Ep 8 - Joe Morrison - Selling Satellite Imagery, Synthetic Aperture Radar & Making Predictions in Public
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Joe Morrison is the VP of Commercial Product at Umbra, who builds & operates Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites. He is determined to make satellite imagery more accessible, and has shared many of his thoughts about the Earth Observation industry on this blog "A Closer Look with Joe Morrison".
We talk about how buying satellite imagery is not a solved problem, how he builds a team and how Umbra is trying to change how satellite imagery is sold. Joe compares the current Earth Observation market to the railroad companies of a few hundred years ago, and we discuss making predictions in public.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/mouthofmorrison
- Substack Blog: https://joemorrison.substack.com/welcome
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-morrison/
- 6:30 - Episode begins, Joe presents himself
- 8:48 - How does a people person end up in the map business?
- 10:25 - Joe's story entering the geospatial field
- 15:15 - People who use the word "geospatial" hate maps
- 21:20 - Is "New Space" changing the industry?
- (22:25 - Audio starts degrading a bit)
- 29:00 - Why work on the infrastructure when applications are lacking?
- 32:20 - Why Joe joined Umbra
- 34:25 - What if buying X were like sat imagery
- 37:25 - Is infrastructure ever solved?
- (Audio is better again)
- 40:18 - The importance of the people we work with
- 49:05 - Space attracts people
- 53:12 - Working with people who’ve interacted with your content & how we both create our content
- 59:22 - Coming from a Space background
- 1:06:10 - Fighting impostor syndrome
- 1:10:55- A great team isn’t just great people
- 1:17:40 - Is Umbra a data company?
- 1:26:00 - Moving towards selling data as cheap as possible
- 1:31:25 - Relationship between image providers and Defense & Governments
- 1:36:10 - Umbra’s target audience
- 1:42:58 - The technical barrier to entry and Joe’s thoughts on Analysis Ready Data
- 1:45:40 - SAR imagery isn’t valuable in it’s own, it’s like salt
- (Audio quality drops again a bit)
- 1:52:28 - Making predictions about the industry in public
- 2:00:33 - Insanity & Obsessions
- (Audio quality is good again)
- 2:08:02 - Joe’s Book Recommandation
- Umbra: https://umbra.space/
- Azavea: https://www.azavea.com/
- NACIS (National American Cartographic Information Society): https://nacis.org/
- GIS definition, video of guy trying to explaining his job to non geo people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg4YsAjreOA
- Musk presenting Starship in 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7Uyfqi_TE8
- Joe’s prediction Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/mouthofmorrison/status/1447917122772946951?s=20
- Book recommendation: “A river runs through it” by Norman Maclean
- Band recommendation: Lawrence, their latest album: Hotel TV
Please feel free to reach out!