Employee Spotlight: Meet Idris Habbassi – Head of Product & Strategy, Space Services

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Idris Habbassi

What’s your role?

As Head of Product & Strategy, I drive the product roadmap and go-to-market strategy of Spire Space Services to allow organizations to deploy new applications in space to solve environmental, social, and business challenges on Earth.

Over the last decade, Spire has built the world’s largest multipurpose satellite constellation to collect data and insights about Earth, its oceans, and atmosphere. At Space Services, we leverage this infrastructure and experience to help customers deploy their own innovative applications — be it new sensors, technologies, or software — in space, at maximum speed with minimum risk.

Describe your journey to Spire.

I started this exciting journey at Spire one year ago, just before Spire went public. I was thrilled when our COO Theresa Condor and Co-founder Joel Spark entrusted me with the mission of building and leading the product roadmap and go-to-market strategy of Space Services. It motivates me that I get to work every day with passionate and talented teams who are pioneers in the space industry. With the rise of the NewSpace era, powered by lower launch costs and exponential technology evolution, a new generation of entrepreneurs are entering the space race to address challenges on Earth and create new business opportunities — now is a very special and unique period to be working in the Space sector.

My first months starting this new role in a nascent and rapidly evolving market were very much like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. I had to quickly get a good understanding of the market needs, competitive landscape, and internal capabilities to focus on the right thing. Driven by Joel and Theresa’s vision, and with the amazing support of the engineering, marketing and sales teams, we defined strategic moves that leverage and strengthen Spire’s competitive advantage. We identified target anchor customers and rapidly iterated on the proposed roadmap. I am very proud of the progress made by our team in the last twelve months. Early this year, Northstar Earth & Space selected our services to deploy the first three satellites of its Space Situational Awareness constellation. It was an exciting milestone and strong validation from the market that we are moving in the right direction and, spoiler alert, this is just the beginning for Space Services.

What Spire value do you relate to the most?

One of Spire’s values that I resonate with the most is “Unbounded – thinking freely, and acting boldly.” I am a natural optimist and a firm believer that with an open mind, some creativity, and the will to act, most problems can be overcome. This value is particularly relevant nowadays for Spire and any organization, as the world is changing at an accelerating pace and facing unprecedented challenges.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I am the lucky dad of two young kids, a five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. They both keep my wife and I quite busy outside of work. At this age, everyday is a new adventure, and I enjoy taking every opportunity to amaze them. My favorite thing at the moment is to go on a family walk in the Luxembourg forest, collect sharp rocks with my kids, and let them believe they are fossils of dinosaurs that used to live there millions of years ago.

Apart from that, I also love traveling, exploring the natural world, and running. After completing the Paris-Versailles and the Paris Half-Marathon last October, I am now training for my next challenge: The SaintéLyon, a 78 kilometers (about 49 miles) night trail between the cities of Saint-Étienne and Lyon, with the freshness of December’s nights. But let’s be honest, I still have a long way to go to get there.

What’s something unique about you that most people don’t know?

A not so unique but fun (and slightly geeky) one is that I am a superfast Tetris player. I am in the Top 100 leaderboard of modern Ultra Tetris, the world’s highest score ranking in three minutes sprint mode, and #1 in Luxembourg. As a kid, I played classic Tetris with my mother on the original Nintendo gameboy, the old grey one, and I now play modern Tetris on mobile in competition — yes, that exists.

Tetris is the kind of game that is “easy to learn and difficult to master.” It requires you to creatively stack blocks and make quick decisions to clear lines as the game accelerates. Regardless of how good you get at Tetris, you will always get unexpected pieces and make mistakes.

What inspires you most about the work you do every day?

Climate change, resource depletion, and biodiversity degradation, as a direct result of human activity on Earth, are affecting the lives of billions of people around the world and are a major threat to human wellbeing and to the planet’s health. The opportunity to tackle these challenges is now and involves everyone — governments, the private sector, and civil society — working together to define a climate-resilient and sustainable future. I believe that space has a major role to play in the solution by bringing new tools and technologies to improve humanity’s safety and security.

At Spire, we leverage the ultimate vantage point of space to solve problems on Earth. We collect data and insights that help governments and organizations make critical, sometimes life-saving decisions. Our data are, for example, used to improve weather prediction accuracy by NOAA and EUMETSAT, which in turn informs farmers on planting, harvesting, or saving their crops from frost damage due to extreme weather events.

With Space Services, Spire is fueling innovation in space by partnering with the next wave of space entrepreneurs and accelerating the deployment of new space applications that directly address sustainability challenges, such as wildfire prevention, greenhouse gas emissions monitoring, and ecosystem monitoring. “What gets measured, gets improved.” That vision of space as “a force for good” is what inspires me every day.

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