Just Go Grind Podcast: Melanie Stricklan Of Slingshot Aerospace Aims To Make Space Sustainable

Justin Gordon
Justin Gordon is the founder of "Just Go Grind" and host of the "Just Go Grind Podcast," a daily show with more than 200 episodes featuring interviews with entrepreneurs and investors. He has an MBA from USC, is an aspiring runner with a 1:29 half marathon personal best, and wants to help one billion people in his lifetime.
Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and CSO of Slingshot Aerospace
Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and CSO of Slingshot Aerospace

On this week's episode of Just Go Grind, hear from Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Slingshot Aerospace, a company that builds situational awareness technology to bring clarity to complex environments in order to create a safer world.

Key Takeaways:

  • When Melanie first joined the Air Force, combining data from satellites and aircraft with the sensor on board U.S. aircrafts was often done manually. The intelligence agencies that received the data would return their analysis around three days to three months later. The long delays and cumbersome process of interpreting data that could otherwise be helpful in achieving outcomes in missions was a problem that led her to found Slingshot Aerospace.
  • Stricklan considered herself an "intrapreneur" in the Air Force, but found critical insight and guidance offered by TechStars to help guide her and her co-founders' entrepreneurial vision and operation
  • Boeing was Slingshot's first client, and the company went deep with aerospace defense in the first couple of years, building tech that could be leveraged for commercial space
  • A Slingshot Aerospace company priority is to make sure that employees are curious and have a bias for action.
"If you don't relay (the north star) to the team almost on a daily basis, things can unravel both from the culture perspective and a focused perspective and an offering perspective."

"It became really evident through the first year that, 'hey, if we don't do something about culture, culture is going to create itself and it's probably not going to be what we want it to be'."

"It's important to me to make space sustainable, just like we have initiatives down here on Earth to make our planet more sustainable." — Melanie Stricklan, Slingshot Aerospace

Melanie Stricklan co-founded Slingshot Aerospace in 2016. Today, she's the company's chief strategy officer, where she leads the strategic vision and growth strategy. She served in the United States Air Force for 21 years. Melanie holds a BS in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a MS in Space Operations Management with an emphasis in Space Systems Engineering from Webster University. She was named the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year for El Segundo, California and was named one of Inc. Magazine's 2019 Top 100 Female Founders in the United States.

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S.C. Stuart
S.C. Stuart is a foreign correspondent (ELLE China, Esquire Latin America), Contributing Writer at Ziff Davis PCMag, and consults as a futurist for Hollywood Studios. Previously, S.C. was the head of digital at Hearst Magazines International while serving as a Non-Executive Director, UK Trade & Investment (US) and Digital Advisor at The Smithsonian.
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