My guest today is Will Marshall, the co-founder and CEO of Planet. Will founded Planet in 2010 with a small team of NASA scientists to build a constellation of satellites that would image the entire Earth every day. Since then, Planet has successfully built and deployed 450 satellites into space, which the company is using to create a time series of images for every place on Earth.
Our conversation covers the untold space story. How space is going through an internet moment where cost reductions and performance enhancements have led to a seismic shift in what’s possible above our atmosphere, and how that can drastically improve life on Earth through unique datasets like the one Planet is piecing together.
Once you listen to Will speak about Planet’s progress and mission, it’s hard to think of a more underappreciated company in business today.
Please enjoy this great conversation with Will Marshall.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.
This episode is brought to you by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis. If you've been scrambling to keep up with the deluge of IPOs and SPACs these days, Canalyst has models on Robinhood, Marqeta, Grab, and everything in between. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/patrick.
At WatchBox, the world’s finest watches are at your fingertips with an ever-expanding collection of luxury timepieces, all certified authentic and collector quality. WatchBox’s global team of expert client advisors is ready to help you find the watch you’ve always wanted. Step into the collector’s circle at thewatchbox.com/patrick
Invest Like the Best is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
[00:02:57] - [First question] - His thoughts on the renaissance of the space industry
[00:05:09] - The earliest days of Planet and why he started the business
[00:09:22] - Unique data units captured by their satellites
[00:11:21] - What might we know in fifteen years using satellite data that we don’t today
[00:13:35] - The real estate of space and interesting angles to consider
[00:15:59] - How customers interface with Planet and their early use cases
[00:20:57] - Thoughts on the sovereignty of space and the laws that exist currently
[00:23:43] - Figuring out the dynamics and pricing of Planet’s business model
[00:27:34] - Examples of stress and tensions when working in space
[00:29:08] - The future of privacy and concerns we should have there collectively
[00:30:29] - Five different types of satellites and their functions
[00:31:39] - The most sci-fi potential futures that Planet may unlock someday
[00:32:54] - Indexing the Earth and using data to train machine learning algorithms
[00:34:02] - What he’s learned about Earth that is most surprising
[00:37:12] - Contributing factors to a 70% decline in life on the planet in 40 years
[00:38:35] - Ways that going public might impact Planet’s long term goals
[00:40:23] - The hardware story of building various prototypes of satellites
[00:42:18] - How much is built in house versus outsourced to fabricate their satellites
[00:43:48] - Complimentary space trends that are compounding beyond imagery
[00:45:32] - Whether or not they plan on making their data open-source
[00:47:15] - Democratizing their data and allowing other companies to build on top of it
[00:48:30] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him