June 8, 2022

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

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

In Episode #110, we explore building a media brand to cover the business and policy of space. We’re joined by Mo Islam, Payload’s Co-Founder, who talks with us about becoming the number one resource for space industry news. We cover everything from lowering the costs of space travel to why we are in the middle of the next space race.

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“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: 



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

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