Thoughts, quotes, testimonials and links

Thoughts and Quotes

"Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted".
Attributed variously to Washington, Custer, and Clausewitz (and as also in the Motto of the Royal Observer Corps: 'Forewarned is Forearmed').

"If you're going to take risks, take them early".
In any endeavour, the least bad time to fail is early, when invested resources and time are at a minimum. As progression towards the goal of the endeavour is made, risk-taking should be moderated to reflect the value of what could be lost. This trade-off informs (or should inform!) both the 'fail early, fail fast' approach used by R&D departments to winnow their research and focus on the most promising projects, and also the investment strategies of pension funds, which steadily reduce the risk of their client's portfolios as the pension nears maturity, for example by switching from equities to bonds. It's the timing of risk-taking that can be critical. A risk taken early usually puts less value at risk. (see also

"Always have a plan, a backup plan, and a go-to-hell plan; because no plan survives contact intact. Tactics, techniques and procedures are adapted to the time, place and situation".
Guerrilla Patrol (and Litigator's) Mantra.

The sharpest sword is forged in the fiercest flame. The CASTELL Team Motto.
No point in trying to sneak round complexity: confront it, drive straight at it and through it, however painful the experience. Never fear the discomfort of argument, debate, contention, challenge, confrontation, the conflict of ideas. Use them hungrily to prise open and destroy your own poor logic, shoddy assessments, inadequate propositions, incomplete analyses… And even superheroes need a team. Use your team to put your feet to the fire, test your hypotheses, your convictions, your opinions; to improve the cooking of your half-baked ideas (or quickly burn them up and throw them out). Drive the truth fiercely out into the light, make it shine. Never close your mind until it is made up. Think, discuss, draft, dismantle, deconstruct, think, destroy, rebuild, draft, reconfigure, think, test, and test again. Think some more. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Think, argue, full and slow, smooth and fast, smart; and the right state of mind will suddenly become obvious in its persuasiveness and elegance. Enfin, stand back from the confusion of wrestling with the complexity in which others are still mired. You have reached the simplicity beyond the complexity. You can let the crystal-clear revelation of the granite-hard objective justifiability of your findings and conclusions transcend mere partisan entreaty and pleading.

Never forget:
Every presentation is a representation.
Every conversation is an argument.


"thank… you for your incredible commitment, professionalism and hard work in advising and assisting the Company … you and all your team have worked far and away beyond what could reasonably have been expected of you … the skill and expertise of our advisers … achieving a successful outcome. Many thanks … for your all your advice, assistance and support". Andrew Cooper, Head of Legal Services, AirTours (now MyTravel plc), 2001, in re the Airtours -v- EDS litigation, the largest software and systems development/outsourcing contract action to have come to trial in the English High Court, with a £200m+ Claim and £50m+ Counterclaim.

In his Judgment of 03 May 2005, HHJ David Richards said "I found Dr Castell to be an honest and conscientious witness" ([2005] EWHC 749 (Ch)); and in his Judgment of 05 July 2005, The Hon. Mr. Justice McKinnon referred to "Dr. Castell's helpful report" (Case No: HQ0101509; Neutral Citation Number: 2005 EWHC 1334 (QB)).

"Stephen's key attributes are:

  • A real expert in large scale/complex computer software products.
  • An ability to understand the perspectives of both supplier and customer.
  • Someone who recognises the inherent complexities in achieving a satisfactory implementation of large bespoke contracts and, as importantly, the difficult technical elements therein.
  • Outspoken and very fair in opinions given - objective in all he does regardless of who is paying.
  • A pioneer in the forensic science of software systems analysis, bringing a large intellect and access to a team of experts in different fields of technology."

    Director, Main Board of a major listed plc.

    "I have worked with Stephen for close on twenty years, on a wide variety of significant and complex ICT disputes that have been in litigation or arbitration, many involving also leading TMT insurers. He has always brought cost-effective energy, efficiency, rigour, independence of mind, penetrating analysis and uniquely illuminating insights to his expert investigations on behalf of my clients, delivering clear, comprehensive and readily-understandable expert reports that have invariably assisted in accelerating the dispute resolution process and, more often than not, have resulted in very satisfactory settlements without the high costs of going to full trial". Nicholas Gibbons, Partner, Ince & Co, the leading City and International firm of Solicitors (

    "Forensic Systems Analysis: A Methodology for Assessment and Avoidance of IT Disasters and Disputes", Dr Stephen Castell. Published as a Cutter Consortium Executive Report, Vol. 3, No. 2 (March 8, 2006), Enterprise Risk Management & Governance Advisory Service series, An article based on this work was published in Legal Week of w/e 2 June 2006.
    'Procurement planning can cut IT waste', Madeline Bennett, ManagementWeek, page 45, ITWeek, 28 February 2005.

    CASTELL Consulting is a Founding Partner of the World Digital Market ©®™ Initiative

    "only a new, inclusive global digital market capitalism can empower and enfranchise all and protect the poor from the greedy"
    If you buy it, you own it ©®™

    "only market capitalism can make the poor wealthy"
    Ludwig Von Mises, 1929
    After the fall of the Soviet Union Robert Heilbroner, a longtime advocate of Scandinavian-style social democracy, said that "It turns out, of course, that Mises was right" about the impossibility of socialism. "Capitalism has been as unmistakable a success as socialism has been a failure. Here is the part that's hard to swallow. It has been the Friedmans, Hayeks, and von Miseses who have maintained that capitalism would flourish and that socialism would develop incurable ailments."
    Mises developed the theory of the 'sovereignty of the consumer' in a free-market economy; in his view, the consumer ultimately dictates everything that happens. This argument was set out in Human Action:
    The captain is the consumer…the consumers determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities…They are merciless egoistic bosses, full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. For them nothing counts other than their own satisfaction…In their capacity as buyers and consumers they are hard-hearted and callous, without consideration for other people…Capitalists…can only preserve and increase their wealth by filling best the orders of the consumers… In the conduct of their business affairs they must be unfeeling and stony-hearted because the consumers, their bosses, are themselves unfeeling and stony-hearted.

  • Disclaimer

    PLEASE NOTE: The links to third party websites (URLs) provided are understood to be valid and/or working at the time of publication and not inadvertently link to sites that could be considered offensive. However, due to the dynamic nature of the internet, some URLs may change, cease to exist, or inadvertently link to sites with content that could be considered offensive or inappropriate. While any inconvenience this may cause is regretted, no responsibility or liability for any such changes or errors, or their consequences, can be, or is, accepted. Please report problems with any of the links.