Many of us have dreamed of using a jetpack but only a few people have actually built one. Glenn Martin is one of these people. For over 30 years Martin pursued his dream of revolutionising human transport. Starting in his garage in 1981, he finally created the world’s first practical jetpack. He’ll be sharing his journey, and the lessons he learned along the way at the upcoming Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. Book your free ticket here.
1. First of all we have to ask, what does it actually feel like to use a Jetpack?
Flying a Jetpack, is absolutely great fun. The Jetpack is behind the pilot so you do not see or feel it, it is the closest thing I have experienced to the dream we all have had of floating in space. I am not alone in this almost everyone from children to a grandmother from Wisconsin all say it is the best feeling. One Harrier Jump jet pilot even commented “that is better than flying a Harrier” .
2. Can you share with us your vision for the Jetpack? How do you see jetpacks impacting the way we live?
I have always seen the Jetpack as the most useful and fun “all-terrain vehicle” like a jet ski or a motorbike for the skies. In addition, I now see that it will be seriously useful for search and rescue, fire and medical responders as well.
3. A lot of people say, “You should follow your passion” but it doesn’t always eventuate into a viable career or business. As someone who has done this successfully, what would be your advice to people trying to turn their passion into a business?
You have to first put a roof over your head and pay the bills, I think the long list of successful people who say, “Follow your passion” ONCE they are successful, without explaining HOW to get there do a disservice to our young passionate people. That is why I am trying to share my story. I have had time to look back and say, “Why did I manage to achieve my dream day job? Was it good luck or is there a process that people can use ?” There is a process, there are “take home lessons” that people can use. I have now been mentoring a few of the next generation and these ideas seem to be working.
4. You have been working on the Martin Jetpack since 1981. Developing the Jetpack has been a long process – was there ever a point where you felt tempted to give in? How did you stay motivated when challenges arose?
I nearly threw it in dozens of times, but like all passions, it gets under your skin and I always came back on task within a couple of days. Having a 110% supportive wife and friends around you is absolutely necessary. Surround yourself with a support network of people whom you respect.
5. What, if anything, would you do differently if you started all over again?
Write an app in a week and sell it to Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollar…No seriously there are many things I would do differently, too many to write here, but I will list a few at the talk.
6. A lot of entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas get dismissed at first. When you first expressed your idea to develop a Jetpack – how did people react? What techniques do you use to overcome scepticism and fear?
Firstly I am a sceptic myself, so I always worked out the best answer to the doubters beforehand. Secondly I kept the project secret for 27 years.
7. What advice would you give to anyone with an idea as innovative as yours?
Nothing is impossible, it can be done, if I can start in a garage with $20 and build a Jetpack then you can too, there are a few tricks that will help, but determination can and does conquer all obstacles.
8. What do the next 6-12 months look like for you?
I want to help people realise their dreams, even if it is only “learn from my mistakes” it will be helpful. I love aviation and am flying in my little plane as much as I can. Finally, I have some “new ideas” that I am working on in my “garage”.
9. Can you give us some insight into what you’ll be sharing at the Unconvention?
Lessons learned, and a few strategies and tricks. People like simple answers “the Wright brothers succeeded where everyone else failed because they were geniuses”. That is not true, they succeeded because they had a method, a simple process that when you analyse it almost every successful developer uses, even if they do not know that they do.
I have read dozens of biographies and the Wright brothers dairies and pulled out six key strategies that I followed to make the Jetpack product/business fly. I am introducing these at the Unconvention.
Glenn Martin will be speaking about his journey at the upcoming Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention on the following dates:
– Adelaide: August 22nd
– Brisbane: August 29th
– Sydney: September 5th
– Perth: September 12th
– Melbourne: September 19th
Don’t forget to follow Glenn Martin on Facebook to stay up to date on everything he is doing.