Day: April 2, 2014

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

07:55 – Barbara is taking the day off work today to make a day trip up to Virginia with her friend Bonnie Richardson. As usual, I tried to convince her to take Colin along. As usual, she deemed that suggestion unworthy of a reply.

I did a phone interview yesterday with Lauren Wolf of Chemical & Engineering News about the S.P.A.R.K. Competition, mostly about the disappearance of real chemistry sets since the 60’s and what S.P.A.R.K. might do to improve the situation. She asked if I knew of any scientists who got their start with a chemistry set, and I told her that she’d be hard-pressed to find any scientist of my generation who hadn’t gotten started in science with a chemistry set. Lauren’s Ph.D. is in physical/bioanalytical chemistry, so I asked her if she’d had a chemistry set as a kid. She hadn’t, but she said she had spent some time in her grandmother’s basement mixing detergents and other chemicals she found there. Of course she hadn’t had a chemistry set. Lauren is young enough to be my daughter, and by the time she should have gotten her first chemistry set, such things no longer existed. More’s the pity.

10:11 – Kit sales still “feel” slow subjectively, but I just checked the figures. In Q1 of this year, our revenues were about 10 times those of 2012Q1 and 1.8 times those of 2013Q1. If that trajectory holds, we’re going to sell a lot of kits this year.

I’ve boosted our batch sizes accordingly. Originally, we made up and bottled chemicals for batches of 15 forensic kits and 30 each biology and chemistry kits. As of now, we’re making up and bottling chemicals for batches of 60 forensic kits and 120 each biology and chemistry kits. The larger runs use our time more efficiently. Which reminds me that I need to get the last half dozen or so solutions made up that we need for another batch of biology kits. And I need to get started on the taxes.

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