The global coronavirus pandemic has now been raging for well over a year with no clear end in sight. There have already been almost 211 million cases reported across the globe with 4,413,638 lives lost. The death toll will likely continue to grow as long as vaccinations lag and the delta variant rampages. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers as they are an inconvenient barrier for our desire to return to some sense of normalcy. It’s important to resist becoming numb to the carnage, a global death toll slightly larger than the entire population of Los Angeles, California. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of these people, watching their health deteriorate despite maximal medical therapy until their lives were felled by the ravages of the virus. With the global situation far from under control, it should come as no surprise then that Pelikan announced via their newsletter today that Pelikan Hubs 2021 would indeed be cancelled. Long suspected to be a foregone conclusion at this point, it is nice to finally have an official statement from the company about the state of the Hubs event. I commend Pelikan’s decision, even if it was the only responsible choice they could make. While these are sad times, there is reason to have hope for a brighter future. Despite the 2020 and 2021 events having been necessarily cancelled, Pelikan began their notice with a statement tinged with optimism, a commitment to not letting the Hubs become a casualty of the pandemic.Continue reading
Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the COVID-19 infection that arises from it have changed the face of our world. We now find ourselves in a place that could scarcely be imagined just a few short months ago. With 5,580,000 people infected and 350,000 dead worldwide, there has hardly been a corner of the globe that has escaped unscathed thus far. In fact, only 15 countries and 11 permanently occupied territories are known to be without any confirmed cases of the virus (and some of those are suspect). Our invisible enemy has no consideration for whom it infects and does not discriminate based on any race, color, creed, or social stature. Perhaps the one thing that makes this tragedy just slightly more bearable is the fact that children have largely been spared its ravages. The upheaval in daily life almost all of us are facing will have far reaching implications for years to come. The impact can be felt in even the smallest aspects of our usual routines. Whether it is social distancing, homeschooling, wearing a mask when out in public, self-quarantining, working from home, or losing one’s job altogether, I think that it is safe to say that whatever “normal” we land on when the dust settles will not be the normal we took for granted a precious few months ago.
The Pelikan Hubs event is now over and, after a day of reflection, it’s time for my traditional recap. The most dramatic thing that struck me about the sixth annual Hub event is the sheer amount of growth that has occurred over the past six years. As I demonstrated in my post analyzing this year’s numbers, the annual registrations continue to grow at an astounding clip. The 2019 event saw Hubs take place in 200 cities spread across 46 countries with over 5,500 registered participants, a roughly 15% increase over 2018’s numbers. While those worldwide stats are indeed impressive, I can’t help but be awed by the growth of my local hub. At the very first Hub back in 2014, there were four of us sitting around a table in a small cafe passing around pens and sharing our experiences with various inks and papers. Five years later, the Philadelphia Hub is bursting at the seams and I’m sure similar stories can be seen the world over. The passion of this year’s batch of Hub masters was clearly on display, many going above and beyond to make their individual Hubs extra special. I commend those who have taken up the mantle because it is thanks in no small part to their efforts that this event has been able to continue to grow. In Philadelphia, Frank Limper of Federalist Pens and Paper helmed the Hub for the second year running, once again selecting The Victoria Freehouse Pub to play host. With tasty food and refreshing drink, the venue provided a cozy atmosphere though perhaps one our Hub has outgrown. The only major downside to the location this year was the lack of street parking due to an event happening at the waterfront.
June 30th marked the end of the registration period for Pelikan Hubs 2019. A lot of new cities were chosen this year which is a testament to the buzz surrounding this event and the enthusiasm of the pen community. With each passing year, the Hubs have grown larger and more diverse and this sixth annual gathering looks to be no different. Perhaps the most important byproduct of this growth has been the ability to expand the Hub locations in order to provide access to more people. While not everyone has a Hub convenient to them, each year makes it just a little easier to find a nearby location. Using the most recent version of the map publicly available on Pelikan’s website (as of 7/3/19 at 10:00pm EST), we can get a feel for this year’s chosen venues and number of registrations. These numbers will be subject to some fluctuation between now and the actual day of the event so the analysis that follows should not be considered a final tally. Still, I’m hopeful that the insight the numbers provide will be of some general interest. Nearly two dozen new cities have been added to this year’s line-up, representing a 10% increase over last year. Growth continues to be steady with each year bringing more registrations than the one before it. For 2018, Pelikan reported that there were 181 individual Hubs spread across 44 countries with 4,896 registered participants. Based on the map data currently available, this year’s event will span 200 cities spread out amongst 46 countries with over 5,646 participants. That represents at least a 15% increase in anticipated attendance over last year and an eye opening growth of 475% since the first Hub event in 2014. The United States continues to play host to the most chosen cities and registrations with the Philippines, Canada, Australia, and India rounding out the top five. Just in case you need a reminder, this year’s Hub event will take place on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 6:30pm local time. Pelikan’s designated Hub masters should be reaching out in the next few weeks with additional details for each individual location. Of course, if you are unable to attend this year’s event, you can follow along via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on your preferred social media platform. Similar to last year, I have put together a series of maps and graphs to help better depict the information outlined above. Read on to see this year’s line-up and where your city/state/country may rank.
Now in its sixth year, Pelikan keeps tradition alive with today’s announcement of Pelikan Hubs 2019. The company has launched a new “microsite” to facilitate registration and to serve as a source of information for prospective attendees. The Hubs have continued to grow year over year with new records for attendance being set annually. The 2018 gathering took place in 181 cities spread across 46 countries with over 4500 registered participants. That level of attendance represented a roughly 30% increase over the year prior which had shown tremendous growth itself. Much of that success is thanks to the pen enthusiasts who have relished gathering to share their experiences and passion for fine writing and all that comes with it. If you are new to the brand and unfamiliar with what the Hubs event is all about, allow me to fill you in. Pelikan Hubs is first and foremost a fan driven gathering of Pelikan aficionados from across the globe who meet on the same local date and time. I say fan driven because Pelikan itself only acts in a supporting role. Each chosen location is appointed a Hub master (selected through application) who oversees the planning of the event with the company providing some organizational framework and a few supplies. This is what allows the evening to take on a unique and individual flavor. There is no specified agenda and you don’t even need to own a Pelikan pen to attend. The result is that no two hubs are quite alike, but they are invariably an enjoyable affair. It is also heavily encouraged to utilize social media via the hashtag #pelikanhubs so that other locations and those who could not attend can share in the festivities. I have been a Hub participate from the beginning and look forward to this gathering each and every year. You can read about my most recent experience here. This year, Pelikan is requiring a minimum of seven participants in a locale to constitute a Hub, a change from prior years where the minimum was five. That is why it is important to spread the word to those who may be interested in your area. When you register, you will also have a chance to nominate yourself for the position of Hub master if you would like to serve as the local point of contact and organizer for the event. It is the Hub master who designates a centrally located meeting place and distributes the provided Pelikan swag to all of the registered guest in attendance. Read on for all of the details for Pelikan Hubs 2019.
Another Pelikan Hubs event has come and gone meaning that it’s time for a proper recap. September 21st was a big day for lovers of fine writing as it marked the fifth installment of Pelikan’s annual gathering. Word continues to spread about the fun and excitement of the evening as demonstrated by the ever-expanding number of registrations. This year saw gatherings take place in 181 cities spread across 46 countries with over 4500 registered participants, a roughly 30% increase over the year prior. Given the gravity of the occasion, Pelikan kindly provided me an opportunity to interview the Hubs team ahead of this year’s event, allowing us a fresh perspective and a small peak behind the curtain. Not all was smooth sailing this year, perhaps a reflection of some growing pains. There are reports of Pelikan’s gifts not being delivered to a few of the Hub locations in time for the event. Other Hubs have reported Olivine ink boxes containing Smoky Quartz, a puzzle that’s beyond me to solve. While disappointing, I think that it is important to keep things in perspective. The free gifts are indeed nice but they are by no means what brings the majority of us together so hopefully those Hubs were able to make the best of the situation. The Hub masters continue to show no shortage of passion and commitment and deserve a lot of kudos for ensuring the success of their local venues. Many went above and beyond by making or purchasing their own items for attendees to sample and take home. It is the dedication of the Hub masters that goes a long way to making the event as great as it is. Their efforts are even more commendable when you look at the ever increasing burden of finding a venue for such large groups without any budget. It’s that burden which prompted me to relinquish the title of Hub Master this year in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Frank Limper of Federalist Pens and Paper picked up the mantle and ran a great event. Our local hub has been held at a variety of locations and this year brought us somewhere new, The Victoria Freehouse Pub. The venue was cozy, provided good food and drink, and had a nice atmosphere. Everyone that I spoke with had a great time and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the venue for a future gathering. The only major blemish on my night was the parking ticket waiting for me when all was said and done (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
As you likely know by now, this is the fifth anniversary of the Pelikan Hubs event. The excitement is certainly building as we are now just under a month away from the big day. Some of you have been around since its inception while a large swath of those reading have come to the event more recently. Have you ever wondered how it all came about? Questioned whose behind it all? Maybe you’re wondering if this is going to be something to look forward to for years to come? I too had a lot of questions and a few concerns about the event. I e-mailed Juana, a member of the Hubs team in Hannover, who works in the social media department. Quite unexpectedly, that message actually ended up leading to a very pleasant telephone conversation with Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager of Fine Writing Instruments, Jens, and the rest of his team. They were gracious enough to grant me and The Pelikan’s Perch an exclusive interview. After much thought, I posed a series of twenty questions to the group which you will find below along with their answers. I hope that you find the information interesting and perhaps walk away with a clearer understanding of the event’s purpose and its origins. The text that follows has only been very lightly edited for easier readability due to differences in language but the responses have not been altered in any meaningful way.
With the closing of the registration period (extended an extra week due to high demand), we now have a pretty good sense of Pelikan’s Hub locations for 2018 as well as the number of registrations at each location. The analysis that follows is derived from data taken from Pelikan’s Hubs page (as of 7/23/18 at 9:00pm EST) and should not be taken as absolute since it is subject to some fluctuation between now and the big event. Still, it gives us a significant insight into how this fifth anniversary event is shaping up. Most of the cities that participated last year are again included in this year’s festivities with at least two dozen new cities added to the roster, a roughly 23% increase. The Hubs event continues the steady trend in annual growth that we’ve seen year after year. Each year has been larger than the one before with more countries, more cities, and more people participating. For 2017, Pelikan reported that there were 145 individual Hubs spread across 43 countries with 3600 registered participants. Based on the currently available data, this year’s event will span 178 cities spread out amongst 44 countries with over 4700 participants. Thus far, that represents roughly a 31% increase in attendance over last year and an astounding 425% increase since the inaugural year. Whereas events were few and far between the first year, the access that fans now have to a local Hub has grown exponentially. The United States is again host to the largest number of registrations with Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Germany rounding out the top 5. This year’s gathering is set to take place on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 6:30pm local time with Pelikan expected to release additional details about the event as we get closer to the date. If you cannot attend this year’s event, you can easily follow along with the world-wide festivities via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on the various social media sites. To further synthesize the data, I’ve developed a series of maps and graphs to help depict the information. Read on to see what cities are involved and to learn about how your location stacks up with some of the others.