Interview

AITech Interview with Melanie Stricklan, Co-founder and CEO – Slingshot Aerospace

customer behavior

With customer behavior gaining momentum in achieving business goals, innovation is the key for customer retention. Melanie Stricklan shares her insights on Slingshot Aerospace’s new product and AI for businesses to study minute details to see the bigger picture.

1. Tell us about your role at Slingshot Aerospace.

I am the company’s Chief Executive Officer. I proudly served in the United States Air Force for 21 years which has provided me with a unique blend of leadership and technical expertise that lends itself well to managing a startup. Slingshot Aerospace in July 2017 and today I am the company’s Chief Executive Officer where I lead the strategic vision and growth strategy for our team. I proudly served in the United States Air Force for 21 years which has provided me with a unique blend of leadership and technical expertise that lends itself well to managing a startup.

2. What are some of the unique lessons you have learned from analysing your customer behaviour?

I’ve learned that decisions must be anchored in data that eliminates any and all confirmation bias when building mission-critical products. This means we have to empower our product managers, designers, and engineers to engage directly with customers early and often throughout the discovery and development phase. Our culture embraces the fact that our ideas are not nearly as valuable as our customer-centric, data-driven process of understanding precisely what our future customers need to solve their biggest problems today, and even more importantly, understanding why they need these solutions.

3. What are the applications or rather opportunities you seek to have with your product?

 Slingshot Aerospace is a leader in situational awareness and creating products that provide a customizable solution to quickly navigate, analyse, and leverage data from earth and space. The products bring together data from different sources—such as satellites, airplanes, drones, and ground-based sensors—and apply advanced analytics, machine learning, and collaboration tools to provide clarity in complex environments.

This means that government, commercial, and emergency management customers have the information they need in order to make an impact: Armed Forces can safely and strategically navigate critical missions; emergency management teams can dispatch aid quicker than ever; insurance companies can detect damage and process claims at a record pace when families need it most; spacefaring organizations can track and safeguard satellites ensuring mission-critical communications are secure and uninterrupted.

There are a lot of different use cases for our technology, but at the end of the day we aim to help teams perceive the past with more clarity, comprehend the present faster, and predict the future with greater precision to create a safer, more sustainable world.

4. Recently Slingshot Aerospace raised $8 Million in Series A funding led by ATX Ventures. Can you tell us how are you planning to use it?

 The funds raised will be used to further develop our products for commercialization, enable us to expand into new industry verticals outside of aerospace and defence, and grow the team.

5. What work-related hack do you follow to enjoy maximum productivity?

There are a number of work-related hacks that help me maximize my productively. Prioritization is key to productivity, and to help with that I map out and track all individual and team tasks with task management software that integrates with email and note taking apps. This gives me a succinct high level overview of the big picture which enables me to delegate accordingly. I also use a collaborative whiteboard app that allows me to work cross functionally with teammates which I’ve found is very helpful to productivity.

Aside from leveraging apps to help keep me organized, it’s really important to find ways to focus. For me, this means a daily journaling and exercise which helps me recharge. I also like to turn off my computer notifications and set my phone to airplane mode during designated blocks of time every day. Knowing that I have this time set aside specifically to get work done makes it easier to eliminate distractions.

6. How do you prepare for an AI-based tech centric world?

We are preparing for an AI-based world by embracing the technology and leveraging AI as well as machine learning solutions in our tech stack. This helps break down silos, democratize analytics, and build a data culture that empowers our customers to make mission-critical decisions faster, with critical context, and in real time. 

7. Can you tell us about your team and how they support you?

A mentor once shared with me that insecure leaders surround themselves with weak people, but secure leaders surround themselves with strong people. This is the mantra I live by and the same philosophy I use to grow our company. Today, we have more than 30 outstanding individuals on our team that previously worked at organizations like Palantir Technologies, the U.S. Air Force, GM’s autonomous driving division, DroneBase and more. The stronger my team, the stronger we become. Their strengths lift me and our team, and together we can do more.

8. Please share a recent piece of content (can be video, podcast, blog, movie, webinar) that resonated the most with you with respect to AI or your work in general?

‘The Innovator’s Checklist: 4 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Curve’ by Heidi Zak: https://www.inc.com/heidi-zak/the-innovators-checklist-4-ways-to-stay-ahead-of-curve.html

9. What is the one quote that has stayed with you throughout your professional life?

There can be no great accomplishment without risk – Neil Armstrong

For more such updates and perspectives around Digital Innovation, IoT, Data Infrastructure, AI & Cybersecurity, go to AI-Techpark.com.

Melanie Stricklan

Co-founder and CEO, Slingshot Aerospace

In 2016, Melanie Stricklan combined her military experience and indomitable spirit at Slingshot Aerospace, a leading company in situational awareness technology that applies advanced analytics and machine learning to earth and space data, empowering customers with clarity in complex environments. Today, she is the company’s Chief Executive Officer where she leads the strategic vision and growth strategy. Having proudly served in the United States Air Force for 21 years, Melanie possesses a unique blend of leadership and technical expertise that enables her to create and execute winning business and product strategies. Machine learning to earth and space data, empowering customers with clarity in complex environments. Today, she is the company’s Chief Strategy Officer where she leads the strategic vision and growth strategy. Having proudly served in the United States Air Force for 21 years, Melanie possesses a unique blend of leadership and technical expertise that enables her to create and execute winning business and product strategies.

Related posts

Interview with Dave Mariani, CTO at AtScale

AI TechPark

Interview with Bill Pearson, Vice President, Internet of Things Group, Intel

AI TechPark

Interview with Ani Chaudhuri, Co-founder & CEO at at Dasera

AI TechPark