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Dylan Taylor: Building the Berkshire Hathaway of Outer Space

Daniel ScrivnerLast Updated: September 30, 2020

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“I’m in the camp that is super passionate about space as a tool for transformation. So what energizes me is getting humans into space.” — Dylan Taylor

In this episode of Outliers, I sit down with Dylan Taylor (@SpaceAdvisor) to discuss the future of space tourism and manufacturing, investing in space, and how anyone can get involved in space (even if they didn’t study science).

Dylan Taylor is the CEO of Voyager Space Holdings and one of Pitchbook’s Top 10 Investors in Space Technology. He has previously served as CEO or board member of Fortune 500 companies and has participated in 4 IPOs over his career. Dylan founded the nonprofit Space for Humanity, is Co-Founding Patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and serves as strategic advisor for the Archmission and the Human Spaceflight Program. He is widely regarded as the most active private space investor in the world.

Topics Discussed

  • 00:01:55 – How Dylan’s work in space began after reading The Last Lecture
  • 00:05:33 – Star Trek and Dylan’s fascination with space exploration
  • 00:09:22 – Dylan’s early investments in and the evolution of space technology
  • 00:17:25 – How re-usability and privatization has expanded space technology
  • 00:30:30 – Dylan’s thoughts on leaders in the space industry and their range and scale
  • 00:39:05 – Why Dylan founded Voyager Space Holdings
  • 00:45:35 – Collaboration in the space industry
  • 00:49:52 – Space industry standards and the creation of the Voyager Space IP Exchange
  • 00:54:35 – Private space companies and their relationship with government agencies
  • 00:59:26 – Areas in the space industry Dylan is interested in
  • 01:06:01 – Space as an offensive or defensive tool for countries
  • 01:09:58 – Exciting innovations in the space industry
  • 01:16:06 – How anyone can become involved in space industry and exploration  

For more, explore the full transcript of this episode. Transcripts for all episodes can be found here.

Links from the Episode

Books Mentioned

Key Insight

The future of earth lies in space, and having an optimistic view of its exploration and technology will keep us moving forward. Space gives us a chance to reimagine humanity and transform into a better society.

Favorite Quotes

  • “I think fundamentally the world, as we move into space and as we venture into the stars, I think we have the ability to reimagine what it means to be human, and my hope is that it’s not just a copy paste of what we have. It’s a reimagining of what we could be.”
  • “If you were to look at a picture of Manhattan in 1910, what you would see is a fairly dense island with the tallest building being about seven or eight stories. Fast-forward to 1920, what would you see? You would see a lot of mid-rise or early forms of the skyscraper. And why is that? Did we not know how to build tall buildings in 1910? Well, no, we did, actually. We knew how to build tall buildings in 1910. But what really changed was the advent of the elevator. That’s what changed. People didn’t want to walk 20 stories up to their penthouse apartment. So the space is very similar. We’ve built the elevator. We can now get mass to orbit in quantity. We’re going to launch more satellites in 2020 than the history of our civilization prior to 2020.”
  • “Imagine all heavy industry is not on earth. Imagine all heavy industries are in space — it’s in free space — and the Earth is like a national park, if you will. It’s an oasis. That’s a pretty cool vision, whether that’s practical or not anytime soon, but space manufacturing captures the imagination.”
  • “I’m more from the camp that says space is a uniter, not a divider. Space allows humans to be aware of the fact that we have 99.9999999% in common, and we tussle over the minor differences.”
  • “No matter what your skill set is or what your fundamental ambition is for a vocation, gone are the days, in my view, where you have to be a 6’2” white male, fighter pilot to go to space. That’s totally changed. … Space is going to need artists, space is going to need every background you can think of. … You don’t have to study a technical subject, if that’s not something you’re super interested in. You can be passionate about space and study art. … Space will not be a domain that’s separate and distinct from society. It will be society. I tell people everyone’s in the space industry, they just don’t know it yet. So if you’re passionate about it, get really good at whatever your skill set is or whatever you have ambition for, and then figure out a way to plug that in to what’s happening in space.”

On Outliers, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they’ve mastered and what they’ve learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today. 

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