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Thread: I'm in the wrong business!

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    Member kenmc's Avatar
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    Default I'm in the wrong business!

    Just exactly how long of a vacation do you guys take every year? I'm needing me some FP TV !!!

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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    See this thread: http://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread....-IS-ERIC/page3

    and Dan's response:

    Quote Originally Posted by dannzeman View Post
    Eric has no foreseeable plans to come back to FPGeeks. Not that he quit, or left, or is unhappy with FPG, just that he's pursuing other activities and doesn't know when or if he'll come back.

    The podcast is tentatively scheduled to come back some time in October. The issue is finding regular hosts, guests, and informative content. Before, I didn't have a daughter and we were able to put an outline together a few hours before the show. Now, it takes more planning and research to put together a good show, and honestly, I'd rather spend that time with my daughter.

    We'll try to keep you updated.
    Fountain Pen Sith Lord | Daakusaido | inktronics blog | Twitter | Instagram

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    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    I really think they should look for more contributors for the site, so that the stream of reviews, articles and podcasts is not so off and on, and so there would be some different opinions represented on the site.
    Will
    If my p.m box is full, feel free to email me at dabantur@gmail.com.

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    Senior Member tandaina's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Agreed, I'd love to see reviews of more accessible pens (seems all the new pen announcements recently have been ludicrously expensive), more reviews and articles about antique pens, ink, etc. find someone to write handwriting practice articles, how tos... I'd happily write bits about old Pelikan and Montblancs, about how to hunt them. I'm sure others would to.


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    Senior Member AndyT's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Agreed, I'd love to see reviews of more accessible pens (seems all the new pen announcements recently have been ludicrously expensive), more reviews and articles about antique pens, ink, etc. find someone to write handwriting practice articles, how tos... I'm sure others would to.
    I agree with every word of this, and can think of a few articles I'd be interested in contributing too.

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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Agreed, I'd love to see reviews of more accessible pens (seems all the new pen announcements recently have been ludicrously expensive), more reviews and articles about antique pens, ink, etc. find someone to write handwriting practice articles, how tos... I'd happily write bits about old Pelikan and Montblancs, about how to hunt them. I'm sure others would to.


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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Anyone who wants to submit articles for the front page is more than welcome to contact me at dan at fpgeeks dot com.


    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Agreed, I'd love to see reviews of more accessible pens (seems all the new pen announcements recently have been ludicrously expensive), more reviews and articles about antique pens, ink, etc. find someone to write handwriting practice articles, how tos... I'd happily write bits about old Pelikan and Montblancs, about how to hunt them. I'm sure others would to.
    What's more "accessible" for you? Realize this varies from person to person as budget permits and we try to cover a range of price classes. For instance, our last 6 Awesome Reviews span a range of $200-$700 and our last 6 Hands-on reviews range from $15 to $660.

    Also, there's nothing we can do about the "ludicrously expensive" pen announcements. Our main focus for the site is to share new products, regardless of the price. If you know of new pens with a low price tag that have been released and we haven't covered, feel free to drop us a link.

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    Senior Member tandaina's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Oh mostly that's just frustration with the fountain pen manufacturers who, at least in Europe, seem to think we're all made out of money. Announcements you all can't control, though it seems there have to be cheaper pens being debuted somewhere on a regular basis? Who knows, I am not connected in the modern pen community, I write with ancient stuff. I just know anymore when I see a new pen announcement from one of the big European names I don't even both to click as the last few have been 300 Euro and up I and I get weary of getting excited and then seeing the price tag. Conway Stewart, I'm looking at you! *shrug*

    Mostly suggesting as others have that bringing in more voices would be a good thing, reviewing some good solid antiques for example, many of which are very affordable! I'd be happy to do some guest writing in my free time, I just have to lure some free time into my trap first.
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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    ...reviewing some good solid antiques for example, many of which are very affordable!...
    Here's my issue with reviewing vintage pens, at least in the same manner as our current reviews: There's too many variables in the vintage pen buying/reviewing experience.

    The thing about reviewing modern pens is that it's very easy for anyone to go out and buy the exact same pen I reviewed and receive a very similar experience. Sure, there might some variation in the nib performance out of the box, but you can always contact the manufacturer/retailer/distributor and get it sorted out. Can't do that with vintage pens. You'll also be able to buy it at the same price as I state in the review. Essentially, reviews of modern pens set a standard for the kind of experience most anyone can expect.

    If I review a Parker Vacumatic, who's to say you could go find the exact same pen in the same condition at the same price? What about buying from a reputable dealer? Would using one in better condition that cost more or one in worse condition that cost less change my opinion of it? Probably, to a certain extent. If the "review" was written from more of a historical angle, then that would be different.

    You can kind of see where a different format for vintage pen "reviews" is needed. Then there's the issue of getting multiple people to stick to the same format.

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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by dannzeman View Post
    Anyone who wants to submit articles for the front page is more than welcome to contact me at dan at fpgeeks dot com.


    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Agreed, I'd love to see reviews of more accessible pens (seems all the new pen announcements recently have been ludicrously expensive), more reviews and articles about antique pens, ink, etc. find someone to write handwriting practice articles, how tos... I'd happily write bits about old Pelikan and Montblancs, about how to hunt them. I'm sure others would to.
    What's more "accessible" for you? Realize this varies from person to person as budget permits and we try to cover a range of price classes. For instance, our last 6 Awesome Reviews span a range of $200-$700 and our last 6 Hands-on reviews range from $15 to $660.

    Also, there's nothing we can do about the "ludicrously expensive" pen announcements. Our main focus for the site is to share new products, regardless of the price. If you know of new pens with a low price tag that have been released and we haven't covered, feel free to drop us a link.
    Dan, do you have a wish list or queue people could work from? I know you are busy with the new little one, I just had my third three weeks ago, and people would love to help. Knowing that FPGs is your baby though if you have an idea of where or what I'm sure people can help fill in some gaps that you actually want filled.

    I agree that the vintage thing would be hard. Based on a question I asked in the forum though I could see a bit of a series on vintage fountain pens that might work. For instance, anyone with at least 10 of a vintage pen (i'm assuming we are in the affordable range where I've actually seen people have 10 Parker Vacumatics for example) could do a post on the pen that is more of an overview describing different aspects of the pens, price ranges, troubleshooting, etc. My personal request in the forums was for an eBay buyers guide for people getting into vintage pens. I think there are many posts like that that may be easy to write but aren't firm reviews.

    Also, I have several posts I'd love to see and others I might be able to write but if there was a list to work off of, maybe a google spreadsheet where people could +1 ideas it might be helpful. For instance, if a post idea got 5 +1s then people could select to fill it.

    Ok, since I said that I decided to just go ahead and make one. If nobody uses it that's fine but I know it's always annoying when everyone posts ideas they want you to do when they could likely do it themselves.

    Click here for spreadsheet "FPGs User Submitted Ideas": http://sdrv.ms/1a3JvES

    A lot of these posts could actually be made by simply finding a thread in the forum and putting all the info into a nice package. That being said, I don't know what truley belongs on the front page vs. deserves to stay in the forums.

    Regardless, I get the reason for the slowdown and I am glad there is open dialogue. I know people that have been using FPGs longer than me surely feel it's their site just as much as I do and are very supportive.

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    Senior Member tandaina's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by dannzeman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    ...reviewing some good solid antiques for example, many of which are very affordable!...
    Here's my issue with reviewing vintage pens, at least in the same manner as our current reviews: There's too many variables in the vintage pen buying/reviewing experience.

    The thing about reviewing modern pens is that it's very easy for anyone to go out and buy the exact same pen I reviewed and receive a very similar experience. Sure, there might some variation in the nib performance out of the box, but you can always contact the manufacturer/retailer/distributor and get it sorted out. Can't do that with vintage pens. You'll also be able to buy it at the same price as I state in the review. Essentially, reviews of modern pens set a standard for the kind of experience most anyone can expect.

    If I review a Parker Vacumatic, who's to say you could go find the exact same pen in the same condition at the same price? What about buying from a reputable dealer? Would using one in better condition that cost more or one in worse condition that cost less change my opinion of it? Probably, to a certain extent. If the "review" was written from more of a historical angle, then that would be different.

    You can kind of see where a different format for vintage pen "reviews" is needed. Then there's the issue of getting multiple people to stick to the same format.
    See, I don't read reviews to guarantee an experience. I own a couple of the pens you all have reviewed on here and my experience with them is pretty different than your reviewers, which is to be expected as we have different hands, handwriting styles, reasons for writing, experience, preferences, etc.

    I am a fountain pen geek, I just like reading about others experiences with fountain pens! If your goal is to provide sure fire "this is what it will be like" reviews, then yes you are stuck with modern pens. But even then... Reviews are highly subjective, as I said, I often have different experiences than the reviewer even with a modern pen. A pen your reviewer finds comfortable will be annoying as heck to one reader, and the perfect pen for another.

    It is important to define the goal for anything and it sounds like the goal of the owners of FPGeeks is very different than my goal when I go into a review. That's perfectly fair and yes means you are stuck with modern pens. Which is a shame, my personal experience is the older pens beat the modern hands down. But that's my personal experience, I don't expect others to have the same experience. But I do like sharing my experience, and hearing others share theirs!
    Last edited by tandaina; October 6th, 2013 at 06:09 PM.
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    Senior Member Laura N's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    I loved it when Dan and Eric reviewed modern pens on FPG (the main site). I liked their format. I liked their writing. I liked the fact that a reader got two different perspectives and both were honest. I liked that the most -- neither had an axe to grind, or anything to sell, so each called things liked he saw it. That is so refreshing in the review arena.

    I do read reviews mostly to try to see if a particular pen would work for me. I don't really read reviews if I have no interest in the pen (or the ink). I therefore appreciate reviewers who try to communicate the user experience, so readers can evaluate its suitability for them. It helps even more if you have people with different pen tastes, or hand size, as well.

    I don't mind reviews being mostly about modern pens. Those are the pens that are always coming out with something "new," so there's always interest.

    I am a big vintage pen fan, but I agree with Dan about the difficulties of reviewing vintage pens. I "reviewed" one vintage pen myself here on the forum, but I viewed it more as an introduction to a pen that maybe people didn't know much about. For some reason, I think it's appropriate to put more casual user reviews on this forum, and more serious, methodical and experienced pieces on the main site. If you're going to do it on the main site, I like Heath's idea of making sure someone has used a decent number of different examples of the same vintage pen.

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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    I loved it when Dan and Eric reviewed modern pens on FPG (the main site). I liked their format. I liked their writing. I liked the fact that a reader got two different perspectives and both were honest. I liked that the most -- neither had an axe to grind, or anything to sell, so each called things liked he saw it. That is so refreshing in the review arena.
    I fully agree with what Laura said above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    I do read reviews mostly to try to see if a particular pen would work for me. I don't really read reviews if I have no interest in the pen (or the ink).
    This is where my mileage differs. I read reviews not necessarily because I'm interested in the pen subject to the review, I just love reading them - the same reason I love watching Dr Brown's Youtube reviews no matter how obscure some of the pens are. I could read/watch these reviews twice, even three times after some months.

    Sure, personal experiences are subjective and different, but some of the reviews really helped me. Three of my favourite daily writers were purchased after taking into account Dan and/or Eric's opinions: Pilot VP, Lamy 2000 and Pilot Custom Heritage 92 (Dan, Pilot should give you commission, coz I decided to get one before finishing watching your hands-on video. I'm even thinking about getting a second one. Pure awesomeness!).

    I think many would appreciate a comprehensive overview of a widely available vintage model, like the Parker 51, Parker Vacumatic, Eversharp Skyline, Waterman 52, etc. Then again, that kind of materials are abundantly available on this forum, not to mention the FPN. The usefulness of reviewing more obscure vintage goodies diminishes in my view for reasons Dan mentioned above. Of course, if some of you are generous enough to write, I'd read them all, probably twice over.

    PS. Thanks again, Dan and Eric!!
    Last edited by kaisnowbird; October 7th, 2013 at 01:31 AM.
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Is there any real need to go into price when talking about vintage pens? Obtaining one isn't like going off to Amazon and just doing a one click order, there's some hunting involved and the intelligent buyer is going to do some research. A note to that effect, and that some Ebay auctions have been known to finish significantly over the going rate accompanied by a general caveat emptor would be enough, I'd have thought.

    As for performance, fair enough, but the same applies. A clued-up buyer is likely to want to see a writing sample, and/or an unequivocal returns policy.

    On the subject of affordability, $200 seems a high starting point for the recent Awesome Reviews. In my opinion, that's about where the law of diminishing returns sets in with a vengeance when it comes to performance, and you're paying for a fancy barrel. I think it's important that the impression is not given that fountain pens are exclusively rich people's toys.

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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dannzeman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tandaina View Post
    ...reviewing some good solid antiques for example, many of which are very affordable!...
    Here's my issue with reviewing vintage pens, at least in the same manner as our current reviews: There's too many variables in the vintage pen buying/reviewing experience.

    The thing about reviewing modern pens is that it's very easy for anyone to go out and buy the exact same pen I reviewed and receive a very similar experience. Sure, there might some variation in the nib performance out of the box, but you can always contact the manufacturer/retailer/distributor and get it sorted out. Can't do that with vintage pens. You'll also be able to buy it at the same price as I state in the review. Essentially, reviews of modern pens set a standard for the kind of experience most anyone can expect.

    If I review a Parker Vacumatic, who's to say you could go find the exact same pen in the same condition at the same price? What about buying from a reputable dealer? Would using one in better condition that cost more or one in worse condition that cost less change my opinion of it? Probably, to a certain extent. If the "review" was written from more of a historical angle, then that would be different.

    You can kind of see where a different format for vintage pen "reviews" is needed. Then there's the issue of getting multiple people to stick to the same format.
    See, I don't read reviews to guarantee an experience. I own a couple of the pens you all have reviewed on here and my experience with them is pretty different than your reviewers, which is to be expected as we have different hands, handwriting styles, reasons for writing, experience, preferences, etc.

    I am a fountain pen geek, I just like reading about others experiences with fountain pens! If your goal is to provide sure fire "this is what it will be like" reviews, then yes you are stuck with modern pens. But even then... Reviews are highly subjective, as I said, I often have different experiences than the reviewer even with a modern pen. A pen your reviewer finds comfortable will be annoying as heck to one reader, and the perfect pen for another.

    It is important to define the goal for anything and it sounds like the goal of the owners of FPGeeks is very different than my goal when I go into a review. That's perfectly fair and yes means you are stuck with modern pens. Which is a shame, my personal experience is the older pens beat the modern hands down. But that's my personal experience, I don't expect others to have the same experience. But I do like sharing my experience, and hearing others share theirs!
    I think you're missing my point entirely. I apologize if I didn't make it clear. No one is going to have the same writing experience as me because no one else is me. A pen will feel different to everyone and one that's comfortable to me will not be comfortable to others. I was speaking to more of the purchasing/acquisition experience.

    A modern pen is easily available to most everyone, save for extremely limited editions which we try to stay away from. When I talk about the objective qualities of a pen I'm rating it based on how much it costs, which will be fairly consistent across retailers and nearly everyone who purchases it will experience the same thing.

    You can't get that from vintage pens because the quality, condition, and price are so variable and have a significant impact on one's view of the pen. As I said earlier, I do think FPGeeks needs coverage of vintage, but not using the same review formats already established. I think it would be more beneficial to look at vintage pens from a historical perspective and provide more a guide to its history, options, colors, and value the modern marketplace has placed on it depending on condition. Not to say that you can't judge its writing performance, but I think there's more relevant information that needs to go along with it.

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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post
    ...
    I am a big vintage pen fan, but I agree with Dan about the difficulties of reviewing vintage pens. I "reviewed" one vintage pen myself here on the forum, but I viewed it more as an introduction to a pen that maybe people didn't know much about. For some reason, I think it's appropriate to put more casual user reviews on this forum, and more serious, methodical and experienced pieces on the main site. If you're going to do it on the main site, I like Heath's idea of making sure someone has used a decent number of different examples of the same vintage pen.
    You make some very good points Laura. I've emphasized a major point in your text that needs to be addressed. Articles destined for the blog will need more "polish" than what we see in the forum. A format, if suitable for the topic, will need to be created for consistency and the quality of photography and writing need to be at a certain level. Granted, I'm far from even a decent writer, but I have been in talks with someone who's done real editing work to proof read our reviews and while I'm nowhere near a professional photographer I do think my images are well done.

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    The Nibsmith dannzeman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
    Is there any real need to go into price when talking about vintage pens? Obtaining one isn't like going off to Amazon and just doing a one click order, there's some hunting involved and the intelligent buyer is going to do some research. A note to that effect, and that some Ebay auctions have been known to finish significantly over the going rate accompanied by a general caveat emptor would be enough, I'd have thought.
    Discussing price is absolutely essential when discussing vintage pens. When the color of a Snorkel can effect the price by 2 or 3 times, it's important to discuss why. Same goes for a double jeweled 51 compared to a single jewel 51. If you're talking about 51s and never mention that, people will be all kinds of confused when they see the DJ fetching 4 times as much and can't figure out why. There are so many intricacies involving vintage pens and price fluctuation that that topic alone could be a central point to most articles on vintage pens.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
    On the subject of affordability, $200 seems a high starting point for the recent Awesome Reviews. In my opinion, that's about where the law of diminishing returns sets in with a vengeance when it comes to performance, and you're paying for a fancy barrel. I think it's important that the impression is not given that fountain pens are exclusively rich people's toys.
    Again, affordability is different for everyone. We have no starting point for any of our reviews. We will review any pen at any price point. This should be evident with our 13 Awesome Reviews of pens under $100. But I do agree with you, beyond $200 the law of diminishing returns sets in heavily.

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    Senior Member Laura N's Avatar
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    Arrow Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    I agree with everyone that it's nice to review less expensive pens. I know in the past FPG has been all over every new TWSBI, which makes sense, because each is a different model, and people are always excited about them.

    On the other hand, if I think about it more, as Kai said, I need to backtrack a bit on my previous comment that I mostly read reviews to see if a pen will work for me. Yes, I won't read about pens I have no interest in at all. But I do enjoy reading a review of a pen that's beyond my price range but that I'd love to have if only I could -- an aspirational pen. Something special, even expensive, and not common.

    For example, I never would have heard of a Nakaya if I hadn't started reading about them on the internet. Every year manufacturers produce pens I don't plan to buy because of cost, but that I really want to read about, like the forthcoming wooden Pilot Vanishing Point. I sure hope Dan and someone else review that on FPG.

    Finally, perhaps the chance to review an expensive pen is one of the enjoyable perks for the reviewers. Who wouldn't want to rotate an Omas through every once in a while?

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    Senior Member AndyT's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Quote Originally Posted by dannzeman View Post
    Discussing price is absolutely essential when discussing vintage pens. When the color of a Snorkel can effect the price by 2 or 3 times, it's important to discuss why. Same goes for a double jeweled 51 compared to a single jewel 51. If you're talking about 51s and never mention that, people will be all kinds of confused when they see the DJ fetching 4 times as much and can't figure out why. There are so many intricacies involving vintage pens and price fluctuation that that topic alone could be a central point to most articles on vintage pens.
    That's exactly the reason why I don't think price discussion belongs in a front page article, except in passing. Books could be (and probably have been) written on all the variants of the 51 alone. Unless some sort of pen wiki is added to the main site, surely the place for the in depth information is here in the forum, specifically the Library section.

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    Default Re: I'm in the wrong business!

    Isn't that just like an Aries to start something and then wander away from it, leaving it there for others to continue or not. Well I wish Eric well, wherever his Next Big Thing is now taking him!

    Also from the title of this thread I thought someone was going to talk about how successful alot of pen restorers are. They have more demand than supply and that sets up a seller's market where they can charge a good price for vintage pens. Some of those pens are as expensive as those super-luxury types of today (Nakaya, Visconti, Monteblanc come to mind).
    Last edited by Saintpaulia; October 11th, 2013 at 12:21 AM.
    I'm discovering vintage pens. Oh no!

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