20 April 2017

Friend and Foe

Now and then I need to rant. Or reflect aloud.

Members of the stylophile community like to brag about how wonderful we are, about how we are willing to share information and resources. And there is some truth to it. However, it does not take much thinking to realize that your friend in the community is also a potential competitor in the market. And then the attitude changes—information then becomes precious and treasured, and even rationed. Few people reveal where they found their exotic pens, almost nobody speak of prices paid… All these gestures are rarely disruptive—a smile can do wonders when refusing to reveal those secrets. But the competition is real and can reach the point of plain rudeness when spotting an interesting pen—the basic politeness of “you saw it first” is not always honored.

Then, are we friends or are we foes? And what is the value of all the information the community as a whole continuously publish online? Sheldon Cooper quoted (The Big Bang Theory 3.15 The Large Hadron Collision) economist Fred Hirsch to explain the concept of “neener-neener”—a pen is valued by some because it is not possessed by others, and therefore the need to display it. That exposure does not come without consequences, both positive and negative: that display can trigger some additional interest in the market and generate some inflation. It can also appreciate the displayed pen when reselling was the goal.

And at the end, the guy with the thicker wallet wins.

Sailor Profit, Naginata Togi – Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 18 2017
etiquetas: metabitácora, mercado, estilofilia


Nikos said...

Sadly you describe a big truth which demonstrates one aspect of human nature: Selfishness. Nobody can own all pens. The idea is at best absurd. Withholding information that would otherwise be a contribution to the betterment of knowledge for the community in my eyes shows lack of respect for the hobby itself. It can be especially annoying when the same people demand/expect from sources like your blog to do the legwork, go the extra mile, investigate and present information with no ulterior motive.

Thanks for the honest ranting, and above all thank you for your efforts to make this blog a real treasure for our hobby.

Tinjapan said...

Agree with your post and the comments of Nikos.

Pedro Haddock said...

Spiky subject, it is true. I drive myself to the words of Nikos regarding how readers use information and how they share their own. This brings to the point of going: would anyone share any type of information that would become a potential drawback to his own interesest? I doubt it, honestly. Interesting matter to dig in. Thank you!

Bruno Taut said...

Thank you all for passing by and taking the effort of commenting.

Probably, underlying my text is the question Pedro Haddock pointed out--are we, Pedro and myself alike, undermining our own interests when we blog? Aren't we contributing to a raise in price on the pens we speak about? Are we not making some pens more popular and more demanded?

Anyway, I look forward to seeing more reflections on the community of stylophiles on fora and blogs.



Paul Bloch said...

Objectivity, to paraphrase, is in the eye of the beholder. There are, indeed, those among us who can offer up opinions, without simultaneously thinking about what that will do to his holdings in pens by that maker, are not always encountered. Some years back, I inquired of (the late) Michael Fultz about modern fountain pen makers he would recommend, and the name Bexley was offered up. Michael immediately pointed out that he had a financial interest in them. When you're looking to take the most beautiful girl in school to the dance, and she has an unattractive friend she is looking out for, truthfulness sometimes takes a back seat.
Also, your taste and standards may be different from mine. Is newer and firmer better than older and more flexible? All the caveats, sincerity and best intentions in the world cannot sometimes prevent criticism when a failure occurs. People who read my posts know that, like Nixon, I have an enemies list. Don't we all? For me, it is who does the opinion come from? I am pleased to say that I respect the opinions advanced on these pages, and have never found them self-serving. Much to be admired and the very best one can hope for, I think. I BELIEVE that the comments here are offered as information only, with no ulterior motive. Not true of all, for sure for sure.

Antolin2.0 said...

I agree with Bruno Taut, I have myself wonder about it many times when posting a commentary at any forum. On one side, blog entries have greater permanence in time and thus they leave information for the future readers. It has two positive consequences, a compilation of specific data in an easy reachable place on one hand, and the link between this information or reflections and their authorship. I mean that the blogger leaks information but receives some recognition in return.

Fora are a different situation. Any or very little recognition for the information supplied is achieved but as it spreads quickly, bigger immediate consequences are produced. Sometimes it means increase of prices, depletion of stocks, unveiling of providers sources, etc. It is a serious issue with vintage goods. I’ve seen forum mates posting a review of a particular pen of as it were their most appreciated treasure and immediately after that put it up for sale to raise its price with the same consequences for any other similar model as side effects.
According to modern pens, it is no secret that many bloggers act as web influencers to increase sales volume of specific models and they get paid somehow for it meanwhile many forum members praise similar models gratia et amore.

It isn’t a simple thing of contributing to general knowledge or not, mainly when there are so many implications involved.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Paul and Antolin2.0, for your reflections. Not much more can I add.

To share or not to share, that is the question...

You both make an interesting point--not all information providers are equally trustworthy. Thank you, therefore, for your trust on what I try to share.



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