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WEEKEND UPDATE

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A Hippo and A Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Apr 10, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 5 mins...1363 words

Team SPACE, 

I was talking with Katie (that's my wife for those of you who are new) this week about the implications of the impending launch of Starship. Of course, I highlighted how cool it is going to be to have a system that can move people and cargo anywhere in the world in a matter of hours all for about three times the cost of typical air freight. I also pointed out how this is going to revolutionize the speed at which the world interacts (similar to how air travel did). I also made sure to bring up how this will not only change how wars are fought, but also how relief is delivered. When I got to the end of my evangelizing, she had a very insightful question:

Could Starship carry a hippo?

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Yes, this is what Katie drew so I understood her question fully.

Now you might think this is a bit of a non sequitur - and you might be right - I am not going to accuse her of that…but if you do then that is on you.

Anyway - you might think that isn’t terribly relevant - however we had just finished up the Netflix series Narcos - and one of the things that Pablo Escabar did was create a wildlife preserve for animals not native to Colombia…including hippos.

So given that fact - it was a really relevant and even an important question. Afterall a big part of funding for emerging tech comes from rich people and their odd proclivities. Granted - there tend to be laws that prohibit startups from taking money from business people who traffic drugs - but that doesn’t mean that rich people who earned their money through more legitimate means have fewer odd hobbies.

So then - given that fact - I realized that we need to not only be talking about the benefit of Starship for humanity at large - but we also need to be talking about how Starship will help the 1%. Namely it will make it WAY easier for them to indulge in their whims.

I recently read a story about how Elvis used to fly his friends to Denver and back in a single day just to get a sandwich. Granted this sandwich was made out of an entire loaf of bread, a whole jar of peanut butter, a whole jar of jelly and a pound of bacon…so not just any sandwich. But these trips used to be crazy disruptive and had to be done at night to minimize publicity so tended to cost the singer and his friends a lot of sleep. But what if these trips could have utilized Starship? Then instead of needing a full night to travel back and forth - these PB&J fans could have done their trip in just a couple hours roundtrip.

Pretty revolutionary - right!

And that was back in the 50s and 60s - imagine how many more eccentric famous people there are now who would be willing to spend a few million dollars to have things delivered in a matter of hours that otherwise would take days to get (and still have a full night’s sleep)?

Yes, it is awesome to think about how SpaceX is about to unleash a geyser of new orders from people who are looking to get a midnight snack….or people looking to move a hippo. And that will just be the start. With those people funding more development, it is just a matter of time before Starship and other rockets like it will let the masses experience space and bring the benefits of space down to Earth…including visiting hippos in Colombia.

But while we wait - let’s get to the rest of this week’s update.

The Politics: The SEC is looking for a fight.

One Big Politics Thing: The world of private capital is about to get its first fight in a generation.

  • More Details:  In the aftermath of SVB’s collapse and FTX’s fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to head off future scandals. And how better to do that then through group punishment? Well - that and preventative punishment. Ok - maybe that isn’t entirely fair, but in summary the SEC wants to limit future risk by increasing barriers to capital, limiting access to investment opportunities, and pushing companies to go public.

  • Why it matters: This is a big deal because the policy framework for private companies was built to streamline their ability to raise capital, operate and innovate with fewer regulatory restrictions. And investors understand that implicit in that is the higher risk of failure. Trying to limit that risk by reducing the number of investment opportunities is the opposite of what the U.S. should be doing. This is going to create more problems than it solves, and in the process slow innovation.

  • Our thought bubble: We are firmly against these proposed changes from the SEC and are building a formal response. Let me know if you and your organization are interested in signing onto our response. We will be circulating a draft in the coming weeks so let me know soon.

The Foundation: Grab your chaise lounge - you are going to need it this week

One Big Foundation Thing: It is a busy week for events.

More Details: On Tuesday we are having an important discussion about space sustainability. Our two-hour chat is live on Zoom and on LinkedIn. Speakers include: Kevin O'Connell from Space Economy Rising, Joe Guzman from Rock Drill Research, Rick Tumlinson from Earthlight Foundation, and Trent Adams from the Analog Astronaut Community. Register free here.

But Wait There is More: On Wednesday from noon - 1pm Eastern we are co-hosting a fireside chat on the future of investing in space, with a particular focus on the geopolitical implications of getting this new space race ‘right’. Find out more details and how to register for free here.

Alrighty - that should just about cover things - I’ll leave things here so you can get back to the rest of your weekend.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Pablo Escobar, America and a Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Mar 27, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1446 words

Team SPACE, 

Have you seen the series Narcos?

I know I am a little behind if I am just starting to talk about it but…ok I don’t have a ready excuse here…maybe I am just behind.

Anyway - back to Narcos - so the whole thing is about the hunt for Pablo Escobar (yes I know you already know this - but maybe there is someone else like me who is late to the party). What is so interesting to me is how hard a time a government has eradicating a problem like Pablo. In theory it should be easy. Pablo controls one group of armed men, the government controls a much larger one, so in theory you can just ‘flood the zone’ and crush Pablo’s power base.

But as we see time and again in the series - doing that only seems to make Pablo stronger because no one expects Pablo to do anything but be ruthless. So when he gives the poor money, or helps build houses, he is seen as some extraordinary hero. After all - he is a literal villain who willingly chose to be nice. The juxtaposition is so jarring that it makes people question whether he is actually as bad as the government says. After all - he is choosing to be nice - maybe he is just a good guy in bad circumstances.

Meanwhile the government has to be pretty much perfect. They have to not accidentally hurt anyone, not break anything, treat Pablo really nice if he is captured and the list goes on. The government, starting off in the position of the ‘good guy’ is held to such high standards that any deviation at all is seen as malicious.

  • I should note here that the government people in Narcos do some objectively horrible things like torture and extrajudicial killings. That is definitely beyond the pale. I am talking about the difference between how the public treats Pablo vs the government when they do the same thing.

This relationship between the public and government is mirrored a bit here in the U.S. as we expect our politicians to be the exact opposite of what they claim their opponents are (competent and good hearted). After all, during campaigns these politicians use bombastic claims of how horrible the ‘other guy’ is. So the conclusion has to be that they are the opposite. Yet all too often either politician is under equipped to handle the challenge of governing and so would make mistakes. However, because the winner implicitly or explicitly claimed to be a savior we assume any mistakes are malicious - further fueling the cycle of cynicism and mistrust.

I haven’t finished Narcos - so I don’t know how the show will end (yes, I know how Pablo’s story ends) - but the show claims at the beginning of every episode to be inspired by true events and any resemblance to reality is an accident). So I know ‘what’ will happen in the show - I just don’t know for certain ‘how’ it will happen. Similarly, I don’t know how the U.S.’ current political climate relaxes, I just know that it will. We have gone through three or four similar transitions, and each time the U.S. public thinks the world is ending and it is the end of the Republic. But each time we come out stronger.

This time will be no different - our ‘fight with Pablo (no that isn’t a reference to anyone in particular)’ isn’t over yet - but we are close. And we can be confident that America will come out of this stronger and more united than ever before.

Motivational speech complete - now let's get to this week’s update.

The Politics:

One Big Politics Thing: It is hard to unite Democrats and Republicans around anything, but this week, TikTok managed to do that.

  • More Details: On Thursday (3/23), TikTok’s CEO testified to Congress about measures the company was taking to ensure that all U.S. data was safe. In advance of the hearing there were leaks from the White House indicating that President Biden wanted to force TikTok’s parent company to sell TikTok to ward off a total ban of the company in the U.S. Within hours the Chinese government said they would fight any attempt at forcing TikTok’s sale.

  • Go deeper: Turns out that isn’t an ideal start to your day when you are trying to convince Congress that your company isn’t a pawn of the Chinese government. And TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s day only got worse from there. Under questioning he quibbled over the definition of ‘spying’ suggesting that what the Chinese government does with TikTok’s data isn’t technically spying (he is right - according to Chinese law it is ‘business as usual’). He also repeatedly failed to answer basic questions about what TikTok’s relationship is to the Chinese government.

  • What’s next: It is time to start taking bets on which company acquires TikTok, and how long it takes to close the deal. It is now no longer even a question as to whether Congress will ban the app - it is only a matter of when. Expect some big tech companies to start circling in the coming weeks; and a deal to be announced by the end of April at the latest. After all - if your CEO, in his prepared testimony to Congress, responds to reports that TikTok spied on Americans by saying “I don’t think ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it” - then your company does not have a lot of staying power left.

The Foundation:

One Big Foundation Thing: The Office of Strategic Capital is building its momentum - and we are positioning ourselves to support.

  • More Details: We had a call with the leadership of the DoD’s new Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) this week to discuss how we can support their mandate. The OSC has started to roll out tools and we are ramping up our engagement to make sure the space sector’s interests are well represented. Their first tool, a loan-guarantee program to boost venture investing looks like it is going to create at least one new space investment fund. And they have multiple other tools in development that we are trying to make sure can be used by space finance funds to spur growth.

  • Go Deeper: The OSC was created late last year with a mandate to help spur the development of the defense industrial base through the application of patient capital. We have supported the formation of the office and talked with its architects a number of times over the past two years. Now we are trying to make sure that what gets rolled out is useful for the space sector. We don’t expect them to devote a lot of time and effort to space, since space is only one of 14 critical areas for them; so we are positioning ourselves as the industry voices to help them navigate things.

Okie dokie - all done here - now I’m off to my nephew’s birthday party.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Heading North From SXSW - A Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Mar 20, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 3.5 mins...923 words

Team SPACE, 

Well SXSW was an experience.

Have you ever been there?

This is my second year being in Austin during SXSW - and first year trying to go to any programming. And yes, I mean ‘trying’. It was exceptionally difficult to get into anything other than talks by little known speakers like Tim Ferris and Nancy Pelosi.

To be fair I don’t think either Tim or Nancy are actually the highest profile speakers you could have - but based on how their talks were less than half full I’m led to believe that people don’t go to SXSW for the talks.

Experiencing this has reconfirmed to me how important events like the SDI VIP Reception are. These events allow people to know what they are getting into, have a way to concretely benefit from, and adequately plan their lives around.

Now we need to identify what other large events like SXSW would be good candidates for similar events. The criteria are:

  1. Large (<5k attendees).

  2. Focused on more than space.

  3. Have a potential defense angle.

There is a case to be made to do these at smaller events - but for now that is where we are focused.

Do you know of events that meet these criteria (other than Coachella)? Let me know and let’s see if we can make something happen.

Alrighty - let's wrap up talk about SXSW - it’s time for a Weekend Update

The Politics - It was a rough week to be a bank robber

One Big Politics Thing: We just had an actual run on multiple major banks so unsurprisingly that has become a hot topic here in DC.

  • More Details: As if a run on a bank and multiple bank failures weren’t enough - this week a study was published showing that nearly 200 other banks were vulnerable to an Silicon Valley Bank-style collapse.

    Well, I didn’t have ‘Bank Run’ or ‘Bank Failure’ on my March bingo card.

The Foundation:

One Big Operations Thing: Our FY2024 Congressionally Directed Spending request finished its first review round.

  • More Details: Last week we submitted a Congressionally Directed Spending request for W4F to be funded in Fiscal Year 2024 (starting in October). This week we had our first review round, and other than needing to send in a few extra details on our spending plan we successfully cleared that hurdle. This year our request went to both Virginia’s Senators (seen pictured above giving a talk about how important it is to keep the parties in the Capital to a minimum).

  • Why it matters: It turns out that last year both Senators found that they had a much higher success rate in getting requests funded when they did a joint submission. So, this year they are only doing joint submissions. This means we are marginally less likely to have our project submitted to the full Congress - but that our request is commensurately more likely to be funded once submitted.

The Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are building our podcast schedule for April - June - want to help?

  • More Details: Do you know anyone who would be an interesting guest for Podcast for the Future? As we build out our content calendar, I want to make sure that the guests we bring on are interesting to more people than just me. Right now, that is pretty much the only criteria for who we interview - since I am the one who has to actually talk to the people, I figured that was only fair. But turns out we ALSO want people to listen to these things, so I am having to broaden our list a bit.

  

Alrighty - that should just about do it - I have managed to not complain about how cold it is in Minnesota, not use too many obscure references or let Katie know that I had Crumbl Cookie without her. So all in all - a successful update.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

North of the White Line, A Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Feb 27, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 4.5 mins...1195 words

Team SPACE, 

Welcome to winter!

Well at least the half of you who live on the north side of the White Line that separates the Haves and Have Nots of winter.

As a 'Have Not' - I traveled to Minneapolis this weekend to see what it is like on the other side and oh boy is it different.

I know there is a big push to be inclusive of all types, but -10 below + wind + 2 feet of snow is a lot to take. I'm sorry if that makes it seem like I'm on the wrong side of history, but I'm getting old, and we can't handle 80 degree temperature swings in a single day.

Now I like a little bit of snow as much as the next guy. But there is a limit. And snow getting down my pants has always been my said limit. Granted, this weekend's case involved me sitting down, and as a kid this limit came into play as I walked through the snow with overalls on. But at least my standards haven't shifted... Ideally you at least give me credit for that.

While you are deciding about said credit - let's get to the rest of this weekend's update.

The Politics:

One Big Politics Thing: Texas may be sitting 2024 out, and bipartisanship is looking up.

  • More Texas: While the full lineup of 2024 Presidential contenders hasn’t firmed up - it is looking increasingly likely that none of them are going to be from Texas. If no one from Texas seeks the White House in 2024 (I’m looking at you Ted Cruz), it’d be the first time since 1972 without at least one major candidate coming from there.

  • More Bipartisanship: I've talked a couple times this year about how there are glimmers of hope that a new generation of leaders in Congress will result in an easing of partisan tensions. This was highlighted this week as reports emerged that House leaders McCarthy and Jeffries have had good interactions so far. Both men have promised to not surprise one another. They even text each other. McCarthy and Jeffries are never going to be best friends, but so far the relationship has been cordial and professional. McCarthy and Biden are trying to lower the partisan temperature as the House investigates Biden’s family (which is a good sign considering that it is awkward if you have a co-worker investigating your family).

  • Why it matters: There are plenty of stories about how both parties are at each other’s throats. Even as I write this the person on the plane next to me is watching a story about a prominent Republican calling for a national divorce since Democrats cannot be trusted. But it is my assessment that this era of polarization is at or nearing its apex, and the 2024 election will mark its high-water point. There have been plenty of other examples around the world of countries undergoing similar demographic transitions and seeing their politics turn toxic for a time. We are nearing the end of the rough part of our transition - and hope is on the horizon.

 

The Foundation:

One Big Foundation Thing: The Federal Government’s FY24’s budget cycle has begun.

  • More Details: Last week we were notified that it was time to submit Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) and FY24 programmatic proposals to our Senators if we wanted them to be considered for this appropriations cycle. We are in the process of revising our Workforce for the Future proposal from last year and submitting it as both a CDS request, and a proposal for new, national spending as part of the Department of Labor’s FY24-29 budgets.

  • What’s next: Now that the budget cycle has begun, we are going to ramp up our efforts with the Virginia delegation to ensure that our proposals are considered. Are you from Virginia and interested in helping? Let me know and we’ll set you up with material to contact our Senators' offices to support our requests.

The Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Austin - here we come

  • More Details: Have you already had a chance to sign up for the Space and Defense Innovation VIP Reception in two weeks? If you looking to connect with public and private sector aerospace and defense industry leaders during SXSW? This reception offers a host of ways to elevate your brand. Learn more about our sponsorship opportunities by clicking HERE.

Based on the view out of my window here on my airplane it seems like I have passed back over the White Line and am nearing the land of Winter Have Nots.

Whew…

With that I’ll close this update out and I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Super Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Feb 13, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1412 words

Team SPACE, 

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday! If you are reading this, then either there is a winner, or you don’t care about the game...or I sent this before the kickoff...I should check what time that is.

I suppose you could also be reading this during the Super Bowl commercials…but that seems like a waste of time…you should be watching the commercials…read this during the game. Nothing much happens the first few quarters anyway.

This morning when I was conceptualizing this section, I was all excited to talk about scientists, change, and expertise here. But as the day went on, I realized that didn’t quite fit. I mean it is interesting and all to think about how it is weird that scientists should never be experts at what they do. They are supposed to be pushing the frontiers of what we know…and so by definition they would be doing new things all the time and therefore wouldn’t be an ‘expert’ in any of that.

There is certainly a huge gap between the football players in the Super Bowl and the scientists doing basic research. The players are REALLY good at one or two tasks (like running…or holding onto things). While a scientist is supposed to be figuring out things that haven’t ever been done before and then trying to learn how to even explain what this new thing is.

But like I said - that didn’t really fit into where I wanted this update to go.

I prefer to avoid jumping on bandwagons and am a bit of a compulsive contrarian. So I didn’t want to talk about the Super Bowl.

But I have been reading some books by Jay Samit - and one of the things he talks about in Future Proofing You is how if you aren’t constantly comparing what you are doing to something big and visible, then you are wasting time explaining yourself. So rather than explain how Airbnb is a unique system, you would say it is like Uber, but for housing. Instead of going into a long explanation of how I like custom clothes I should be saying I am like Kim Kardashian…but without the money.

Or something like that.

I stopped listening while I was writing this so I might have missed something.

I’ll go back and check - and while I do, I’ll let you all get to the rest of this week’s update.

The Politics:

One Big Politics Thing: The State of Our Union is tense…but signs of life are there.

  • More Details: Between spy balloons, Social Security, and lingering fights over gun control, abortion, civil rights, and voting - there are plenty of opportunities for Congress to posture…fewer for them to legislate. That said - there are signs that this new Congress is interested in bipartisan legislating. One metric for bipartisanship is to look at the number of bills which cleared either the House or Senate but were introduced by members of the minority party. By this metric - the 118th Congress (the current one) is 10% more bipartisan.

  • Go Deeper: Granted - at this point of a new Congress a lot of the bills that have passed one chamber are related to housekeeping or Post Office naming. But the fact that each side is allowing votes on bills sponsored by members of the opposition is a good sign. If there is one good thing that came out of the extended race for Speaker of the House - it is that Speaker McCarthy agreed that there would be a return to ‘regular order’. This is Congress-speak for having the legislative process work closer to how Schoolhouse Rock explained things…and less like what we have seen for the past decade or so.

The Foundation:

One Big Operations Thing: Conversations for the Future is around the corner.

  • More Details: This month’s C4F topic is National Security Space, and we have a great lineup of speakers who will be joining Inara to chat about what is going on related to national security in space. The first session will be Tuesday the 14th starting at 10am Eastern; and the second half will be Tuesday the 21st (same time). Hope to see you there!

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We, alongside Distinctive Edge Partners are hosting a highly curated invite-only gathering of leaders throughout the space and defense industry in Austin.

  • More Details: This reception, the Space and Defense Innovation (SDI) VIP Reception will bring together DoD and Government Innovation Leaders, Investors, Industry Trade Groups, Media, C-suite Innovators, and Fortune 500 Company Executives. Defense innovation and space-related content are a more significant part of programming at SXSW than ever before. Last year, there were over 25 space and defense related programs, panels, and parties throughout downtown Austin.

  • Why it matters: This highly curated reception will bring innovators together for an exclusive event featuring forward-thinking leaders in the space and defense innovation sectors globally, to facilitate expanding networks with ideal clients. As space is limited, there is an application process in place to ensure attendee fit. You can learn more by checking out the SDI website here.

Did you already check out more about the SDI reception?

No?

Well - I can wait.

Oh…you are going to keep reading…I see.

Ok - well then, I’ll end things here so you can go learn more about the reception and apply to either sponsor or attend (ideally both).

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

February, ChatGPT and A Weekend Update

February 6, 2023

Team Space, 

Welcome to February…wow…really? It is already February. I could have sworn it was just New Year's.

Since this is all the rage right now - I went over to Open AI and asked their ChatGPT tool how it was already February. And I was given this very polite response:

It is common for people to feel that time is going by quickly, especially as they get older. This phenomenon is known as the "time flies" feeling and is caused by our perception of time being relative to our experiences. When we are young and experiencing new things, time seems to move slowly. However, as we age and our experiences become more routine, time can seem to move more quickly. Additionally, our busy lives can make it feel like there is never enough time, which contributes to the sensation that time is moving quickly.

Now - while I appreciate that this is an accurate description of what is going on. I do not appreciate the implication that I am

  1. Old

  2. Not experiencing new things

  3. Boring

Now…the tool did nail the busy part on the head. That has been making things seem to move faster. Which in some ways is nice. After all time went so fast that it is 2023 and I can go to an AI tool and ask them to write a love note for Valentines.

Dear [Your Partner’s Name Here],

As Valentine's Day approaches, I just wanted to take a moment to express my love and gratitude for you. You bring so much joy and happiness into my life and I am so grateful to have you by my side. Your kind heart, contagious laughter, and unwavering support are just a few of the many reasons why I am head over heels in love with you.

I am so lucky to have you in my life and I promise to always treat you with love, respect, and appreciation. Happy Valentine's Day, my love. I am looking forward to spending many more Valentine's Days and a lifetime of love with you.

All my love, [Your Name]

And voila - I just helped you with your Valentine’s Day AND helped train an AI.

Man, this has been a productive day.

I guess I’ll take a break here so I can let you all get to the rest of this week’s update…or maybe I’ll go ask ChatGPT if it knows where John Connor is…. can’t hurt to make sure.

The Politics

One Big Politics Thing: A balloon. That’s all it took to bring us together.

  • Why it matters: On the Hill, the issue of the week was the Chinese ‘spy balloon’. And if there was one thing that everyone agreed - it was that this balloon was a MASSIVE deal. Nevermind that this is at least the fifth in the past few years. Nor did it matter that the intelligence collection abilities of a WW1 era vehicle was likely minimal. Nope…all that mattered was that it was a communist spy vehicle, and it was time for the U.S. to strap on our shooting boots and get to business.

  • That ‘business’ happened yesterday when the most advanced aircraft in the world (an F22) shot the balloon down off the coast of South Carolina.

F4F Political Stuff: Speaking of South Carolina…they are trying to get it going on (It being space)

  • More Details: Last week Rebecca met a Representative from South Carolina who has been working for a few years now to bring space into the state. Based on some early conversations it sounds like this will be a great avenue for us to support some state-level experiments with incentivizing space investment. We have some more talks with the Rep and his staff this week and are excited to add another state to our mix.

The Foundation

One Big Foundation Thing: Space Finance Events…going to be a thing this year.

  • More Details: Last week we held our monthly Space Finance Policy Roundtable and heard from a number of you about ways that we can be more active in promoting space to the investment community; and promoting finance policy to space-focused policymakers. A big takeaway is that we need to be better at convening thought leaders, business operators, and decision makers. And to that end, we are working with some of our members to design investment events where local communities can host pitch competitions in the hope of drawing in space companies.

Alright - that should just about do it - and no ChatGPT doesn’t know where John Connor is…but did say that it knew who John was…just not how to find him.

-T

A Rough Week - but Now It Is The Weekend Update

January 22, 2023

Team Space,

Well, it has been quite a week - ever have one of those weeks where you think that you must have plumbed the bottom of the barrel only to realize that you had left the barrel a ways up and were still digging?

Well - this week was one of those.

Between bedbugs (thought we brought those back from the Dominican Republic), strep (the youngest found that again for the second time in two weeks), and some sort of respiratory virus (Katie and I) - it was a week of everything just being a little bit rougher than it needed to be.

Even the ice cream wasn’t as good! I had Ben and Jerry’s Dirt Cake ice cream yesterday and somehow even that wasn’t great.

Ah well - I guess one of the nice things about surviving weeks like that is that the next ones will always feel better. Kinda like sitting in a cramped theater watching ballet before getting on a flight makes you appreciate the legroom on a plane (for those of you not in the DC area - our theaters are built for children-sized audiences…the seats are SO small and there is barely enough legroom for a 5’1” person).

Anyway - enough about legroom and rough weeks. Let’s get to this week’s update.

The Politics

One Big Politics Thing: Turns out those in glass houses should be careful about throwing stones.

  • More Details: This week has been (politically) dominated by the news that President Biden mishandled classified documents. It would be bad enough to find out that the sitting president had been careless with highly classified materials. But it was made worse by a slow drip of new revelations and recent the backdrop of the President having reprimanded Trump for a similar situation.

  • Yes, but: I should note there are a number of differences between the two cases - but the headlines are the same…President Mishandles Nation’s Secrets. As a former national security professional, I can tell you that this is a big deal. It was a big deal when I punished my soldiers for being similarly careless, and it still is even though this is the Commander and Chief.

  • Why it matters: These new revelations effectively mean the Republicans will have three or four weeks of talking points to deploy against the administration; and that a large part of the U.S.’ policy community is going to be consumed with the fallout. In the best of times the policymakers here in D.C. are only able to handle one or two things at a time. But with the delay in getting Congress seated, the war in Ukraine, and an ongoing trade war with China - there is no slack in the system. So, expect things to be even slower than you would have thought.

The Operations

One Big Operations Thing: January’s Conversations for the Future (C4F) is back and better than ever.

  • More Details: We wrapped up the first run of the third version of Conversations for the Future this week. Version 1.0 was a three-day seminar on a single topic; version 2.0 was two to three half days organized around a general theme. Version 3.0 is two days, spread out over two weeks that has a single conversation about the future of humanity in space as its central feature. The conversation continues across both days, and the rest of the talks are thematically organized around that central talk.

  • Why it matters: We have been working for two years now to get C4F into its Goldilocks zone (just right). And one consistent thing we have heard is that multiple days in a row isn’t working. But having two disconnected days didn’t work either. So rather than settle for ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’ we decided to try ‘just right’. Let us know if we got it right.

The Other Stuff

One Big Other Thing: The Space and Defense Innovation (SDI) Reception this year is going to be epic.

  • Why it matters: Cool Tim - you think your own event is going to be epic - why does that matter to me? Is that what you are thinking? Well the main reason it matters to you is that this is going to be the reception that allows you, a decision maker in your organization to network with other decision makers without feeling like you are being sold to or talked at. This is going to be a laid-back evening where those of us in the space or defense sectors can meet other cool people.

    If you want to take things to the next level and get help meeting the right people - then let me and Joy, my partner at Distinctive Edge Partners know and we will build you a package to ensure you get the most of SXSW.

 

Well look at that - we already made it here. The end that is.

I’ll wrap this up - and I look forward to seeing you back here next week, unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

2022 in the Rearview Mirror: Weekend Update Style

2023 is here - and so far, it has been pretty good.

I spent the week making the requisite ‘dad’ jokes about how I hadn’t done things all year. Somehow, those never get old.

But I also spent the week wondering why I don’t ‘do’ resolutions.

Last year (see what I did there) Katie asked me what my resolution was - and I bristled at the idea that I would have one.

I’ve learned to pay attention anytime something sets me off like that. It normally means there is something I haven’t resolved that is sitting just below the surface.

And I think there was something like that happening this time too.

I think I was resisting the idea that I would wait for the magical ‘New Year’ day before starting some change I wanted to make.

I’ve seen plenty of people do that, only to see their resolve flag and their progress fizzle out. And I really don’t like the idea of failing after I announce that I am going to change.

So - in essence I think I was bristling at the suggestion that I would make an announcement about a change, then fail and be stuck waiting to try again until the next year.

But that doesn’t mean that I go into each new year wanting to do things different. Most of the time I have a long list of things I want to stop, try, and or adjust each year. And then I continue to update and tweak things throughout the year. So, it is a little goofy that I was pushing back on the idea that I would change.

As all too often happens - I realized that the negative reaction I had to something someone said was not the result of me reacting to their actual words. Instead, I was reacting to a negative extrapolation of what they said.

Not terribly fair - so I’ve decided that this year’s resolution is going to be to try this new thing…reacting to what was said…not what I layered onto it.

We’ll see how it goes.

While I work on it, I’ll let you all get to this week’s update which is a look ahead at what 2023 has in store for us.

Outreach: New Congress, New Opportunities

One Big 2023 Outreach Thing: This year we are going to work with the new Congress to create federally backed financial tools to buy down the risk of investment in space. In 2022 we saw the DoD launch their Office of Strategic Capital - and we are going to leverage that to push Congress to act.

  • Democrats aren’t going to want the DoD being the only one doing long-term investment in the sector; and Republicans are unlikely to think this Administration is doing enough to combat China.

We’ll also be working with the administration to reduce regulatory burdens for companies seeking to raise capital whether through initial-public offerings, crowdfunding, or debt financing. So far the government hasn’t been an obstacle to this - but we are going to work to make sure things stay that way.

Operations: 23 is the year we get W4F Funded

One Big 2023 Operations Thing: This year we are going to get at least a pilot program of W4F funded. Between a new Congress and inroads with industry - we are in a much better position that we were this time last year. We are also going to be exploring how we can get elements of W4F off the ground without needing money (whether that is through a certification or with partnerships).

We’ll also be leaning into growing our member network to ensure we have a solid representation of the industry. That larger network will be helpful as we begin to do regular surveys to understand the state of the space workforce.

Other Stuff:

One Big 2023 Other Thing: We are going to be shooting for 2.5 events a month in 2023. I thought having a monthly event was ambitious, but last year we did more than 20 hosted and partnered events. This year we are looking to double that. And on top of that we are shooting to have at least 10 events in person.

Are you hosting an event and want to partner with us for content/marketing? Let me know and let’s see if we can blow the lid off this event goal.

And just like that you made it to the end. Way to go!!

Ok that was a little condescending - sorry.

I’ll let you get back to your regularly scheduled weekend activities.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

2022 in the Rearview Mirror: Weekend Update Style

By Tim Chrisman ● Jan 02, 2023

Smart Brevity® count: 3 mins...767 words

Team SPACE, 

It’s that time of year. Namely the time of year where every organization who you have ever given your email address to is legally obligated to send a ‘year in review’ email.

So rather than looking back at what we did this week – we’ll look at some highlights from this last year. And for those of you who prefer looking forward – don’t worry – next week we’ll look at what is in store for F4F in the year ahead.

I feel like there should be more of a preamble – I don’t want you all to think that I am somehow shortchanging you for the first update of 2023 – but I think we’ll call this good enough – and get straight to it.

Outreach:

I wasn’t sure what metrics to use here. But in talking with some other leaders of (non-space) think tanks / nonprofits here in DC I learned that one of the biggest metrics they use is traction that their ideas get.

  • This might be laws passed, or executive orders issued; but it also could be how many policymakers are talking about the organization’s issues/policies.

I figured this would be a great way to talk about what we did in 2022 - and boy did we have a phenomenal year. Here are the three biggest examples:

  • The National Space Council announced a nation-wide initiative to upskill Career and Technical Education-level workers

  • DoD created an office to back-stop private capital investing in space (among other sectors).

  • We are discussing how 2024 Presidential candidates can add space to their campaigns

The bottom line: All in all - not too bad for our second year.

Operations:

2022 was equally big in terms of our growth and operations. We doubled our membership, nearly doubled the number of partner organizations (including schools and local communities), launched a new membership program to include governmental organizations, squeezed in hosting or participating in over 20 events, and have built a pipeline with a handful of government agencies to help conduct due diligence on companies for them.

Our three big 2022 highlights were:

  • Two panels at ASCEND 2022

  • A space panel at SALT 2022

  • ‘Name brand’ members joining, including Barclays Investment Bank

  

We’ll leave things there - but look out 2023 - here we come!

-T

A Post Hanukkah, Pre-Christmas Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Dec 20, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 3.5 mins...922 words

Team SPACE, 

Tl;Dr

  • One Big Outreach Thing: 2023 planning is in full swing.

  • One Big Operations Thing: W4F’s clearance program is driving forward.

  • One Big Other Thing: The Space and Defense Innovation (SDI) reception officially launched this week

——————————————————————————————

Here we are - the last update before 2023 -

Ok so maybe that isn’t true - I’ll probably write one next week - but it’s better if I prime you to think that I won’t and then surprise you.

Everyone likes Christmas surprises - especially in the form of long emails from a guy from DC.

At least that’s what I think…being from DC…and liking emails from other people in DC.

Well - just in case this is my last update before 2023, I want to take a second to thank you all for your advice, suggestions and support this last year.

I’ve talked with hundreds, if not thousands of you; and at every turn you all have been so positive and helpful.

When I talk with people leading similar organizations in other industries - I am reminded that this isn’t the norm.

So, thank you.

And rather than continue to ramble - I’ll let you all get to it.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: 2023 planning is in full swing.

  • More Details: This week we met with activists from both sides of the political aisle to get a sense for where the political winds are headed for 2023; and get their feedback on how we talk about industrial policy for the space sector. We specifically asked for feedback on the Space Corporation Act - and got a lot of good notes which we will be incorporating into a whole new version coming out in early 2023. If you have feedback - reach out and let us know too.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: W4F’s clearance program is driving forward.

  • More Details: This week I met with leaders from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency and the CIA to discuss ways that F4F can support the defense industrial base through adding a cleared program to W4F’s offering. Both meetings were very positive, and while we have some due outs back to them, 2023 is looking like our year to make this happen.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: The Space and Defense Innovation (SDI) reception officially launched this week

  • More Details: After a few months of planning the SDI reception is officially live - and you can apply to attend or find out about sponsorship opportunities here. We are excited to be hosting an event where innovators and leaders from across the space and defense sectors will be able to gather and network. Let me know if you want more info.

We’ll leave things there for now - and I hope you all had a fantastic Hanukkah, have a great Christmas - and if I don’t talk to you before then - an amazing New Years.

I’ll see you back here next year - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Cold Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Dec 05, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 4.5 mins...1235 words

Team SPACE, 

Tl;Dr

  • One Big Outreach Thing: The Pentagon has stood up an office to co-invest alongside private capital, and that office is looking to deploy many of the tools we have been advocating for since mid 2020.

  • One Big Operations Thing: Giving Tuesday was a big success!

  • One Big Other Thing: The Space and Defense Innovation VIP Reception publicly launches this week.

——————————————————————————————

Happy December!

Christmas decorations are up. Present shopping is underway. Shipping times on Amazon are long.

Yep - it is officially the holiday season.

And do you know the best part is?

It is cold.

Ok so maybe that isn’t as good as presents.

But it being cold out means that my wife and my dogs cuddle us more.

One of the dogs seems really sensitive to heat - and so for most of the year he is not interested in sitting next to anyone or being covered with a blanket.

But in the last couple weeks he has decided that not only are heated blankets great; but so are warm laps.

It being cold out also means that my bed gets even colder.

I have one of those pads that goes on the bed and will heat or cool the bed to whatever temperature you want. And I typically have it set to as low as it will go (about 55). But if the house is over 65 degrees then it really struggles to be able to maintain that temperature when I am in bed.

But colder weather (and keeping the thermostat set at 64) is helping make sure that I get to relive my childhood dream of sleeping on an ice slab.

Ok so it wasn’t actually a dream…it was more like what actually happened whenever we camped in Alaska (#AmericanSiberia).

But enough about my desire for all things cold.

Let’s get to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The Pentagon has stood up an office to co-invest alongside private capital, and that office is looking to deploy many of the tools we have been advocating for since mid 2020.

  • More Details: This week the Secretary of Defense formally announced the standup of the Office of Strategic Capital (OSC), with the intent that this office support companies navigating the ‘Valley of Death’. We have been closely tied in with several of the teams at the Pentagon who were involved in shaping the OSC; and it is exciting to see that this office will be using some of the same tools we have advocated that the Space Corporation use.

Future Outreach: We have meetings scheduled with the leadership of the OSC over the next couple weeks to chat more about how they can leverage the space finance community to support their efforts (we’ll talk more about that at this week’s Space Finance Policy Working group).

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Giving Tuesday was a big success!

  • More Details: As I mentioned in the last update - I wasn’t really sure I could find a perfect way to talk about Giving Tuesday. And I certainly didn’t feel like I could write the sort of heartfelt message that a lot of nonprofits do around this time of year. But even without that we were able to secure a donor (who asked to be kept anonymous) who will match all donations between Giving Tuesday and the first Tuesday in January. Up to $250k! You can donate now by going to our website, or our Paypal link, or our Patreon site.

Future Operations: Next week we’ll be in Midland Texas for the High Speed Aerospace Transportation Workshop. We’ll be meeting with some local leaders, and a number of different industry partners on the sidelines of the workshop to talk about workforce development. I’ll also be meeting with leaders from the CIA this week to chat more about our cleared worker plan, and explore how to connect more space companies into the Intel Community.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: The Space and Defense Innovation VIP Reception publicly launches this week.

  • More Details: This week we will be formally announcing the Space and Defense Innovation VIP Reception that will be held during SXSW 2023. We already have over two dozen sponsors and partners, and there is still time for your company to be one of the announcing sponsors ahead of the formal launch. Getting in early means you will get extra media exposure and will lock in a higher number of VIP invites. Email me if you are interested.

  

Ok that should just about do it. I'll leave you to the rest of your weekend / beginning of your week. And I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Giving, Presidents, and Workers. A Wide-Ranging Weekend Update.

By Tim Chrisman ● Nov 28, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5 mins...1321 words

TL; DR

Intro: Giving Tuesday is here, please don’t give us much

One Big Outreach Thing: We are in talks with a potential 2024 Presidential candidate about adding space to his platform.

One Big Operations Thing: The full outlines of SWFT NET is taking shape

———————————————————————————————————

Black Friday is over.

Small Business Saturday is done.

Cyber Monday is up.

Time to craft a Giving Tuesday message.

Or maybe I will procrastinate on that.

Ever do that?

Ever have something that you knew you needed to do but put it off because it mattered too much to you?

I’m doing that now.

If I don’t write a note asking for donations on Giving Tuesday, and then we don’t get any donations, then at least I won’t have tried and failed.

But if I do - then there is a chance of being let down.

Which is silly.

Just about everything I do involves a chance of being let down.

Case and point - I made chocolate cream pie and dinner rolls for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Well - I made them both twice - since the first times around I didn’t measure things so well.

So, 100% of my Thanksgiving cooking let me down the first time I tried it.

But I ran to the store - grabbed more ingredients and took another swing at both. And sure enough - worked out. The pie was incredible. I’m still thinking about it.

But for some reason asking for donations feels more personal and higher stakes.

Maybe it doesn’t need to be.

Stay with me here

The chocolate cream pie and dinner rolls I messed up weren’t that big of a deal because I was only out about $20 and two hours.

When I am asked for donations, I tend to think that $10 or $15 doesn’t actually help much. But each one of the donations doesn’t need to help much if there are a lot of them.

There are just under 15k of you who will see this, between our email list and social media. And if each of you gives $15, we will clear over $200k; fully funding us for 2023. All in one fell swoop.

So - how about this. Instead of me working to craft the perfect Giving Tuesday message - I’ll just write this.

And instead of you donating a lot of money. You give $15.

You don’t need to donate more than that to make a big impact.

Your donation will support our work to make space an issue during the 2024 Presidential election, and help us build a network to train the next generation of space workers.

So - let's both just do a little bit - it won’t be perfect - but it is going to be plenty.

You can donate on our website here: https://www.f4fspace.org/donate

Or sign up to be a monthly donor here https://www.patreon.com/f4f

Thank you in advance.

Let’s get to the rest of this week’s update now.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We are in talks with a potential 2024 Presidential candidate about adding space to his platform.

  • More Details: Congressman Mike Rogers is exploring a run for President in 2024, and we are talking with him about including long-term investment in the space sector as one of his campaign issues. While the former Congressman isn’t polling high right now, we are looking to use his platform as a jumping off point with other candidates. We’ll be talking with his staff more over the coming weeks as he firms up his plans. We’ll be covering this more at our next Space Finance Policy working group in December (jump on our Slack channel here to learn more).

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: The full outlines of SWFT NET is taking shape

  • More Details: SWFT NET (or Space Workforce Training Network) is a term that Dan Geraci coined to illustrate how the Foundation can serve as a router between employers and educators in the space sector. This week Dan has really helped flesh out what the network would look like, and we can now visualize how the flow of workers and services will go. We have meetings lined up with the two major clearance providers (DoD / CIA) and are talking with the top three cleared space contractors over the next two weeks to get all of their input into this. Stay tuned.

And just like that we are done - I’ll leave you to the last bits of your weekend (or the beginning of your week if you are reading this tomorrow).

I’ll see you back here next week, unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Risky Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman ● Oct 17, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5 mins...1299 words

Team SPACE, 

TL; DR

Outreach: We are launching the Space Finance Roundtable.
Operations: New Worlds is around the corner - do you have your ticket?
Other: Our membership grew this week

----------------

It’s time for your regularly scheduled Weekend Update. I thought it might be handy to try adding in a TL; DR section above - since I know I can be…ahem…long winded. So that’s why that is up there…or it will be…since I’ll add it after I finish writing this intro.

So back to the intro - has it been a weird week for anyone else?

I spent the week trying to get gum off a pair of my pants.

Well, I did more than that.

But that was the one thing I did each day last week.

Same pair of pants.

Same gum.

Same result.

Add a heading.png

Turns out trying different types of laundry stain remover / detergent on them isn’t enough.

And it also turns out that Goo Gone mentions in the title of their spray that it removes chewing gum.

So, I’m going to try that next

But this, and the book I’m reading (The Innovation Stack) have had me thinking about how we got here.

In The Innovation Stack Jim McKelvey (the co-founder of Square) talks about how most of the innovations that successful startups make are done accidentally.

Well accidentally might be the wrong word - they are borne out of necessity rather than some master plan.

And that describes a lot of what we at the Foundation are doing now.

We set out to influence space infrastructure policy, and originally figured it would be possible to do this through just writing good policy and combining that with activating industry support.

Now we are influencing space infrastructure policy by organizing space investors into a coherent voice and delivering that voice to policymakers here in D.C.

How we got here feels a bit like it came out of The Obstacle is the Way, or The Spark and the Grind. And because of that it is easy to discount what we have done (after all it wasn’t all part of the original master plan).

But as a lot of you know - master plans are only good for doing what has been done before or sketching out where we want to go. Actually, getting somewhere new involves a whole lot of experimentation…well that and having the right tools (a la, Goo Gone for my pants).

So then - while I wait for Amazon to deliver my Goo Gone - let’s get to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We are launching the Space Finance Roundtable.

  • More Details: As I mentioned in the intro - we are working to organize and deliver to policymakers the views of the space finance community. And what better way to do that, then to create a formal mechanism to solicit input from industry. The Roundtable will be quarterly (with the first meeting to be in Q1 2023) and will build on the work of a space finance working group. This working group happen virtually on the first Wednesday of each month.

  • Consider this your first invite - here is a link for your calendar.

 

What should be the priority topic for the space finance working group in 2023

Taxes

Regulation

Bonds/Credit/Loan Guarantees

Contracting

Migratory Patterns of African Swallows carrying coconuts

Your response is anonymous

 

Future Outreach: Next week we are scheduling some meetings with potential speakers for the Space Finance Roundtable including executives from the National Space Council, FCC, Congressional Committee staff, and former senior leaders from the Intelligence Community / Congress.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: New Worlds is around the corner - do you have your ticket?

  • More Details: We are officially under two weeks until New Worlds. While it isn’t the only event in Austin on Halloween weekend. It is the only event in Austin that allows you to network with people from across the space sector AND use your Halloween costume (well assuming your Halloween costume fits the theme of the Space Cowboy Ball).

  • There is still time to register for either New Worlds or the Ball. I look forward to seeing you there.

Future Operations: Next week we are going to be closing out prep for our panels at ASCEND, recording a couple podcasts, meeting with some potential sponsors for our SXSW reception, and fitting in my bi-weekly haircut.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Our membership grew this week.

  • More Details: We are excited to welcome Moss Adams as our newest member. Their wealth of expertise and connections across multiple industries will be incredibly valuable to the Foundation’s network. We look forward to involving them more in both our events and our policy work in 2023.

  

Alrighty - that does it - now I just need to remember to go add the summaries to the TL; DR up top.

But you already saw that I did that - so I’ll leave you here.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Risky Weekend Update

Add a heading.png

By Tim Chrisman●Oct 10, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins... 1439 words

Team SPACE, 

Have you ever heard that human life is priceless?

A nice sentiment…but according to the U.S. Government it isn’t true. A human life is worth about $10M (least for the purposes of determining the impact of regulations). I know that there are two main reactions people will have to learning this for the first time.

  1. Express shock and outrage that there is any price at all

  2. Quibble over whether $10M is the right number

And this isn’t about whether or not this is the right price (or whether there should be a price). This is instead about the value of safety.

Or put more directly - can the space sector afford to be laser focused on safety?

Commercial spaceflight is often compared to commercial aviation and in doing so people place the expectation of similar accident/fatality rates. Which would be fair…if we compared the accident rates from equivalent development periods.

So, since the space sector only started ferrying commercial passengers about 15 years ago, let's start our comparison in the late 1950s (pre-WWII doesn’t count), and since the late 1950s, nearly 30,000 people have died on a flight.

That’s a lot of people. But does that mean flying isn’t safe?

Quite the opposite.

In 1959 the commercial aviation accident rate per million departures was 50+ with roughly 1,500 people dying. Last year the accident rate was 1.94 per million departures with 134 people dying.

Maybe there is an alternate history where we didn’t need to have 30,000 people die in order for us to turn air travel into the safest form of transport humanity has ever known. But maybe there is also a version of history where we didn’t need to invest trillions of dollars in airport infrastructure and aircraft technological development to get to this point.

Whether those timelines exist or not is irrelevant. It did take 30,000 people, and trillions of dollars.

Not ‘or’

‘And‘

Air travel wouldn’t be as safe without the hard lessons learned from actual people dying. And it wouldn’t have developed as fast without massive amounts of capital.

Now, after all of those deaths and all of that money, it makes sense that we have massive investigations to determine what went wrong after a plane crash.

Devoting those same resources to investigate a plane crash in 1959 wouldn’t have helped.

Nor will applying aviation’s safety standards to spaceflight.

No one is arguing that we should start strapping astronauts on the outside of rockets.

Instead, we should consider that technological development is paid for with two currencies.

Blood and gold.

Not ‘or’

We should never treat any death lightly.

We should treat every commercial spaceflight death for what it is.

An investment

An investment in tomorrow’s safety.

Pulling back and avoiding risk would dishonor the memory of those who died to get us here. For they died doing what they loved, fought to get where they did, and would have rather died than quit.

We should do no less.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Tax season is almost here…well the season to change taxes is almost here.

  • More Details: This week we joined a group of investors and advocates seeking tax incentives for space and defense investments. We are designing a tax regime to lower the capital gains taxes on key technologies that will ensure the U.S. can win any technological race with China. This builds on our work to cultivate ties with several of the senior-most members of the House’s Ways and Means Committee. Not sure why it is called that other than it doesn’t sound great to say you are on the Tax and Fee Committee.

Future Outreach: Next week we will have meetings with a number of Congressional staff members on the sidelines of the AUSA Conference in D.C. We also are going to be circulating some more policy ideas to our members. We also have a meeting with some staffers from the FCC to chat about their space debris policy

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Speakers, Attendees, Costumes, Oh My!

  • More Details: This week was lots of New Worlds prep. We are working hard to backfill a couple of speakers, to bring in more attendees, and I really need to finalize my costume for the Space Cowboy Ball. I mean I also need to finish my presentation for New Worlds. But have you met me? My outfit obviously comes first. I can always ad lib my presentation…can’t change my outfit mid talk….ohhhhh wait….

Future Operations: Rinse and repeat this week. Well, that and finalizing prep for ASCEND (if you are going to be at ASCEND - be on the lookout for Rebecca - she will have some sweet stickers April designed). We’ll also be making another push to find sponsors for the SXSW Reception (we are at 176% of last year’s sponsor total already!)

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are tweaking our membership program.

  • More Details: We are making a couple tweaks to our membership program, the most significant being moving to a monthly subscription model (instead of relying on annual dues). Members will still get the best price by paying in a single annual lump sum; but in an attempt to make membership more accessible we are now offering a monthly payment option. There will be some other tweaks rolling out over the next quarter - so stay tuned.

 

  

We have reached the end. And in good shape too.

Well, I’m in good shape. Maybe you are still worked up about my intro.

Or maybe you just were trying to read this while eating and got your phone all messy.

In any case - let’s leave it here - and I’ll see you back here next week.

Unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

The Danger of Big Dreams and A Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Oct 03, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 6 mins...1591 words

 

Team SPACE, 

Welcome to fall.

At least I think it is fall - there are pumpkins in my front yard, and I am seeing memes about pumpkin spice.

Seems as good a sign as any that we have left summer behind.

And as the season is changing, I have been spending more time thinking about the future.

Or at least that is how I would like to frame it. I have just been thinking about the future - and only just now bothered to notice what season it was.

I have been thinking about the future as I look to refine the message I will deliver at several upcoming speaking engagements. Typically when I give a presentation it is about the importance of space infrastructure, or about what is happening in DC related to space.

Add a heading.png

Typically these presentations are to people outside the space industry (by design).

But now I will be presenting to ‘insiders’. And so it is time for an adaptation of the message to better meet this new audience where they are.

And that is why I have been thinking about the future.

The future is what unites the space industry together. Scientists, engineers, artists and enthusiasts alike all look to an ideal future with hope. Dreaming of a semi-utopian future that many can see in their mind’s eye. For 70 years this tribe has grown, and languished, but always kept their eye on this future. Hope fueling their drive to make that future real.

Or did it?

What if I told you those dreams are what hold the space industry back?

And that it is time to accept that the future will look a lot like the past.

Would you believe me?

Well let me take you back to Robert Goddard so I can show you that from the beginning it was the dreamers who languished, while the ruthless pragmatists advanced in leaps and bounds.

In 1919 Goddard published concept for a rocket, that among other things could go to the moon (and detonate a giant pile of ‘flash powder’ to prove it had been there). Up until this point Goddard had been working on near-term, practical applications for the small rocket motors he had designed and built. But after the publication of the article he was seen as someone out of touch with reality.

Now is when you jump to Goddard’s defense and say that everything he theorized came to pass.

And that he was visionary. And that without his designs we would never have been to the moon.

That is all true.

Without his research there wouldn’t be the space sector we know today. And so he deserves his title as Father of the Space Age

But as a direct result of his statement about the theoretical moon mission the Father of the Space Age gave his child away…to the Nazis. And it was Nazis who built the foundations upon which rests everything we have done in space.

Yes there is more context than just that. Yes I am simplifying things to make a point.

But that point is still valid.

In order to make the future happen you cannot scare the people who will fund said future. The public, and their representatives in government have a very narrow view of reality. Everything they know to be real is what is happening now or what will happen within the next year or two. Go further than that and you are literally out of touch with their reality.

And regardless of whether or not history proves you right - you will be less effective than you otherwise could be.

So - in short - don’t be like Dr Robert Goddard. Have big dreams and ambitions, but build them one step at a time. Otherwise you might give someone with worse intentions a chance to build their future on your work.

And with that cheery note - lets get to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The Capitol Hill Club’s space series is back - and space finance was the first topic.

  • More Details: This week I participated in the opening panel of the Capitol Hill Club’s space event series alongside John Rood, Michael Mealling and Artiom Anisimov where we talked about investing in the space sector. We had a good group of people who attended, ranging from Congressional staffers and former Congresspeople to investors and the government relations teams from space companies. Overall it was a great chance to talk about the need for new types of government support for space investors, and how people outside the space sector can get involved.

Future Outreach: Next week we are working with our members to develop 2023’s policy priorities in advance of the new Congress. If you are interested in providing comments ahead of our policies going final feel free to let me know. We’ll also be at a luncheon with members of the National Space Council (moderated by our friend Meredith Garofalo).

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: New Worlds, New Worlds, and more New Worlds

  • More Details: This week we doubled down on supporting the planning for New Worlds in Austin at the end of the month. April joined the planning effort, and we are working to help secure a few more speakers and sponsors, all while trying to up attendance. You can find out more about the event here - but I don’t know what more you need to know other than it is going to be in Austin at the perfect time of year.

Future Operations: Next week we will be more of the same with New Worlds, and we will also add in some work on next year’s Defense and Space VIP reception on the sidelines of SXSW. We have a handful of early sponsors - and after last year saw ~300 people attend (when we could only accommodate 150) - we are likely to be expanding to a bigger venue. Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about partnering with us.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Our circle of partners is expanding again.

  • More Details: We are exploring a partnership with The Alternative Investment Management Association to help educate their members on the potential of investing in the space sector. With their 2,100 members (who have ~$3T of assets under management) they represent a significant pool of potential new entrants to the space investing world.

Well then - I started things off a little heavy - but I think we ended things a little lighter.

So - I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner (or you unsubscribe).

-T

Deep Thoughts During a Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Sep 19, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins... 1454 words

Team SPACE,   

Wow it is Sunday already - Monday if you are reading this after the weekend. Good on you by the way (you Monday readers) - keeping your work and personal life fire-walled off. I’m told that holding my work loosely and allowing myself breaks is healthy. But if I did that - then who could my therapist count on to pay for her retirement?

My personal mental health aside - I’ve been reading a pair of books. Ok well I am only reading one of them right now - but I am reading them as a pair. The two books are The Moral Landscape and What We Owe the Future.

Why these two? Well, I wanted to read the future book (which is about why we should take into account the effect our actions will have on future generations) - but I know that it will broadly align with my existing beliefs. So, in a fit of clear-headed thinking, I figured I would read a book on the other side first.

What have I learned so far?

  • Well for one Sam Harris (he wrote The Moral Landscape) is pretty good at constructing logical arguments.

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  • For two it seems like the debate isn’t over whether we should take the future effects of our actions into account. But rather how much should we weigh said effect into our decision-making calculus.

I suspect that the vast majority of the people reading this - all are in the camp which says that we need to make the future better - even if we have to make sacrifices now. I too am in said camp. I am also in the utilitarian camp - seeking to maximize the benefit while minimizing the harm.

I have started wondering, where is the line? Where is the line between what sacrifices now are acceptable in order to make tomorrow better? And how bad do the future consequences of an action which helps me now have to be before I don’t do it?

And when we consider the impact of our actions, can we actually weigh the effect on future generations more than we would weigh the effect on those living today? Is it morally acceptable to consider the needs of pre-existing people to be as important (or more) than the needs of those of us living right now?

I suspect there is a model which we could develop to properly account for the good and harm caused by my actions (both now and in the future) so as to ensure we are ‘coming out ahead’. This model would probably have future ‘pre-existing’ humans counting as some fraction of a current person for purposes of tallying the benefits and harm. But then the question is - would I actually use that model?

Wouldn’t I be more inclined to maximize the benefit to me today - rather than be concerned about harming someone who does not yet exist? The old - “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” mindset.

Well - as I continue to ponder these relatively deep questions - I’ll let you move on to the lighter topics of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We are making progress expanding our coalition

  • More Details: This week we had meetings with a couple non-space advocacy organizations including a lobbying shop, a major finance association, and several nonprofits. All of them were excited by the work we are doing and want to find ways to support our work. We will be following up with each other over the next few weeks - but at the end of the day - adding organizations to the pro-space coalition is always a win.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be speaking to a delegation of leaders from Colorado and following up with some constituents in Oklahoma who asked for help with their Congressional delegation.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: SALT was great for the Association

  • More Details: This week was SALT in NYC - and it was the first time that the Association for Space Finance was included in a Wall Street event. We had a huge number of people reach out to meet - hoping to learn more. And this was despite our panel being scrubbed (one of the panelists came down with COVID at the last minute).

Future Operations: Next week we will be following up with a number of the investors from SALT, holding our fall Board meeting, beginning planning for our SXSW reception and finalizing our panels for ASCEND.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We took another step towards launching our Inner Circle this week.

  • More Details: This week we identified several more founding members for the Foundation’s Inner Circle and are nearing a formal launch for the program. Once launched - the Inner Circle will be a forum for our most engaged members to network with current and former senior leaders from across government and the private sector. Members will have access to exclusive events, VIP retreats, and observer status on our Board.

  • Want more details? Email me and let’s talk.

Well - spoiler alert - I still don’t have good answers for the deep thoughts I started with.

But I do have a little more peace about everything - probably because I just spent a while writing and not thinking about it.

Well - whatever the reason - I feel a little better - and I hope you have a fantastic end to your weekend / start to your week.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Rocking Weekend Update

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You can disagree with the views and / or methods of conservatives, but in general they like rules and order. In fact, it is literally in their name - they want to ‘conserve’ the status quo. In its extreme form we see fascists in Italy in the 1940s making the trains run on time (possibly the first- and only-time that happened with public transportation in Italy). It is important to look for silver linings in everything - otherwise it is easy to get disheartened.

This timeliness was particularly delightful because of the contrast we saw with the pop band Five Seconds of Summer. We literally waited 45 minutes between the warmup and them and there were no announcements, no schedule and no indication of when/if they were even going to come on. Instead, we watched at least a half dozen commercials for Thor. It was incredible.

Now that I have two data points about different bands and their standards for timeliness I will be taking it to Firefly (a music festival) in two weeks and see if we can validate this trend.

Standby for more in a few weeks.

Let’s get to this week’s update (although some of you are going to be writing to me already to say I was being too friendly / supportive of fascists) - so for the rest of you - here is what happened last week.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: It was a good week for space workforce development, with the White House announcing a workforce development program

  • More Details: This week Vice President Harris announced: "a new coalition of space companies that will focus on increasing the space industry’s capacity to meet the rising demand for the skilled technical workforce.” This new program includes every key component from our Workforce for the Future design, and includes employers, schools and government agencies inside and outside the space sector. After 18 months of designing, coalition building and advocating for just such a program it is exciting to see results like this.

Future Outreach: Next week it is going to be hard to compete with the sort of win we had last week - but as we know - it is the dull and thankless grind that often leads to sparks of excitement and success.

That said - next week we’ll be following up with some Congressional staff to make sure there is solid support for long-term funding for this workforce program. We’ll also be chatting with the American Defense Initiative leadership to explore how we can align some of our efforts in Congress

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: The September Conversations for the Future Event is this week Wednesday & Thursday.

  • More Details: Its Eclectic! We will be showing a mix of Live Speakers on the Zoom Meeting as well as Pre-Recorded Interviews and even a live view of SALT in New York with Tim on site! If you haven’t registered yet - join us! https://www.f4fspace.org/conversations

Future Operations/Events:  Conversations for the Future will be taking a short break while we focus on ASCEND Las Vegas and New Worlds Events. Both coming up next month. Stay tuned for even more details.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: The Association for Space Finance is coming into its own.

More Details: Between SALTASCENDNew Worlds and T-1 (the Skytop Media conference next year), the Association for Space Finance is driving the conversation forward around space finance. We are also talking to some people who are helping plan content for Davos to explore having a panel there (I tell my therapist once we are at Davos then I will finally be content…we’ll see).

And with that I’ll leave you all to the rest of your weekend (or to start your week if you are reading this Monday)

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Team Space,

Last night Katie and I went to a rock concert (Five Finger Death Punch headlined - but Megadeth was also there). This was our second concert (the other was Five Seconds of Summer) this year and we realized something…conservatives are big about starting and ending on time.

This isn’t meant to be a discussion about the merits of one political view or another, but rather than it was a surprise to me that rock stars were punctual about start times down to the minute. I assumed that musicians in general - and rock stars in particular are lackadaisical about when they do things. After all - they are literal rock stars and so we will wait for them.

But looking around at the crowd - and when I heard the lead singers of some of the bands talk - I realized that these bands and their fans were right of center politically.

And that was when it clicked.

Pacific Rim and A Long Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Sep 06, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 6 mins... 1570 words

Team SPACE,

Have any of you seen Pacific Rim (1 or 2 - turns out there is a second one)?

I haven’t either.

But I did just read the book.

I have this thing where I only watch movies with Katie - and it didn’t seem like one she would like so I figured I would just read the book.

The general story is that there are these giant monsters coming from an alternate dimension and these giant machines controlled by human pilots are the only thing that can stop them.

Kinda like Godzilla meets Transformers - if the Transformers were piloted by people.

Anyway - a big part of the storyline is how these machines can’t be piloted by a single person. Because there is a machine-brain interface and because the machine is kind of huge; a single person doesn’t have the mental capacity to do it all on their own. So, they do it in pairs. by linking their minds together (drifting for the nerds).

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This, combined with another book I’m reading (Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship) had me thinking about how the metaphor of two people putting their minds together to direct a larger construct is a pretty good analogy of the ideal intimate relationship.

  • As an aside within the aside - the book is a great one if you are looking to understand how people approach intimate relationships and how those mindsets affect the new entity - the ‘us’ - that is formed by the pairing.

Stick with me here - I’m not saying that the ideal for romantic partners is that they become conjoined twins. Not at all. That is two minds stuck in a single body. Nor am I saying that partners should turn into a hive mind. That is the whole subsuming the self (which I get is a false construct - but give me a break - there are only so many things I can talk about here).

This model is two people - retaining their autonomy and personalities - choosing to join themselves together to make a difference (or fight giant monsters…I don’t know what your lives are about). As in the book, executing this in real life is hard, and requires a lot of coordination and a support architecture.

But as we know - hard doesn’t mean impossible. Sometimes we do things BECAUSE they are hard and because they are worth it.

With that let's get to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The Colorado Spring Chamber of Commerce’s is coming to DC this month and we will support their Congressional outreach trip

  • More Details: This week we met with leaders from the Colorado Spring Chamber of Commerce to finalize plans for how we can support their annual DC trip. During this trip they bring business, educational and government leaders to DC to advocate for policies to support their local community. They have asked us to lead a session on workforce development, discussing how Colorado Springs can prepare itself for the space sector’s continued growth.

Future Outreach: Next week we are going to be meeting with some leaders from the DoD and the Intel Community (IC) as we work to expand our network further into government.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: New Worlds is taking shape - but we are still looking for support.

  • More Details: We have nearly finalized the New Worlds speaker lineup. But now comes the hard part, the rest of the event. And this is where we need your help. You can help in one (or more) of three ways.

    1. Come to the event: Pretty self explanatory. You can buy tickets at the Early Bird discount here.

    2. Sponsor New Worlds: We are still looking for sponsors to help cover the cost of the event itself, or even specific portions (lunches, snacks…etc). Sponsorship packages range from 1k-20k and if you or your company are interested email me.

    3. Volunteer: We need at least a dozen volunteers to help herd speakers (I mean assist them), help check people in, work as greeters and more. If you are in / around Austin or will be at the event and want to help - let me know and we’ll get you plugged in.

Future Operations: Next week we are going to be pushing ahead with New Worlds and should have announcements regarding more speakers / big name guests. We will also be facilitating an investment introduction between one of our investor members and one of our startup members.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: SALT is officially a week away

  • More Details: This week we began preparing for our panel at SALT (ok so maybe I’m a little late with the prep). Next week we are going to have calls with the rest of the panelists to go over what we are going to talk about and do some prep ahead of time. We are also trying to bring in another speaker from one of the big New Space companies…last minute I know - but one of the original panelists had to back out. If you have ties to any leadership at SpaceX - can you facilitate an intro? I really want to be able to talk about Starship on the panel and having someone from there will make it more natural.

 

  

And just like that we made it to the end. I hope you all had a great long weekend.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Return from France + Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Aug 29, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 6.5 mins... 1694 words

Team Space,

Welcome to the end of summer - we can again (since we now have a new Game of Thrones series) say that Winter is coming.

Normally I start with an introduction - but this week I am going to have an introduction to my introduction. Or what would colloquially be called ‘not burying the lede’.

Lede: We are holding a drawing this week for a ticket to SALT 2022 in NYC. See ‘Other Stuff’ section for more details

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Ok now to this week’s intro.

As some of you know - I was just on vacation in France. And there is nothing like travelling to another country to make you appreciate how great things are back here.

Oh sure we have our share of problems, but you know what’s great about America? Electrical outlets and AC.

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AC is kinda self explanatory. It is pretty great on a day like today to be able to control (at least inside) THE ACTUAL WEATHER. Yes yes yes I know that weather is comprised of temperature, humidity, wind velocity, precipitation, and barometric pressure; and that an AC unit only controls the first 3. But saying that we can control 60% of the weather inside is a little goofy.

Based on super rigorous research (read Emily in Paris), the French don’t like air conditioning because it ‘pulls them out of harmony with nature’. In reality it is probably just hard to install AC units in 500 year old houses, and so they made up a nifty sounding reason for procrastinating on that.

Electrical outlets is a little less obvious - why am I saying that we have great electrical outlets? We have a ground wire in our outlets.

There are actually 15 different types of outlets around the world. Because, and I quote “many countries preferred to develop a plug of their own, instead of adopting the US standard”. Turns out that despite the US developing the first electrical plug in 1904, most countries said they could do it better.

In those 15 different outlets there are 10 other outlet types that also have that third prong (to ground the circuit). But the vast majority of the world uses two prong plugs.

Cool - so the US has grounded outlets. Why is that so great? We also have the two prong plugs as well.

Well - they are great because that is the plug type I own.

Yep - this is almost exclusively a situation where what I have is what I want. And since I have it then it must be the best. According to the International Electrotechnical Commission there is actually an ideal ‘universal’ plug type that is supposed to be soooo great. But it is only used in Thailand and South Africa - so it clearly isn’t so great.

So yes - I went to France for a week and came back not with an appreciation of fine cuisine, grand architecture, wine or cheese. But with a borderline nationalistic appreciation for electrical outlets…and a wholly justified appreciation for AC.

Probably not the intended outcome of such a trip - but I like it.

Now then - let's turn to this week’s (technically this will cover the last 2 weeks) update while I enjoy staring at this surge protector at my feet in my 74 degree home.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Congress is still in recess

  • More Details: Congress has been in recess the last two weeks, and so there hasn’t really been any new developments on the Outreach front. We have spent the time refreshing our material on Workforce for the Future and the Space Corporation Act.

Future Outreach: This week we are going to have a meeting with a Congressional office, chat with the Colorado Spring Chamber of Commerce about an upcoming Congressional outreach trip they are planning, will have a call with some leaders from Puerto Rico and re-engage with the Alliance for Space Development.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We had a busy two weeks with event planning.

  • More Details: We are now doing long-term planning for five major events which will start between October 22 and April 23 (not counting the two in September). You’ve already heard about ASCEND and New Worlds. Over the last two weeks we’ve started planning for Blue Marble Night, a space investor conference co-hosted with Skytop Strategies (Feb 23) and a defense and space reception at SXSW.

Other Operations: We also had a podcast recording, brought in IronGate Capital as a new member, and had discussions with HBS (Harvard Business School) about cooperation on space business courses. I had an interview with Politico on the state of the space industrial base and interviewed another potential board member (stay tuned for an announcement on that soon)

Future Operations: This week I’ll be catching up after being out, meeting with a handful of potential new members, interviewing Alec Peters for the podcast, and ramping up planning for our quintet of events.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We got a space panel at SALT 2022.

  • More Details: We spent the summer working with the organizers of SALT in NYC to help them curate a panel on space. As a result of all that work - they asked me to moderate the panel in my role as lead for the Association for Space Finance. One of the perks of being a speaker/moderator is them giving you an extra ticket to use for your entourage (normally this is CEOs / senior executives speaking so they will bring at least some staff). Since I don’t travel with staff, we are going to hold a drawing for this ticket, normally $6k, to allow one of our members to attend.

Why would you want to attend SALT? There are between 3-4k executives from across the finance sector who are looking to invest in alternative asset classes (including space). So whether you are a startup or raising a fund, this is a great place to make connections.

How to enter

  • If your company is already a member and you want to enter this drawing email me (tim@f4fspace.org) with the subject line SALT 2022 Ticket.

  • If your company isn’t a member - you can still email me to enter - but we will need to process your membership this week before the drawing. We are starting our fall membership drive on September 1st - so if you join this week you will get those rates.

Alright - and with that we are done - and can get to the rest of our week.

See you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Late Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Aug 08, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5 mins... 1362 words

Team SPACE,    

Have you ever procrastinated?

I am fascinated by this concept. Why is it that we don’t do that thing that we know we should?

Obviously, I am not talking about this in the abstract.

I am writing this a day later than normal, meant to mow my lawn yesterday, and have a dog sitting at my feet telling me that I am putting off feeding him (he is shameless in his willingness to lie about when he last ate).

But even though I am someone who has a tendency to procrastinate, it still fascinates me to follow the logic that I (and probably others) use to make the procrastination seem like it is normal/fine/ok/good.

In my case - with this week’s update - I got back from spending a few days with my girls on Saturday and wanted to have a day with Katie without worrying about anything else.

In and of itself - that is a great reason - but if I am honest with myself, I never WANT to write these updates.

Like eating my vegetables (ok maybe that is a bad example - I don’t really do that) - I know that writing this each weekend is useful. It has a utility, both in ensuring you all have insight into what we did/are doing. But it is also a good tool for me to organize my thoughts for the week ahead.

But as I mentioned - sometimes we know what the right thing to do is - but it is just so much easier to go on a walk, practice your French (you didn’t expect that did you Katie) or play video games.

Thankfully - for us all - I have made it through this week’s update (I put off writing this intro until the last) - so I’ll let you get to reading it while you drink your morning coffee.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The Democrats’ climate and energy bill passed the Senate this weekend without any changes to how carried interest is taxed.

More Details: Sunday the Senate voted along party lines to pass a bill that would fund investments in clean tech (along with some healthcare tweaks). This week we (and most other finance associations/orgs) pushed our contacts on the Hill to drop the proposed change to how carried interest is taxed, arguing that it would dampen investment. And by the end of the week the carried interest provision was out of the bill.

While we were advocating against the provision - I don’t want to give the impression that we were the decisive in swaying any Senators. I want to commend the American Investment Council, the National Venture Capital Association and the Los Angeles Venture Association for their work.

Future Outreach: With the passage of the reconciliation bill, we are now turning fully to 2023 prep and will spend the next few weeks preparing our post-election messaging. We will be contacting some of you all get your thoughts on draft policy positions and talking points. If you have thoughts - feel free to reach out and let me know.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We weren’t selected for the Good Jobs Challenge grant.

More Details: This week the Economic Development Administration announced their selections for the Good Jobs Challenge, and we didn’t make the cut. While this is a disappointment, we always knew that we only had between 8-15% chance at being selected (based on the number of applicants). The good part of all of this is that the work that Ashley and others put in to preparing our packet can and will be used in applying for other funding opportunities.

Future Operations: Next week we are going to be holding a couple meetings with potential members, planning for New Worlds and ASCEND, and retooling our W4F pitch for future grant proposals.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We had our first meeting with Agency leaders this week, and it couldn’t have gone better.

More Details: This week I held a meeting with some CIA leaders where we talked about how we can support their mission to bring new and interesting tech into their pipeline. I also pitched them on how a handful of our member companies could meet some operational gaps.

As I mentioned above - the meeting went fantastic. These Agency leaders really excited about the potential of these companies. They also want to bring us in and give us regular briefings on what their classified needs are while also inviting us (and our members) to regular ‘open houses’ where companies can get help on how to work with the CIA.

Alrighty - that took entirely too long to write - I am now off to mow the lawn before it gets too hot.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

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A Weird Week and a Long Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Aug 01, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 7.5 mins... 1946 words

Team SPACE, 

This has been a weird week for me.

Not a bad one.

Just weird.

I’ve been learning the hard way that how I look at policy development and political action aren’t always shared in the space sector.

By way of backstory - I have been school trained in political science (whatever that means) and have spent the last 20+ years paying entirely too much attention to every scrap of political news and research that I can find.

One of the most important lessons I learned from all that time is that message discipline can be the difference between a good policy being implemented or dying on the vine.

In this context, message discipline means a combination of saying the same thing over and over AND getting all of your allies to say that same thing over and over.

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Have you ever noticed that it seems like every politician on TV says the same thing as every other one from their party? Almost like they are robots?

Well, if you haven’t - that is exactly what happens the vast majority of the time. And that happens because each day or after any breaking news, a set of talking points are distributed throughout each party and everyone is strongly encouraged to only say those things.

Why?

Because oftentimes those talking points are stress tested and optimized to ensure they are able to win the widest possible support. But this is also done because sticking to one set of talking points is the only way to ensure that people hear things enough to remember them - science says we need to hear something seven times before we even remember it.

Seven times!

I know I have been slow to internalize that fact - it isn’t very intuitive, and it sure isn’t convenient. But I’ve accepted that if I want something to change, then this is the price of entry.

Over the past few years, we have worked with a number of other space organizations who are working to encourage commercial-friendly policies for the space sector. And since we all have fairly similar goals - it has made sense to incorporate talking points they are using when and where those align with what we are saying.

Afterall - if a message needs to be delivered seven times - why would we rewrite a talking point that we both agree with AND is already being used? Both our organizations benefit because now there are two groups saying the same thing - and that also lends social credence to the message.

This wasn’t where I was going with this update - was it? Oh - right - I was talking about my weird week.

So, this week has been weird because I’ve been grappling with learning that this way of doing things (the repeating talking points) is considered ‘intellectual theft’ by some people.

I understand how this might be the case if I was writing an academic paper. But as I mentioned - if groups are trying to affect change - then why wouldn’t we want everyone possible saying the same thing as us?

It is weird - and unfamiliar.

Since this is the first time we are running into this issue - that gives me hope that isn’t common.

Hopefully I’m right.

But even if not - we’ll just keep staying focused on our mission.

I guess I should also let you all focus on this week’s update. So here it goes.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The Democrats’ reconciliation bill is back - and we’ve dodged a bullet.

More Details: This week the Democrats rolled out a ‘small’ version of their reconciliation legislation (I put that in quotes because the size of this bill is only small after two years of multi-trillion-dollar bills). Most of the bill relates to climate and healthcare - however there is one piece that concerns us. Namely a provision that ‘closes’ a loophole for carried interest. While the reconciliation bill changes how carried interest is treated for tax purposes; that change will NOT affect the venture model used by most space investors.

We have had a number of conversations about carried interest with House and Senate staffers this last year, and each time we delivered the same message: If the tax rate on venture investments is converted to that of regular income (doubling the tax rate) - then you are going to see a dramatic reduction in funding for early-stage companies. That message appears to have worked. Although early versions of the reconciliation bill would have seen carried interest treated as normal income; the current version allows for carried interest in long-term (more than 5 years) investments to continue to receive preferential treatment.

  • Why it matters: I know, I know, if you aren’t working in finance then this all sounds very boring. But stick with me here for a second. Carried interest is a fancy word for the profit-sharing fee that investment fund managers charge. Most private equity funds have a fee structure where they get a small fee every year for managing their investors’ money, and then a cut of whatever profits are collected at the end of the fund (normally about 20%).

  • This carried interest is a way for investors to incentivize their portfolio managers to do a good job. Afterall - if there are a lot of profits because of good investments, then both the investors and the investment managers win. Right now, this carried interest gets treated as investment income and is taxed at a lower rate than regular income. All the reconciliation bill does is change how long an investment fund has to hold on to their investment before they can take advantage of the carried interest ‘loophole’ (previously it was 3 years; now it is 5).

Future Outreach: With the reconciliation bill due for a vote this week - we will be spending the week following up with House / Senate offices to ensure that no changes are made to the carried interest proposal. We will also have an in-person meeting with some Assistant Directors from the CIA to more formally outline how we will be supporting them.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We presented at MGMWerx’s Summer Workshop on Teaching Space.

More Details: This week I went to Montgomery Alabama to speak at MGMWerx’s summer workshop designed to help educators from across Alabama better understand how to teach space topics. I presented on the need for more blue-collar workforce development programs, and specifically what we at the Foundation are doing to help close that gap.

Our session was really well attended, and since it was the last event of the day there was no problem when we ran over our time. Ok - running over time is a bit misleading - because of audience participation the 40-minute presentation ran over 90 minutes. And if there is one thing I know about both interviews and classes it is this: if they run long, it is more likely than not a good thing.

Other Operations: Also, this week we had a meeting with CyberWorx (the cyber version of MGMWerx) to discuss partnering with them to find space companies working on innovative cyber-related tech. We also had meetings with new potential members including Irongate Capital

Future Operations: Next week we will have a planning meeting with Coursera’s content development team to discuss how they can support W4F. We’ll also have meetings with Sierra Nevada and Lockheed’s New Ventures. I’ll also be presenting at the Stardust Festival and recording a podcast episode with Michael Gibbs.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are exploring how we can partner with the Australian Space Agency on space infrastructure development

More Details: This week I met with a former senior executive from the Australian government who now works as an advisor to both the Australian Space Agency and the Australian intelligence services. We agreed that there is a huge need for close collaboration between our two space sectors (civil, commercial and defense). Over the next few weeks, we will be talking with leaders from across the Australian space architecture to start exploring how we can expand cooperation.

 

  

That seems like as good a place as any to end things. So, I think I shall do just that.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Weekend Update and Confession

By Tim Chrisman●Jul 25, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins... 1439 words

Team SPACE,    

Another week has come and gone, and I have very sad news to report.

I made a prediction that turned out to be wrong.

About 6 weeks ago I was talking with Ashley about our Good Jobs Challenge proposal and when it would be announced. Some of the marketing materials from the grant said that the winners would be announced in July so I decided I needed to predict when that would be.

Drawing on my experience in government I knew that if July was indeed the target month, then it was not going to be at the beginning. Not least of all because of the July 4th holiday which was going to set everything back at least a week.

So not only was a government agency not likely to come out with an announcement in the first week of their target month - there was also a holiday that month so in effect the second week of July was the first work week.

So that brought us to last week. Now to nail down which day.I know that many agencies have flexible work arrangements which sees a good portion of their workforce out on Fridays and Mondays. So those days were right out.

Weekend Update 7_24.jpg

With Tuesday being everyone’s first full day in the office that wasn’t a good day for an announcement, and furthermore there was likely some last-minute prep that would be needed ahead of an announcement so it wouldn’t happen on the first or second days back in the office (ruling out Tuesday and Wednesday).

That left only Thursday and using similar logic I began to work through what time on Thursday the announcement would come out.

Mornings are typically reserved for announcements about data (inflation, jobs…etc.), so I assessed that afternoon was the most likely time for unveiling the winners. And in a pique of randomness, I decided to throw a dart at 1pm as the time for the announcement.

I know…a little reckless given that the rest of my reasoning was so data driven.

But alas.

It didn’t matter how rigorous my reasoning was…I was still wrong. There was no announcement this week.

I know - at this point in the story you are no doubt feeling very bad for me. Clearly, I had a very bad week…what with being so wrong and all.

Thank you - but I don’t feel so bad about getting the prediction wrong. I am trying to figure out where my analysis went wrong.

Normally I would ask Katie about where my logic broke down (she is incredible at breaking down reasoning) - but in this case I decided against that.

Because I knew her answer.

Her answer as to where my analysis went wrong would be: “It went off the rails when you had the hubris to try and predict the future.”

Not a great answer to be sure (and to be fair to her I still haven’t checked to see if that was really her answer). But at the end of the day, I think she is right.

Next time I shouldn’t try to predict the future. I put too much thought and effort into rationalizing my prediction. I should have just predicted (no try) and not worried about why.

I think that is the right lesson here.

If not, then I’ll probably never learn it.

With that out of the way - let’s get you all to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We expanded our networking to the Intelligence Community (IC)

More Details: This week we made contact with a number of leaders from across the intelligence community. This comes as we work on ensuring that we have a comprehensive picture of what that community is looking for and how we can help connect them to our members.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be continuing with this theme - holding meetings with multiple members of the DEFENSEWERX network. Ultimately our goal is to ensure that we have a good understanding of the full scope of infrastructure needs across the defense, intelligence, civil and commercial space sectors.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: This week we met with Amazon Web Services to discuss getting their help with Workforce for the Future.

More Details: Building on conversations started at SXSW, we had meetings this week with some leaders from AWS’ space team to discuss how their platform and resources could support our efforts to train technicians in a variety of trades. More to follow on this - but between this connection and our longstanding connection with Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Hub - we have a lot of ties with AWS that can be useful as we build out W4F.

Future Operations: This week I’ll be down in Montgomery Alabama speaking at MGMWERX about how to train a workforce for the future. We’ll be meeting with a handful of potential investor members including Irongate Capital and will top the week off by meeting with the Harvard Business School space team to discuss a potential collaboration.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are exploring partnerships for the NSF Engines program.

More Details: Earlier this summer we explored submitting an application for the NSF Regional Innovation Engines program where the NSF awards grants up to $100M to groups so they can build regional innovation networks. Since the NSF wanted the proposals to be led by local organizations, we opted to support several groups who are putting in proposals. We heard this week that one of them saw their initial proposal accepted and now they will move on to a pitch day later this summer.

 

You got all the info about what we did, you heard about my shameful prediction fail, and now made it all the way to the end. So, I think that should do it for this week.

See you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Walking Weekend Update

Team Space,

Do you like walks?

I used to look at people who would walk around and wonder what they were doing with their life.

I would think that it must be an old person's thing to like walking.

After all - if you were walking for exercise then you weren’t getting as much out of it as you would if you ran.

But now I’m a big fan of walks.

A ‘walking 2-3 times a day’ fan.

There is something about it that is peaceful and relaxing.

I’ve come around to liking walks because they give me a chance to listen to my audiobooks. I’m told that the walks are still decent exercise - but I don’t know that I really believe that. I still have this little voice in my head saying that I could be running instead of walking.

But at the end of the day I really am just trying to read more than 100 books a year. And since I am not really very good at sitting still and reading anymore - I basically have to listen to audiobooks while walking or driving.

weekend update 7_17.jpg

So here I am - doing that old person thing and walking instead of doing real exercise. Old ‘jock’ me really would have looked down on current me

Ah well

At least I am better read than that jock

I think that matters…

Well - while I ponder whether that does indeed matter - I’ll let you get to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Us being at the intersection of Wall Street, Capitol Hill and the space sector came in handy this week.

More Details: Over the past few weeks we have been supporting several conference planners with outreach to senior government officials. This week we were able to help the SALT 2022 planners connect with Administrator Nelson (technically it was his staff - but close enough). The SALT team wanted to have a senior NASA official speak at their conference this fall - and it looks like we were able to support that.

Other Outreach: We have also been working on connecting a number of our member companies to several other space-related agencies. We had a handful of virtual meetings and will have in-person meetings at the Deputy Secretary level at the beginning of August.

Future Outreach: Next week I’ll be at the Space Force Caucus Congressional Breakfast and we’ll be doing some 2023 advocacy planning.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Another C4F is in the books

More Details: Last week we had our 18th C4F and this one was focused on space debris. We were able to bring in speakers from Aerospace Corp, Privateer, Cal Poly, Voyager Space Services, Kall Morris and more. @April - well done!

Other Operations: This week we also recorded a podcast, had a handful of meetings with potential W4F partners, followed-up on ASCEND planning, and even managed to start writing a proposal for SXSW 2023.

Future Operations: Next week we are going to be meeting with some more potential W4F partners including Space For Trades. We have a few calls with potential California Aerospace Caucus Reception sponsors / partners, and will be working on finishing up the pre-release planning for the New Worlds event (held in Austin at the end of October).

Other Stuff: 

One Big Other Thing: We are moving ahead with plans for joint member programs with several other nonprofits.

More Details: A couple months back we started talking with a couple other national nonprofits about creating a reciprocal membership program between us. Last week we had another chat about next steps - and there seems to be broad agreement in principle. Hopefully there will be more to share in the coming weeks.

 

You might not have noticed - but in the middle of writing this I actually took a 45 min walk.

Yes, it was hot out

Yes, it felt good

No, I didn’t finish the audiobook I’m listening to

With that I will let you get back to the rest of your weekend.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

 

-T

An Unplanned Weekend Update

Team Space,

Here we are staring down the end of our weekend again.

I was on a call with several people from the Space Force Association the other day and one of them mentioned that the deadline to get content into their weekend email was on Thursday. That got me thinking.

Could these updates be written in advance?

That doesn’t seem like it is possible, after all these are called ‘weekend updates’ - not updates you get on the weekend.

Ok ok - I know - it is transparent to you all whether I write these a little each day or all at once on Sunday.

But it was pretty telling for me when I noticed how surprised I was that another organization’s weekly newsletter was prepared days ahead of it going out.

I definitely got that feeling you get when you have been doing things one way for a long time and then you find out there might be another / a better way.

I thought I might try out that ‘writing early’ thing.

But I did not.

weekend update 7_10.jpg

It is still probably a good idea for me to work on these earlier

But rather than actually implement said good idea, I decided that I would tell that good idea the same thing we say to the God of Death - ‘Not Today’

But what is happening today is the rest of our update - so let's get to it.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We are preparing to roll out a new member benefit.

More Details: This week I met with the former Deputy Director, Operations (DDO) of the CIA. One of the outcomes from that meeting is a series of meetings with current senior leaders at the Agency who are focused on bringing new technology into the US Intelligence Community. The DDO set these meetings up with the understanding that we at the Foundation would support the Agency in scouting potential new technologies and innovative companies.

Add this to our existing network of investors - and we are now building the capability to connect companies to both financing and customers. For our investors - we are able to leverage our network of companies and our relationship with a key government customer to support the growth of portfolio companies.

What's next: If you currently lead a member company, I’ll be reaching out to you in the coming days / weeks once we have a more concrete pathway. This can serve as a heads up.

Other Outreach: As expected it was a slow outreach week with Congress out of session for the 4th of July - and it being a short week for the rest of the government, there was little going on here in DC. We used this down-time to start drafting a couple policy papers and begin conversations with some other nonprofits about coordinating some of our messaging.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: July’s C4F is ready to go

More Details: We had a couple last minute changes - but as of this writing we are good to go for C4F this month. Well in the interest of full transparency - we are good to go for C4F coming up this next week. This is going to be an exciting event with speakers from KMIPrivateer and Scout; all talking about what they are doing to address space debris.

Other Operations: In other operations news we firmed up one of our two panels at ASCEND We had a great introduction call with Nova Space and Club for the Future to chat about how we can work with them with Workforce for the Future.

Future Operations: Next week we’ll have another call with Nova Space to start getting into the details of how we can work together. We also have C4F - you can register here.

Other Stuff: 

One Big Other Thing: The California Aerospace Caucus Reception’s co-hosting team looks set to grow

More Details: We had a good follow-up with the California Manufacturing and Technology Association - we expect them to decide about their role in the reception in the next week or so. We were also introduced to the leadership of Aerospace States Association and have a call with them coming up this week to discuss how we can collaborate on the reception.

 

That should just about do it - I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled evening activities now - and let you do the same.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Public Service Message and a Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Jul 05, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins... 1463 words

Team SPACE

A happy 4th of July to you.

May your day be filled with BBQ, and your night with sleep.

Not the traditional 4th of July greeting to be sure - but stick with me here.

I am wishing you this because sleep is more elusive on the 4th of July than it is on any other day of the year.

New Year’s included.

Why?

Well, it mainly has to do with a lot of people (mainly men) trying to recapture the magic of childhood (by detonating tubes of gunpowder).

And I have unfortunate news.

If you are over the age of 20 (15 if you are a woman) - then fireworks are just not going to seem as cool as they did when you were younger.

You might be pretty sure they will be.

But trust me.

Weekend Update Graphic 7_4.jpg

The good old times aren’t coming back.

You (the ‘you’ who is currently counting your fireworks for tonight) know instinctively that you can’t recreate the magic of your childhood - because every year you have to buy larger amounts (and probably just larger) of fireworks in order for them to give you the same ‘hit’ of excitement.

They, like pleasure, drugs or alcohol build a tolerance in our minds. We remember fireworks being AMAZING and SOOO LOUD. But we were also little.

Just like your parents aren’t nearly as tall as you thought they were when you were 4. So too is it with fireworks that aren’t as big, bright or exciting as you remember from when you were 4.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t have fun with fireworks?

Not at all.

What I am saying is that you have nothing to gain by waiting until it is dark to play with fireworks.

At best you will see a marginal improvement in how the fireworks look.

But you will certainly ensure at least half of your neighbors do not sleep well. And every one of your neighbors with pets will be actively plotting against you.

I recognize that all of that may be part of the appeal of night-time fireworks. And if that is the case for you - then go for it.

This is America. You are free to make the enemies you want.

That is what the 4th is celebrating after all.

But if you just want to feel a little more like a kid - light the fireworks off after the BBQ. Or wait until dusk.

Don’t wait until it is dark - especially not at a time of year when there is upwards of 19 hours of daylight.

Sincerely,

unnamed.jpg

the dog next door.

P.S. please sweep all of your leftovers onto the sidewalk out front. I enjoy your cooking more than anyone else in your family.

Outreach

One Big Outreach Thing: Not much is happening in DC

More Details: As mentioned above - it is the 4th of July. Which means that last week and next are not big work weeks. At least not for the government.

We didn’t have a lot of Federal outreach this week; instead, we spent the week reaching out to potential partners at the state and local level. This included attending a Keystone Space Collaborative working group, meeting a nonprofit out of California, and having a call with the national credit union association.

Future Outreach: Next week is also going to be a little slow - but we are going to spend the time recalibrating our messaging around both workforce development, the Space Corporation Act, and several of our other finance-related proposals.

Do you have thoughts on how we can improve any of those? Email me your thoughts and let’s chat.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We connected with a pair of organizations who would be fantastic to help create the training content for the Workforce for the Future (W4F) program.

More Details: This week we met with both Jacobs and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership who are working together with San Jacinto College on an exceptional technician training program in support of NASA’s work there in Houston. We have started the conversation around partnering with all three organizations to create the content we need for W4F using either the Good Jobs Challenge grant or our FY23 W4F grant.

Other Operations: This week we also filled in more speakers for July’s C4F, helped with planning for the New Worlds conference / Space Cowboy Ball in October and even managed to fit a podcast recording in the mix.

Future Operations: Next week we have a handful of calls with potential partners for New Worlds and the CACR (more on that next). We’ll have a planning meeting for both ASCEND and New Worlds; and also, for a scholarship fund we are helping setup.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We landed a location for the California Aerospace Caucus Reception in September.

More Details: This week, with the help of some of Representative Calvert’s staff we were able to secure the Gold Room in the Rayburn House Office Building as the location for the California Aerospace Caucus Reception (CACR). This location is absolutely incredible for three reasons.

  • First, it looks fantastic

  • Second, it is close enough to every Member of the California Delegation’s office that we are guaranteed to have maximum participation from Members and their staff.

  • Third, we get to use the official House catering service, which is very customer-friendly, has good food, and is surprisingly inexpensive.

Other Other Stuff: In other CACR news - we are nearing a decision on co-hosting from two other organizations; had meetings with two more potential sponsors, and setup calls with three more (potential sponsors)

Well - I think that should do it. I hope you all still have time to enjoy the rest of your 4th - and ideally avoid keeping your neighbors awake with your fireworks.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

An Intro and Weekend Update

Weekend Update 6_26a.png

By Tim Chrisman●Jun 27, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 4.5 mins... 1216 words

Team Space,

I don’t know if I have told you - but we use AxiosHQ for our newsletters (including this update). It is a really nice tool that has a bunch of features aimed at keeping things brief and to the point.

The tool is not the point though (see what I did there?).

The tool has a prompt here in the first section saying, “Type your intro here”.

Why do we need an intro? I know there isn’t a functional reason why we can’t just jump right into the details of each weekly update.

But there is something about introductions - even in one-on-one emails - that makes them necessary.

Oh, sure I understand that social niceties are a feature (not a bug) of our species. They are what help us accomplish great things. But are introductions a requirement for that?

Don’t get me wrong -

I love a good story (and an introduction is just a way to turn an informational exchange into a story).

Well, that isn’t exactly true, I love stories that I tell. And good ones that I can control (e.g., books, shows, movies…etc).

A few weeks back I was joking with a new friend about how the price for telling stories is that we have to appear to listen to other people’s stories. Since we both are people who like telling stories we agreed that we would take turns pretending to listen to the other’s stories.

I think this is what symbiosis looks like.

Or maybe synergy.

Oh right - introductions - that’s what we were talking about. Well - I guess the bottom-line way down here at the bottom is that I value the efficient delivery of information at work. And then the rest of the time I want to very inefficiently deliver my stories.

I think that makes sense.

Well - I’ll ponder that while you move on to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: This week the House of Representatives began marking up the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget

More Details: This week the various sub-committees in the House of Representatives released the draft budgets for their respective agencies. The big news is that the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee included language mandating that the Space Force do a better job interacting with and buying from the commercial space sector. We’ll be following this and continuing to advocate that both the entire Federal government should be doing this.

Future Outreach: Next week we’ll have a couple meetings with Congressional staffers to chat about the FY23 budget process. We are also starting the groundwork to advocate for FY24 appropriations to support Workforce for the Future’s expansion.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: It doesn’t look like the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Engines program is for us.

More Details: This week we attended an NSF workshop on their Engines program (a new grant program that allocates up to $140M over 10 years for innovation hubs). The general premise of the program is aligned with W4F - however they really only want organizations to work localized projects. So rather than applying for the grant to lead an innovation hub we are going to be supporting other groups as they build their own.

Other Operations: In other operations news we had meetings with four new potential members, met with a handful of other nonprofits to discuss how we can partner with them (for the Engines program among other things).

Future Operations: Next week we will be following up with Indeed on our proposed joint research project; will be planning for our ASCEND segments and working C4F.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are another step closer to broadening the appeal of the California Aerospace Caucus Reception (CACR).

More Details: This week we met with the California Manufacturing and Technology Association (CMTA) to talk about bringing them in as a co-host for the CACR. Since CMTA has over 30k member companies and has been around for over 100 years this would be a huge win (since the goal is to get more California companies to the reception). We should find out more this week about whether the CMTA will get involved. So, stay tuned.

 

That should just about do it. I’m going to go check on my little minions (oh the new Minions movie comes out this Friday) and see what fresh hell they have cooked up.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Juneteenth's Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Jun 20, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 4 mins... 1073 words

Team SPACE

A happy Juneteenth to all of you!

I figure that having already done at least one Father’s Day weekend update - it was about time for me to jump on the newest Federal Holiday and write a Juneteenth one.

Some of you have heard me talk about how space offers us as Americans a chance to get things right the first go around.

What do I mean?

Well - from our first settlers to landing on the Moon, we are a nation that has sought out each new frontier and molded it in our image. But we have done that through the suffering and pain of

In the 18th century we conquered the North American land. Riding in wagons and on horses, we expanded. Building off the labor of slaves, our economy developed.

In the 19th century we conquered the world’s oceans. Our trading ships visited at every port on the planet, enabling new exports. This success was enabled through the work of child labor and exploited populations.

In the 20th century America took to the skies. Our planes won two world wars, resupplied starving cities, and ultimately made travel to anywhere accessible to the masses. This was possible because our planes also carried soldiers, bombs, and nuclear weapons.

Now, in the 21st century space is open to us. And for the first time in our country’s history we can explore, exploit, and expand without harming anyone or anything.

As we commemorate Juneteenth - the day that commemorates the freeing of the slaves after the civil war - let’s all make sure that this new frontier is one where we get it right.

Now let’s get over to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The FY23 Budget is being built - and we are still in it

More Details: This week Congress began ‘marking up’ the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget. As a refresher - this means Congress is editing their draft budgets for the next fiscal year, with a lot of jockeying back and forth to get budget items added or taken away.

This year is important for us because we have a line item (a direct grant) in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. And as of the latest edition of that bill - our grant is still there.

I know saying that something hasn’t changed is not a terribly exciting ‘update’ - but when it is the first time you have money appropriated in the federal budget, everything seems like a huge update.

Future Outreach: With this week being a short one - and Congress largely tied up with gun / budget negotiations - we are going to be focused on the California Aerospace Caucus Reception - well that and monitoring the budget negotiations.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Another week - another set of partners / sponsors for the California Aerospace Caucus Reception

More Details: This week we met with six potential sponsors, talked with two potential media partners and scheduled a meeting with a potential co-host. All in all, not a bad week’s worth of work. Especially since we are converting 25% of invited companies into sponsors / partners.

Interested attending? You can apply to attend here.

Your company interested in sponsoring? Email me and we can chat about our different sponsorship packages.

Future Operations: This week we will be scheduling July C4F speakers, meeting with more reception sponsors/partners and working on the design of our workforce development program submission for National Science Foundation’s Engines grant.

Ok - with that I’ll wish you all a happy Juneteenth.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Weekend Update from the skies over New Orleans

By Tim Chrisman●Jun 13, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 4 mins... 1124 words

Team SPACE,   

I am writing this on a flight back from New Orleans where my wife and I were for a few days to be with some of her family.

Because of that - it would make sense for me to have awesome thoughts from walking around New Orleans this morning.

I do not

Not because we didn’t walk around New Orleans (we did) - but because when we did it was about 95 degrees, the sewers were boiling, and we basically felt like we were walking through the steam of a city’s worth of toilet flushes from the last 24 hours.

Could I have just said that I don’t think well in the heat?

Yes

But now you are going to remember it better

So - now that you understand the experience I had - you will forgive me for assuming that my heat-addled thoughts are not going to be what I would want to write out here.

Instead - I’ll just keep this short - and get us right to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Space Corporation Act got some attention this week

More Details: Rep Garcia’s (D-TX) office reached out to us this week with some questions about the Space Corporation Act and who in the Houston area supported the bill (in advance of the Congresswoman deciding whether or not she will support the bill). We are compiling a list of the people / companies in the area who do – and if you are one of them, then please let me know.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be meeting with several lobbyists from other industries to chat about synergies between their work/priorities and that of the space sector.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We landed three five more partners and sponsors for the California Aerospace Caucus Reception (CACR)

More Details: This week we expanded our outreach for sponsors of the CACR – adding five new companies, with the largest being ABL Space. We are now two weeks into our sponsorship hunt and have over a dozen companies sponsoring (whether with cash or in-kind contributions).

Does your company want to join? Email me and we can chat.

What to apply to attend (yep, we are only allowing a pre-screened list of people to attend)? You can apply here.

Other Operations: We had a follow-up call with Indeed this week to chat about our workforce development data and the potential for Indeed to have a space focused program. They are still very interested and want us to work with their research arm to categorize the number, types and pay of space jobs throughout the country.

  • In case I haven’t mentioned this before – that sort of research project is exactly what we have been working to design for most of the year. So, this offers us the resources and data of one of the largest job boards in the country – a pretty exciting prospect!

Future Operations: We have meetings with three more potential sponsors scheduled for next week. Additionally we will be meeting with Coursera to chat about some potential new space certifications / courses to help upskill workers from non-space professions. We are also going to be working on our submission for the National Science Foundation’s Engines program (an up to $135M grant to develop regional innovation hubs).

  • Our initial submission looks to focus this on workforce development – but there is an opportunity to expand that in partnership with local orgs. Think your org / region would be a good one for us to partner with? Let me know and let’s chat.

Other Stuff:

The Catch-all Other Stuff: It was a slow week – but we still managed to fit in an interview with the Observer, being awarded a micro-grant to hire a research intern, meetings with four potential member companies and pitching an op-ed to several news outlets.

 

  

And here we are at the end - I’ll leave you all to the rest of your weekend.

And I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Starcraft II, Nostalgia and a Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Jun 06, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 4.5 mins... 1244 words

Team SPACE,

I am beginning to understand nostalgia.

Oh, don’t get me wrong - I still fight it. I still think that my childhood was just a training program / audition for adulthood (and I thought that as a kid too).

But I am starting to understand the appeal nostalgia has.

This week I rediscovered a video game (Starcraft II) that was one of the top 3 video games I played as a kid/teenager.

I’ll not get specific about why this game was (and I guess still is) so great. I have accepted that my taste in video games, which was set really early in life, isn’t universal (it's ok - I won’t know basically anything about movies / music from the 90s - so we are even).

Ok back on topic - as I rediscovered this game, which happened in the aftermath of the great gifting of 2022 (see last week’s update for the story on that), I found all of these warm and happy feelings coming back. Memories of playing for hours (and at one point actually being pretty good) - memories that showed me that not all of childhood is a journey to becoming an adult.

These memories are so free and innocent (or as innocent as you can get while playing a game rated mature for violence and language). And for a moment they transported me to a time when playing these games was all that mattered (school was easy so that didn’t really matter).

That was a good feeling.

A feeling that would be easy to chase.

Maybe I’ll chase it just a little…but not yet. We have an update to get through.

Outreach

One Big Outreach Thing: We submitted our comments on NASA’s Moon to Mars Strategy

More Details: Last week we submitted our comments to NASA’s Moon to Mars Strategy RFI. In many ways our comments echo many of the themes that other organizations, like the Commercial Spaceflight Federation had in theirs. Ultimately our priority is having NASA explicitly outline how they will partner with the private sector (and the private capital markets) to facilitate their efforts.

Future Outreach: Next week is going to be a relatively slow week for Congressional outreach as many Members are fully occupied with budget negotiations. We are continuing to keep our pulse on where those negotiations are going to see if there will be ‘targets of opportunity’ where we can help shift the course of legislation.

Operations

One Big Operations Thing: We are moving ahead with negotiations with major workforce partners for our Workforce for the Future (W4F) hub.

More Details: This week we had a call with Indeed’s Director of Partnerships to discuss a space-centered jobs site. They are very interested in exploring this idea and were interested in including their certification program . We sent them our research on the size and composition of the current and future space jobs landscape (this is for their due diligence to make sure there is in fact a market for them).

Future Operations: This week one of Coursera’s Partnerships leads reached out and wanted to explore building a partnership similar to what we are talking to Indeed about (well - at least the certification side). We’ll be meeting with them next week to chat more - and I think that having one of the top 10 online certification providers would be a huge win for W4F.

Other Stuff

One Big Other Thing: Invites have started going out for September's CAC Reception.

More Details: Ok technically they are ‘save the dates’ - but still - Congressional offices have officially started being invited - which is pretty cool.

In other CAC Reception news - we interviewed a bunch of venues and have narrowed it down to a rooftop venue about 5 minutes away from the Capitol and a handful of venues within walking distance of Capitol Hill. The closer we can get it to the Capitol the longer Congresspeople will stay - but the rooftop venue is pretty awesome. We are waiting for feedback from Rep Calvert’s office on the options we sent over and should have a firm answer in the next week or two.

  • What's next: As I mentioned in previous updates - we already have seven sponsors/host partners and are looking to add to that list. Is your company interested? More details are attached.

  • Let me know if you have questions. Oh, and if your company isn’t a member of the Foundation yet - ask me about the special we have where you can get both membership and sponsorship of this event.

Let’s call it. I think we can wrap things up here…after all I need to get back to Starcraft II.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Memorial Day Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●May 31, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 6.5 mins... 1675 words

Team SPACE,  

A good Memorial Day weekend to you (is the “w” supposed to be capitalized there?). I’ve spent the weekend with my daughters up here in Minnesota (it is my daughter’s 8th birthday. So far it has been a great time - we have enjoyed a pool party on her actual birthday - and as is most important for kids (and me) there were plenty of presents.

I know I am supposed to talk about what Memorial Day means to me when I am writing a newsletter this weekend - but I’m not big on convention. So, I’m going to talk about how I felt giving my daughter her present.

Spoiler - I wasn’t at my best 

I’m a big believer in being open about the good and bad feelings associated with parenting. Too much talk about how children are amazing and wonderful tends to give the impression that everything is all good all the time. It also makes those of us who have icky feelings sometimes feel all the worse because we are supposed to be more supportive/kind/patient…etc.

Back to the story - so I have a thing where every other year I replace my daughters’ computers (I alternate between them). I do this because (this list is in rank order of how I think about it):

  1. I love computers and always want to have the best possible - so I assume they must too. After all - they share my DNA - isn’t that how that works?

  2. I figure if I do this then they will know I really love them because these are fairly expensive presents - again - I think that is how presents work

  3. They use their computers a LOT. So, it would seem like this is something they will appreciate more

  4. They are hard on their computers - so they wear out faster

As you can see - I do this as much for me as for them. Maybe not a great reason to give presents - but I’m told the first step is admitting I have a problem (not sure what the rest are).

So, this year it was my youngest (Arya’s) turn to get a computer and as the youngest she always gets hand-me-downs. Her old computer was a hand-me-down from me. But the oldest's (autocorrect is trying to make me say ‘eldest’ here - but I’m not about to do that) two computers she has gotten have both been new (technically we built the first together and there were some used parts from my desktop).

This year I wanted to rectify the situation and I figured I would give my daughter my gaming laptop (a VERY high-end Alienware). It was still a used computer - but she would have the most capable and expensive computer of any of us. Because it was so high end, I figured it would make up for the injustice that she must feel (clearly).

When I was getting ready to come up for her birthday, I realized that I was beginning to resent the idea of giving the laptop to her. I didn’t like that I would have to give up the best computer I ever owned. I didn’t like knowing that she was almost certain to rough up a computer I spent a fortune on. And I just wanted to keep it.

I was feeling really bad about these feelings - after all as a parent I’m supposed to always sacrifice for the kids - right? Or at least that is the paradigm in my head.

I don’t think that is ultimately a healthy mindset - and this experience is helping me realize that. Me feeling icky about her getting something of mine that I really like/want doesn’t make me a bad person. Especially if I’m still freely giving it to her. I think it just means that I am a person who sometimes has thoughts that don’t align with who I want to be, and it is up to me to make sure my actions do align with who I want to be.

At the end of the day, she was very excited to get a new computer - and that did make me happy. It is now up to me to hold on to that feeling even when she inevitably treats the computer differently from how I would.

I’m assuming that will be the easy part.

Ok - enough about tiny people’s birthdays - let’s get to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Our FY23 Congressional Directed Spending request was added to the official Senate FY23 Budget

More Details: This week Senator Kaine added our request to fund our Workforce for the Future (W4F) program in Virginia to his Congressional Directed Spending request. This is huge - and represents our first grant/donation over $10k (the request is for over $800k).

  • Go Deeper: Our request will be funded when the FY23 budget is finalized. This is likely between mid-November and the end of December.

Oh - and as a note: this request is separate from our Good Jobs Challenge submission - which would be an additional $25M (and which we will find out about in July)

Future Outreach: Next week we will be reaching out to the Department of Labor to talk about more grant opportunities for W4F. We’ll also be reaching out to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to brief them on W4F and find out how we can support their workforce policies.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: The California Aerospace Caucus Reception (CACR) planning moves forward

More Details: This week was a big one for our CACR planning. We landed our first (cash) sponsor (CubeCab), an alcohol sponsor (Pernod-Ricard) and will have representation from both Barclays Investment Bank and Bank of America’s Commercial Bank team.

Is your company / organization interested in sponsoring too? Let me and / or April know. We have a nonprofit discount on sponsorship (in case that helps others like us).

Future Operations: Next week is a slow one - with it being Memorial Day week and all (turns out that is a big vacation time - who knew?). That said - we are going to be working to close a few more sponsors for the CACR (sorry for the acronym - it is an instinct not beaten out of me from the Army) -

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We now have an Inner Circle

More Details: The Foundation’s Inner Circle is a unique grouping of visionaries and thought leaders that goes beyond the basic membership support and allows us to expand our reach and get the message out around the world. Inner Circle Members will have access to unique events, future experiences, and will have the ability to help craft our policies and programs - perks that are only available to the Inner Circle.

Similar programs are used in other space-focused nonprofits - and we have been helped in our design by the Space for Humanity team (mostly Rachel Lyons over there - thank you!!)

Interested in learning more? Email me and we can talk more.

Deep Thoughts During a Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman

May 23, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 6 mins...1593 words

Team SPACE,  💃 🎶 🥂

Yesterday my wife and I went to an event in Ballston (a neighborhood here in northern Virginia). I say it is an event, because I am not sure if it was a festival, a block party, or what. But the point is that there were multiple restaurants who each had live music going all afternoon. There were also little booths with stuff in them, but I don’t know what they were selling (other than the one that had mocktails…which is another story).

This event was way better than we thought (it was something like 95 here yesterday - and we went with very low expectations for how comfortable we were going to be). The food was good, the music was fun, and it was just nice to be out and about (working from your basement all week gets old).

I'm bringing this event up because when we first got there was a trio of ladies who were dressed like several of the sisters from the new Disney movie Encanto who were singing songs from the movie. These ladies were REALLY into their act. They had the mannerisms down (yes I have seen the movie more than once - I have two young girls), they were dancing and the singing sounded pretty close to the original.

But the real stars of the show were a pair of little kids.

There are tons of poems, stories and even songs about people getting lost in the music. And to be honest - while I like songs - I didn’t really understand what ‘getting lost in the music’ was.

I now do.

This pair of little girls had become lost in the music. They sang with abandon, danced knowing that they were the greatest dancers in the world, and looked at these trio of actors/singers with an adoration normally reserved for gazing upon a deity.

I’ll be honest - it made me a little uncomfortable. Not because they were having fun. But because I wondered if I was supposed to be like them. I want to believe that what I am doing - being all ‘adulty’ is the correct thing. Afterall - ‘growing up’ is the culmination of childhood. So, wouldn’t being an adult be the better state of being?

I don’t have an answer to that question - I will continue wrestling with it - but I suppose wrestling with these sorts of things is what prompts emotional growth (hopefully).

While I continue to ponder these deep thoughts - let’s get you all to the rest of this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: It is time to comment on NASA’s Moon to Mars strategy

More Details: This week we began to craft comments on NASA’s Moon-to-Mars strategy (or is it their objectives - I suppose it is the same for our purposes - we still have comments). Specifically, we have comments related to advantage of commercial partnerships and acquisition models which will make sure that the Moon-to-Mars program is sustainable. Our full response is here, and if you have thoughts / comments on it - please feel free to send them my way and we will incorporate them into our final letter to NASA.

Other Outreach: In other outreach news - we met with a handful of lobbyists and local leaders to discuss how space could be a key enabler for what they are doing. At least one of these conversations is going to lead to a bigger project that we will update you on in the coming weeks / months.

Future Outreach: Next week we are finalizing our response to NASA’s Moon-to-Mars strategy, we’ll be meeting with a couple Congressional staffers to talk about the FY2023 budget, and will be working with Space PAC to formalize Congressional engagement plans.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: May’s C4F was one of our best events yet

More Details: Last week’s Conversation’s for the Future was a great time. How great? Well 4,400 people tuned in on Thursday. Our speakers included executives from Sierra Nevada, the Space Force Association, and directors from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Great work @April and thank you to all our speakers!

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are planning three in-person events for the fall.

More Details: After two years of being exclusively virtual - we are stacking events this fall. As of this week we are now up to one event a month from September to November (and will probably add one in December too - just to round the year out). We’ll be live in D.C., Vegas and Austin.

All of these events are opportunities for companies to get visibility to a different crowd.

  • Go deeper: Here in D.C. we will have upwards of 30 Congresspeople planning on coming. In Vegas we will be with the ASCEND team. In Austin it is going to be leading space thinkers.

  • Interested in hearing more (since I’m being intentionally vague here)? Let me know. Sponsorship options start at $850 (no need to avoid talking about that)

Other Other Stuff: We are continuing our spring membership drive - and this week we added a couple more companies to the list of pending members, bringing our total current and pending members to 56. Just to put that in context - the Commercial Spaceflight Federation has just over 100 - so we are on a roll!

Thanks for sticking it out all the way to the end. I know it may take you less time to read this than it takes me to write it (yes I am making an assumption about your reading speed - apologies if it is wrong) - but I am still grateful for each of you taking the time to keep up with what we are doing.

See you all back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

How Many Has This Been? A Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●May 16, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 8 mins... 2143 words

Team SPACE,   

I really should have done some math before I started this update - but as I am wont? want? (I'm not sure which one) - but as I am apt to do (there we go) - I did not.

This will be something like my 90th Weekend Update - or 100th - like I said - I should have done some math. And in the lead up to writing this I was talking with Katie (for you who are new here - she is my wife) - about how I am going to need to figure out a plan for when we are in France later this year.

A few weeks back I wrote one a Weekend Update from the Bahamas - and that was…. frustrating. Not because it was interrupting something - but because the internet was so bad. I have become completely spoiled by my gigabit internet here in D.C. and when I was stuck with DSL on the cruise ship - that might as well have been hell on Earth.

The point is - I don’t know what the internet situation is going to be in France - and so I’m trying to figure out what I should plan on doing.

Katie asked why I didn’t just skip writing the update one weekend.

Now my first reaction was shock that someone was suggesting that I not do something that I have done for 90 (or 100) weeks in a row - just because I was going to be on vacation. However, I quickly realized it was a legitimately good question.

Why do I feel like I have to do these updates every weekend? Oh sure - there is a utility to doing them. And most weeks I really enjoy writing them. But if I am out of the country on a vacation - is that not a good enough excuse to skip a week?

The voice in my head that is normally associated with pride and self-worth suggested it was not - but maybe - just maybe I should not be listening to that voice here.

Maybe - instead of writing the 100th or 110th update in a row one week in August - I will let the streak lapse - and start over. Maybe then, with that new streak I can relook how I do this - and what should change.

Or maybe I can just enjoy a single week’s break for the sake of taking a break.

Or maybe I’ll just keep doing what I am doing and write this regardless of rain, sleet or snow.

I guess we will have to see. And by then I will have to figure out how many of these I have written.

But that is then - for now let’s get to the rest of this update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: A big new plan is taking shape

More Details: This week - in talks with some of our partners - the idea of building a partnership with the Committee on Foreign Investment in U.S (CFIUS) began taking shape. This would take the form of us assisting them in their efforts to screen foreign investment in the U.S. We have begun initial outreach to the leadership of the Committee to determine their appetite for a public-private partnership that will help speed their evaluation process along.

  • Go deeper: This would work through the creation of a 'CFIUS Whitelist Certification’ whereby we conduct the due diligence of investment funds to determine the level of foreign involvement, and mirroring CFIUS’ guidelines, then certify that the investors are ‘clean’ (or whatever term you want to use). This wouldn't be an official designation - it would be done in partnership with CFIUS so as to ensure credibility - and also meant that when/if there was an investigation by the Committee - a lot of the due diligence would already be available.

Other Outreach:

In other news - we got tentative approval for our Fiscal Year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) request for ~¾ of a million dollars. While this request still needs to be approved by the full Congress - it was approved by Senator Kaine and is being added to his list of projects that he wants funded.

  • What's next: Our request now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for final eligibility review. After that it will be added to the bucket of CDS requests from all of the other Senators and added to the FY2023 funding bill(s) this fall. We expect that none of those will pass until after the election - so we won’t see any of the money until next winter/spring - but it still represents a huge win.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be continuing our ‘drip’ campaign with Congressional staffs - keeping them as ‘warm’ leads for our long-term legislative priorities and seeking avenues to support our members with their projects. We will also be connecting with some friendly lobbyist groups from other industries (including the group that lobbies for Grey Goose and other liquor brands) to find ways to coordinate our efforts and expand the base of companies interested in space.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: You can do a lot with 90 minutes of Board time.

More Details: We had a working session of our Board of Directors this week, focused on adapting our messaging and value proposition to better reflect what our target members need. We also worked through a potential menu of fundraising ideas that are different from the traditional donor appeals. Whether that looks like contests or a pivot to endowment hunting, there were a ton of useful ideas, at least some of which are going to be built out over the next few months.

Other Operations: Also this week - we finalized our Conversations for the Future schedule (yep that is next week) - if you haven’t registered you should do that here. We also had calls with a couple local communities about supporting their workforce development programs

Future Operations: As I mentioned - next week is C4F that we are co-hosting with the Space Force Association. We also have a handful of workforce planning calls. But mostly just C4F.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Yep - Barclays is officially a member of the Foundation.

More Details: This week we are excited to welcome two new members Barclays and Galactiv. Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank joining is the culmination of months of talks - and they really don’t need any introduction. Galactiv on the other hand is a relatively new is in-space services company that has initial missions offering servicing and salvage operations for satellites in geosynchronous orbit helping mitigate the risk and increasing the efficiency of operating high-value orbital assets. They already have a ton of service contracts in place - and look set to be hugely successful in the coming months / years.

Other Other Stuff: In a final bit of news - I’m excited to welcome Teddy Gabrielli as our new graphic design intern. Teddy is an undergraduate student at my alma mater - American University - and already has a really striking portfolio of work under his belt. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do - and no doubt you all will be seeing his work sooner rather than later.

Well - that should do it. I’m off to see the Running of the Chihuahuas - so really can’t dawdle any more.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Kentucky Derby and Chihuahuas, a Weekend Update

Team SPACE,   

A good spring afternoon to you. It is fairly brisk here and I’m a little weirded out by the fact that my daughters in St Paul are enjoying 75 degree sun while I’m here in a long sleeve shirt in my house.

Ah well - I know it is nearly summer because of two key events, the Kentucky Derby and the Running of the Chihuahuas. Both of which were supposed to happen yesterday. While the Chihuahua run was rained out (and rescheduled to next weekend) - the Derby went ahead - and as only the second Derby I have paid attention to - it was simultaneously more and less than I expected.

It was more fun being at a Derby watch party with a bunch of people I’ve worked with. After all - it is hard to lose when you mix alcohol, betting and animals. But at the same time - there are SO many different bets you can place on the races - all I care about is betting who is going to win - but there are so many options and I know nothing about any of them.

I read a four-page Washington Post article about how to bet on the Derby - and by the end I was more confused than when I started.

Oh, and the races are really short - so if you are waiting over 90 minutes for a single race - it is a tad anticlimactic when after 45 seconds the race is over and you are wondering how long it will take to get to the nearest Shake Shack (21 minutes, and only a 3 minute detour from the route home - is case you were wondering).

I’m pretty sure there is a lesson in all this about tempering my expectations or being content in the present. But I think the moral of my weekend adventures is to always know where the nearest Shake Shack is, oh and be sure to always be the best dressed at parties.

Well - moral lesson over - let’s get to this week’s update

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: NASA’s plan to find a second Human Landing System (which could ride on a rocket like the one above) survived its first hurdle

More Details: This week the Senate defeated an amendment put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders, which would have prevented NASA from adding a second commercial Human Landing System (HLS) for the Artemis program. We opposed this amendment (which was flawed from the outset) - and we are pleased that an attempt by populist factions on both sides of the aisle to message their base about ‘government handouts to billionaires’ failed. In reality, NASA having a backup option for HLS is exactly the sort of long-term investment that the Agency should be making.

Future Outreach: We are beginning to design a regular space policy analysis product which we will produce for our members and that will go into new policy proposals which will impact the sector, and outline the cost/benefits of them, concluding with our (the Foundation’s) position. If you have thoughts on what you would like to see in these - please let me know.

We also have meetings scheduled with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to finalize details about their involvement in this month’s Conversations for the Future. We will be keeping a close eye on the Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (that is a mouthful) as they hold their FY 2023 budget hearing with the Department of Commerce. We are going to be particularly interested in whether the funding for the Office of Space Commerce is discussed.

Operations: 

One Big Operations Thing: It is already almost C4F time again!

More Details: We are 10 days out from May’s Conversations for the Future - and I’m excited we are going to be bringing in a mix of old and new friends to talk as we look at the needs and current state of national security space. Register to join us here.

What's next: As we look further out - we have solidified the C4F topics for the second half of the year. Here is the lineup:

June: Launch infrastructure
July: Debris / Garbage
August: Break (Congress is out of session most of the month)
September: Policy / Media
October: Next 3-5 years (in person @ASCEND in Las Vegas)
November: Industrial Base / Workforce (potentially in person in Austin)
December: Blue Marble Night

Future Operations: Next week we will have another three membership recruitment calls, we’ll be participating in an In-space manufacturing and servicing task force with the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and will be meeting with Midland leaders to chat about a potential Workforce for the Future hub there.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Our membership drive is currently batting .250, and looks to break .500 in the next few days

More Details: This week we had calls with four potential new members as part of our spring membership drive. Our first four pitches may have up to a 75% success rate. One was a no for now (they are going through a funding round), one was a yes, and the other two look likely to finalize their decisions this week.

Is your company one that has been thinking about joining but was held back by costs? Well, this is the time to jump in - we aren’t going to be lowering our prices below what they are now (see below)

Silver: $2k (normally $5k)
Gold: $4k (normally $10k)
Platinum: $9k (normally $15k)
Diamond: $12.5k (normally $25k)

Alright - thanks for sticking with me this whole update - lets close this out so we can all get back to our regularly scheduled events.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Shorter Than Normal Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●May 02, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins... 1394 words

Team SPACE,  

So, I know that normally this section of the Weekend Update is where I talk about a profound thought I am having, a good book I just read, or some experience that I can then tie back into what we are doing here at the Foundation.

I’m not going to be able to do that this week. Oh, I guess I could. But in the interest of time I am not going to, because I have been getting over a a head cold (2 x COVID tests indicate it is not that), and it is surprisingly hard to focus on things.

Without further ado - here is this week’s update.

Outreach: 

One Big Outreach Thing: We have our first sponsor for the 2022 California Aerospace Caucus Reception in September.

More Details: This week I had meetings / calls with four different potential sponsors for the Reception (it seems easier / quicker to just call it that). At least one has committed to sponsoring so we are going to work formalizing that and locking down the venue.

Did I not mention the venue yet? Oh well it will be at the JW Marriott Washington DC. A pretty nice hotel and more importantly, it is close to the Capitol so our Congressional attendees will have more time to spend at the event.

Other Outreach: This week we also had meetings with a couple Congressional staffers on the sidelines of the Houston ASCEND event (more on that below). We talked with a couple people tied in with the City of London and European Council about the need to establish a version of the Foundation (or possibly a chapter - more on that below as well) there in Europe.

Future Outreach: Next week we are going to be reaching out to several staffers on the National Space Council to get a sense of what their priorities are going into the second half of the year. We are also going to be having meetings with a couple lobbyists who have the potential to be great allies for us and Space PAC.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: The ASCENDxTexas Event in Houston was fantastic.

More Details: This week I was in Houston to attend the AIAA ASCENDxTexas event. This is one of the small-format, conversational events that AIAA has started producing, and I have to say - it was really impressive. The small size (about 200 people) of the event was what ended up being its best part (for the Foundation anyway). This size meant that it was possible to talk to most everyone at least once, and most people you would have a chance to talk with multiple times.

  • Since I’m told it takes 8-10 ‘touches’ in order to convert someone from stranger to supporter, any event that lets me get multiple ‘touches’ in is a good event in my book

Other Operations: This week we also got soft commitments for another couple members. These companies are either waiting for funding rounds to close, or to get approval from their leadership - so we hope to be able to announce their names soon. We have also launched a prototype version of membership for our Workforce for the Future partners. This membership only has limited perks - but is at a price point that most schools can afford (free).

Future Operations: Well after three straight weeks of getting soft commitments for corporate memberships - we will be spending next week working to firm these up and actually get to the business of integrating these new companies into the fold. We won’t be letting up on our spring membership drive though - it runs through the end of May - so there is still time for more companies to get in on our discounted rates.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: F4F chapter design is moving ahead.

More Details: This week we had several calls with potential partners (announcements pending) to discuss how to structure the Foundation’s emerging chapters, where to place them, and how they will interact with the chapters of other organizations. All told - I’m very excited to see where this goes. After all - bringing more people into the F4F family is a recipe for new ideas - which is what keeps us on the cutting edge.

So 

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Weekend Update: A Lifeboat Hunt

By Tim Chrisman●Apr 25, 2022

Smart Brevity™ count: 6 mins... 1558 words

Team SPACE,  

So I’ll say upfront that I haven’t seen Titanic but I’m pretty sure I understand how the movie ends. Well and what happens in the middle - blah blah blah - an unpredictable couple falls in love and that love is cut short in tragedy. A tragedy that could have been avoided if the dude had realized that the little piece of wood could hold two people OR there had been enough lifeboats (I suppose the third option would have been for the pair to have elbowed their way onto a lifeboat).

But the whole lesson from the Titanic (the real one) - was that cruise ships needed to have more lifeboats. Having just enough to be decorative wasn’t enough. So, as I was sitting here on a cruise ship in the Caribbean (celebrating my wife and I’s wedding anniversary), I began counting the lifeboats on the cruise ship across the harbor.

I got to 28. Now I understand that I keep a more than average amount of random knowledge about ships in my head, so I get that it may not be common knowledge that the ship I was looking at could hold over 4,300 passengers and had a staff of 781. Over 5,000 people…for 28 lifeboats. I’m no math wiz - but I understand that almost 200 people per lifeboat would be a lot. In fact more than 40 was going to be pushing it. So where were the dozens of extra lifeboats kept?

I’m a little ashamed to admit that it took me a couple days to figure out the answer. I could blame the fact that I was day drinking when I first noticed. Or that I was on my anniversary trip, so I was being very attentive to my wife. Or that we were doing fun shore excursions. But the real answer was that I didn’t go look around. Once I did, I found out that there were a bunch of small inflatable lifeboats at each end of the boat that could be filled and then lowered into the water from on deck. I probably could have figured out that the small pod looking things near the lifeboats were related - but I guess my intuition was off.

What’s my whole point with this story?

Well - for me it was a reminder that when you expect to see something a certain way you become blind to other forms it could take. Whether that be solutions to speaker cancellations during Conversations for the Future, or methods of reaching Congressional Members and staff. Just because things normally look / are done one way doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives to be found…if we just look a little.

Ok - there - done with my lesson of the day. I am now off to put A LOT of sunscreen on to prevent a lethal sunburn (which happens if there is even a little bit of sun - so it isn’t a commentary on how sunny it is here)

So let's get to this update.

Outreach: 

One Big Outreach Thing: We are re-engaging with the White House on both workforce development and the SPACE Corporation Act

More Details: This week we reached out to several of the portfolio leads on the National Space Council and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP recently brought on a new staffer who is helping coordinate the administration’s approach to sciency/techy workforce; so this was an initial outreach to them.

Other Outreach: While it was a relatively slow week for Congressional work - we were able to support one of our members in some outreach they needed for one of their DoD related issues (sorry to be vague - I realized as I was writing this that I didn’t ask permission to share more). This is one of the first times we tested our advocacy inroads to Defense-focused staffers on Capitol Hill - and it was a quick success.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be following up with the White House staffers I mentioned above, will be checking in with several Houston-based Congresspeople and holding a strategy session with SPACE Pac and several members at the Capitol Hill club. Oh, and we will also have a meeting with a rep from the City of London to chat about European space finance.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Another Conversations for the Future (C4F) is in the books - on to the next C4F

More Details: We had a fun last-minute scramble with this month’s C4F, as some speakers couldn’t make it. Rather than do two short days, we condensed it down to one (which was much easier). We will be back on track for May’s event to be the full 2 days - and you can find out more info about that here.

Other Operations: Also, this week we began talks with the organizers for the SALT 2022 conference in NYC. Last year there was a panel on space - and this year we are looking to expand space’s presence and include at least one of our member investors as a speaker.

  • Go Deeper: In case you weren’t here last year - SALT is a major finance conference that features high profile speakers (and entertainment - last year Paris Hilton spoke during lunch, and the Chainsmokers headlined a party).

Future Operations: Next week I’m headed to ASCENDxTexas in Houston - if you are going to be there - hit me up and let’s schedule a time to chat. We’ll also be doing some more follow-up calls from Symposium and even managing to squeeze in a podcast recording.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: We are running a spring membership drive, complete with special pricing.

More Details: As I mentioned in my last newsletter - we are running a spring membership drive and are offering two different pricing specials.

The first is for our investors/funds/holding company members; and this special lets the primary company buy a membership and then each of its subsidiary companies gets a membership as well. It works like this

  • Gold membership ($10k/yr) - get 3 memberships (1 x Gold, 2 x Silver) - a discount of $10k.

  • Platinum membership ($15k/yr) - get a total of 5 memberships (1 x Platinum, 3 x Gold & 1 x Silver) - a discount of $30k

  • Diamond membership ($25k/yr) - get 7 memberships (1 x Diamond, 3 x Platinum & 3 x Gold) - A discount of $60k

We are also offering discounts on individual company memberships at the following prices.

  • Silver: $2k - a discount of $3k

  • Gold: $4k - a discount of $6k

  • Platinum: $9k - a discount of $6k

  • Diamond: $12.5k - a discount of $12.5k

Is your company interested in one of these? Reply to this email and we can chat more.

Well - here we are at the end of another newsletter, and we have avoided any disasters, emergencies or me having to use one of those lifeboats I was talking about.

So in short - a great success.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Weekend Update Marking the Beginning of Spring

By Tim Chrisman, April 18, 2022

Smart Brevity™ count: 7 mins... 1790 words

Team SPACE, 

I’m told this is one of those weekends that can be a minefield for people trying to navigate the polite way to greet people without offending them. Being that it is Passover + Easter + Ramadan - I’m told that it is safer to just wish people a happy spring holiday season.

That seems a little silly - I’m not a big holiday person - but I understand people are. But regardless of what holiday you celebrate - it doesn’t take anything away from your holiday if I celebrate something different…does it?

I don’t think it does - but maybe I’m being too clinical / detached. 

I’ll just celebrate the fact that the majority of the world is having a holiday this weekend.

Well, that and I’ll watch my kids do an Easter egg hunt - the other three holidays don’t feature a ton of candy, so the kids are kind of into Easter.

I better get this update done quick - since I think I hear them agitating to start…. let’s get to it

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Congressional reception invite about to go live

More Details: The California Aerospace Caucus reception will be held on September 21st on the sidelines of the Air, Space and Cyber conference, from 5-8pm at a hotel near Capitol Hill (the closer it is to the Capitol the more congressional attendance is likely). So far, we have Representatives Calvert Lieu confirmed to attend, 37 other California Representatives and 2 Senators invited. We also expect a minimum of 1 staffer from each California Congressional office. 

What’s Next: This event is going to be a curated reception - and as such we will be building a site for people to apply to attend. We are also beginning to look for sponsors, media partners and other partners who are interested in attending (if that is you - email me or April).

Other Outreach: Also this week we worked with Senator Kaine’s office here in Virgina to submit a request for an earmark (they aren’t called that anymore - but the new name is weird) that will help fund the Virginia portion of the Workforce for the Future program.

Future Outreach: Next week we will be reaching out to some of the new staff on the National Space Council to introduce ourselves and see what we can do to support their work. We will also be following up with several Congresspeople who last week indicated they were interested in supporting the SPACE Corporation Act.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: W4F and A4F are looking to add new programs.

More Details: This week - the Economic Development Administration (you might remember them from the Good Jobs Challenge) opened applications for a pair of programs - both of which might be interesting additions to what we are doing here at the Foundation. One of them, the Capital Challenge, would fund the Association for the Future in creating the capacity to vet space startups for space investors. The other, the Venture Challenge, would support Workforce for the Future by allowing us to fund companies working on advanced training tools.

  • What’s Next: Since this challenge requires us to be focused on a single region - we are going to start reaching out to some of our Good Jobs Challenge partners to see if their regions are interested in joining forces with us. If you think your region would be a good fit for either of these - let me / Ashley know.

Other Operations: This was a week for podcast recordings - I had 3 scheduled this week (normally it is only 1). Even though that is more than normal - it was a great time being able to chat with these thought leaders.

Future Operations: Next week is Conversations for the Future - you can register here. We will also be finishing up more post-Symposium follow-ups and adding at least one more podcast to the queue for April to process (sorry April!)

One Big Other Thing: 

Our Spring Membership drive is heating up

More Details: Last week we had a handful of meetings with prospective members, and at least two are tentative yes’s pending the vetting / approval process ahead of formally agreeing. This, combined with the one already working their way through their approval processes put the total number of pending members at 17. And we have meetings with another 6 companies this coming week.

  • Why it matters: Corporate members are the main source of funding for us here at the Foundation. Right now, we need the equivalent of 23 Gold members to break even for the year and are nearly 70% there.

  • Is your company looking to network with space investors? Then you might want to look at joining. Reach out to me for more info.

 

Alright - that only took 38 minutes - and I am done just in time to go outside and watch the girls do their Easter egg hunt.

I’ll see you all back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Symposium's Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Apr 11, 2022

Smart Brevity™ count: 5 mins... 1345 words

Team SPACE, 

Follow-ups…

I don’t usually think of myself as one of those people who is good at following up.

But I was told multiple times last week that I was the only person who consistently follows up after events.

This is very jarring for me, because I have a sense that I am bad at following up with people.

The more I thought about it - the more I realized that I am bad at STAYING in touch with people. Follow-ups after conferences are something I systematize and will take care of within 24-48 hours of getting back.

But keeping engaged with people over months or years…that is something I am not so good at.

I haven’t figured out why - but I am sure part of it is that I just don’t have the same sort of system I do for follow-ups.

Do you have a good system for keeping in touch with people? Send me a note about how your system works and I’ll make sure I write about the one that works best.

Alright - I need to get a move on - since I ordered a pizza and need to get this finished up before it gets here.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: We have some Democrat interest in the SPACE Corporation Act.

More Details: This week we had a call with a senior staffer for Representative Garcia from Houston who was very interested in the SPACE Corporation Act. They were specifically interested in how it could help grow the number of commercial space jobs there in Houston. We have a follow-up here soon and hope to be able to show some movement.

  • Our thought bubble: This confirms something we have been thinking for a while - leading with how the SPACE Corporation Act will help employment is much more appealing to Democrats than most other types of appeals.

Future Outreach: Next week we are going to circle back around with some other staffers who have shown interest in the SPACE Corporation Act to see if we can nudge them along. We’ll also be following up with a couple of the White House staff that were at Symposium to chat with them about how the National Space Council can help kick the space economy into a higher gear.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: We have started designing the jobs side of the Workforce for the Future program

More Details: When we started the Workforce for the Future (W4F) program, we intended it to be a Kindergarten to Orbit pipeline for job training and placement. It was going to be a one-stop shop for everything from where all of the space-related training was to job listings across the country.

Last week we started the process of standing up the job listing side of the program. We are looking to partner with one of the major job boards so we can leverage their national reach to build a space-centric job site. The initial feedback we got from execs at Symposium was very favorable - so that is a great sign.

Future Operations: Next week we are going to be chatting with a couple of our W4F partner communities, preparing for what happens if we are awarded the Good Jobs Challenge grant. We’ll also be networking our job board concept around industry more and look to survey the full extent of what the industry needs.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Space Symposium 2022 was another hit

More Details: As I mentioned in the intro - I have a lot of follow-ups to do from last week at Symposium, but more importantly - I was able to meet quite a few of you in person. And as we have all learned over the last couple years - that is not something we should ever take for granted.

The results of those in-person meetings remain to be seen - I have learned to get excited AFTER results, not before. But between happy hours with Bank of America, introductions to 8 investors, and multiple positive membership discussions - I think there is going to be some good momentum coming out of Symposium.

 

  

Ok - time for me to sign off here - my pizza is about to be delivered - and if I am not at the door when it shows up then the dogs will lose their minds…and calming them down requires me to give up some of my pizza…which is unacceptable for obvious reasons.

So, I’ll see you back here next week - unless I catch you out there sooner

-T

An Update on April's Fool Weekend

One fun thing: Yes, it’s Wednesday, not the usual Monday update…. with Symposium and spring breaks, every day is something different this week 😆

 

Team SPACE, 

I was thinking that today would have been a good day for it to be April Fools.

Why?

Well - I just drove back to my house from Orlando and am now packing up to leave for Space Symposium in Colorado Springs tomorrow morning. So, things are a little busy here.

It would have been really handy to be able to just send out a joke email about April Fools and then get back to figuring out why I don’t have enough socks clean.

But ah well - I cannot help what day it is - so I shall do my duty.

Hmm - that sounded a little more serious that what this normally is.

I shall now take you through this week’s update.

There we go

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: The proposed FY23 Federal Budget needs some work.

More Details: On March 28th President Biden released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 (starting in October), and it has a couple key gaps in requested funding and authorities. This week we prepared our response and sent our corporate members the drafts of letters to the relevant Congressional committees for them to provide their feedback. We will be incorporating their feedback before sending the letters in mid-April.

  • The most notable gaps was the complete lack of funding for long-term space infrastructure / workforce development programs.

  • Other gaps include a lack of funding for several developmental in-space manufacturing programs and any new authorities for DoD to use in speeding up their space acquisition processes.

Future Outreach: Next week we’ll have calls with Rep Calvert’s office to outline how the fall California Aerospace Caucus event is going to go. I’ll also be chatting with a couple National Space Council staff on the sidelines of Symposium, working in the talking points that I mentioned above.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: F4F chapters are getting closer

More Details: This week we had meetings with potential F4F chapter organizers. Added on to the ones we are talking to in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Mississippi, it looks like we will be able to formally launch this program with at least a half dozen chapters.

Other Operations: We signed on a pair of new regular contributors to the Conversations for the Future series. I’ll leave the formal announcements for later (better to drip out content like that) - but it is going to be great to add these to our ‘What’s Going On’ segment.

Future Operations: Next week I’ll be at Symposium and have meetings lined up with 9 potential new members, and at least four receptions to attend. In between all that fun I promise we will still be doing work…ok maybe April will be the one still doing work.

And with that - this week is a wrap. I’ll get back to packing and figuring out where I put that charger for my laptop.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Question-Filled Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman  Mar 28, 2022

Smart Brevity® count: 5.5 mins...1500 words

Team Space,

Questions are fun - well - I suppose they can be. My wife Katie and I frequently go on walks with little cards that have questions on them. Why? Oh - they are great conversation starters - sometimes we will only have to ask one question on a 45 min walk, and just debate the answer the whole walk.

These questions range from asking about food preferences all the way to who is one person’s reputation we would ruin if given a chance. 

Today there was a particularly good question - it was:

  • What, if any, fruits of our culture are worth more than even a million lives?

The answer to that question is one that those of us who play a part in the political process of America should regularly remind ourselves of. Because in essence this question is asking what are those core pieces of our culture that MUST survive at all costs. Those pieces that are worth sending our young men to die in their defense.

It should probably be self-evident that a list of these ‘fruits of our culture’ should be fairly short, since we don’t want to send a million people to die for some piece of art. That said I would be fascinated to hear the answers of a representative cross section of America; but I think any list should include the following:

  • Individual liberty. Or put less succinctly “The right to believe, act and express oneself freely”

  • Rule of law. This is best defined by Alexander Hamilton as “a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are: Publicly promulgated. Equally enforced. Independently adjudicated. And consistent with international human rights principles”

  • Philosophy. Specifically, the branch of philosophy known as Western philosophy, which is individualist and at its core strives to find and prove "the truth" rather than accepting that truth is a given.

It is my belief that these three ‘fruits of our culture’ may be the only one’s worth millions of lives, and it is from them that all of our freedoms and prosperity have grown.

Wow - that was kind of a serious introduction - I should really plan these out before I start - Eh - maybe next week.

Well - no matter - let’s get to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Congress continues to be consumed by Russia…well and to a lesser extent the Supreme Court nomination hearings going on.

More Details: In case you haven’t noticed - Russia is continuing to dominate the news. Since against all odds the Ukrainians are more than holding their own, many Members of Congress are wanting to do even more to help. This means that the window of possible action I mentioned a couple weeks back is likely to close before we are able to make headway.

The bottom line: Don’t worry - we aren’t going anywhere - and are laying the groundwork for 2023 and beyond. Whether it is helping the California Aerospace Caucus or working with Space PAC, we have the pieces in place to be much more successful in the next Congress.

Future Outreach: This week we will be re-engaging the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget. We are pivoting to these offices because we recognize the limits of legislative action for the next few months. Working with these two offices will help us get further inroads into the Administration and help shape their policies.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Barclays looks like it is nearing membership with us

More Details: We’ve been talking with Barclays about them joining the Association for the Future as a corporate member; and have agreed to have an in-person meeting with their aerospace department principal. We’ll have this meeting on the sidelines of Symposium next month - and this is an exciting development that will allow the Association to take a huge step forward in influence and reach.

Other Operations: We had a number of other meetings this week with prospective members for the Foundation, including a couple space technology companies and a pair of investor shops. Look for some announcements on those here in the near future.

Future Operations: Next week we will finish preparing our spring membership drive where we are targeting a handful of organizations who either have long-term infrastructure-esq goals or are heavy hitting investors. These include Space Perspective, Ursa Major, Atento Capital, Fidelity, Trust Ventures and more.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Workforce for the Future continues its march forward

More Details: This week we had planning meetings related to both the training and scholarship sides of W4F. We have found a couple partners who look like they are going to be really helpful in connecting community colleges in the program with students; and other partners who will be able to support funding at least a portion of those students. While both pieces of that are going to take a few months of planning and a few more months of setup - I’m excited to see what we are going to be able to do towards the end of this year.

And here we are at the close - rather than end as seriously as I started - I’ll let you off easy.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

A Disney Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Mar 21, 2022

Smart Brevity™ count: 6 mins... 1556 words

Team SPACE, 

Have you ever been to Disney World? Before this week I would have said that I had been - but now I can say this is the first true week I have been to Disney World.

As I mentioned last week - Katie and I are working out of Orlando for the month of March (did I mention that? hmmm maybe not…but whatever). And last week we brought my daughters here for their spring break. We figured that since we were going to be in Orlando for work - we might as well take them to Disney World.

As a retired Army officer (I wanted to say Army man) - I can get 5 days of Disney World tickets for the price of 2 days of normal tickets (but I cannot buy less than 4 days of tickets…so there is that). As someone who likes to maximize the benefit of things I buy - I figured that if we had 5 days of tickets - then we needed to use 5 days of tickets.

I was wrong.

We did not need to.

But we did.

And it was…aggressive.

By day 3 my youngest daughter was falling asleep in the living room at 7:30pm.

Today we finished our 5th park, and they are packing up to head home tomorrow. But do you know what is funny?

When I asked - they both said the best part of their trip was the pool in the backyard of the house we are renting here. Turns out we didn’t need to go big at Disney, we just needed to let them go wild in a pool and they would be the happiest kids in the world.

I think there is a lesson for me here on being content - but I’m not sure what it is - so while I think about that let’s get you to the rest of this update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: 2022’s legislating window is about closed

More Details: At this point in an election year most Members of Congress are looking to bolster their election prospects by introducing ‘statement’ bills, leaving Washington D.C. to campaign, and fighting with other Members over their ‘statement’ bills. I suppose the short way to say this is that between now and 2023 Congress isn’t going to do much…even by their standards.

  • Go Deeper: A ‘statement’ bill is a piece of legislation that a Congressperson (this also applies at the state and local level) introduces without the expectation that it will ever become law. Instead, its sole purpose is so the Member can say that they ‘did’ something about a problem that their voters care about.

That said - last week we saw the Senate pass (unanimously) a bill that would make Daylight Savings Time permanent. This happened because Senators Rubio (R-FL) and Sinema (D-AZ) were able to slip the bill in for a vote when most Senators were out and since there were no objections it passed.

So then - it is still possible for small bills (like most of our priorities) to pass. We just aren’t counting on that and are working with the Space PAC to shape the playing field for 2023.

Future Outreach: This week we are moving ahead with the planning for our fall California Congressional Aerospace Caucus reception (let me know if you are interested in participating). We are working to nail down a date for the Rep Salazar fundraiser in Miami and then will also be doing some state and local outreach in anticipation of our Good Jobs Challenge submission being accepted

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Our Workforce-focused C4F was amazing this week.

More Details: April, the team and our co-hosts over at StellarModal Transportation Association put together a fantastic event. We have the full video up on our YouTube channel so you can check it out. I’m excited to see what the team puts together for April - since after all it is named after our main producer .

Other Operations: This week Ashley finished designing our Good Jobs Challenge survey. This is going out to all our partner organizations to get a sense of what they will need to have ready in order to hit the ground running. This survey is going out in the next couple weeks so we have plenty of time before early summer (when the decision is expected).

Future Operations: Next week we will be back on the C4F planning treadmill. We’ll also be building a framework for how we can support a major scholarship program that some of our partners are building. We are also helping out one of our member companies build a presentation for a local school about the potential of a space-focused workforce.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: SXSW follow-ups on top of follow-ups

More Details: Not since Space Symposium last summer did I have this many follow-ups to take care of after an event. Last week I got started on some - and have about 35-40 still to go (so if I haven’t gotten to you, then you are probably next - feel free to email me to remind me if you haven’t heard anything). I am still in awe of how Joy and her team were able to put together such a great event. And I am so grateful that we got to participate as one of the co-hosts.

That should do it. It is starting to cool off here in Orlando - which means it is almost time for my evening walk (one of the best times of the day since I get to debrief with Katie about what happened during the day).

So, I’ll see you here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

-T

Weekend Update: Live from Austin

Team SPACE, 

Good morning from SXSW! I’m trying to get this written before I head out for another action-packed day and since last week was relatively slow - this will likely be a short email.

I know this is normally the place where I talk about what I have been seeing, reading and/or thinking about, but since last night was a late one - I don’t have many profound thoughts - mainly just ones about how good my Denny’s breakfast was.

So with that let's get to this week’s update

One Big Outreach Thing: Our event with the House California Aerospace Caucus is officially on

More Details: We have been working for the past month or two to work with the co-chairs of the House California Aerospace Caucus to develop a plan for a fall event for the Caucus allowing the members to network with industry. We will be putting out more details in the coming weeks but are looking to tie it with a major industry conference so there isn’t a need for people to travel somewhere twice.

Why it matters: Since the caucus has about 30 Members (the majority of the California House Delegation) - this is going to be a great event for companies based in / doing business in California to network with Congresspeople and their staff.

  • If your company is interested in sponsoring let me know and I’ll let you know pre-registration offerings.

  • If your company is a member company of the Foundation at the Gold level or above you will automatically be listed as a logo sponsor for the event, and any members Platinum or above will have the opportunity to contribute branded swag to the grab bags. So, if you aren’t a member already - you can register here - or email me and we can take it from there.

Future Outreach: Over the next couple weeks we are redoubling our outreach efforts to Democratic Congresspeople to revitalize progress on the Space Corporation Act. We have more or less been at a standstill with that because during the heavily partisan fights over the past six months there has been little progress on anything in Congress. We are also going to be announcing more details about the Space PAC’s fundraiser for Rep Salazar out of Miami - you can sign up over on their website to be the first to know.

One Big Operations Thing: C4F is here again!

More Details: This month’s Conversations for the Future is co-hosted with StellarModal Transportation Association and is focused on space workforce and our speaker lineup includes educators, space professionals, former politicians and blue-collar workers. A huge shout out to
@April for all her work pulling this together.

Other Operations: This week we talked with some leaders in Puerto Rico about how our Workforce for the Future program can help them in their effort to expand aerospace employment on the island. We expect to be able to build off these conversations as we stand up our first chapter there.

Future Operations: Next week - we will be in C4F mode - and scheduling speakers for April and May’s events (and finalizing the details of co-hosting one of those months with the DC chapter of the Space Force Association)

One Big Other Thing: Updates to our website are on their way.

More Details: This week we started the preliminary design work on revamping the flow / structure of our website. We will be rolling out updates in the coming weeks. The intent of this is to make the user experience easier, and the process to join / donate smoother (since it turns out people don’t like friction when they are trying to give money).

If you have thoughts about things that have bothered you about the structure / flow of the website please email me so we can add those suggestions to our list.

As promised, this was a ‘short’ update with 24% fewer words than the running average of these newsletters.

Rather than ruin that percentage - which I pulled before writing this - I will sign off here.

See you here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

 -T

A Weekend Update On The Road

Team Space,

Hello from Orlando, Florida (do I need to add the Florida part there?). Katie and I drove down here with the intent to spend a month teleworking in the sun (so if we are on a call and you see a different background - that is why). I was thinking as I drove down that:

  1. it is a really long drive down here and

  2. I used to drive about 45-50k miles a year, so why was I thinking this was a long drive?    

It was a little weird having the real-time realization that I was ‘out of practice’ for something (driving in this case). I wondered how much of what we do in life is because we have fallen out of practice of something that was good, but we stopped doing it.

I see this up in D.C. all the time. It used to be that Congresspeople, and their families lived and worked in D.C. Leaving to go back to their districts for a few months a year; but always returning to their place of work. Now they have flipped that on its head and Congresspeople live in their home states, traveling to D.C. for only a week or so a month for work.

This creates a situation where they don’t interact with each other socially and are agitating to end work early so they can get home. 

The result: gridlock and partisanship. 

Granted there are other factors at plan (the primary system each party uses and gerrymandering to name two) - but Congress falling out of practice in how they interact with their co-workers has created the toxic work environment all of us are frustrated with. 

What’s the solution? 

I’m not sure - but I know that we have an opportunity to help. 

Space remains one of the last bipartisan areas of cooperation. So, the more we can host events, fundraisers and meetings with members from both sides, the more we can help move the needle towards combined action. 

And maybe, just maybe, we can do our part to make D.C. a little less toxic. 

Alright - enough philosophizing. On to this week’s update.

Outreach:

One Big Outreach Thing: Space PAC is on the circuit

More Details: Last week Rob was here in D.C. making his rounds to Congressional offices and meeting with staff to socialize Space PAC. On Tuesday he and I co-hosted a fundraising dinner for Congressman Vern Buchanan (and narrowly averted disaster - more on that in a second). This was a great chance for us to get the Foundation / PAC’s names out there in the D.C. lobby circuit - and we will be following up with several of the people we met over the coming days.

  • Quick Detour: Not a real disaster - but it turns out the Congressman and his staff thought we were having a reception; and the rest of us were planning on a dinner (it is entirely possible the ‘rest of us’ included me and the lady ordering the food). Because of that we almost didn’t have dinner because the Congressman had to leave early, and most people left with him. Don’t worry - your brave heroes (Rob and I) - were able to sweet talk out way to getting the dinner we planned on.  

Ok - back outreach update 

Other Outreach: Last week we met with a couple state-level workforce development leaders talking about our Good Jobs Challenge proposal and how they can help. We also continued planning for the California Aerospace Caucus event we are hosting in the fall

Future Outreach:  Next week we will finish our follow-ups from the fundraising dinner; the PAC will begin planning for our next co-hosted event; and I’ll be headed to the Defense and Space Networking Reception on the sidelines of SXSW in Austin. 

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Workforce for the Future’s next step…certifications

More Details: One of the planned components of our Workforce for the Future program is a ‘space-ready’ certification for community and technical colleges. Over the last 7-10 days we have been socializing a plan to build this certification with the help of major industry partners. So far, their feedback has been largely positive.

  • Go Deeper: We will be combining their feedback, and the results of our industry workforce survey to create a pilot certification that to try out at a handful of schools across the country.

  • Is your company / school interested in learning more? Reach out to me or Ashley to find out more.

Other Operations: Last week we began planning for April / May’s Conversations for the Future - and put the finishing touches on March’s. We also had a couple of really productive calls to chat about new F4F chapters.

  • Big picture: As we see it now - there will be two tiers of chapters. The first is affiliated organizations which function as local chapters of the Foundation and whose members receive reciprocal membership, while the second type will be the more traditional subsidiary F4F group.

Future Operations: We have a call this week to chat with the DC Chapter of the SFA to discuss co-hosting one of the upcoming Conversations for the Future. We’ll also have a couple calls with potential members, including Bank of America.

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: SXSW is coming up fast

More Details: This week we just finished planning for the Defense and Space Networking Reception that we are co-hosting in Austin next weekend (the next Weekend Update will be from there). I’m particularly excited about this because I’ve never been to SXSW and am told it is great. The reception will also be amazing - with over 250 people applying to attend from across the country (this lets us be selective with who we let in). If you are going to be there - let me know and I’ll look out for you. 

Other Other Stuff:

 

Alrighty - I’ll sign off here - I’m headed out to restart acclimating myself to the heat here in Florida. 

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner

- T

Zero to this Weekend Update

By Tim Chrisman●Feb 28, 2022
Smart Brevity™ count: 6.5 mins... 1692 words

Team SPACE, 

I’m reading a book by Peter Thiel - Zero to One - and in it, Peter talks about the distinction between “Zero to One” and “One to N”. Going from Zero to One is when you create something new — something that doesn’t exist yet. However, when you go from One to N, you’re improving or scaling something that already exists. He equates zero to one to technological improvement, while one to N is globalization.

In the book Peter outlines how the quintessential America was one where we constantly were going from zero to one. And for most of the 20th Century there was just one technological innovation after another. It got to the point where people assumed we would be living on the moon and have nuclear powered cars. We just assumed that technology would continue to improve our lives indefinitely. 

Then the dot-com bubble burst. According to Peter - this marked a turning point in the American psyche where we saw that technology could be overhyped. And this led to a shift towards globalization. Which according to Peter was not only easier - but also sub-optimal for America.

While the book was written in 2012 in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis - I can’t help but think that the covid-19 era marks the end of this globalization phase (at least in America). Between fractured supply chains and a resurgence of new innovations in biotech, energy and most importantly for us, space; there is the budding belief that we don’t have to settle for the incremental improvement of One to N.

Now it is up to those of us on the inside of one of those innovative sectors to make sure we show that America can make Zero to One the norm again.

Ok - enough inspirational talk - now to this week’s update.

Outreach: 

One Big Outreach Thing: PAC, more PAC and then even more PAC

More Details: In case you missed it - this week (at least politically) was mostly spent on Ukraine. Turns out when a major country in Europe is invaded, that sucks a lot of time up for policymakers here in DC.

Because of that we spent this week working on Space PAC. We networked it to current and former Congressional staff and lobbyists and agreed to co-host a fundraising dinner for one of the senior members of the House Ways and Means Committee. We have a couple more fundraising dinners in the works and hope to be able to announce more soon.

Other Outreach: This week we had some meetings with local Chambers of Commerce to discuss partnering with them in their communities. We had calls with a few potential members and some state leaders. 

Future Outreach: Next week - as I mentioned - Space PAC is going to be co-hosting a fundraising dinner for Vern Brady, the #2 Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee (the committee that handles taxation). This is a very exciting opportunity for us - and a chance for the PAC to start getting its name out there. If you are interested in this dinner or others - you can contact rob@spacepac.us to find out more.

Operations:

One Big Operations Thing: Our first member’s meeting is coming

More Details: Mark your calendar! We are holding our first member’s meeting on the sidelines of the 37th Space Symposium in early April. This meeting will be a chance for members of the Association for the Future to shape the policies we support (for reference - here are the current priorities).

  • The specific day / time is to be announced in the next couple weeks - but if you are a member and are able to come - here is a link to register. A virtual/call-in option will be available as well.

Other Operations: This week we met with several people who are helping plan our first regional chapter. It looks like the first chapter is going to be in Puerto Rico - with the second being in either Texas or Mississippi. 

  • Since this is new to all of us - if you have experience starting and/or running a nonprofit chapter please let me know!

Future Operations: Next week we are finishing up planning for March’s Conversation for the Future. We will have a couple meetings about supporting the SFA’s local team, and I’ll be helping put the final touches on the SXSW reception we are supporting (apply to attend here). 

Other Stuff:

One Big Other Thing: Our workforce development planning continues

More Details: This week we had a couple meetings with large companies to discuss our Workforce for the Future program and find out if they were interested in becoming formal partners / sponsors. Discussions continue - but in general the talks were well received. We are also leveraging our chapter planning and outreach to local chambers of commerce to get more access to potential workforce partners. 

I realize now that I didn’t even have an intro to this email - I just kind of jumped in. Oh well - I guess that means I don’t need much of a closing.

I’ll see you back here next week - unless I see you out there sooner.

 - T

A Cold Weekend Update