Mental Models

One thing that jumps out at me when reading FP blogs and discussions is that most people have a very different perspective about how businesses operate than I do. That’s probably not surprising, but it’s been on my mind lately, and today’s (long overdue) post explores a typical mental model, its limitations, and how that model might be improved. 

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The Collection

Last year, I posted about my plan to limit myself to ten nice pens and, since then, I’ve had plenty of people get in touch to say they’re imposing their own limits – sometimes more than ten, sometimes less – and talking about their experiences. Just as often, I have people asking how I manage my collection and the decision about which pens to keep or sell. While I wouldn’t say it’s an organised system, there is an approach that I use and I’ll share it in today’s post.

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The Economics of Limited Editions (Part 1)

It seems like limited edition offerings are popping up more and more these days, in both pens (at every price point) and inks. Lately, there has also been some discussion online about whether limited edition products are worth the premium prices that they seem to command. So I thought it would be interesting to explore the economics of limited edition products: this week, we’ll look at the demand side of the market and, next week, we’ll look at supply. 

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Taxonomy Update

Around six months ago, I published a series called Taxonomy in which I tried to map out the competitive landscape for FPs and identify which brands were offering users the most value for money. Some things have changed in the meantime and today, we’ll update the list and have a look at who is doing what in the market.

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An Opportunity in the Pen Market

I’ve been thinking about the economics of the FP retail market for a good year or so, and one of the things that stood out in the beginning was the gaping hole between US$200-400. There just didn’t seem to be many good FP options for users who were ready to step up from their Lamy 2000s and Pilot VPs but weren’t yet ready for a premium pen. As a believer in (relatively) efficient markets, I assumed that the brands were aware of the gap and that some were probably developing products to fill it. But twelve months on, there hasn’t been a lot of change and the market continues to be underserved.

For today’s post, I thought it would be interesting to go through the first two steps of product development: identifying a gap in the market and working out what sort of product users would want to buy. I’ll also discuss which companies I think are positioned to be successful in this space.

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