Joe Morrison becomes Umbra’s VP of Commercial Product

Umbra Appoints Joe Morrison as VP of Commercial Product to Transform the Satellite Imagery Business Model

Joe Morrison recently joined Umbra’s product team, and in recognition of his leadership has been promoted to Vice President of Commercial Product. Joe is one of the most public advocates for the value of commercial remote sensing and has been a customer of satellite imagery for half a decade. He is an outspoken critic of the procurement and business processes implemented by incumbent commercial satellite imagery providers.

On Joe’s newsletter, blog, and Twitter account, he regularly comments on the state of mapping technology and the geospatial intelligence market. His essays are read by tens of thousands of readers each month all over the world.

In one of his most popular and controversial essays, The Commercial Satellite Imagery Business Model is Broken, Joe unapologetically criticized commercial satellite imagery providers. Many satellite providers share the same frustrations about selling their own data. As a satellite provider, when supply is limited over a high demand area, the common approach is to increase the price of the data and offer paid priority access to generate more revenue and improve unit economics. Such an approach necessitates complex contracts and strict licensing to maintain control over the data and preserve as much of its proprietary value as possible.

This business model works well for the data providers, but not for many of their customers. It favors larger, high-paying customers over smaller, innovative customers. Still, following this playbook, data providers have been able to generate billions of dollars in revenue.

At Umbra, we believe the structural supply/demand curve can be solved with technology. Umbra’s technological approach and space system design allow us to offer more data over high demand areas, eliminating the need for complex licensing, priority access or regional exclusivity. Umbra’s cost advantage and design approach allow us to launch spacecraft to quickly increase supply, fill customer demand, and to keep data prices stable to spur innovation and ultimately create new commercial markets.

Umbra is genuinely committed to making a thriving commercial Earth observation industry possible, by implementing the following three policies:

  • Transparent, self-service scheduling and tasking
  • Permissive licensing
  • Clear universal pricing

We believe this is the business model of the future for satellite operators. By removing as much friction as possible from the sales process, and not competing with our customers by selling in-house analytics and services, we are confident we can unlock new markets for Earth observation data that have been stifled by the old way of doing things.

In his new role, Joe is responsible for Umbra’s customer and partner experience. Like Joe, all of Umbra is committed to customer obsession and growing the industry in the long term. If you want to help us revolutionize the Earth observation industry, please reach out directly at