Casual Space Episode 101: Dylan Taylor: CEO, Investor, Futurist and Philanthropist
Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and philanthropist. He is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry as a CEO, investor, thought leader and futurist.
Every day is like Christmas for Dylan, because working in the space industry has always been his passion and calling. Beth asks Dylan about when his interest in space began, and Dylan describes how investments in space can be transformational for all humans and our future- on this episode of the Casual Space Podcast.
ABOUT DYLAN TAYLOR:
Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and philanthropist. He is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry as a CEO, investor, thought leader and futurist. Currently, Dylan serves as Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, a multi-national space holding firm that acquires and integrates leading space exploration enterprises globally.
Dylan has been cited by Harvard University, SpaceNews, the BBC, Pitchbook, CNBC, CNN and others as having played a seminal role in the growth of the private space industry. As an early-stage investor in more than 50 emerging ventures, including Accion, Kepler, York, Astrobotic, Made in Space, Relativity, and Planet, Dylan is widely considered the most active private space investor in the world.
Dylan has extensive global business experience as both a board director and CEO. He previously served as a Director for UMB Bank, a Fortune 500 company based in Kansas City and as a mutual fund director for the Jackson Funds where he oversaw assets of $8B across 130 distinct funds. Dylan has been a Fortune 1000 CEO with P&L responsibility in excess of $3B and operations encompassing 16,000 employees in 60 countries. In addition, Dylan has participated in 4 IPOs over the course of his career.
From the Casual Space Podcast: On how his love for space got started and why it’s getting stronger every day:
“Every day is like Christmas, I certainly love what I do. For me, (space) is a life long passion, the question I ask myself a lot is, ‘Why did it take so long to realize what I loved and was truly passionate about?!’ I think the answer is, you get caught up in life, you get caught up in a career path… and ironically, if you have early success in your career that’s not directly tied to your passion, it can be a little bit of a trap. I think you can find yourself in the hamster wheel, and it can be hard to get off.. I certainly was like the situation I was in. I was in more of a traditional business career, and that was fine, and there were gratifying elements of that, but it was not truly satisfying the passion that I had for space.”
“My passion for space is really about the societal impact of space. It’s about the transformational element of space. It’s about the ability for humanity to reimagine what it means to be human, and what our opportunity as a species is going forward. So to me, it’s more about having the canvas to paint our future onto. I think space is truly transformational from a contextual, intellectual standpoint.”
On what made Dylan Taylor brave enough to leave his career path to follow his passion for space:
“My close friends and family encouraging me- I could see that we were entering a growth for the industry, and I’ve never been personally happier being in the industry. My free time and social activity and my life revolves around it- it’s not a career, it’s more of a calling.”
On the challenges of space and why it’s worth exploring:
“We have some real global challenges. Climate change, income inequality, mass migration caused by civil unrest, geopolitics, etc. My thesis is that the reason those problems seem intractable, is because we really don’t have the right context to evaluate those problems. We don’t really have the right view, that we’re all humans, on a rock floating in the middle of space, squabbling over (in my mind) tiny differences. I’m all about space as a contextual reorientation that allows you to see things clearer, and in a more enlightened way.
“The ROI of space in infinite. Humanity 2.0, a reimagining of what we could be- a more aspirational inspirational viewpoint is amazing, and space holds the canvas that we can paint that future on to.”
On why it takes everyone to make space exploration successful:
“It’s incredibly important that we diversify space and that we take advantage of all the talent that exists in the world. This is a human endeavor, and we all know humans are identical in their capacity to do incredible things. In fact, if we can’t figure out a way to bring all humans into the fold, we will not be successful in space. And it does not have to be just in STEM, space is for everybody, and we need all skills. All backgrounds. We are commercializing space at such a rapid rate that I tell my friends, ‘Everyone is in the space industry. They just don’t know it yet.’ The number of jobs within the space economy that are going to be created over the next few years is going to be mind-boggling. So if you’re focused on space, and you’re training yourself up to be part of the space economy, you will be providing yourself a very very bright future!”
More about Dylan Taylor and the “space” he works with: Dylan’s technical background, global business experience and unbridled passion for space make him a unique figure within his industry. He regularly speaks and writes about the future of the space economy and is sought after by the media for his expertise in the financial aspects of space investing as well as industry dynamics. As a writer and columnist, he has written several widely read pieces on the future of the space industry for SpaceNews, ROOM, The Space Review, Apogeo Spatial and Space.com. As a speaker, Dylan has keynoted many of the major space conferences around the world and has appeared regularly on Bloomberg, Fox Business, and CNBC.
Dylan is a leading advocate of space manufacturing and the utilization of in-space resources to further space exploration and settlement. In 2017 he became the first private citizen to manufacturer an item in space when the gravity meter he co-designed and commissioned was 3D printed on the International Space Station. The historic item is now housed in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
Dylan has also had an extensive philanthropic impact on the space industry. In 2017, Dylan founded the nonprofit and social movement, Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize space exploration and develop solutions to global issues through the scope of human awareness to help solve the world’s most intractable problems. Additionally, Dylan is the Co-Founding Patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which seeks to promote the growth of commercial space activity. Additionally Dylan serves as a strategic advisor for both the Archmission and the Human Spaceflight Program.
Dylan is the founder and Chairman of Multiverse Media, parent company of the popular space philosophy website 2211.world as well as the Ad Astra Dinners, a Jeffersonian styled dinner series featuring some of the world’s leading influencers discussing the future of humanity in space. Another subsidiary of Multiverse Media publishes books by leading authors including Frank White, Isaac Asimov and Gerard K. O’Neill. It is also the executive producer of the documentary film, The High Frontier.
For his influence as a global leader and his commitment to creating a positive impact on the world, Dylan has been honored with numerous personal and professional accolades in recent years. The World Economic Forum recognized Dylan as a Young Global Leader in 2011 and he was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute in 2014. In 2020, Dylan was recognized by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation with their top honor for business and finance, following in the footsteps of 2019’s inaugural winner, the late Paul Allen.
Dylan Taylor earned an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and holds a BS in Engineering from the honors college at the University of Arizona, where he graduated Tau Beta Pi and in 2018 was named Alumnus of the year. In 2013, he attended the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century program at Harvard University.
Dylan and his family live in Denver where he is active locally with Colorado Concern and the Colorado Spaceport. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys hiking, competing in triathlons and spending time outdoors. He is married to author Gabrielle V. Taylor and has two teenage daughters.
“I love to travel and explore- anything that’s new and edgy and a little bit dangerous…the pinnacle would be to go to the moon. If I could do that in my lifetime, that would be cool.” -Dylan Taylor from the Casual Space Podcast