The View From The Great Plains

Photo by Alper Ergin

In this third segment of Stories of the Drone, we travel to the Great Plains, to the town of Mandan, North Dakota to talk with Marlo Anderson.  Marlo, also known as the “Guru of Geek”, is the host of the Tech Ranch, a weekly radio program featuring technology for everyday use. He is also co-founder of Zoovio, Inc., Awesome 2 Products and NationalDayCalendar.com.

Marlo is actively involved in promoting unmanned and robotics technology in North Dakota. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Marlo talks about his Tech Ranch radio show, how drones are viewed in the Great Plains, the origin of 1 Million Cups and its impact on the drone industry, the efforts to create an Autonomous Friendly Corridor and his latest venture, the National Day Calandar.  We’ll also talk a little about Drone Focus 2017 which begins on May 31st, which coincidently is also marked as National Autonomous Vehicle Day.

In This Episode

  • Introduction. Marlo Anderson is the host of the Tech Ranch, a weekly radio program featuring technology for everyday use. He is also co-founder of Zoovio, Inc., Awesome 2 Products and NationalDayCalendar.com.
  • The Tech Ranch. Marlo introduces us to the Tech Ranch, a weekly radio show about technology. Marlo has featured drones in some of his broadcasts, informing the public of their use, requirements and safety considerations. He recently covered the Drone Rodeo, a unique event held in Las Vegas, Nevada before the CES show to highlight drones. The event features unique hardware and drone demos, product launches and interactive flight sessions. At this year’s event, Marlo met up with Marque Cornblatt and the Aerial Sports League.
  • Great Plains Drone Culture. Marlo lives in Mandan, North Dakota, near Bismarck. While drone use is rising across the country, the local drone culture is relatively small. One has to go to Fargo, 200 miles to the east to begin seeing signs of a growing and vibrant drone industry. In the eastern end of the state, it is not uncommon to see futuristic drones flying overhead.
  • One Million Cups. Marlo talks about how One Million Cups came to North Dakota and since, has seen Fargo become one of the most successful One Million Cups in the country. One Million Cups provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap into the collective power of the local community. Marlo talks about one early start up company, Botlink, which presented at a One Million Cups meeting and ended up receiving $500,000 in start up funding.
  • Autonomous Friendly Corridor. Marlo briefs us on the efforts to designate Highway 83 from Texas to North Dakota as an Autonomous Friendly Corridor. If designated, the corridor would be used for testing new technologies to promote the use of autonomous vehicles on the nation’s highways.
  • Drone Focus. For the past two years, Emerging Prairie in Fargo has hosted Drone Focus, a 2-day conference for drone companies and policy makers. In the first year, Drone Focus attracted about 130 people. The second year, attendance hit more than 300 people and this year’s event on May 31st is expected to attract more than 500 people. Marlo shares his perceptions of Drone Focus and the benefits derived by those who attend.
  • National Day Calendar. A few years ago, Marlo founded a company to celebrate special days on the calendar. The idea took and today, National Day Calendar is a full-time business. The company receives more than 18,000 requests for days to be designated, from which, they select about 30 days annually to add to the calendar.
  • Entrepreneurial Lessons. When asked what is the single most important characteristic an entrepreneur should possess to build a successful business, Marlo responds with “Persistence”. Entrepreneurs need to be committed to their vision and stick with it through the ups and downs of starting a business.
  • Personal Delivery Drones. Marlo sees a future boom in personal delivery drones. Rather than Amazon investing and managing over 1 million drones to make deliveries, he feels every household will have their own drone that will be used to travel to the Amazon fulfillment center, pick up a pizza, stop off or milk, etc. He sees the possibility of rising consumer drone market.
  • Closing

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