Why I Blog

I  received an email the other day from  HD Honscheid, an old friend with whom I used to work at Spectra Medical Systems,. HD also worked at Sun while I was there and his wife, Una was my pediatrician’s nurse when the girls were young. HD and Una are retired now and just took a wonderful trip to Japan. The pictures on their web site are fantastic. Looking at them really gives you a feel for the cultural experience they had. Getting to know people on a trip is so much more rewarding than  just a site seeing.

His email really made me remember one of the main reasons I blog. I blog to keep in touch with friends and family. Every once and a while my mind strays from my purpose in blogging and I wish for a bigger readership. His email snapped me back on track. Blogging has not only helped me stay in contact with old friends who I cherish but it has also enabled me to make several new friends. In my mind that is what blogging is all about.

A Legacy of love

My former mother-in-law passed away this morning. She had been fighting Alzheimer’s for sometime so in many ways it was blessing but still it is a very sad day for all of us. I owe her a lot. She was a wonderful giving person. Almost 25 years ago when Allison was born it wasn’t nearly as common as it is today for women to go out on maternity leave and go back to work.  Going back to work after she was born was harder than I ever imagined it would be. Pat took care of Allison for the first three months of her life while I worked. She did the same thing for Shannon when she was born. At that time we were living in Carmel so she drove down from San Jose every Sunday night and back home every Friday night. She also  took care of the girls whenever they were sick. Raising children and working full time is really hard and I don’t think I could have done it without Pat.

Pat and Lloyd were very giving people. Lloyd passed away back in 1998. They loved and cared for their grandchildren in tangible ways that made them a very real part of who their grandchildren have become.  As the girls got older, Lloyd was the taxi service for the girls. The girls were involved in a multitude of after school activities. Lloyd always talked about driving the girls by saying that he was driving Miss Daisy. Allison remembers how how all the St Francis cheerleaders knew her grandfather because he came to all their football games and Shan remembers him coming to all her soccer games. Even after the divorce Lloyd and Pat never stopped supporting their grandchildren and me. Pat and Lloyd leave behind a legacy of love that will never be forgotten by the many people whose lives they touched.

Busy, busy, busy

Work has been super busy lately. Along with helping to support the PortfolioMinder pilot I have also started talking to potential PortfolioMinder customer care agents. I blogged a while ago about the unique approach that we are planning to take  for agent recruiting and compensation. I have talked to some fantastic candidates. This is going to be great!

It has been interesting to see how people hear about the opportunity. One person read about it here on my blog, several have seen the posting on the FPA and NAPFA web sites, and others have picked up job descriptions I have taken to local FPA meetings.

Joel  Bruckenstein just published an extensive review of PortfolioMinder in Financial Advisor Magazine. It is a great review. I did PortfolioMinder webinar for him a couple of months ago so it is kind of fun to think that I contributed to his review.

More on Sun shareholder proposal

Mike Langberg has a an opinion piece in today’s San Jose Mercury News titled "Sun seems hearing-impaired on shareholder concerns".  Langberg talks about the Sun shareholder  proposal that was approved at the shareholders meeting. The proposal that was approved recommended getting rid of  Sun’s anti-takeover defense. The article said that so far this year there have been 25 proposals to remove poison pills at public companies in the U.S. and of those 16 have passed.  His main point is that "Sun ignores last week’s vote at its peril". He says that if some change doesn’t happen the shareholders might unseat board members at next years annual meeting.

I’m still interested in finding out more about William Steiner  the shareholder who put forward the proposal. I wonder if these kinds of shareholder proposals are a hobby for him and what motivates him to submit shareholder proposals.. It would also be interesting to know how many of his proposals pass.

I hear that Sun is doing more lay offs. I talked to a Sun employee today who told me a couple hundred more IT employees were just notified that they are being laid off.  I can tell you from my time at Sun that being in a company that is constantly doing lay offs is demoralizing.

Sun Shareholders Proposal Passes

The headline in the business section of the San Jose Mercury News Friday was "Shareholders Rebuke Sun".  At Sun’s annual meeting shareholders passed  a proposal to get rid of Sun’s  poison pill. The poison pill is designed to make hostile takeovers difficult. I think it is pretty unusual for a shareholders proposal to pass but given how long Sun has been underperfoming it is not surprising. 

The proposal was submitted by a William Steiner.  I am curious to know who he is. A Google search didn’t turn up much other that that he files shareholder proposals quite frequently. Edgar Online shows 356 filings by him over more than 10 years.

Even though the shareholder proposal passed it is not binding so it will be interesting to see if Sun pays attention to what its Shareholders think. I also wonder whether the poison pill  is stopping any potential buyers.

I used to work at Sun and I still own Sun stock. I would have to agree with the other shareholders that a takeover might be the best possible thing for Sun given that current management doesn’t seem to be able to deliver.

Catfish and Mandala

I just finished reading Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham.It is a fascinating, moving, enthralling read. The book was thought provoking on lots of different levels. Pham and his family arrived in the US from Vietnam in 1977 when he was 10. Catfish and Mandala is the story of his family and of his life both in Vietnam and as an American immigrant.  It is also the story of his return to Vietnam and of his journey by bicycle through Vietnam. Although  the book is about his travels it is much more an exploration of Pham’s Vietnamese American  experience. It is really hard to describe this book because it delves into so much. But I couldn’t help feeling a connection to Pham  even though so much  of what he experienced is so alien to anything I have every experienced. Pham is an extraordinarily talented writer. I highly recommend the book.