needs to incorporate a single seamless system that can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet, and/ or laptop, anywhere in the world. In addition to Google Drive, Dropbox is a great application, although Google offers many more services that I require.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson is a simple read but contains powerful messages about embracing and enjoying change because life always throws up curveballs and as humans we are always evolving. Things cannot go along smoothly forever and change, good and bad, will eventually find us. “Who Moved My Cheese” provides some great advice for those phased by changes in their lives.

What is your favorite quote?

My favourite quote is by Amelia Earhart: “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity”. I’ve come across many people throughout my career who just simply talk, but never act. Earhart’s words inspire me to act on my promises and goals.

Key learnings:

  • Always add value and do more than is expected.
  • Never take money for granted and always take opportunities to access capital.
  • Be ruthless and do not trust in the integrity of others. Only trust in your own abilities.
  • Make sure you grab a copy of “Who Moved My Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson because you’ll need his insights as you go through your careers and life challenges.
  • Have fun in business and life. Value your family and always do your best by them.