No One is Talking About Remote Work from Space

posted on
June 2, 2021

A diatribe on the "future of remote work": how we're approaching building a new space company in 2021, and why we want to enable our employees, no matter where they're located. A special thanks to the Equity Podcast for the title inspiration!

It's a tough decision to decide on a HQ location in 2021. You have to consider a multitude of things: state taxes, local incentives, costs of living, the venture scene, the talent pool, not to mention the individual intangibles of friends, family, and the things you enjoy doing outside of the office.

As we came closer and closer to hiring, the location decision loomed over us. We traded pros and cons amongst ourselves, researched far and wide as to what others were doing, and asked for the opinions of our close friends, investors, and advisors.

We even went all in on a single location for a time, assuming that the war for talent could be won with an awesome company culture and a clear mission. What we soon discovered is that a single location didn't sit right in our collective stomach, like we were missing out on both a chance to do it differently and an opportunity to enable our employees to live and work the way they so chose. If there's anything COVID has taught us, it's that all of it and more can be done from home and that the new tech-enabled "remote" work phenomenon was here to stay. As startups are known to do, we pivoted on our location decision and decided to lean in on a Hub and Spoke approach.
Denver's city-scapes and mountain views.

For our Hubs, the choice was easy. Denver and Austin are often quoted as the next up-and-coming cities, and tech talent has been escaping from Silicon Valley and coming in droves to these two cities not just recently, but for the past decade. Denver is a classic space industry hub, with other space companies from big to small, such as Lockheed, Ball, Raytheon, Capella, York, Maxar and many more calling Colorado home. Austin has had major tech firms recently open offices there, such as Oracle, Google, Samsung, Apple, and Tesla. Elon's recent decision to move a lot of the SpaceX team to Austin also means space talent may be on their way to town.
A typical, sunny Austin day.

But our Hubs are merely meant to be gathering places for folks that want to spend a few days/week in an office, and neither is an official HQ. Instead, we are developing our processes, communication channels, and business rhythms around a remote-first policy. Hubs will provide communal meeting spaces for a few days of in-office work or critical in-person meetings. We will enable our employees to work from anywhere, live from anywhere, and have the freedom to work how they want to work. With a remote first approach, that means we build ourselves around asynchronous work, Zoom meetings, and Slack channels. If this sounds exactly how you're working today, that's the point! We've figured out how to work from home, and once COVID regulations lift, we'll be able to go back to embracing all the other benefits of remote jobs. We'll have quarterly retreats, yearly celebrations, and let our employees decide where they'd like to live.

Most of the industry is trying to figure out how to unhinge from the systems they already have in place, their traditional ways of doing business, in order to provide this same flexibility to their employees.  We are fortunate to be starting a company with a year of COVID-driven remote work behind us, building this structure from the ground up and incorporating lessons learned from the past year.  With a smaller team and a clear vision, we can make quick adjustments to cut the fat and optimize for what works best. Never before has it been easier to construct and run a business day-to-day in a remote first structure.

We are excited to build our team and approach new ways of work. We are revolutionizing the commercial imagery market with unprecedented ultra high-resolution imagery, why not revolutionize the way New Space startups are grown too.

The future is bright and we're looking to move fast. With our recent raise, we're well set up to hire top talent and let them work the ways they want to work. We're coming to and meeting our future employees where they're at.