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Taking a leap out of Felix Baumgartner’s book

By Kathy Heslop

April 26, 2013 | 2 min read

If like me, you were one of the 8 million people who were captivated, watching Felix Baumgartner’s live Space Jump from 24 miles above the earth online last October, you’ll probably ‘get’ why having the opportunity to hear him speak at the Adobe Summit in London yesterday, was just un-miss able.

Yesterday’s interview went beyond purely discussing the spectacle of his sound barrier-smashing feat. Dazzled as we all had been by the contrast between the beauty of the curvature of the earth that he was relaying back to us and the implicit danger of what was about to happen, Felix revealed a fascinating five year back story to the Red Bull Stratos challenge, involving intense planning and disciplined preparations. The interviewer drew parallels to risk taking in business, but Felix drilled this down further to expose the entrepreneurialism behind the project; the convincing of partners that it was a serious operation, of trying to keep the program up to date with the latest technologies, of the mental challenges and set backs, the complex learning process and the sheer volume of teamwork. Base jumping, stratospheric or not – involves covering a lot of bases.

Of that extraordinary day in October, Felix went on to say: “We (Red Bull) owned the Internet” and amongst the records that were set that day, was the one for live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube. More people watched the Free Fall, than watched the inauguration of US President Barack Obama!

And whilst sitting in comfort and safety at Excel London yesterday morning, listening this inspiring, mind-boggling story, it struck me that the exiting takeaway has to be…

That imagination and technology make for very powerful bedmates.

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