I’m Rick Smith, the founder and CEO of Taser (now known as Axon Enterprises). I’m on a mission to make the bullet obsolete, and I've spent my entire life trying to build alternatives to guns. AMA!
Hello Reddit! I’m Rick Smith. I’m a father, a CEO, an Arizonan, and an author. When I was in college, two of my friends were shot and killed. That experience made me start to think about nonlethal weapons and whether they could be made a reality. Years later, I worked together with a former NASA scientist to develop the Taser weapon—and from that work came a company that today is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
In the show Star Trek, the phaser weapon could be set to stun—and after my friends were killed, I started to dive deeply into the technology of weapons that could incapacitate without killing. I’ve spent my entire life trying to achieve the goal of “obsoleting the bullet,” and I think we’re closer than ever to a world in which killing is a thing of the past.
I’ve spent decades on this topic, and because the issues are so sensitive and complex, I dove a little bit deeper these past few years and wrote a book about it, called THE END OF KILLING. I think we can end the acceptability of killing in my lifetime, and as crazy as that sounds, I think it’s the crazy ideas that fire up people’s ambitions and energies.
I’m thrilled to be here and answer questions. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, so I’m happy to answer any questions about building a business, the field we work in, technology, or anything else. So feel free to fire away!
UPDATE: Thanks all! I had a blast doing this. I enjoyed the genuine back-and-forth, and I appreciate the depth and thoughtfulness of your questions. I will try to answer the questions that came in more recently, but signing off for now. Thanks again!