Up the Stack: Kevin Weil on leading product at Planet, Earth observation, going public, and Ukraine


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On this week's episode of the Pathfinder podcast, Ryan sits down with Kevin Weil, president of product and business at Planet ($PL), a ~$1.3B Earth-imaging company based in San Francisco.

Kevin joined Planet last April to accelerate software and data product development (or help the company move “up the stack”). Before he worked in commercial space, Kevin held leadership roles at Silicon Valley mainstays that have become household names, like Twitter and Instagram. He managed products with hundreds of millions of daily active users.

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Sneak peek of our conversation

  • Kevin’s journey from studying particle physics to Silicon Valley startups and quickly shipping code
  • Twitter’s leadership taking a chance on Kevin and how he grew with the company from 2009 to 2016
  • Working at an autonomous Instagram and eventually cofounding Meta’s cryptocurrency project
  • What convinced Kevin to jump ship to the new space industry?
  • How much of Kevin’s experience was transferable from the consumer social world to product at Planet?
  • Selling to governments vs. commercial users
  • The “one-to-many” model and what Planet does differently than competitors
  • Going public via SPAC and the pressures of being publicly traded
  • “Our growth is accelerating” and “we have a proven business model”
  • Acquiring VanderSat and launching Planetary Variables
  • Planet imagery shaping the general public’s understanding of the Ukraine war
  • “Bringing transparency is a massive positive, even if sometimes that means you capture some of the bad things that happen in the world.”
  • How does Planet prevent abuse or misuse of its data and imagery?
  • What does Kevin wish he could change overnight in the EO industry?

Helpful links-

Kevin's Twitter handle: twitter.com/kevinweil

Check out Planet’s Snapshots newsletter: learn.planet.com/Snapshots_newsletter_Subscription.html

Via Planet CEO Will Marshall, announcing Kevin's hiring last March - planet.com/pulse/preparing-to-scale-planet-welcomes-kevin-weil-as-president-product-and-business/ - "It’s a delight that our business increasingly looks like that of a software company, with product features driven by software advances that deliver value on top of our satellite data. As Planet accelerates as a data and analytics company, we’re bringing on top Silicon Valley software talent to add to Planet’s team. Which brings me to Kevin.

Kevin is a proven leader with a track record of leading software and data product organizations through hyper-growth, and delivering market-making customer solutions — a mindset and body of experience that aligns perfectly with Planet’s high-growth business objectives.

Kevin has built and scaled teams and products at the world’s fastest growing and most consequential companies. Kevin was one of Twitter’s first 50 employees and ultimately became its SVP of Product, leading its consumer, developer, and monetization products as the company went public and scaled to over $2bn in revenue."


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18 episodes