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On December 14, 2015, Anna commented on Vail Resorts – Epic Operations :

Thanks for bringing the local perspective to this! I saw a lot about local controversy (will Vail hurt or help the Park City locals), but you definitely give a better view of how Vail tends to interact with residents!

As for ski resorts that own less of the mountain, I will be interested to watch how these smaller operations react to the EPIC pass. See comments above for details about Intrawest, Boyne Resorts and Powdr’s cooperative M.A.X. pass to try to get skiers to spend!

On December 14, 2015, Anna commented on Vail Resorts – Epic Operations :

This is a great point, I feel like Vail has a bit of an edge because of their big name resorts, however when I was researching Vail I did find this article:

It is an example of other resorts trying to do a similar thing to Epic, I assume with an eye to use the cash that they would get in a similar way. Hopefully independents would be able to band together (independent hotels are trying to band together for loyalty via a new rewards program called Stash) and offer something similar, but I’m not sure how successful this will be. It will be interesting to watch if resort consolidation continues or if independents are able to resist!

On December 12, 2015, Anna commented on Wikipedia: Here for now :

This is an interesting perspective on Wikipedia, it does seem that quality content monitoring has been the downfall of several competitors and could undo Wikipedia’s operating model if it drives away contributors. I will be curious to see how a couple of things play out:

1. If the public notices if Wikipedia implements a change in content controls – Wikipedia seems to be often trusted blindly without adding the effect of any changes due to regulations.

2. How long the public trust of Wikipedia would take to wear off if a large number of contributors have left the platform.

3. If Wikipedia is able to effectively raise capital or some other means in which to entice contributors to stay / join. Since most money comes only from donations now the alternatives that they would have to consider (such as ads?) could impact the neutrality that I believe has helped drive Wikipedia’s reputation to date.

On December 12, 2015, Anna commented on SpaceX – Lowering the Cost of Access to Space :

This was an interesting perspective on how much ownership SpaceX has taken for the commercialized space program! SpaceX has definitely achieved some impressive results in a shorter time than many government contracts run for. I would be curious to know a couple of more things about their operating model and the general environment in order to get a better feel for the company:

1. Given the young age of the staff, do they have consulting engineers who have worked with NASA and been through some of the common learning growth pains? (i.e. NASA has experienced some major issues in the past and those issues might provide SpaceX some common things to watch out for).

2. Buying components from outside vendors who have certified for use in space often means that vendors have adopted standards implemented by the government for testing the components. Does SpaceX use these same standards or have they gone through and established their top priorities that they test for? While government standards may include overkill, portions of them will have come from past experience, so I would be interested in SpaceX’s cost vs. benefit trade off for safety testing issues.

3. How would the change of government contracts from cost plus to firm fixed price change things? Given the high cost of projects over time, many defense contractors are being forced to change their bids from cost plus to making margin only if they beat their cost estimate.

On December 12, 2015, Anna commented on Emirates: Flying at its premium best :

I find the age of the fleet a very interesting aspect of the Emirates operating model that you laid out above. It will be interesting to see if that changes over time. Per Bloomberg ( many of the low cost airlines such as SouthWest tend to have older fleets, however Cathay Pacific, who also offers luxury service to Asia, has an average aircraft age of 13 years. If the age of the fleet is providing substantial enough fuel and maintenance benefits for Emirates then it seems reasonable that average aircraft age will remain similar over time despite pressure from falling oil prices, however this will be something to watch.