Book Review: NewSpace Nation
Here's a clever way to get your political tract out to the public: put it on Kindle and charge a few bucks. I say clever only to the extent that I allowed myself to be persuaded to buy it (Kindle really IS bad for impulse book buyers).
So what do you get for your $4.99 (more than I paid for the complete works of Aristotle, Plato, or the King James Bible, by the way)? Basically, you are treated to a part-philosophical (libertarian), part-economic tract that discusses the basics and virtues of "New Space" companies--that is, smaller entrepreneurial firms formed in the last 10-15 years that are not making the bulk of their money through government contracts.
This unique economic niche includes groups like the Rocket Racing League (and the companies producing their racers and engines), Zero-G Corporation, and Virgin Galactic (which is hardly "small" in the financing sense, given Sir Richard Branson's deep pockets--a point Mr. Krukin hedges by noting that defining a "NewSpace" company is sometimes more art than science).
Each section cites the company web site and other details. Essentially what you've got here is a handy marketing brochure for the private space industry, albeit a brochure that you pay for.
For people unfamiliar with the libertarian point of view, the author Jeff Krukin describes the advantages of this new upstart segment of a 50-year-old industry as follows:
- Market segmentation
- Emphasis on private customers rather than cost-plus government contracts
- Free, expanding markets / economic development
- Job creation
- The simple focus on profit rather than maintaining political support, which is an annual battle for NASA
- New resources
Perhaps now is a good time for a tract like this, given the government's increasing desire to downplay capitalism in favor of government regulation of industries. Gosh knows I'm a big fan of capitalism, and miss it more every day. However, this text is a little overpriced, given its length--430 "locations" (pages) at the font size I use--and the much lower price for much longer products on the Kindle site. Still, it's a good thing to have, if only as a reference for keeping one's message short, punchy, and to the point. A- for message, C+ for execution and price/value.