Review: M200 Café Crème 2015 Special Edition

The Pelikan's Perch

963124_122014_se_m_200_cafecreme_offen_2_8281It seems as if it were just yesterday that Pelikan announced a new M200 model for 2015 and, two months later, we now have the Café Crème (pronounced kah/fay krehm) in hand.  The company has been producing many special editions in recent times within both its Classic and Souverän lines.  For the M200 line, Pelikan gave us the clear transparent demonstrator in 2012 which they followed up in 2014 with the cognac transparent demonstrator.  Both of those releases were nice pens but ultimately were little more than re-releases of prior M200 models with a slight upgrade of the cap top trim.  While this was welcomed by many due to the relative scarcity of examples from the original release on the secondary market, the new models overall have felt uninspired and stale.  What’s more is that pen collectors/users are very polarized over demonstrator models with one camp loving them and another…

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Strange Visitor – A Christmas Story

As we are in the Christmas season I thought I would repost this

Brad W. Merrill

Back in December 1979 I was a brand new missionary for the LDS Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sometimes called the Mormons) This was sent to me in a package I received from home.  I thought I would share it with all my friends in Cyberspace. I didn’t write this and I don’t know who did. Please enjoy it.


            I had just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, Santa Claus himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.

He placed his fingers over his lips so I wouldn’t cry out. “What are you doing…? I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had…

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Fountain Pen Day – November 7th

Thought I would share this with everyone.

The Pelikan's Perch

Fountain Pen Day LogoWhile this site is dedicated to the Pelikan brand of fountain pens, I feel it reasonable to promote any cause that advances fountain pen awareness and the joys of handwriting.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Fountain Pen Day occurs on the first Friday of every November.  This year, the event will fall on Friday, November 7th and will mark the third year that this day is observed around the globe.  According to the official site, the goal of the day is to, “embrace, promote, and share the use of fountain pens in day-to-day life, as well to help revive handwriting as a whole.”  There are a reported 61 vendors signed up this year who have pledged to support the day, many of whom will provide special deals/discounts.  When that day rolls around just 10 days from now, take a moment to write a letter, handwrite your posts to…

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Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k/Cookie Chaser 5k

Today’s post is a follow up to a post I made back on April 10th, when I blogged about Automattic‘s Worldwide WP 5k (or rather re-blogged a post originally posted by Sara Rosso of Automattic/Word Press. Basically that everyone was invited to run a 5k during the week of April 23-29 and then blog about it. (WWWP5k)

Well as my contribution I picked a local 5k – the Cookie Chaser 5k which is run in Riverton, Utah – a suburb of Salt Lake City. This race is a fundraiser to benefit the Girl Scouts. They also hold a 2k run/walk race that starts about 30 minutes earlier. A friend of mine from my running club (Salt Lake City Track Club- ) ran the 2k as a warmup for the main event. Others did as well.  As I didn’t make a final decision on this race until last minute, I was stuck paying the extra $5 for day of race registration. ($25) I arrived early enough (~8:00 am) to get registered and to get a short warmup in on the course. (1.54 miles in 14:17 – 9:15 pace)  I hadn’t run this race before, but had talked to some people that had. The course is relatively flat outside of just before the turnaround where lies a “dip” if you believe the road signs. Smallish hill, but enough to slow you a little bit. (down then up then the turnaround and back) I started near the friend of mine who ran the 2k first.

My splits:

Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 8:16
Finish: 24:19/24:20 by my watch.

This was good enough for 2nd place in my age group, just under 3:00 behind the 1st place runner who is also in my running club and ran 21:20.  I don’t know what kind of mileage he runs, but I know he rarely races longer than 10k any more. I on the other hand normally run at least one marathon a year.  So we have different strengths.

My placings fell out like this: 2nd in my age group, 17th Male and 21st Overall.  There were around 200 or so in the overall.  I had to leave before the awards ceremony was held so any age group prize I won I don’t have yet. I have an email into the Race Director on that issue. Overall I feel pretty good about this race, even though I didn’t run as fast as I was hoping for. Gives me a very general idea of what I might be able to do in my next 5k on May 19th. (Law Day Run 5k – held on the University of Utah campus beginning at the SJ Quinney College of Law). There have been two or three courses for that race over the years, my best on the current course is a 25:22 at last years race.  I am hoping to be able to run at least close to what I ran today.

Everyone’s demographic is a bit different, but these ideas should work for most if not all. If you have a blog, what have you seen that seems to help? News

This is a guest post by Kristina Chang, Evan Moore, Tony Xu, and Omer Rabin; students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“What makes a blog popular? What drives page views?” These are the questions that we’ve been trying to answer over the last few weeks. We were on a mission to dig into the data and analyze the strongest parameters that influence the flow of visitors to blogs.

Out of the 30+ million blogs on, we randomly selected a sample of almost 100,000 blogs to perform a regression analysis. Here are our findings, together with a few recommendations. We hope that this provides some new information, and kudos to you in case you’ve already incorporated these tips into your blog – the data suggests that you’re on the right track. Keep it up!

Make your blog easy to follow – It almost sounds obvious, but the…

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101 Ways to Celebrate the end of Tax Season……

According to Traci Wheeler at Red Moon Solutions.  Now the primary audience for these are tax practitioners rather than taxpayers, whether individual, small business or corporate. However, I think many apply to all of us. Here is a sampling:

Take a day off.

Go for a run or a ride on your bike.

Take a nap.

Take your department to lunch. (or alternatively go to lunch with a friend or co-worker)

Work in the garden/yard.

Go for a sunset stroll.

Go to a concert or play.

Go to a ball game. (the NBA is still in season, or if you are a baseball fan many minor league teams still have their home openers coming up.)

Go fishing.

Take a road trip.

Blow bubbles.

Play a round of golf.

For the complete list,  follow the link.

What do you want to do to Celebrate the end of tax season?

As for me, I will continue to run, got tickets to Man of LaMancha. Now what else can I do?

Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k

I thought I would invite everyone to join in this “virtual” 5k that is being held by WordPress. Let’s all get out there and do something! Whether you like to run, walk, cycle or something else. News

It wasn’t just a one-time event! The Automattic Worldwide WP 5k is back again in 2012! Set your timers for April 29th!

At Automattic we work from all over the world, and we use internal blogs for socializing and exchanging non-work ideas in addition to making and our other products more awesome. One of the things we’re really concerned about is staying healthy – we even have an entire internal blog dedicated to fitness.

We had a great idea: Get all Automatticians from 79 cities & 24 countries to run/walk a 5k on the same day! This way we can get some exercise together as a company even though we’re apart (though we won’t rule out a softball or Texas scramble at our next meetup).

A year later, and there are now 105 Automatticians we hope will take part in the 5k all around the world in 2012.

We want…

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How to turn your blog into a book

While a little outside of the generally accepted scope of my blog. (Small business, accounting and tax) I thought this might be of some interest to my readers. A couple of books that I am aware of that either used a similar concept or are structured in such a way to be similar that I am aware of are Side Glances, by Peter Egan (a collection of his Road & Track magazine column of the the same name) and the other the way that Harvey Mackey has structured his book Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. News

 We know many of you love your blogs, and gleefully publish photos and posts without thoughts to reuse your work in other forms. But we know some wonder: could this be a book? Recently we wrote about how a blogger scored a book deal for You Are Not So Smart. But what if you want to do it all yourself?

As a blogger who has authored several successful books with publishers, and who works on, I recently self-published a book based entirely on posts from my blog. I wanted to see what I could learn, and I’m here to share it all with you.

The book I self-published is called Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds. It’s a collection of my best essays from my WordPress blog at, where I write about ideas, creativity and leadership. The book has done well, and has often been…

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Golden Rules of Business Development

Golden Rules of Business Development

Today I am posting a guest post by Aaron McDaniel (aka “Mr. Business”) who is the author of the Young Professional’s Edge blog (YP Edge). He is a corporate director, entrepreneur, public speaker, community volunteer, author and avid world traveler. He has experience in sales, customer care, marketing, operations, strategy and business development and has managed over 110 different direct reports and organizations as large as 60 at a Fortune 50 company. You can read more from Aaron@


Business Development is a simple and complex subject all at once. At a basic level business development is about creating new channels for your company’s business lines to grow. This can be in the form of entering new geographies or bringing in new partners to better serve your customer. This is where we see the flip side of the coin; business development can be a very deep and complicated art that requires certain key skills.

Luckily, these skills can be developed.  While every company is unique and certain market conditions and industry maturity require varying strategies, there are certain strategies that will make you success no matter what the variables are; these are the Golden Rules of Business Development:

  1. Know what size of fish you are: Your business development strategies depend greatly on your market position. I currently work at a HUGE company (household name). I am constantly contacted by companies who see the millions of customers my company has and dollar signs begin to appear. They are knocking down the door to work with us because of this fact. By understanding this, I can be more discerning about the companies I spend a lot of time with. I am playing more of a defensive role, fending off the opportunities without high potential. If you are working at a start-up or other smaller company, on the other hand, then you are more on the offensive, actively looking for new partners and channels to sell your product.  In this case you need to be more active (follow-up is KEY) and tenacious to get opportunities cooking
  2. Manage your funnel: There are many crossovers between sales and business development. In some ways business development is an easier type of sales, since the other side is generally going to benefit from the creation of a partnership or formalized relationship. Like in sales, if it great to have a long list of opportunities but it is important to continually push these opportunities to close. If an opportunity is not going to close then take it off the list instead of just cycling through a list of the same potential partners over and over.  Most importantly, you need to constantly be adding new business development opportunities to the list
  3. Organize, organize, organize: Keep good track of all the details for a potential opportunity. Record everything from who all the parties are involved with a potential customer to how you met them to where you are in the negotiation/discussion process. There are many tools out there to help with this.  While it is designed for sales, CRM tools like SalesForce can be used to keep track of opportunities and set alerts, reminding you to follow-up.
  4. Look to (creatively) expand the pie: A bad negotiator looks to get as much of the pie as possible, creating a win-lose distributive situation. A good negotiator finds out what a potential partner wants and looks for ways to give it to them.  Remember that you are creating a relationship with a potential partner and it will not be lasting if either party feels like they were the “loser” when a formalized relationship was initiated.
  5. Internal relationships are as important (if not more) than external ones: Most business development novices make the mistake of thinking that their main job is to look out in the market and find ways to grow the business.  What is absolutely central to your success in implementing your ideas is you ability to convince people you work with that your idea is a good one.  There have been many times where I came across and exciting and strategic partner, but I was unable to get the appropriate internal parties to see my vision and how this other company helped fulfill it. This ultimately is my fault because I did not communicate effectively or I did not take the time to align the idea I had with an internal goal. That said, it is very important to make sure to be aligned with the goals of the internal groups you are supporting so that you know what to look for externally (and so you know how to convince them that you have the best plan once you figure it out).

Your success ultimately lies in how well you can master the Golden Rules listed above.  Remember to understand you will be successful when you help the external partners you work with growth their businesses and when you help fulfill the goals of the internal groups you support.  Just remember the mantra of Tom Cruise’s famous character Jerry Maguire, “Help me help YOU.”

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