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Will, Work and Near Impossible Things with Goncalo Estevez

Tim recently interviewed Goncalo Estevez during our November Conversations for the Future.








Gonçalo is an innovative Business Process and Systems Thinking professional in Space and Business Process Management. Obsessed with Space Exploration and Human Space Flight and doing his pathway to become an Astronaut. NASA Break the Ice challenge Runner-up awardee World Design Organization, and International Space Station Business Team. AIAA – Space Mission Assurance Process SME and Space Operations Technical Support Group Commercial Vice Chair I speak about the power of will, work, and near-impossible things having Space as the domain for realizing the best for Societal growth.



Episode Transcript:



[00:00:00] Goncalo Estevez: This next segment is an interview with our executive director and former intelligence officer with the CIA and army Tim Chrisman. And he'll be interviewing Goncalo estimates. Goncalo is an innovative business process and center systems thinking professional in space and a business process map.

[00:00:27] Obsessed with space exploration and human space flight and doing his pathway to becoming an Astro. NASA break the ice challenge. He was a runner-up awardee of the world design organization and international space station business team. He's the space mission assurance process SIG subject matter expert for AIA as well as a space operations, technical support group commercial vice-chair.

[00:00:54] He's going to speak about the power of will work and near impossible things. Having space [00:01:00] as the domain for realizing the best societal growth Goncalo and Tim take it away.

[00:01:11] Thanks late.

[00:01:14] Tim Chrisman: Great to have you here, Goncalo.

[00:01:22] I can't hear you very well. Is it just me?

[00:01:36] Goncalo Estevez: Do you have an alternative microphone? Possibility?

[00:01:39] Tim Chrisman: Little little better. It's still pretty echoey and vibrating.

[00:01:50] Goncalo Estevez: Perfect. We followed the right setting. There we go.

[00:01:56] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Welcome. I'm excited to have you here and be [00:02:00] talking with you. I always like to start these interviews by asking sort of why space. When I look through your resume, it starts with human kinetics research and now fast forward 20 years you're a space evangelist and Really getting this message out there, that space can be for everyone.

[00:02:23] So like, walk us through that. How did that happen?

[00:02:27] Goncalo Estevez: Well, like many dreams they can phases, but they start with something. Okay. Yeah. I do remember this. I'm from the generation of Carl Sagan and I I've seen spaceship earth and I I've seen images of landing on the moon. Well, I think was I want to do what to be an astronaut.

[00:02:49] And this came, came up as, as I was a kid I'm from Portugal. And later on, I discovered that my, one of my cousins did not have a space program and really only [00:03:00] America did that and kind of, you know, those things went in the, into the back and that will start doing other things later on after. A dream to come to America from my family.

[00:03:12] We, we, we got the American, I got hired to do this. I allowed to large scale corporate transformation. And one day my son asked me what do you want to do when you grow up? Man? I was, I was leading a pretty interesting project in terms of. Company overall digital transformation. And I couldn't ask her, you know, they have a up man.

[00:03:36] I think I could. And I couldn't answer. I was doing these are the transformation. What the heck is these? What does that bring to educating someone or providing direction or providing good in the world? I said, now it's time to go back to the, to the drape. And I said, I want to be an astronaut. And in the meantime, since I've doing [00:04:00] process management, industrial revolution okay, so we'll bring this the U S space economy up because I don't have yet $50 million.

[00:04:08] Although having $50 million looks too simple. You know, you have a metric, you have a value of go there six years and they come back to easy. So I said at the same time, I lose my capabilities to, to build up the ecosystem of spice and provide space access to all because they can see that if I can do.

[00:04:28] Other scans and this will become much more interesting. So that's the reason why spice. I couldn't answer a question. Yeah,

[00:04:37] Tim Chrisman: no. And it's often questions from our kids that hit us the hardest when we realized, oh man, I really don't know.

[00:04:46] Goncalo Estevez: Yes. So that was that. That was what he did.

[00:04:51] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, that makes sense.

[00:04:52] And it's, it's a story that is becoming more and more common in the space community. [00:05:00] It's no longer just, oh, I got a physics degree. I'm a rocket engineer. It really is. And we're at a point when your kids ask, why aren't you an astronaut? And you say, I don't know. I guess I will be. And you can't like that is now an option.

[00:05:17] Goncalo Estevez: Yeah. And there are three phrase, the dream a couple of times, rephrase, rephrase. We do, because I know the puffy. Big, but it's moving. I do have a plan. You know, the plan has been working for quite some time. I have some tools and instruments and project that started happening because you don't arrive. I arrived at the U S fully confident that we would find a job in here.

[00:05:41] I had opened up a gigantic factory in Brazil, working for Jaguar land Rover and you and I was like, oh, I've, you know, I think business process management, automotive, I top skill consultant. Of course I can find a job, you know, Nothing. I was like, am I speaking to the [00:06:00] walls in the U S this is the place of the dream.

[00:06:02] And it's like process resiliency systems thinking what, what, whatever. And then finally we know after 768 emails and many, many hundreds of hours, I found the job and then Korea moved in that in a different direction. So, so things do change.

[00:06:24] Tim Chrisman: Oh, for sure. And I think that's one of the. The coolest things to hear about is how those journeys progress and how one thing builds on another where you know where we're at now turns out.

[00:06:39] It's not that we wasted time. We were just practicing what we needed.

[00:06:44] Goncalo Estevez: Yep.

[00:06:45] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. So, so what is it now that you're working on a space, you said you have a, you know, your plan to get this space.

[00:06:53] Goncalo Estevez: The plan is these. I will be a range, not in my own company, helping others, small space, [00:07:00] small to medium space companies.

[00:07:01] Because if you, if we pick up the MCIs code of the companies that do spice below a false. Yeah. And there are a lot of companies that have the economy in the U S a lot of them. And I'm from the 2021 cohort of the commercial space studies program between MIT and international space, university and Aldrin and Greg.

[00:07:25] Oh, no. Yeah. You know, the experience was awesome. Outstanding. And I did, there is, there was one time that, that. The not the national team, not space X, but the other team. Dianetics I did the graph on how many suppliers did that proposal touch. I'm not talking guys. I'm not talking about, I am not talking about the engineering side.

[00:07:52] I made a graph on all the suppliers that that proposal touched all the amount of dollars and the speed of. [00:08:00] And I was like, I need to defend this. This would be my case. I would think, oh, we'll take care of engine. And then I understood that all of these methods that allow the space economy, the.

[00:08:13] Entrepreneurs and founders to be way better can ramp up the U S economy, the U S space jobs. And so-so, I'm working on that. I've got my own consulting company, as well as my director level at the BPM D that's a niche company and I'm advising other space companies. Process management and business models.

[00:08:36] The whole, the idea is this, I will, it's pretty simple. I will help design test build and fly flight because that's the last come back and say, okay, so that's the, that's the path. That's what I'm doing right now. And going through all the phases acquiring customers spreading up the message when 10 in content pop there regarding.[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Yeah. Looking at the work that you guys do. And I still publish every month as you know, the numbers on spice jobs. And that was the thing that led me to do the break, the ice challenge. If you want to talk about that later, I can tell you the odds of being something impossible and the hobby like calculated.

[00:09:20] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, let's, let's jump right into that.

[00:09:23] Goncalo Estevez: But Michelle guys, because I'll tell you a story that I find that it's very, very interesting. Okay. So

[00:09:32] there's one. I think you can see an excellent it's a boring XL. Okay. But you think you, you, you, you enjoy it. So in 2019, I, I, I said, I want to go to this place, that's it. I, I need to do something in spice. I, and prior to that, I always had this passion to work with people in the industry other than those international council of systems engineering, or why people join and share things.[00:10:00]

[00:10:01] I sent out 175 emails for everyone in the support group thing. I've got this group 360. I want to work in space. I'll do whatever you want. It doesn't matter. To person replied. Okay.

[00:10:17] It's okay. We have you, you can write some, you know, minutes of the meetings. Okay, fine. Let's do that with Ron. I, I became the SL special operations technical support group there, commercial splice lead. And I helped organize that our online conference and it was just fantastic. I brought people from the lunar surface interface consortium John greedy for NASA.

[00:10:40] Fantastic. But this started by writing memos. Okay. So, so do people do to people responding and that's kind of a 1% chance. Okay. That kind of built up a bit of the critical, then I attended all possible space workshops. Okay. All of them, they were free. I met captain Steven. [00:11:00] And I think all of them, and I started following up with people.

[00:11:03] What do they want, what are the things that you need? Let's say that we had this case. I had, you know, three folks that said yes, and that's a 2% chance. So since one event and the other, I kind of, one photo follows up the other, you need to multiply it. Zero points, you know, 20 it's almost neglecting. Okay.

[00:11:23] Yeah, because of that, I followed up with Neil and I said, oh, where's this coming up with this challenge? We shouldn't do these things. What do you think? And then we'll play a meal. Well, you've got that's from Michigan technological university and then brought honeybee robotics with hunter to give the tooling.

[00:11:42] I was doing parts of systems, engineering practices, engineering program management guys, after 530 hours. That thing in there that doesn't exist became . So that's one of the [00:12:00] stories. Okay. Yeah, that works. I, these guys are awesome. These are both into something that's one of the best systems engineering process I've ever seen.

[00:12:09] Fantastic. There, Michigan tech is outstanding. We can talk about the international space station, national lab. Cause I've been involved in trying to reduce cycle time from three years to six months or to six days. So it's been yeah, yeah. Yes, yes. I, again, thinking I applied for the ISS for the words, organization, business team, a big clash between lean systems thinking, design thinking, but overall, something very important that I think team, you bring the.

[00:12:42] Extremely diverse teams. And I know because I talk with an accent, I don't wear the same shirt as the other person. I believe in different things. I come from another country. I have a different skin color. I have, I have different things, but things as I've seen in the past perform way better, if they are [00:13:00] more levers.

[00:13:02] And that's been one of my, I would say one of my major challenges, because space is very.

[00:13:15] Tim Chrisman: Old white guy with a beard. Yeah.

[00:13:18] Goncalo Estevez: Is hard by definition. We know that, but it's hard because the mental models and the diversity around it, it's it's not yet narrow.

[00:13:27] This was fantastic. I kind of felt like I was in Jaguar land Rover. I had people from India, China. I said the word China. Okay. India, China. I had people from India, China, UK, us, fantastic people working all around the clock because we hold all the time zones. All projects should be run with different policies as well.

[00:13:49] So, and we did provide good recommendations for Congress. Later on. If they assess what's the use them to move their cycle time from three years to six months or less and [00:14:00] decreasing their overall it's $5 billion guys, the percent it's us. You have some money that's that's going there and there is no, there is no business problem that waited three years to be solved.

[00:14:14] It doesn't exist. It's true. Even, even in science. So the recommendations are out there. It was fantastic because for the first time as a process, I could model what astronauts do at the space station. So I felt a bit more of a faster now it's it's no, it's one more step. So these were two things that, you know, they all start with very slim chances, but if you say, okay, these are my, question's always what my want.

[00:14:47] What do the others want? What do they want? What do we make of spice? Because it needs to have that common sharing thing. If they wouldn't share the same goal in the same wheel of spice, this wouldn't be a big conversation. It [00:15:00] would be, this would be like a finest team or something like that. Right? What are the gaps that like, I truly believe I can close.

[00:15:08] Tim. You've been very inspiring with your newsletters. I know that you work a lot alone. That's really, that's really fantastic. The amount of nos that you keep on receiving, it's just, we need to wait and say

[00:15:28] what kind of. That's always an important thing. And what can I truly give that? No one can stop. And I think I've got my own capabilities, my own super powers in a way that no one can stop. And I look, this is an unstoppable force to making sure we, we, we have banner space capabilities. So that's kind of fought out a couple more of other things.

[00:15:56] It's important in a way that independent of our personality and [00:16:00] autopsy for us to get out of there, to get out there and leave them. And course it's a course on special space image, or she can talk about that better, but I moved from 2000 hundred colonies. Okay with this. Yes, I did produce 112 space videos on my YouTube channel.

[00:16:21] And that requires in home everyday editing and learning things. And of course the commercial space program for me was a big, big boost in terms of knowing people who couldn't ship at the kind of display center. And in people I've been relying a lot on. Captain Steven Wiki. I think, you know, him is not standing easy.

[00:16:46] He has a huge passion for spice and helps a lot. John Spencer is my mentor. I call him every most say, John, I don't know you are building these spice cruise ships and I'm, I'm all in tangled. I don't know. [00:17:00] I should talk with these guys or these, what do you think people that don't agree with each other?

[00:17:05] Okay. I love because I love to see their different points of views and they helped extremely helpful from Dr. Christian fantastic view from father. Great guy, Dan, Greg, all three. That is always like you should do this move. Andy, that at the course. That came from, from, from, from a great experience in spite.

[00:17:29] So these have been my tools. Okay. And of course I've been doing the technical side of space, but I'm talking about the folks that want to move into space. And if you follow guys don't believe the arts or believe the arts, which it's definitely So I want it to stop in here. I, I posted with data and ways of working and things and any questions I'll be happy.

[00:17:56] No.

[00:17:56] Tim Chrisman: I think what you're saying is, is important that, [00:18:00] you know, success is moving from one failure to another without losing momentum. And so, you know, you sent hundreds of emails and met hundreds of people before you ever got to. Yes. And so the, you know, the message to people trying to come in to the space community is the next email might be the one, just keep going.

[00:18:25] Goncalo Estevez: Yes. I can tell you that today I received one email that I wasn't expecting. That's part of life. Yeah. I was expecting something. And you receive another you to like, what can I do? I know what that is. Can I do, I'm gonna, I'm gonna pound you with 15 more. I'm going to do more of that. I have understood.

[00:18:45] Looking also at your work is that if you keep on doing the work in a customer biases with quality, and we believe it will work with the, the people that come into our lives, they don't come in just because of these audits. [00:19:00] They come in because you've done the work. And at the right time, it's the same thing applies for companies.

[00:19:06] So some of the people that I've met when I work with. Waste management back in Portugal, doing things that no one likes it are. I learned a lot about them. They are important in my life. My family is important in my life, but what I'm saying is that there will be many nos everyday. Politicians believe that they believe in work.

[00:19:30] It's not like you don't sit in here in my bouncing ball and you believe in work. You, you believe you work. You meet people, you listen to them. And you write down the things that you truly believe to truly, like, I know that I'm going to be an astronaut, but to do that, I need to design build fast and fly.

[00:19:49] Yeah. So those things should work.

[00:19:53] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, I agreed. And that process of going through and defining, you know, not just what you [00:20:00] want. What comes after that you know, good intentions are great, but they don't get you anywhere. And so whatever the process is, you know, go through it. I mean Michael, Lane's got a, a great new Menia process that he takes companies and people through.

[00:20:14] Fantastic. What you're talking about is another, and I mean, the process. Well is, is what helps. It keeps us honest. So that's cool. Yeah, but what's, so what's next for you? So, you know, you're, you're out there. You're, you're making, making waves and delivering a message, but what's coming,

[00:20:35] Goncalo Estevez: What's coming is between, I would say November, December and January.

[00:20:42] I either a, I continue with my consulting company and continue advising or be I moved to to a space company where we can build things. And there is a big challenge in all of these two challenges. One, no one knows hoping to through. [00:21:00] No one knows. I've talked with blue origin space, X folks from there, everyone is hitting their heads on the wall.

[00:21:07] How are we going to make these as a, as as an automotive machine? Yeah, no one knows. And then the other part comes in as oh, but we don't have a market. We don't have a business model. And there are these two competing versions that we don't do it, or we cannot get there because we don't have enough market.

[00:21:27] I would say that the market is developing itself. You see it, the clothing and the other thing, the guys that built Instagram, they had no idea the business model. They have no idea of what the thing would mean would mean the moment we will have satellites on orbit in a daily basis or humans on arbiter on a daily basis, the markets will appear.

[00:21:51] Because they do appear proof of that. If you look into the work of freedom of how innovation works by math Reedley, [00:22:00] it's clear. I know the folks from economics, I'm an ex PhD student from large scale simulation economics. So, you know, we can do whatever you want. The market disappeared. The morning.

[00:22:18] Sometimes they are late sometimes, but it's known that with the convergence of freedom of technology and investment at the same time, not all freedom is important in here. Okay. Really important with the converses of these things and some norms. Political advice or regulation markets do appear. And that's th that's the key message from that book that companies do need to pick up in their innovation process.

[00:22:46] So I do believe that as we become more free to launch, and I know, you know, okay, I have got the part four 50 of FAA all written down and devise a plan to become more efficient. But I [00:23:00] truly believe the more, the more we have market up there, the more market will come in. That's that's we do, we are, everyone is lowering the cost.

[00:23:07] There are many speakers on that, but that is not my game. My game is about how do we make efficiently run after the market? And then the market comes up and I would say the last part. How will the U S you are working on this? How will the us find the people for the job that needs to be done?

[00:23:32] Tim Chrisman: It's true.

[00:23:33] It's true.

[00:23:34] Goncalo Estevez: That the gap is too big. The gap is, is increasing SpaceX S 283% more jobs open than blue origin, 150, 115% more.

[00:23:48] Tim Chrisman: No. I mean, they can't, and they can't be filled and we're not fast enough. And in part it's because people. I think are they accepted a no too early and [00:24:00] stop looking and part because they never thought they could.

[00:24:03] You know, when I talked to students and teachers at community and technical colleges, they laughed thinking they could be involved in space. But those are the types of jobs that people are hiring for right now. So we've got enough rocket scientists. We need somebody to make the rocket.

[00:24:24] Goncalo Estevez: Yes. Yeah. So there are these couple of things in terms of mapping as a person.

[00:24:29] But as an industry and again, a lot of methods, but also things to do. Yeah.

[00:24:36] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. True. And it's great. It was great having you here today. Is there anything we missed talking about?

[00:24:44] Goncalo Estevez: I don't know. We, we hit things on the, on the surface. I would say beyond the ecology of keeping yourself positive. Yeah. It's it's. Get help get help from [00:25:00] others. Everyone is struggling in the space industry. Some folks have more models and more ideas, but th th there is, there is a lot of people doing fantastic work up there, and if we can, in a way, connect them and help, help, really building a spreadsheet, building, making a connection sharing the video helping out with the design review, helping with the skills, you know, Just do that.

[00:25:23] Yeah. The price will come next. Just do it. Yeah, no, agreed.

[00:25:28] Tim Chrisman: And I mean, it really is surprising that you know, how much you can help with, and if you're just stay humble and say, look, I want to be involved. How can I do that?

[00:25:40] Goncalo Estevez: That's my message.

[00:25:43] Tim Chrisman: It's a good one. And yeah. But yeah. Thanks for, thanks for being here today.

[00:25:47] And we definitely need to have you back on

[00:25:49] Goncalo Estevez: soon. Thank you very much. Speak very soon. Okay. Sounds good.

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