Thank you for your questions, Aravind!
1) Blue Origin is doing a terrific job. However, I don’t see it is a threat for SpaceX today. Blue Origin is mainly working on suborbital spaceflights. They want to have its vehicle – the New Shepard – ready as soon as possible to fly space tourists. Nonetheless, it is true that they are also working on orbital rockets. United Launch Alliance has contracted the company of Jeff Bezos to build an engine for its largest rocket in development, the Vulcan. Looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.
2) SpaceX plans to conduct manned flight in 2017. NASA will allow private companies to do so. In fact, the agency has a program for that – Commercial Crew Development – which is financing the Dragon V2, the manned spacecraft of SpaceX.
3) According to conversations I have had with employees, they undertake extensive and intensive testing to qualify parts sourced from other companies or built in-house. Unfortunately, I cannot give you more information as SpaceX does not disclose this information.
Anna, thank you for this great post!
I am very interested in how luxury hotels are adapting to new customers from emerging markets, particularly China. Is Ritz-Carlton tailoring the experience in its hotels according to customers from this country? Or is it offering a consistent experience for all its customers?
I read a very interesting article on Time: http://business.time.com/2013/04/09/how-the-u-s-travel-industry-is-adapting-to-a-growing-wave-of-chinese-tourists/
This article mentions that tourists from China spend more on traveling abroad than any other country in the world. And it is growing very quickly! Chinese tourists spent 40% more on 2012 than in 2011. Hotels in the US are adapting to this trend. For instance, Marriott stopped using the number 4 in its rooms because it is related to bad luck in China. Sheraton and W Hotels started offering translation services in their hotels, and also included Chinese food in their menus. I was wondering if an hotel chain as conservative as Ritz-Carlton si also following this trend.
Thanks for this magic note!
I find very interesting how Disney’s theme parks draw in customers. Other theme parks have to invest huge amounts of money in new rides and advertising so that customers feel the need to visit them – particularly those who have already been there. On the contrary, Disney organically attracts customers. Its “mind share” is so strong that the studio keeps the brand relevant by releasing new movies. So Disney makes money when it advertises itself!
Thanks for your great comment!
I think you are spot on. The dream of Elon Musk has always been to colonise Mars. You can find many articles online talking about this, e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/17/elon-musk-mission-mars-spacex
It seems that his companies are aligned with this objective: SpaceX will provide the rockets to travel to Mars, Tesla is developing batteries that are also very useful for spaceships, and SolarCity manufactures solar power systems that would be necessary not only for space travel, but also for a colony in the red planet.
Regarding the regulatory hurdles that Elon Musk had to overcome to make SpaceX viable – I think that he took advantage of the lack of regulation. Countries cannot own territories in space according to the Outer Space Treaty that was signed during the Cold War. So, anyone can launch a rocket into space as long as the country from where it is launched authorises the flight. That is why SpaceX launched its first rockets from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean – to avoid the regulatory hurdles of the US! Once SpaceX was proven viable, it was much easier to obtain flight permits in America.
Lillian, thank you for your post!
I would like to know your opinion about another critical element of the operating model of Zara – its advertising.
Unlike most fashion brands, Zara does not invest in advertising (magazines, TV ads…). The way to attract customers is the beauty and location of its stores in high-traffic areas of major cities, and usually near luxury brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Prada. Thinking in terms of Marketing Mix, its Place is also its Promotion.
Also, Zara does not put its logo on its clothing to promote the brand like companies such as Tommy Hilfiger or Gap. How could such a shy brand become so successful?
Thank you for such an interesting post!
In my opinion, the 20-minute charge can be unacceptable for many users, and this is the main factor slowing down the growth of Tesla. I always thought that the solution would be battery swap stations – a much faster way to have an electric car ready to go. Nonetheless, Elon Musk said in January 2015 that Tesla was no longer working on this solution. You can find more information at http://fortune.com/2015/06/10/teslas-battery-swap-is-dead/
It will be very interesting to see how hydrogen cars and electric cars fight to become the zero-emissions solution to transportation in coming years. In favor of hydrogen cars, I will say that they have longer ranges than electric cars, and their filling-up is much faster. What do you think?
Thank you for such an interesting post!
I read a very interesting article on Emirates. You can find it at: https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/12475327?access_key=key-2fu1hlah6tlra1sy48mu&allow_share=true&escape=false&view_mode=scroll
The article mentions that the location of the main hub of Emirates, Dubai, is also a very important factor for the success of the company. Almost 3.5 billion people live a 8-hour flight away from this city. And many of these people are in emerging markets! The opportunities for growth are huge.
Also, the Government of Dubai finances a significant part of the operations of the airport. Airlines fly there because they pay lower fees compared to those at other airports. Regional flights of Emirates, – and many other airlines – consistently feed the 777s and A380s of Emirates for long-haul flights, the ones that are really profitable.
Thank you for your comment! Please find my comments below.
1) SpaceX is allocating significant resources to the development of the Dragon V2 (spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station) and the Falcon Heavy (a rocket to put heavier satellites into orbit compared to the Falcon 9). I think that a vast majority of engineers at SpaceX are working on these two products. Unfortunately, I cannot be more precise as SpaceX does not disclose the breakdown of its employees. Regarding the implications for NASA of the recruiting of SpaceX – I think that these two organizations attract different types of applicants. Those interested in an entrepreneurial, business-oriented company would love to work at SpaceX. Nonetheless, those interested in research (space probes, space exploration…) would love to work at NASA.
2) In my opinion, SpaceX has not come up with revolutionary technology. However, they are extremely good at designing efficient processes and products, using existing technology. SpaceX is already working on the Dragon V2 thanks to funds from NASA. They are expected to start flying astronauts in 2017 (source: http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/20/9772564/spacex-iss-nasa-astronaut-crewed-mission-announced); nonetheless, time horizons are not very reliable in the space industry…
Thank you for your comment! Here are my answers:
1) As far as I know, SpaceX combines young, energetic employees with experienced professionals. Furthermore, its contracts with NASA come with a series of requirements, including the participation of staff of the agency in the launch operations.
2) I do not think that the trade-off is between cost and safety, but between cost and efficiency. I am sure that safety is priority #1 for the engineers at SpaceX.
3) That is a very interesting question! In my opinion, NASA working with fixed-price contracts will force traditional contractors to be more efficient. And it will be very challenging! Thats is what Mulholland, Boeing Vice President, discusses in this article: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/11/quietly-the-new-space-race-between-spacex-and-boeing-burns-hot/