#110 Payload: Building a Media Brand to Cover the Business and Policy of Space | Mo Islam, Co-Founder

Outlier Academy

Jun 8 2022 • 59 mins


“Very simply, we are living in the next space race, and it's going to have huge implications for the way we built technology, the way we spend dollars in military.” – Mo Islam Mo Islam is the co-founder of Payload Space, which is building a media empire dedicated to covering the business and policy of space, as in outer space. We discovered Payload and immediately subscribed to their daily newsletter after it was recommended by Delian Asparouhov, co-founder of Varda Space Industries, in episode 71. We asked Delian what newsletters and websites he used to stay on top of everything going on in space, and he had only one answer: Payload Space.  In this episode, we go deep on why we're at an inflection point when it comes to space and how that was unlocked, at least in the U.S., largely by SpaceX, which has brought down the price to get a unit of mass up to low Earth orbit by order of magnitude. We cover the outsized role the military and defense departments play as customers for space companies, ranging from Earth imaging to satellite manufacturing startups. We talk about the space companies that Mo thinks are the most underrated, as well as how Payload is building a media empire, starting with what Mo calls The Modern Homepage, which is their daily newsletter. We discuss how Payload crafted a compelling voice and editorial style in an old school and relatively stodgy industry, making space cool to read and learn about. Show notes with links, quotes, and a transcript of the episode:  https://www.danielscrivner.com/notes/payload-mo-islam  Chapters This episode is our definitive guide to building a media brand to cover the business and policy of space. In it we cover: 00:00:00 – Introduction 00:02:36 – How Payload focuses on the business and policy of space 00:10:54 – How Elon Musk has changed the space race 00:15:17 – Aerospace and defense go hand in hand 00:18:11 – Earth imaging illuminates the atrocities of war 00:19:36 – We are living in the next space race 00:22:52 – SPACs and space 00:28:57 – How we’ll move from government to commercial spending in space 00:33:11 – Reusable second stages and lowering the costs of space exploration 00:36:59 – What scaling Starlink could mean for space travel 00:39:40 – Launching a media brand and the importance of voice 00:43:32 – Making Payload the most important voice in the space discussion 00:51:49 – Learning from feedback and embracing boredom Sign up here for Outlier Debrief, our weekly newsletter that highlights the latest episode, expands on important business and investing concepts, and contains the best of what we read each week. Follow Outlier Academy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/outlieracademy. If you loved this episode, please share a quick review on Apple Podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices