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Product Hero: Nate Walkingshaw, CXO of Pluralsight

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Product Hero is our bi-weekly series to highlight outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Nate Walkingshaw, Chief Experience Officer at Pluralsight.

We heard numerous requests for audio to be included for a more convenient way to consume the interviews. So here it is: our first of many upcoming Product Hero podcast episodes along with a written transcript of the conversation.

Listen to the Show

Show notes:

  • Follow Nate on Twitter
  • Read Nate’s latest thoughts about product management on Medium

Product Leadership book

Enjoy what you’ve heard? Good, because there’s an entire book full of this stuff. Nate has teamed up with Martin Eriksson and Fresh Tilled Soil CEO Richard Banfield on a book that all product professionals can benefit from.

Partly out of curiosity and on the back of our own experience, they interviewed almost one hundred product leaders. Their insights and experiences will open up the conversation and take the lid off the mystery of great product leadership.

The Product Leadership book will be published by O’Reilly and on shelves in May 2017. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.

Podcast Transcript:

C. Todd: Hey, world. I am here with Nate Walkingshaw, chief experience officer of Pluralsight. Thanks for joining us on Product Hero.

Nate: Thanks, man.

C. Todd: Let’s start with your background. Tell me about your journey and how you got into product and design.

Nate: People are always surprised when I say this, but I started out as an EMT. I actually started out in emergency medicine as an EMT in Salt Lake City, Utah. I made $7.14 an hour. My foray into product was actually seeing a problem in that field. If you and I were two caregivers in an ambulance we would go on multiple calls per day. We would have to lift and lower patients on and off to an ambulance cot, over and over again. What happened is that we would have to carry this ambulance cot up and down flights of stairs. My foray into product was me inventing this track device that mounted to the bottom of an ambulance cot, so I didn’t have to carry patients up and down flights of stairs. That would reduce back injuries in EMS. I was really passionate about reducing back injuries for caregivers.

All of these products have been invented for taking care of the patient, but we just forgot about the dude who’s actually taking care of other human beings. I just watched injuries happen over and over again. It was really saddening. So I invented this thing called the DCS, the Descent Control System. Like most first products, it was a catastrophic failure, you know? The initial launch of it was very successful. I signed a five year exclusive agreement, but did no discovery work at all. I literally build a solution for me, not for we. If I called a New York City paramedic, I would have found out they don’t even take ambulance cots into Brownstone apartments. So why would they need tracks on a cot? In Florida, the water table is too high where they don’t even have basement apartments there. The Dakotas have ambient temperature where all the components and metal energy that I wanted to use wouldn’t have worked in that climate.

It was just failures all over the place. Then, the two largest cot manufacturers that were building ambulance cots at the time were so “threatened” by the product that they put out this global press release that said if anyone installs the DCS in any one of their cots it voids all cot warranty.

C. Todd: Nothing like having the global market leader tell you if you use your product it voids all the warranties.

Nate: Yeah. it was funny. At that point in time people really hammered on those companies, because I was an EMT making $7.14 an hour, and you put a global press release out. They were trying to absolutely kill this homegrown company, but actually it would turn into a cool thing. ParaMed ended up getting a lot of brand equity from all of the eyeballs watching us.

We invented the next product, Paraslide, which is a hospital evacuation slide. It got massive traction actually. The press release really sucked at the time, but then when we pivoted and evolved into more patient transport, like a hospital evacuation slide, we dominated. Absolutely dominated

C. Todd: That was really a hardware product. Now, you are at Pluralsight, which is a software product.

Nate: That’s right. Yeah.

C. Todd: Tell me a little bit about that journey from hardware. How does that influence how you work on software?

Nate: I started in hardware and it was a small startup. ParaMed ended up being pretty successful. It ended up getting sold to a Fortune 100 company, Stryker Medical. I worked in the global R&D division for EMS, which was just an unbelievable time with some really smart and talented individuals in technology at the end of the 90’s. Beginning mid to late 2000s Stryker was really starting to dip their toes into the IoT waters. That’s where kind of the hardware and software chops started at scale. When you’re in a 150 countries, you’re shipping ambulance cots all over the world with the rigger for a class two FTA regulated device.

You think about building software product today compared to when we were building physical product then and it’s kind of a yawner if you had a software failure compared to what would happen if you had a cot failure.

C. Todd: I cut my teeth as a product person in biotech company where we had a half a million dollar device that had software that ran the device. We had different versions that we ship, but they also had these consumable reagents that we would ship, as well.

If something went wrong, it was with hundreds of these instruments in the field. Somebody’s lab was freaking out from the problems.

I reflect on that experience and it helps me significantly when it comes to digital product management. When it’s software plus hardware plus chemistry, it’s way more difficult than just software.

Nate: That’s right. Whenever you add patients to it, it’s always rough. At Stryker, we were innovating around low energy Bluetooth and RFID. We really cared a lot about those two ecosystems around our ambulance cot. Then we launched Power Load there, which lifted the ambulance cot into the back of the ambulance. We made sure that the devices recognized each other to actually automate picking the cot up and loading it in the back of an ambulance. Hardcore hardware and software marriage.

A lot of electrical engineering work there. A lot of industrial design work along with electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, it was just a blast. Our test lab there is fantastic. The team is super talented – best in class group of people there.  Between ParaMed and Stryker, that’s where my chops were honed for this kind of IoT and hardware at scale products. That was an eight year gnarly run.

C. Todd: How long have you been at Pluralsight now?

Nate: I’m going on my third year. Two and half years, right now.

C. Todd: Do you miss hardware at all?

Nate: Yeah. I miss it every single day. The thing that’s crazy is that if you were to ask me where my heart really is, it actually still lives in patient care. I miss being a medic more than probably anything in the world.

C. Todd: Really?

Nate: Yeah, just because of perspective. The contextual inquiry around what’s actually occurring for people is really amazing. I’m talking personal growth as a person, like I’m a father of four sons. Right? I’m married to this amazing woman, her name is Sarah. I’ll tell you, if I had stayed in EMS I probably would be a much better parent than I am today. You know?

C. Todd: Yeah. Have you heard of assertive inquiry at all?

Nate: No. Talk to me.

C. Todd: That concept kept coming up in your “Beautiful Products, Beautiful People” workshop. I was curious if you had heard of that concept being called assertive inquiry. It’s how you assert your perspective when you have a lot of challenging personalities in a room. You frame back what somebody says. You would say “you mean this thing” and paraphrase in your own words, not theirs. Is that what you mean?

Nate: Yeah.

C. Todd: So, what you’re trying to do is assert what you think they’ve said to get clarity on it. Open up the door for any clarification. Is that what you mean, and then probably follow it up with, here’s how I look at it.

Nate: Yeah.

C. Todd: And, you assert your own take on the situation. It’s a way to by inquiry, get some alignment around what’s going on.

Nate: Yeah. I love this. In my world, we call that the art of relating.

C. Todd: Yes.

Nate: It’s the concept that everyone thinks that we live in the same world, with the same truth, and the same experiences today. When in reality, it’s your truth, your world, your experiences versus my truth, my world, and my experiences. What happens in the art of relating is that you spend as long as it takes understanding a person’s context and then you play it back to them: did I hear this or what you were trying to say is, did I understand this. Those sound like the same concept, and they both get to this point where they feel hurt. The other person actually understands, feels your presence, and then you can kind of bring them onto your side of the contextual wall. They can understand your truth, your world, and experiences. Hopefully, you can co-create something awesome from that.

C. Todd: Usually once you’ve done that you feel like there’s a quid pro quo, give and take going on with information and understanding.

Nate: That’s right. I love it.

C. Todd: Let’s circle back to Pluralsight. Tell me a bit about what are you focusing on, today, What’s the 2017 focus for you at Pluralsight?

Nate: The mission and vision of the company two years ago was democratizing professional technology learning. It’s evolved since then. Right now, the mission and the vision is closing the technology skills gap. However, the impenitence behind the democratization of professional technology learning is really the democratizing access to technology skills and learning. We know that opportunity is not equally distributed.

We really care about technology skills, the evolution of those skills, and who has access to them. You could walk in the doors of any Pluralsight office and everyone can recite the mission and the vision to you as well as know exactly where they stand and contribute to that. That’s what we’re really after. We see a huge opportunity around the technology skills gap. Two years from now, only half the technology will be relevant today. There’s tremendous opportunity to close the gap in your technology skills and develop domain expertise around them. It’s a big opportunity for Pluralsight to make a dent in the universe for businesses and for customers.

We’re B2B and B2C. For B2B we’re aimed at the CTO, and the CIO to be really meaningful in their technology strategy.

C. Todd: How do you differentiate on the consumer side with things like Codeacademy, Treehouse, Khan Academy, and others out there?

Nate: In a lot of different ways. The kind of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) you mentioned are more geared towards K-12. It’s a very academic approach to becoming a developer, both front end dev and back end dev. That’s where our user base is actually. They’re already developers and they’re pretty proficient. They might already have two years plus experience, so they aren’t trying to become a front end dev, they already are one. They’re just trying to skill up. That’s a big distinction. The other place we really differ is on the B2B platform is for a tech lead, a VP of engineering, someone in IT operations and security is the actual tools that we give you to enable your workforce.

One of those tools is an adaptive skills path. So say I’m trying to learn Angular. I want to know how much Angular I actually need, know today, and know in the future, I can login to Pluralsight, take an adaptive skills text and within five to eight minutes and 22 test questions, I’ll get an adaptive skills score. More importantly, it will actually custom build an adaptive learning path incorporating the way you learn and the content you need to close that gap.

For the technologist, the CTO for example, they’ve actually never seen an adaptive skill score for their entire technology population. Their mind is blow because they can actually stack rank all their developers for the objectives that they’re trying to hit as an organization, which is super powerful. The reason why it’s powerful is it happens with their technology teams instead of to them. Now, they can see the adaptive skill score and can actually launch a new project with people who have those same interests.

C. Todd: So as an example, say we need to develop an iOS app and noticed five of our engineers are actually scaling up on iOS right now.

Nate: That’s right.

C. Todd: Even though you’ve never released an IOS app in the past.

Nate: That’s right. It’s kind of like you’re finding the brilliance in your organization that you never knew you had. Then, on top of that really making a huge impact for the company, it’s really fun.

C. Todd: How do you measure product success at Pluralsight?

Nate: We don’t have a couple of hours to talk through all of them. I think, for the listeners out there or people reading this, the most important thing for them to know is the framework we use called Directed Discovery. In that framework, it’s human centered design. We used to be a monolithic web application and now we’re 16 bounded contexts. We have 13 teams that are cross functional and co-located. We’re really designing and building product for three primary reasons: learners, skills development leaders (SDL), which is the person that’s really responsible for these humans and scaling them up. The third one is for the other side of our marketplace, which is content creators or our experts.

Those experts are the secret sauce behind the whole product. We have almost 1500 experts that are building the content for people to learn. They are subject matter experts that are real practitioners working in companies today, building our courses, our tests, a skill pass, or part of our mentoring network. That’s massively different from everyone else we compete against. Our content is best in class and is curated. If we launch a new Angular course we might have up to 400 or so authors apply and we might light one or two in. Might.

C. Todd: Got it.

Nate: Then, we have an entire team dedicated to curation of that content as it comes through the door. Every piece of content that you experience on our platform is really thoughtfully put together. People make fun of me, because I call it the Guggenheim, but it really is, it’s like you’re curating. You’re truly curating a library based off of somebody’s hard skills.

C. Todd: So in terms of success, you’re measuring the quality of content you’re producing. How else are you measuring success of Pluralsight’s products?

Nate: We’re measuring outcomes versus outputs, that’s one of the biggest pieces. We’re not a feature factory, like we’re not just trying to deliver a bunch of things at the end of the quarter. The way we’re organized and they way we’re shipping is a big proponent of that. What I mean between outcomes versus outputs is that we might ship something at the end of the quarter, but it might take us a year or two to understand if that has the right outcome, or not. I’ll explain a little bit why.

Say we launch a new course page inside the web application with a whole series of new affordances that we haven’t ever had before. We look at the old page, the performance, and level of engagement so that every page that we release we use Hadoop and Tableau. A group of analysts tags the experience from the data layer side, so our product management, user experience, and engineering teams see how those experiences are doing in front of the user. Since the course page is so highly trafficked, they will know within 48 hours if the outcome is successful or not.

If people are actually engaged with the new experiences, we look at how long they’re spending on a piece of content, average logins per learner, and return visits. We also see how much time they’re spending on new and emerging content versus existing content. Then we also use NPS as an insane breakdown, which might seem really cliché. The way we use NPS is through a platform Native iOS, Android, or web application by persona and then also by experience.

C. Todd: When you say, by persona, does that mean that you’ve sort of categorized all of your users into one of those three personas?

Nate: Since we cannot get into the product or show everyone, we have a UI navigation on the left hand side. In the UI nav, you basically have three different products: our library, administrative tools, and content tools. If you’re a content creator, and expert, the complexity in measuring engagement is that you could be using all three different products. You could be a plan administrator, or tech lead, you could also be an author for us, and you are also a learner. You have to build that entire application experience. Completely unified across all native experiences, was well. It’s pretty complex and multidimensional. You have to have all the core API’s build behind those experiences in order to know if you are winning or not.

C. Todd: What’s the relationship between UX design and data at Pluralsight. How do you pull all of this data together?

Nate: We’re all cross functional co-located, so indirect to discovery we have what are called, PXT’s, product experience teams, so I always like to talk about kind of the chemistry or the makeup of those teams. Whenever I talk about product teams I just want you all to know that it’s product management, user experiences, and engineering. That is the base layer of a team. They’re cross functional, they’re co-located, they’re all peers, and the user breaks the tie. The super power that we’ve really added to those teams is you have content creators, so people that work in the content team, you also have psychologists, instructional design, data science, and engineering, both of those members, and then dev ops. The reason why that makeup is specifically important to us, is that you can discover and deliver all on your own. Autonomy with accountability. Like, they can deliver the entire experience as an individual team completely to production.

C. Todd: How often do you deploy to production?

Nate: October is top of mind, I don’t know why. October 2016 we had 428 commits, including one team that had 72 commits in 30 days. It’s continuous deployment, continuous delivery.

C. Todd: There’s no deploy date?

Nate: No.

C. Todd: No two weeks sprint, let’s deploy after two weeks.

Nate: No, way.

C. Todd: It just goes when it’s done?

Nate: Yeah it’s crazy. We always like to run. The people who are in sprint hell right now, there’s two vertical columns over 30 days and that’s it. That has to be pretty painful.

C. Todd: Talk to me about product roadmapping and what role does that play at Pluralsight, if at all?

Nate: I always have to give Janna Bastow at ProdPad a huge shout out here. She’s really wrapped terminology around current, near term, and future. That’s the way we speak to it. We did put arbitrary dates around it. We did put windows of time around it. We didn’t get out of that little mousetrap, so current is within 30 days. Near term is a quarter and future is six months plus. It’s not a date.

C. Todd: It is a time window.

Nate: There is a time frame in there. People always grin whenever I say that. They’re like “oh that sounds really interesting.”

C. Todd: It’s funny because I’m writing a book on this. I hear lots of different people tell stories and give opinions. Of course I have my own and so do my coauthors. What I want to understand from you is how this works at Pluralsight. Why do you put things in the now, next, and later buckets? Why do you establish the timeframe of 30 days, a quarter, and six months?

Nate: The thing we cannot avoid, I’m going to speak for myself, for doing this for the last two decades, you cannot avoid product market fit. You cannot avoid it. The thing is when you’re building a product, like I am for profit, you’re engineered to build a product to make and generate revenue. You have a go to market team, whether that’s just the transactional side of your website, you’re doing PPC, using a salesforce with sales reps in the field.

That model I just described, that I want to have in people’s minds, is how Atlassian and Salesforce work. Atlassian is a product driven company where they don’t have any field sales reps, their field sales team internally is very small. Everything is build off of a land and expand strategy with their product. Whereas Salesforce actually has both, they have a transactional team at the bottom.

Whereas small and emerging companies are really transactional within their product, but their enterprise solution has field sales and a whole inside team supporting it. The reason why I stress timeframes is for product market fit. Depending on how you’re organized, you need to create transparency and clarity about what your product market fit is. Product people will relate to this conversation, but others in the company say we’re selling futures.

Don’t give a roadmap, they’ll sell ahead. Look, the problem is so much more systemic than a roadmap.

It literally is a philosophical approach on how you decide to keep your go to market team in the loop with you. If they understood discovery, and delivery, you wouldn’t have a team selling futures, because they would understand iterative development.

C. Todd: This is great.

Nate: It’s because I’ve got a ton of passion around it.

C. Todd: It’s great, part of the reason why I think I wanted to write that book was, one, I made all those mistakes.

I wanted to write the book that I needed when I was a product manager many years ago, but, also I think a lot of the way product people work is actually hurting them.

I just talked to someone who was in your workshop. He explained what he was doing, that he thought it was hurting the business by running around to create an artifact. It wasn’t doing them any good.

I asked him to give me a percentage of what they were hitting on their roadmap. He’s like well, we’re hitting maybe 20%.

Nate: Whoa.

C. Todd: I was like, holy crap, like your 20% right, and 80% wrong.

Nate: Yeah. It’s just opposite for us.

C. Todd: Why are you doing that?

Nate: I mean, we set our goals as a team. I have no issues. Our team will hit 80% of whatever they set ahead of them, but it’s set by them, I don’t set those goals.

C. Todd: Right.

Nate: Their VP’s don’t set those goals. Their managers don’t set those goals. They set them as a team. They create their current, near term, and future. 80% of the time they deliver, but that really is a philosophical approach, they’re so close to the customer. They see customer relation, and they have their go to market team really close with them, as well. So, their go to market team understands what iterative development looks like. They’ve granted them a ton of trust in being able to show them what happens, because they know that team is not going to sell futures on it.

But, what is the future? That’s the issue man. You’ve got to stop the bad behavior.

C. Todd: I talked to another guy who works just down the road in the medical device space. They sell to a lot of hospitals. He said the funny thing about their roadmap is they put time windows on it – when things were going to start being worked on, when things were going to be release. However, he said everyone knows those windows are all wrong.

Everyone there is okay with the dates being moved, but they just need to see something that says we’re going to start working on a feature in Q2, even if they don’t start working on it until Q4. The fact that a feature is on there reduces anxiety. For him, the roadmap is nothing but an anxiety reduction tool.

Nate: Yeah. It’s just a visual representation of what’s kind of working for others.

C. Todd: Both internal and external people make the roadmap, don’t share it publically. They do share it with any customer. A lot of customers are wanting to know what’s coming so they can prepare for it since they have large enterprise systems. It’s all about anxiety reduction, nothing to do with what’s actually being developed.

Nate: Yeah. It’s funny, man, I’ve got lots of great stories about that. Sitting on the executive team, we had somewhat of an overhaul with new folks joining our team from other companies. We got some Oracle and SAP folks. The first questions they asked when they walked in the door was to see the roadmap. I responded that actually roadmaps to me, just for context, they have always been output based.

That’s the main reason for not wanting to have a roadmap, because it literally is just showing an output, not an outcome. I think the best evolution of a roadmap could actually show the outcome, the retention curves, and increased engagement. That’s really where I think we’re headed. Our roadmap really is more of an outcome driven ecosystem of we’re going to create this thing and this is what we hope to gain from it.

It’s not about shipping the latest version of something, it’s about retaining or increasing unit economics based off the user base. That’s really the heart of it.

C. Todd: The outcome versus output discussion is something that we address in the book as well. We are very much proponents of the outcome based roadmap. Rather than output based. The idea of let’s output these features, and we’re shipping this product, that’s the output doesn’t really help. Thinking about these things through the lens of the outcome. That’s what we’re trying to target and roadmap. Don’t roadmap the features that actually lead to the outcome.

Nate: I know we need to move on, but that last piece is what I feel that product managers are starting to realize that. Technology organizations are waking up to that. The majority of conversations going on amongst executive team members or boards don’t have that concept baked in yet.

C. Todd: Let’s talk some more about your history. We’ve all made mistakes in learning things. Tell us a story about a time you screwed up as a product manager.

Nate: That’s all the time. I started off with a catastrophic failure around the DCS. I raised money, bootstrapped almost all of that and when we were ready to go into product, I decided to raise capital. There were a lot of angel investors who told me they could trust me, but I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was just young and naïve. I didn’t understand discovery work at all. I cleaned up a lot of that mess. I think that’s the mess you deal with now, especially at bigger organizations. That scaling kills everything. Learning how to build a product for scale is a honed craft. I got taught a lesson every other week about building products for scale. I feel like I’ve build a lot of products for scale that are out there. But seriously, it’s like a moving target between product market fit and being in a growth tech company. It’s really challenging for me. My current challenges are all around the ability to scale my leaders, those teams, and growing an organization at the same time. That’s been the really fun part and challenging part of my career today.

C. Todd: You’re writing a book on product leadership by talking to a lot of different product people and your own experiences. Reflecting on that, what’s missing from the product management conversation today?

Nate: I’ll tell you things that I still see. Like, bad behavior. I still see a lot of product management wanting to own the direction of how something is build. There’s been tons of writing proclaiming that they are the CEO of the product. It’s just super frustrating. I still see the behavior quite a bit. People have to understand that this group of people working on products: product managers, user experiences, engineers, they’re all peers. The second thing that’s missing is that the user breaks the tie here. Your confirmation bias is really what is causing the biggest challenge for product management today. I know that we’ve written and talked about it, but it’s in every company that I walk into.

The reason why is because we’re hiring a ton of people. When we hire a lot of product managers they’re coming in from different companies. I’m telling you right now, the first thing they do is detox. Seriously. For six straight weeks. From working from a waterfall product development methodology, they’ve done Scrum and Sprints, they’ve done Agile in all different forms in whatever consultancy taught them. It’s really a challenge, man. It’s really, really difficult.

C. Todd: One of the questions some of my students as me is what skill do I work on? My answer is usually two things: one, learn how to ask questions, and then two, learn to unlearn. How do you actually detox and unlearn? I learned how to do something that works elsewhere, I need to unlearn that to do it a new way. The ability to unlearn is pretty hard.

Nate: I think you’re hitting it on the head. The thing that’s really present for me is the ability to be a piece of clay and be molded. Really understanding what you should be, communicate, how to communicate across teams. That’s the other thing we don’t talk about: how to communicate up, across, and down an organization. You are the person that has to communicate through all three of those verticals.

Have a super loose relationship with yourself. People take themselves so seriously. They get really wound up around their roll and  the title of their job. Just let it go and have a really loose relationship with yourself.

C. Todd: Talk to me about products that you admire. You can’t say anything you’ve worked on in the past.

Nate: You’re going to be like “Nate, that’s weak.” But, people don’t really understand the inception behind  Tesla. What’s really occurring for them has nothing to do with their cars. It has everything to do with their software. It has everything to do with what they’re doing with machine learning, the data science behind it to map the world with a vehicle. It’s so many layers deep, so deep.

Amazing will have to pay me something for this, but their drone network is awesome. I have a hunch, but no clue if this will be true. If you can imagine that Tesla is doing mapping, their mission and vision is incredible around electric vehicles, but their platform behind that for all other vehicles is going to put them in a really unfair advantage for anyone who wants to compete, right?

The outcome is not only for a better planet, but safety for human beings. They’re going to make a ton of money off of it. I have a hunch about Amazon’s drones. We’ve always thought about autonomous vehicles, but we can’t just make the leap to flying. We cannot put a human being in a flying vehicle and call it good. If you think about it deeply, 10,000 feet and below they have a delivery drone network that’s B2B and B2C. If you think about Tesla and Amazon, you’re going to map all part of the air 10,000 feet and below.

C. Todd: Yeah.

Nate: You see where I’m heading here?

C. Todd: Exactly. I had a conversation with, this may validate what you’re thinking about, about five or six years ago I was at the TED Conference. I sat next to the head of NASA-Langley, he was their head of strategy, and I just asked, what are you working on? What’s NASA doing these days? What’s really cool about it? He’s like, hey, something we’re trying to cook up is we’re trying to think about personal vehicles, like personal flight vehicles.

They were looking to take their research done on energy, and how that would work on Mars and apply it to personal vehicles where you can actually fly cars, basically.

Nate: Yeah.

C. Todd: He said, think about it, as the FAA changes their-

Nate: Regulation.

C. Todd: Regulation in terms of right now-

Nate: The flight ceiling.

C. Todd: The flight ceilings, they’re all from the 1960s. There’s only a certain number of flights that can be done.

Nate: I think private is like 10,000 feet below.

C. Todd: Yeah. He talked about the FAA opening it up because they’re been working on this for decades. How can they actually create more flight lanes for different types and sizes of vehicles. He thought this would be a really interesting challenge for NASA to apply to some of their technology too.

Think about that for one second. Wait, this actually means we don’t need bridges anymore?!

Nate: That’s right.

C. Todd: This mean there are so many changes to how we actually function as a society. You talked about Tesla mapping roads, well what if you don’t need roads anymore?

Nate: That’s why I’m really amped on it. The thing I like about it most is shipping lanes. If you’re mapping B2B and B2C, they’re going to run shipping lane traffic for say 10 years. I mean, like ambient temperature, high temp, high humidity, low temp, low humidity, headwinds and all this concurrent data to different people’s’ residences and businesses. If that’s the blueprint or the framework you need to start testing flights on, the barrier to entry is a lot lower. It makes the bridge for us getting way off of fossil fuels like instantaneously.

Thinking about how much quicker you could get somewhere because you can fly. I really, really like the idea.

C. Todd: Very cool. Nate, thank you for hanging out and talking with us in the Product Hero. We’ll see you next time.

Nate: Yeah, man. Thanks so much.

Author C. Todd Lombardo

C. Todd brings his vast experience in design, innovation, and strategic thinking to craft smart, impactful solutions that radically transform our clients’ business strategies.

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