Outsiders Make the World Move with Rory San Miguel, CEO of Propeller Aero


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There’s a general tendency for people to desire to fit in — to want to be on the inside of systems and institutions. The drive to be in the in-crowd or on the team is so embedded in the socialization process that the idea of being an outsider often becomes associated with something undesirable. But many times people who come into a situation with an outsider perspective see things more clearly and can come up with alternative solutions to problems. That was the case for Rory San Miguel, the CEO of Propeller Aero, whose outsider perspective led to innovation in the construction and surveying industries.

Main Takeaways

  • Outsiders Can See Solutions: Maybe being an insider isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, there are VIP perks, but there is also the myopic vision that can develop from spending too much time on the inside.There’s a greater scope of vision when looking in from a distance. An outsider perspective is also an advantage because there’s less to lose and more to gain.
  • An Adaptable Construction Industry: Oftentimes, construction is unfairly categorized as an industry that is resistant to change. The truth is that the construction industry is pretty adaptable to new technologies. The construction business is about building tangible things and the margins really matter. It’s ready and willing to adapt to any technology that helps in getting the work done and that’s good for the bottom line too.
  • A Frisbee and a Pizza Box: There’s a lesson to be learned from being willing to walk down a path with a spirit of openness and see where it leads. At the beginning stages, Propeller Aero knew its passion without having a clear sense of application. As doors were cracked open by customers showing the way, Propeller, led by its founders, walked through the door into the surveying industry. A Frisbee and then a pizza box were outside of the box influences toward innovation. Propeller Aero shows that it’s good to think outside the box and, in fact, maybe use a pizza box as a prototype to solve a complex problem.
  • Loyalty in Both Directions: Customers that believe in a business and give multiple chances to deliver can provide that runway innovators need to uncover a solution. On the other hand, companies should be loyal to their customer base. There can be a tendency to want to expand to other industries and go wide rather than deep. Really, loyalty between businesses and customers is all about valuing relationships and deepening them over time.

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