#17: Making the World Smaller Through Supersonic Planes w/ Norris Tie, Co-Founder and CEO of Exosonic, Inc.

Hello! I’m Julian and I’m a Gen Z entrepreneur, software engineer, and podcaster. I am the fusion of an ambitious entrepreneur, a tech whiz, a futurist, a productivity aficionado, and a self-improvement junkie.
I am currently a Software Engineer at Facebook and the Co-Founder & CTO at a startup named Vize. Previously, I have interned with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goldman Sachs. Learn about me at www.julianalvarez.me

Are we going to be satisfied with the status quo forever and suffer through twelve plus hour flights forever? No, someone has to do something that will make transportation even more convenient and open up the world even more.

– Norris Tie

Since childhood, Norris was passionate about making the world feel smaller through faster transportation. After studying aerospace engineering at UCLA, he worked in the aerospace industry as a propulsion engineer for three years on vehicles that break the sound barrier. At Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, he realized low-boom supersonic travel was the future.

As in, what if you could travel at supersonic speeds that are 2 or 3 times faster than the average plane? When a 12-hour flight prevented Norris from flying to Asia to visit his grandparents, he knew in high school that he wanted to be a change-maker for improving cross-pacific relationships. Leading this bold mission, Norris Tie is the Co-Founder and CEO of Exosonic, Inc., a startup that is building commercial supersonic planes.

You don’t need to be anyone special or extremely gifted to dream big and to continue chasing that dream as you get older.”

– Norris Tie

💬 Discussed in this episode…

● [03:04] Norris’s story, background on the aviation industry, & insane leap to entrepreneurship
● [07:05] The moment Norris decided to start a company
● [08:42] Why he thought so boldly in highschool
● [10:16] How Norris dealt with naysayers who doubted in his bold mission
● [11:30] About Exosonic and the product they’re building
● [13:02] Their approach for building a high-end aircraft model first
● [15:45] The challenge of investors focusing on Enterprise SAS over hardware startups
● [16:50] Barriers Norris faces and how he overcomes them
● [18:38] How Norris feels about his dream requiring 10+ years to fulfill
● [20:56] A valuable mindset helped Norris get through insurmountable challenges
● [22:48] What success means to Norris
● [23:37] What failure means to Norris
● [24:59] How Norris finds and hires good talent
● [27:42] Norris’s approach to networking
● [29:39] The one concept Norris would teach young entrepreneurs
● [31:44] What impact Norris wants to have in the invention of the future


What PROBLEMS is Exosonic solving?

In the past 50 years, the speed of commercial airplanes has not gotten faster. Have you ever not traveled somewhere due to how long the flight is? Moreover, the cost of a flight increases the longer the flight is due to heightened labor costs to staff the aircrafts, employ the aviators, and feed the passengers.

Despite our planet being massive, flying has shrunk it by allowing us to travel at speeds of 460-575 miles per hour. Within 24 hours, you can reach the other side of the globe. Imagine the further worldview expansion and economic prosperity we could achieve from shorter flights. Businesses could collaborate more easily and traveling could be more accessible to the masses. When distance is not a barrier, valuable relationships are formed and intangible connections are deepened.

🛠️ What is Exosonic’s SOLUTION?

A quiet supersonic airliner that is 2.5-3x faster than traditional places. Their plane is set to enter service in the mid 2030s time frame.

Their aircraft is currently projected to carry up to 70 passengers and fly from Los Angeles or San Francisco to London in 6 hours or so. Although these seats will cost business class prices upfront, they will increasingly become more affordable over time.

To fund their R&D costs, they have acquired partnerships with the US government and its Air Force. For the future, they will evolve these into multi million dollar military defense contracts for a more stable resource flow.

“I knew that we weren’t going to fly at subsonic speeds forever so I thought, why don’t I do something about it? Why don’t I make a difference and try to do something about it by figuring out a way to move people around the world faster?”

– Norris Tie

Exosonic’s mission is to “to make the world smaller through faster transportation and we want to make it affordable.”

They are envisioning a future where we can get around the world instantaneously. A world would exist where distance is no longer a barrier to close relationships. Without distance being a problem, people would be able to express more of their humanity to each other.

💣 4 Value Bombs

💥 1.Naval Ravikant says there are three important things needed to succeed in your startup. 1. Make sure you’re working on the right thing. 2. Make sure you’re working with the right people. 3. Work really hard. All of these 3 components are like legs on a stool. Without one of the legs, your startup will collapse and fail.
💥 2. Maintain the dreams you had in high school. When you’re a teenager, you’re unencumbered by artificial limitations put on you through experiences and hearing about others. As you learn more, rather than letting the knowledge about the problem and challenges discredit your dreams, let it inform them.
💥 3. You don’t need to be extraordinary in your ability because everyone starts off with a beginner’s mindset. By being extraordinary in the way that you think and taking action, you are able to close the gap between where you are and your greatest aspirations. People will be skeptical, which makes it important to find advocates of your mission and extract energy from them in addition to your own self-confidence and belief. No one understands the problem like you do. Turn that criticism into another thing you can improve on your solution later on.
💥 4. For an audacious dream, it’s important to have incremental steps. It’s foolhardy to believe someone can pull this off, but it’s even riskier to expect billions of dollars of investment capital over time. Instead, use a stepping stone approach with a smaller product that you can sell and show to investors, customers, suppliers, etc. Always consider your company and the competition of other companies within or outside your category.

📚 People & Resources Mentioned 

● US Air Force
● Lockheed Martin
Naval Ravikant’s podcast

📱 Socials

Norris Tie’s’s Twitter
● Exosonic, Inc.’s Twitter
Exosonic, Inc.’s Linkedin
Exosonic, Inc.’s Website
Exosonic, Inc.’s Instagram

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