A plethora of thoughts

Today I have a plethora of thoughts running through my mind (for example, whenever I think of the word “plethora,” I recall the hilarious movie "¡Three Amigos!” starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and Martin Short, where the bad guy “El Guapo” asks another villain, “A plethora? What is a plethora?” Yes, just what is a plethora? Shouldn’t I just write the word “many” instead? I mean, it’s easier to write and easier to understand. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I like words like "plethora" because it’s more fun to pepper monologue with some five-cent words like “pepper.” I think it spices things up a bit.

At work, I started working on a project that would bore just about anyone who isn’t interested in operations management. The project has to do with implementing a quality management system (QMS) based on ISO 9001, a well-known international QMS standard. My goal is to make our workplace ISO 9001-compliant and eventually pursue certification for our operations. It entails creating a plethora of documentation to ensure that we have documented quality standards (see, there goes that “plethora” word again). I realized today just how much work it will be. It’s a huge task that will definitely keep me busy for the next two years. My goal is to create something that can survive without me; that is, anyone can walk in and take it over. I won’t be here after 2007, and I need to build something lasting that will continue. Right now, ISO 9001 compliance in my workplace is a nebulous concept I’m trying to get my proverbial arms around. I made some progress today and was happy to see it finally underway.

Tonight, my son and I had a great time hanging out while mom went out for a networking event. He’s settled down since he returned from Gyeongju. His mom and I did what we could to prepare him for her departure. He still cried for a long time after she left. I tried a new strategy that seemed to work with him. I let him cry until he got it out of his system. I kept asking him if he wanted something to eat, drink, watch, or do. He kept telling me no. Finally, he cried himself out, and when I asked if he was hungry, he finally answered yes. I fed him, and after that he behaved very well. We put together puzzles, played with stickers, watched some videos, even sneaked some ice cream. By the time mommy got home he was a happy kid. He enjoyed spending the evening with dear ol’ dad! It’s hard to say whether this will continue, but I hope that it’s the start of something good.

Before I sat down to write this entry, I put together a spreadsheet of potential vendors for our employee cafeteria. If you recall, we haven’t had a vendor for our cafeteria in over two months. It’s busy season now, so having a cafeteria would give employees a fast casual option. For now, most employees either dine at restaurants downtown or bring their own lunch. Lately though, many of us have been too busy to dine outside. Simply put, we need a cafeteria. The spreadsheet I put together comparing the four vendor business plans we received reveal an eclectic mix of proposals. The most attractive choice was not one I had anticipated. I was certain that the best proposal would come from a restaurant specializing in Korean or American cuisine. Interestingly, I think the best proposal was submitted by a vendor who runs a Persian restaurant in Seoul. Imagine that. The proposal satisfied our need for American and Korean food, yet it offers an intriguing alternative to what’s available downtown. I will meet with the selection committee on Friday to tentatively select one vendor to run our cafeteria.

Sometimes you go with your gut feeling. I had some extra cash to invest after scooping up shares of Morningstar through Dutch auction IPO. I read the prospectus for the upcoming HemoSense Dutch auction IPO. HemoSense sells handheld blood monitors. Having done well with Google and Morningstar, I thought about participating in this IPO too. However, I decided to defer because I don’t know enough about HemoSense to buy shares of it. Instead, I used the cash to buy shares of Cogent, a company that develops biometrics technology. It went public last October at $15.50/share and peaked at $38/share. I picked it up for $22.80/share. I was sold on Cogent after reading that it ranked #1 in BusinessWeek’s top 100 microcap stocks. In a new, security-conscious world, biometrics is a hot field. Biometrics is a critical security tool used at security checkpoints and in security devices. I still do not know much about Cogent, but I know the biometrics field and have a good feeling about buying its stock. We’ll see if I’m right in the coming months and years.

I’ll conclude “Brave New World” tomorrow. I will tell you tomorrow what I thought of the web site I posted last night. If you haven’t seen it yet, have a look.

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