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WEEKEND UPDATE

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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!