I’ve been meaning to send these ideas in for a long time. Since I finally got around to typing it up, I figured I would share it publicly in case anyone else might want to run with any of these stories. Here are the four story ideas I shared with Planet Money:
1. The business of training hibachi chefs. No matter where you go, they all have a similar routine and it seems like they are all being trained in some consistent way. Where do they go to train? How does it work?
2. How do Dollar stores make money? It seems mind blowing that you can design, manufacture and ship a product to a store and still make a profit when it sells for $1. May be interesting to follow a few specific items.
3. The business of the street performer. Similar to the hibachi chef thing, there are certain street performances that I’ve seen in cities across the country. I would think it was different groups of people, but they were doing a similar act (where they jump over people, do flips, and eventually line up a row of 5 ish crowd members and have you pay their ransom to motivate the performer to fully jump over them). Is there a place where they get trained? Is it like a franchise where you can buy into the act?
4. The emerging ski industry duopoly. Vail resorts and Alterra mountain company, combined have over 100 ski mountains across the world on their ski passes, the Epic pass and the Ikon pass. At what point does this become anti competitive? Of the mountains in New England with the most vertical, 5 of the top 6, and 9 of the top 12 are a part of either the Epic Pass or Ikon pass.