TerraWatch Space: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Some Thoughts On The Future of TerraWatch Space in 2024
Happy New Year! I hope you and your loved ones have a great year ahead.
Keeping up with the yearly tradition, this post is a semi-structured collection of my thoughts on the past, present and future of TerraWatch Space based on my reflections over the holiday period. We will look back at what was accomplished in 2023 and discuss what we have coming up in 2024. Here’s the agenda:
What is TerraWatch Space?
TerraWatch and the 3As of EO
TerraWatch: Founding Principle
Marketing & Communication
EO Market Report
EO Insights Platform
1. What is TerraWatch Space?
Before we begin, a quick introduction - I always get asked about what TerraWatch (TW) is and what TW does. While a strategic consulting, market intelligence and communication firm in the EO sector is what it would tell you if I met you at a conference, it is quite a boring way of describing it.
It is perhaps less boring to use a framework (yes, I am still a consultant) and an infographic in true TW fashion - I will continue to leverage the 3A’s framework, which I introduced at the beginning of last year. As a reminder:
Availability: Everything that has to do with building and launching satellites to acquire different types of data and creating information products derived from EO, along with other data sources focused on specific use cases.
Awareness: Everything that has to do with communicating about EO and the capabilities of EO - what it can do, what it can’t do, who is doing what and how the landscape is evolving.
Adoption: Everything that has to do with enabling the use of EO by end-users, whether it is enterprises, non-profits or governmental organisations, with an aim to get the job done and realise impacts as a result of using EO.
TerraWatch and the 3A’s of Earth Observation
I founded TerraWatch with a vision to make EO mainstream. Today, TerraWatch sits at the centre of those who are building EO (the institutions and the industry), investing in EO (investors and venture capitalists) and adopting EO for solving a problem or getting a job done (any organisation).
TW for “Availability” of EO
Strategic Consulting Services: Working with EO companies, space agencies and investors on strategic assignments, including market studies, go-to-market plans, pricing models, partnerships and commercial due diligence.
TW for “Awareness” of EO
Free Newsletter: Tracking the EO market trends and providing insights on satellite data and its many applications via the free, weekly newsletter.
Paid Newsletter: Publishing in-depth analysis and deep dives on specific topics within the EO sector via the paid, premium newsletter.
Marketing & Communication Services: Working with EO companies on content creation, thought-leadership driven marketing and brand awareness .
TW for “Adoption” of EO (Strategic Consulting Services)
EO Adoption Advisory: Working with end-user organisations in verticals such as insurance, banking, mining, agriculture, utilities, forestry etc. to translate their needs into EO use cases and develop an EO adoption strategy, including which data to use, which providers to partner with and so on.
TerraWatch: Founding Principle
You might have seen that a lot of analysis and insights on TerraWatch are available for free. It might seem contradictory to the fact that TW is a business, not a non-profit. And, TW is certainly not supported by any space agency or any governmental institution (although I wish they would).
So, why do I continue to provide much of the information for free and how exactly do I make a living?
Well, it is simple. I have a strong belief that any foundational knowledge - like a fundamental understanding of the EO market and the applications of EO should be free and openly accessible. I would like to avoid 'information asymmetry.'
Anyone, whether you are an individual, a company, an investor or otherwise should be able to learn the fundamentals of EO - the market segments, the key players, the key players and track the emerging trends. All of this basic information should be openly accessible and available for all.
But, I have to pay the bills and put food on the table. That is where the difference between foundational knowledge (basic information), deeper knowledge (detailed research) and applied knowledge (customised analysis) comes in.
Foundational knowledge is via the free newsletter, and includes everything related to the EO market and the applications of EO,
Deeper knowledge is for the paid subscribers of the newsletter, and includes in-depth analysis of specific topics in the commercial EO market,
Applied knowledge is strategic consulting services for any EO company, space agency, investor or end-user, with strategic questions, which build on the results of the foundational and deeper knowledge.
This is a founding principle of TerraWatch that I try not to compromise on, and thankfully, so far so good.
2. Looking Back
2023 was an amazing year building TerraWatch. If you had told me 10 years ago - when I was living in India working as a software engineer at Amazon - I would be living in France, running a company and working in Earth observation with some of the best minds and organisations around the world, I would have probably not understood you1.
Over the last year, TerraWatch has grown, changed and matured and so has my thesis for the existence of TerraWatch. A quick recap of the year:
a. Strategic Consulting
Completed over 25 projects working with EO companies, space agencies, investors and non-profit organisations, on subjects ranging from market studies and go-to-market plans to commercial due diligence and strategic workshops.
b. Newsletter (Free)
Published the weekly newsletter providing news, analysis and insights on EO every week and growing to over 10,000 subscribers from 133 countries.
b. Newsletter (Paid)
Published deep dives and exclusive insights for paid subscribers on EO for climate risk, EO for GHG monitoring, EO for carbon markets and edge computing.
d. Marketing & Communication
Executed about 15 campaigns for EO companies - publishing white papers, hosting webinars and running ads in the weekly newsletter.
Published 20 episodes of the podcast in the first half of the year - the podcast is currently on a hiatus and will hopefully be back later this year.
3. Looking Forward
While the work discussed above will continue as usual in the new year, we have some interesting things planned for 2024.
a. EO Summit
You may have already heard about this: EO Summit, organised by TerraWatch, will take place on June 13-14 in London. EO Summit is a conference to bring the EO industry and end-users together, focused on commercial, enterprise and climate-related applications of EO.
I have shared quite a bit about this before, but more to come - including tickets, speakers and agenda. Stay tuned!
b. EO Market Report
This is the first big project of the new year. The aim is to publish an EO market report (every year) focusing on the commercial EO market summarising:
the state of the EO market including an overview of emerging technologies and trends, evolving commercial landscape and investment trends,
the state of EO adoption for commercial use cases including the end-user needs, willingness to pay for EO and challenges in using EO,
the state of EO-related policies, government budgets and other enabling factors that influence the growth of the EO market.
Note that this report will not be just a market forecast that focuses on the hype for EO, but rather an in-depth and objective analysis that is focused on the reality of the EO market.
The first EO Market Report ($) will be released right before EO Summit in June.
c. EO Insights Platform
This is the second big project of the new year. The aim is to consolidate all the quantifiable analysis and insights from TerraWatch into an EO market intelligence platform that will be available for subscription.
The archive of this newsletter contains several nuggets of information whether it is regarding the commercial landscape, the EO satellites launched, the type of EO instruments, the amount of EO funding etc. So, I would like to make all of this information available through an easy-to-use, market intelligence tool both with free and paid offerings.
The plan is to go live with the platform in September of this year. Stay tuned.
d. EO Course
This is the third major project of the new year. I originally planned to launch this in 2023, but the year turned out differently than I had planned for - c’est la vie.
The aim is to offer an EO business course virtually, in a small cohort-based setup, aimed at EO enthusiasts, newcomers into the EO sector and end-users of EO to provide them with a fundamental understanding of the technical, commercial and policy-related context of EO.
The plan is to launch this right after EO Summit in July. More info shortly.
Last but not least, I will not be able to deliver on any of the above without having a proper team. I was supposed to expand the TerraWatch team and hire full-time in 2023, however, due to the nature of work during the year, I continued to work with a team of freelancers, on a project-based, needs-driven basis.
But, I expect that 2024 will be very different - the focus of the activities will be selective, ad-hoc, externally dependent consulting projects, and more structured, internally developed initiatives and products.
I will be hiring folks to fill up the following remote positions, first on a short-term basis - for 6 months from March to August. All of them have the potential to be transitioning into full-time roles - from September.
Research Associate: To support and eventually lead research and analysis for preparing the EO Market Report and building the EO Insights Platform.
Needs to have a basic understanding of the EO market,
Can be based anywhere within ∼6 hours of CET.
Operations Associate: To support and eventually lead the operations and management of EO Summit, EO Market Report and EO Insights Platform.
Does not need to have any understanding of EO,
Can be based anywhere in Europe ∼2 hours of CET.
Content Associate: To support and eventually lead the creation of content across the free and paid newsletters and marketing materials for clients.
Nice to have an understanding of EO, not needed,
Can be based anywhere within ∼9 hours of CET.
The official job openings with requirements and job descriptions will be out in mid-January. Feel free to reach out to me if you are already interested.
Almost all the feedback I have gotten in 2023 makes me believe that I am on the right path and has validated my thesis for starting TerraWatch. I am confident that 2024 will be an even more exciting year - one in which we will get closer towards the goal of making EO mainstream.
Building and running TerraWatch while being an immigrant in a foreign country has not been the easiest task, but much of what I have accomplished has been a result of some good people with kind hearts who have supported me, mentored me and encouraged me so far.
I started TerraWatch to continue to work in EO, evangelise the potential of EO, improve its awareness outside the EO bubble and in that process, contribute to making EO mainstream. That vision has not changed and is what drives me to do everything I do. Thanks for all the support!
Wish you all a fantastic year ahead.
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I had no idea what Earth observation meant in 2013 and I had no plans of leaving the software industry, even though I was about to move to France in 2014.