Friday, June 12, 2015

Goulet Q&A Episode 82, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

Welcome to Goulet Q&A episode 82! This week I share about our new Pilot G2 rollerballs, our Goulet nibs, and what we look for in potential team members. Here we go… 

New/Upcoming Products - (3:32)

Pens/Writing - (6:44)

1) Ryan M. - Facebook - (6:52)
Which material for Fountain pens nibs would you describe as the nicest to use? Obviously lots of pens come with different material nibs, such as steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold, and even 23ct Palladium. I often notice that the price varies in terms of materials, but some brands price their 14k nibs the same as their 18k ones? IDK. Which ones are the best?
  • the truth…it varies! 
  • steel is pretty much always going to feel stiff, that’s a given
  • sometimes 14k also feels stiff (Platinum)
  • how soft other gold nibs feel really varies by the pen
  • all else equal, the softer the gold (higher k) the more springy it will feel
  • nib design has a lot to do with it, not just the material it is
  • the best bet, try yourself or read/watch reviews from a trusted source 

2) Vasco D. -Facebook - (11:40)
What is the difference between a stub nib and a BB nib?
  • BB is just a huge, fat ball
  • a stub is flattened, so there’s variation on the cross and downstrokes
  • some BB write suspiciously like a stub, I have a MB149 that does exactly that 
3) Sam F. -Facebook - (14:40)
In your opinion, do Edison's gold nibs add significantly to the writing experience over their stainless steel nibs?  I'm looking at a Collier, and while the extra $125 wouldn't break the bank I don't necessarily want to jump straight to that if it's not a noticeable improvement (again, in your subjective opinion).  Thanks!
  • Edison’s steel nibs are great
  • the gold nibs are definitely a different feel, much wetter, a lot of spring and even a tad of line variation
  • for $125 is it “worth it”? It’ll really depend
  • for me, not worth it, you’re better off putting that $125 toward another pen (another Edison, Custom 74, Lamy 2000, Vanishing Point
4) Chad C. -Facebook - (18:28)
Dear Brian, I recently purchased a Jinhao x750 but was unhappy with the nib that came with it. On the recommendation of several reviewers I replaced the faulty nib with a Goulet medium nib and now the Jinhao writes as smooth as Isaac from the Love Boat. Are the Goulet nibs made and smoothed to a specific specification? Or do the Goulet nibs come straight off of the line and then smoothed when they arrive at Goulet HQ? Thanks.
  • we get our nibs from Jowo in Germany, tune and adjust them in-house
  • it’s done by feel and with a loupe, not particularly ‘exact’ specifications but as exact as it is pretty much anywhere else
  • handwork is really required for tuning nibs
Ink - (23:00)

5) Kristine R. -Facebook - (23:08)
You often recommend Noodler's X-feather as a good ""everyday"" black ink due to its properties.  Do you have a recommendation of a good everyday blue ink?
Paper - (26:55)

6) @AOEscapism –Twitter -(26:58)
@GouletPenshi Brian how well does midori light paper perform with sheening & shading inks like rouge hematite/stormy grey or apache sunset?
Personal - (28:32)

7) Fernanda B. - Facebook - (28:33)
If The Goulet Pen were Dunder Mifflin, would you be a Michael, a Dwight or a Jim?
  • If I had to be honest, probably all of them at times
  • I have been likened to Michael Scott in Q&A before
  • Which do you think I am? 

Business - (31:02)

8) Scott Cannon –YouTube - (31:18)
You have stated a few times that every team member at Goulet Pens receives a fountain pen after a few months of working for you and learning about what makes fountain pens great. I'd be interested to hear what choices your staff has made and why. 
9) @PeppWaves03- Twitter - (34:14)
Can you discuss Goulet pens policy of not paying for advertising?
  • It’s not so much a policy, just kind of a point of pride
  • we had NO money for advertising early on, so we ‘paid’ with our time and effort to engage with the community on FPN and through our blog and YouTube
  • we focused 100% on grassroots engagement and content marketing (before that was a buzzword), and that’s just what we know
  • surely there are some opportunities we’re giving up by not paying for advertising, but it’s really just a matter of focus for us at this point
  • any time I spend working on paid ads is time I’m not helping put out new content (like this!)…which would you rather see me do? 

10) Sue M. -Facebook - (45:17)
My question is about hiring team members. What qualities do you most value in a team member? As a teacher, I'm thinking ahead for my students. As someone who has sat on numerous interview teams, I have found the interview does not always discern if someone will be a great team member or co-worker.
  • Sam can join in on this one with me!
  • alignment of mission/vision/purpose/values is the most essential for the long term success of both the company and the individual
  • at Goulet we make that easy because we post it up on our site, and we true back to those daily in everything we do. Those who align naturally with those find this to be an awesome place to work!
  • best advice for your students: make sure they know themselves, their strengths, weaknesses, and what they want to achieve in their lives, and find a company that aligns with that. Too many people try to work for companies they hate just for money, status, or whatever, and it’s really sad to see people who hate what they do the majority of their waking hours. 
  • They really shouldn’t try to adapt who they are in an interview to try to seem to fit the company. Companies worth working for should have clearly defined who they are and what they’re all about and that should really resonate with them (the interviewer).

Troubleshooting - (54:11)

11) @thedeskoflori –Twitter - (54:19)
@GouletPens My 580AL broke at the nib unit collar (the black part that's flush with the section). Is this common and any way to prevent it?
  • bummer! This isn’t unheard of but also isn’t super-common
  • over tightening puts stress on that collar and can cause it to break eventually
  • dropping it can break that joint, too
  • it’s probably worth reaching out to TWSBI directly for warranty for that (twsbiinc@gmail.com), if not them, then us if you got it from us
  • separate nib units are available, and while the AL grip isn’t available as a separate nib unit, you can swap the grips pretty easily 
12) Alexandre R. - Facebook - (58:11)
I have a Konrad that suddenly won't hold any ink anymore, I tried heat setting the nib without success and ended up melting the pen. What should I do if another noodler's pen has a similar defect?
  • oh yikes! Well that’s definitely not ideal!
  • heat setting with hot water is a little safer than with a flame or heat gun, not sure which approach you took here
  • could also have been a piston issue, that can cause a leak
  • either way, if you got it from us we always try to help troubleshoot that stuff, reach out to us if anything crazy is going on
  • try for an acrylic Konrad, those seem to come back with fewer issues (if they’re ever available, that is) 

QOTW: What advice do you have for students as they’re preparing to enter the workforce? - (1:00:45)

Write on, 
Brian Goulet


  1. As to the QOTW: A really small thing to do is smile, and not look grumpy or bored. As a lab instructor at the university I go to, I deal with my co-instructors not caring, or never smiling during lab. If I was a coordinator or anyone "in charge", I would most likely pass on someone who did not seem happy to be there. Yes, a lot of them are grad students who must teach lab, but the students aren't going to be happy if the instructor isn't. It just makes everything easier, to be (or even seem) happy and smiling. Not too much smiling, because it could get pretty weird, really quickly, that's happened as well.

  2. Pelikan offers a double broad in the M205 Duo. It is designed as a highlighter but I put some blue ink in mine and it writes great.

  3. Eva Yaa AsantewaaJune 13, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    The segment with Sam was great. I really respect you guys. An inspiration. Greetings from Munich, Germany, where I hope to find a good fountain pen souvenir!

  4. Advice for starting out? So many things, in no particular order:

    1. Remember to balance your work life with your spiritual life, family and friends, and physical activity. All are important.
    2. Bills have to be paid, but follow your heart and your instincts. There is no perfect job, but you will learn something from each job you do.

    3. Employers and bosses can be good or bad. Recognize the difference. Learn as much as you can from both, but don't let a bad boss control you. If it's that bad, get another job. Don't wait for it to get better. It won't.
    4. Be prepared for interviews. Research the company beforehand. No excuses. Interviewers are like anyone else, some are good and some are crazy. Don't let them rattle you. If you are prepared, they generally won't be able to!
    5. No excuses. Take responsibility for what you do or don't do. Everyone makes mistakes. Own up, learn, move on.
    6. Enjoy your life! Stay away from toxic foods, people and situations. You can't change them. You are responsible for your happiness!
    7. Learn how to dress appropriately for the type of job/career you want. If you don't know, look at the people who have executive positions in your field. Copy them. Invest in a few good pieces of clothing, to the extent your budget allows. Sales, consignment shops, eBay are good options when you're starting out. People will judge you by your attire and your demeanor. So dress appropriately and smile.

  5. Re Q. 9: Keep on blogging, Brian. Advertising has its place, but the kind of cheerful outreach you produce is what got me excited about fountain pens, ink, and paper. Passion is contagious.

  6. Mike has hit the nail on the head, he is perfectly correct. Brian's honest passion and love of pens, inks, and paper is contagious, as I know so well. Advertising gives me no meaningful content, does not help me at all with selecting a product. Plus, I hate modern marketing techniques. Hype is just lying. I trust very little that I'm told about a product through advertisements. Trust your instincts, Goulet Pens would not be what it is today if you had not.

  7. Amen! Passion is indeed contagious. Knowledge is power, too! Advertising is increasingly annoying, and turns me against products. Keep blogging, Brian!

  8. Hi Modi! Great advice here. A positive attitude goes a long way to creating a good work environment. :)

  9. RSS feed does not contain episode 82 yet...

  10. Hi Eva! I hope you are having a fantastic time in Munich! Hopefully, you find something wonderful. :)

  11. Hi Kathy! Fantastic advice... some of which I wish I'd known when I first started out in the work force. I might disagree with #2 though... there may be something like a perfect job! :P

  12. Madigan, yes, for some lucky individuals, there is a perfect job! So glad you feel that way! I should have qualified that statement :)

  13. Eva Yaa AsantewaaJune 17, 2015 at 2:43 AM

    Thanks! I stumbled upon a great stationery store here, McPaper, and bought my first LAMY, an AL-Star in Ocean Blue (really Electric Blue, LAMY!), and it's so wonderful. I would definitely get another in the future from Goulet. It isn't what I had on my shopping list, but I could not resist that color. I've seen Faber-Castells for sale here--I love my Basic from Goulet--but, so far, no Kaweco products. We move on to Berlin in a few days. So more opportunity! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! All the best to you and your fiancé!

  14. Regarding TWSBI warranty service. They were excellent to deal with and very prompt. I had a similar problem with my 580. I sent an email with a photo of the damaged section and they sent me a replacement the following week. Glad I bought a TWSBI pen...

  15. Yay for Pilot rollerballs! I've run into them from time-to-time growing up, and I've always loved the way they write!

    Would you ever considering carrying the Pilot Hi-Tec-C line? I picked one up while I was travelling in Asia this year, and it's been in regular rotation on my desk since. I want to get my hands on more!

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