The billionaire space race reached a climax recently, with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos completing the first commercial flight beyond the Kármán line. Days earlier, Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson boarded the first commercial space flight.
While it’s entertaining to see billionaires taking shots at each other (Elon Musk, Blue Origin), some are expressing concern that the world is sitting still, while billionaires are building the infrastructure to ‘own space’.
In a recent episode of the HBR podcast Afterhours, HBS professor Youngme Moon asked whether the government and the public are distracted by the billionaire space race and are missing the wood for the trees, insofar that space represents a real economic opportunity.
“Does Space represent a real economic opportunity or
are expensive endeavors like SpaceX a form of billionaire hubris?”
The last time humans invented a new market space was the internet. Initially it was really cool and interesting but we had no idea what it was and how you would ever make money off of it. The absence of any regulation allowed a handful of companies - Google, Facebook, Tenscent - to essentially own the internet by building the infrastructure to collect user data.
As the cost of deploying satellites to space drops, there is a huge economic opportunity for whoever can collect data from tracking the movement of cars, ships, people, clouds and so much more.
We might be witnessing the creation of the world's first trillionaire
To the moon
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