Here’s Goulet Q&A Episode 31, which is an open forum. I start out this video by talking about me and Rachel attending the milestone event in NYC this October called “Business Gets Personal“, hosted by Dave Ramsey, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Seth Godin. These are three headlining business/marketing gurus, each of which have had a tremendous influence on the development of We are super, super pumped about getting to meet these guys in person.
Last week I couldn’t help myself and basically did a double posting. That was great, but I just didn’t have the time to make that happen this week, despite getting a ton of really great questions.
I noticed that’s starting to happen to me more and more. I’m getting more questions than I can answer. The gung-ho personal service guy in me wants to answer every question, but this week, for example, I had 44 solid questions. I only was able to answer 20 in this hour-long video. That means I would have a (roughly) 2hr 12min Q&A if I actually answered all those awesome questions, with future Q&A’s getting longer and longer.
So here’s what I’m proposing: you post awesome questions, and I’ll answer as many as I can with the best knowledge that I have. If I don’t answer your question, you either post it the following week (if it’s relevant to the theme), or email and I or someone on the Goulet team will make sure to get you an answer.
If I don’t get to your question, it’s often because of several reasons:
  1. I don’t feel I can answer it intelligently
  2. I don’t feel I have enough context to give a proper response
  3. I’ve answered it in a previous Q&A
  4. It’s too specific and wouldn’t benefit most of the Q&A audience
  5. It doesn’t fit that week’s theme
  6. I just run out of time
All that said, here are the lucky folks that nabbed my attention this week:
1) NoFuture NoHope- Facebook (8:09):

Are there two versions of the Pilot Metropolitan? I am in Europe and the con-50 does not fit, but the standard international seems to fit perfectly…

  • Yes, the European market (called the MR) uses a Standard International cartridge/converter
  • US uses Pilot/Namiki C/C
  • No idea why they did this, but they must have had their reasons

2) @ellynmv- Twiiter (9:22):

Sometimes the cartridge converter in my Platinum Cool gets tough to twist. Is it fixable or should I get a new one?

3) @ethosophical- Twitter (11:19):

How nervous should I be about keeping ink bottles out? How long before inks start to fade? Tips on displaying?

  • Technically speaking, it’s best to keep them in the box/out of direct light
  • Some colors (blues, reds) are more sensitive than others
  • I personally haven’t experienced dramatic changes with inks left out, but play it safe
  • If it’s an ink you regularly use, say replace once a year or every other year, keep it out if you want
  • If you don’t use it often and want it to last years and years, store it away
4) Michael K.- Facebook (13:20):
Brian, What should you do with your fountain pen inks during the summertime when it gets extremely hot? Should I put them in the refrigerator or keep them out?
  • best stored at room temperature, keep out of direct sun
  • fridge might be overkill
5) Marco R.- Facebook (14:32):

Do you find that manufacturers pens work best when used with the manufactures own inks? i.e. pilot/namiki pen with pilot ink. I have a Platinum 3776 and have found it loves Platinum inks but when I use Noodler’s or Pilot ink the pen writes very dry and doesn’t start as soon as nib hits the paper.

  • most pen makers will say so
  • not really the case
  • most inks by pen makers are less saturated, usually fewer flow issues, less vibrant
  • may vary ink-to-ink, try cleaning thoroughly
  • not sure why this would be the case with your pen
6) Francisco H.- Facebook (17:35):

Let’s say you are quitting your job, hypothetically speaking, and you storm into your boss’s office armed with a bottle of ink. What ink would you throw on his white shirt?

7) Ricardo L. – Facebook (19:27):

Hi Brian! What is your take on the current overall state of the fountain pen industry / market ? Where do you see it and your company in five years ?

  • Hard to say, I haven’t been around 5 years yet!
  • industry is seeing changes, for sure
  • some brands on upswing, some are losing focus
  • noticing a trend of larger companies owned by conglomerates losing touch, aging with population and not bringing in new users
  • newer brands are exciting new users, Noodler’s, TWSBI, Edison, Jinhao, Monteverde
8) Tiffany F.- Facebook (29:24):
1) Cake or pie? 2) What’s your opinion on Diamine Oxblood ink?
  • I won’t turn down either, usually!
  • Cake, definitely
  • Goulet shop is about 40% cake, 60% pie
  • Oxblood’s great, when we have it!
  • A little dark for me, I like Red Dragon better
9) Berk F.- Facebook (31:44):

Can you give an advice on a very wet ink to use in a very dry pen? (Other than Iroshizuku)

10) Edgar H.- Facebook (32:44):
Hi Brian! I wanna now: which is the smoothest nib you’ve used in your life?
  • broad 14k Lamy nib
  • only available on Platinum Gray/Palladium Studio and Dialog 3
11) Erin W.- Facebook (35:24):

Hey Brian! I love writing with my Pilot Metropolitan. It’s so smooth. I usually have it filled with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts. The only thing is I feel like it writes just a little too wet. This may just be a result of it being a medium nib or the ink that I’m using. But before I break down and shell out for the sweet, sweet fine nib version, is there any way to “customize” or adjust the nib and feed to control the flow of ink? Kinda like with the Noodler’s nib creepers? Thanks!

  • Nope, they are what they are
  • adjust with type of ink/paper, that’s all
12) Kevin L.- Facebook (37:31):
Here’s an unusual question for you to ponder: does the quality or brand of a converter affect the viscosity of the ink? Compare and contrast. The time is yours!
  • viscosity? “the state of being thick, sticky, and semifluid in consistency, due to internal friction.”- not really
  • flow, yes
  • but different brands are really different designs, you usually don’t have a choice on a given pen
13) Intl E.- Facebook (40:42):

I have a question: what pen & ink do you use when signing things you consider important, like a contract, a marriage or birth certificate for your children, &c?

14) Ray C.- Facebook (42:14):
If you were an ink which ink would you be and why?

15) Joey H.- Facebook (43:14):

What is your favorite shading blue ink?

16) Virgil V.- Facebook (45:11):

Is there any risk involved in returning ink from a pen to a bottle after you’ve already used the pen and ink for some time. I usually do this when I can’t wait for the current ink to get used up and I want to use a different one.

  • yes, risk of contamination
  • paper fibers, dust, dried ink, etc going back in
  • probably won’t notice anything until the near end of bottle
17) Eddie R.- Facebook (48:09):

Do you guys offer any kind of military discount, if not, do you have any plans to implement anything in the future? Maybe even something small like free shipping

  • free shipping to APO’s
  • no real way to do more, with our current site limitations
18) Brian H.- Facebook (50:24):
I tend to get ink on my nib quite often. When I try to clean it off, more gets on the nib. Is there any easy way to clean it off?
  • Nib creep
  • you’ll wipe forever!
  • some pens/ink just do this, embrace it
19) Chuck R.- Facebook (53:27):

How about what IS a standard international cartridge? In my limited experience, Lamy has their own cartridges, ditto with Shaeffer and Parker.

  • effort made by pen companies to standardize the many proprietary cartridges when they became popular in the mid 20th century
  • some companies adopted them, some didn’t
  • Cartridge/converter guide on GPC

20) Prashanth S.- Facebook (56:51):

What is the best part of owning your own business? What is the worst part of owning your own business?

  •  working with my wife, being able to pursue my calling, huge sense of fulfillment
  • “the burden”, feeling crushing responsibility/duty to grow, expand, provide opportunities for Goulet team, provide benchmarking service, constantly improving, doing things better than competition, you name it
    • challenge I’ve embraced and it is gratifying to achieve goals
    • very difficult not to put everything else aside and work to death
    • life balance
A special thanks goes out to everyone who asked a question this week. Be sure you check out old Q&A vids if you missed them. One thing I’m curious about, are you liking when I post my notes with the questions? Visually, I think it clutters it up. But I can totally see the benefit of being able to scan for info, and also I can embed hyperlinks for specific videos and products I reference for your convenience. Let me know if you like it.
Next week I’ll be covering a brand theme, this time: Clairefontaine and Rhodia. These are the oldest brands for Goulet, we built our company on this paper. Let me know any questions you have on them in the comments below. Have a great week!
Write On,
Brian Goulet