Tuesday, 4 August 2015

09:04 – Science kit sales are starting to ramp up nicely. The real crunch starts mid-month. In past Augusts, we’ve done 33% to 38% of total monthly sales during the first half of the month and 62% to 67% in the second half. That continues through about mid-September and then gradually tapers off before it hits another smaller peak in December and January.

I see that Puerto Rico has now joined Greece in official default. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. They had a $58 million debt payment due yesterday, and were able to scrounge up less than a million, putting them in default. Of course, the $58 million is a drop in the bucket compared to their $72 billion in outstanding debt, which they have no prospect of repaying. And there’s no provision in the law for them to declare bankruptcy. They’re toast, unless US taxpayers come to the rescue, which I’m betting is what will happen one way or another. Can’t let the banks and funds take a loss, you know. Private profit and taxpayers footing losses is the new normal.

Speaking of Greece, their financial markets opened yesterday for the first time in weeks. The result was predictable, a catastrophic slide comparable to Wall Street on Black Friday in 1929. And today is more of the same. Private investors in Greek stocks, banks, and bonds are being wiped out as you read this. I don’t think Greece has many skyscrapers, which is fortunate because otherwise there’d be lots of people jumping out of their windows, producing a hazard to pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks beneath. I have no sympathy for the Greeks. They spent themselves into this hole, and they’re going to experience biblical suffering as a result. I just hope the same is true for Puerto Rico, although I doubt that will happen. But if it did it might at least provide an object lesson for governments elsewhere.

More science kits to build and ship.

13:09 – I look back fondly to the days when I could remember the name of everyone who’d ever ordered a science kit from us, from day one on. Sitting here, I just realized that I can’t remember the names of even the people who’ve ordered nine kits so far today. My memory is a pale shadow of what it once was, but this is ridiculous.

It’s only going to get worse when Barbara retires from the law firm and comes to work more-or-less full time for our business. That’ll allow me to ramp things up to the point where we’re shipping at least four or five times as many science kits as we do now. So far, I’ve intentionally kept a low profile to keep demand manageable. In 2016 and beyond, we’ll be intentionally growing the business, introducing many new kits and addressing new market segments.

I still want to keep things home-based and avoid hiring any employees, but even within those constraints there’s a lot we can do to expand volume. When we first started up, I remember laughing at the idea that USPS would send a special truck to our house to pick up shipments if we needed them to. At the time, that seemed very unlikely to happen, but it may before too much longer. It’s actually happened a couple times already, when USPS showed up and I had 30 or 40 kits to ship that day. He had to take what he had room for in the truck, go back to the post office to drop off his load, and return to pick up the rest of my packages.