TerraWatch Space: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Some Thoughts On The Future of TerraWatch Space in 2023
Happy new year, everyone! Hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful year!
Just wanted to write this post as I reflected on the future of TerraWatch Space over the holiday period. It is basically a semi-structured collection of my thoughts as I look back at what was done in 2022 and what I look forward to 2023. I am going to keep this one short, but here’s what we have got in store:
What is TerraWatch Space?
What Happened in 2022?
What’s Coming in 2023?
1. What is TerraWatch Space?
As much as I call myself an “Earth Observation Consultant & Communicator”, I think I am doing a terrible job of consulting for TerraWatch and communicating about what TerraWatch Space is all about - because a number of those I had interacted with, confessed that they don’t understand what I do for a living. Some assume TerraWatch is a podcast, some assume it is a media company, most others assume TerraWatch is a consulting firm and at least one person I know assumed I am launching an EO satellite constellation.
To be honest, TerraWatch is pretty much all of those things, except that last part. If you have read any of my past work, you will know that I am a fan of launching satellites with purpose rather than launching satellites because it is possible.
So, to set some context, let me do a quick recap of TerraWatch Space and what it is about. As I wrote in the piece I published after officially launching TerraWatch, the fundamentals haven’t changed.
TerraWatch Space is a strategic advisory and communications services firm specialising in Earth Observation, working with those who are building, investing in and adopting EO, with an aim to make satellite data mainstream.
If you thought that sounded a tad boring, I agree - which is why I am going to resort to something TerraWatch has become somewhat known for: infographics!
I am going to use the “The 3A’s of Technology” framework (ok, I know that’s a strong word for a few boxes and arrows), applied to EO, to better make a case what TerraWatch is and where it is positioned in the market. But first, the basics:
Availability: Everything that has to do with building and launching satellites to acquire different types of data about the planet and our activities on it as well as creating software product derived from EO data for specific use cases. This includes the entire EO industry i.e. all the logos from this piece.
Awareness: Everything that has to do with communicating about the availability of the technology i.e. the data and capabilities of EO - what it can do, what it can’t do, who is doing what and how the landscape is evolving. This includes any media and research firm specifically covering EO, providing in-depth analysis and insights on the market (not many out there).
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 have realised impacts as a result of using EO. This includes any firm providing EO strategy consulting services and helps an end-user adopt EO within their organisation (if you are wondering why adoption matters, see the adoption curve of EO).
TerraWatch Space: Value Proposition
As you can see from the visual above, TerraWatch is all about ‘Awareness’ and ‘Adoption’ of Earth Observation, with a feedback loop towards ‘Availability.’ Essentially, this boils down to:
TerraWatch Space Advisory: For Building, Investing in and Adopting EO
The consulting arm of TerraWatch working with space agencies, Earth observation companies, investors and end-user organisations, on several kinds of strategic assignments.
TerraWatch Space Insights: To Demystify EO for Everyone
The communication arm of TerraWatch primarily via the newsletter and the podcast as well as producing content for the Earth observation sector, to demystify the developments in EO and why they matter.
If you have looked at the infographic and come all this way, then you should have noticed that I haven’t talked about something on the visual yet: Impact.
That is the differentiation TerraWatch brings to the market: to make sure EO, whether it is through satellites or software products is built for impact; to communicate the value of EO keeping the impact for the end-user in mind, to enable the adoption of EO after understanding its impact for the end-user.
My philosophy for founding and building TerraWatch is basically what I wrote in this piece last year:
It is not about a specific type of sensor (hyperspectral vs infrared vs SAR vs Lidar), not about a specific medium (satellite vs aerial vs in-situ), not about EO vs weather vs GNSS, and certainly not terminologies such as geospatial or spatial or location intelligence. It is about the impact of EO for the customers, how it helps them get their job done, and in that process help solve larger environmental, societal, and economic challenges of our time.
2. What Happened in 2022?
Let’s start with a recap of what happened since I officially launched TerraWatch Space in August 2022:
Advisory: Completed several consulting projects of various kinds - from strategic roadmaps for EO companies to due diligence on EO companies for investors. But the most interesting ones are those that fit into the ‘Adoption’ bucket: workshops with end-users on how EO applies to their organisations to building strategic roadmaps for large corporations on adopting EO within their businesses. So far so good! Here’s my experience from one of them:
Podcast: Published weekly episodes of the TerraWatch Space podcast (almost) consistently - about 15 episodes since August and 30 episodes in the calendar year. Several of these episodes were sponsored which I am very grateful for, but sadly, I have been terrible at marketing the podcast and the episodes with the incredible guests I have had. But, fortunately, through word-of-mouth, on average every episode gets 1,000 downloads (thank you). More work to do here!
Newsletter: Published a couple of deep-dives since August: ‘the state of commercial EO’ and ‘weather from space’ along with a few editions of ‘8-Things-EO,’ analysing developments in EO from the months of August, September and October. However, there hasn’t been any sort of consistency whatsoever, (despite the good things I hear), which I hope to fix in the new year. Read on!
Subscribe to receive Earth observation insights!
3. What’s Coming in 2023?
Now, let’s get to the interesting bit. Here’s what I have got planned in 2023:
Launch of the TerraWatch Weekly Newsletter
The TerraWatch newsletter will be published on a weekly basis, going forward - two editions will be blog posts with deep-dives, two editions will be news bulletins with analysis. This is how it is going to work:
Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, a long-form piece containing deep-dives on specific market segments within Earth Observation and case studies demonstrating value of satellite data (open for featuring content from EO companies);
Every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, a fortnightly newsletter aimed at curating and analysing developments in Earth Observation, Satellite Data and Applications - in other words, ‘8-Things-EO’ published every two weeks (open for sponsorships).
The first edition of the TerraWatch Weekly Newsletter will be out on the 9th!
Launch of the TerraWatch Course, “Demystifying EO”
I have been talking about it for a while, but it is finally happening. I will be launching a cohort-based course titled “Demystifying Earth Observation”, aimed at EO outsiders, non-experts and anyone who is interested in learning more about the EO market - essentially, a non-technical, business-focused course that will make you ready for your EO career, investing or education.
The first run of the course is expected in Q2 - stay tuned for more details!
Hiring the First Few Members of the TerraWatch Team
So far, I have been working with a specific set of people on-demand on a project-based, needs-driven basis. But, I am reaching a point of the growth of TerraWatch, where proper team members will be needed. In the best-case scenario, I will be hiring folks for filling up the following roles:
Research Analyst: To support and eventually lead consulting activities;
Content Writer: To support and eventually take on the role of writing the weekly newsletter and other written content-producing projects;
Operations: A multidisciplinary role for someone who can take on the duties of an operations lead, an executive assistant, and a social-media lead.
More details including specifics such as type of role (internship vs part-time vs full-time), qualifications, criteria and others to follow in the next few weeks.
+ An Optimistic Wish: Launch of an EO Conference
This one is a long-term goal of mine, but I would like to execute on this in 2023. My vision is to put together an EO conference attended equally by the end-user community and the EO community, where ‘Awareness’ is created, ‘Adoption’ is enabled and ‘‘Impact’ of EO for various kinds of end-users is understood.
I spent the last few weeks curating all EO-related conferences planned for 2023 and one thing is clear: there is no EO conference´ that is both accessible for the end-user, in terms of content and valuable for the EO industry to showcase their capabilities. Almost every conference I have come across is “an event for everyone within the EO bubble” - we need to change that.
If you are reading this, understand this gap and have the same goal, do get in touch. I cannot execute this alone with TerraWatch - we need a like-minded consortium. More to come on this later this year!
All the validation I have gathered since August since I launched TerraWatch makes me believe that I am on the right path and 2023 will be an exciting year - one in which we would get closer towards the goal of making satellite data mainstream.
Fortunately, the trends in the EO market as well as the intersection of macroeconomics, geopolitics and environment also point towards something similar - but that will be the subject of the first blog post of this year: ‘EO: 2023 Outlook’, that will be published soon.
Wish you all a fantastic year ahead!