Friday, April 25, 2008

A pleasant surprise from Pentel

I was raised on Quicker Clicker mechanical pencils from Pentel. Back when I started using them as a wee lad, they felt heavier and sturdier since they were crafted out of more metal content. Now, Quicker Clickers are mostly made of plastic. But like all Pentel products, they still carry a lifetime warranty.

For pretty much anything else, I don't care about lifetime warranties. First of all, I'm not going to take the trouble to dig up my receipt for something I bought years ago. Second, I just don't care that much about most of the stuff I buy.

But I take my writing implements very seriously. For mechanical pencils, I prefer the Quicker Clicker over anything else. For erasers, I like the Staedtler Mars Plastic but I'll settle for a ClicEraser from Pentel. For ink pens when writing things in my planner, I will go out of my way to get a Uniball Signo RT Gel, 0.38mm in either black, blue, or red.

I keep several Quicker Clickers around at all times to ensure optimal performance, but recently one of them broke. I've sent broken pencils to Pentel before, and they've sent back new ones — without requiring the hassle of presenting the original receipt. I knew that they followed up on their lifetime guarantees.

But this time around, they not only sent it back new, but also filled it up with lead refills and included a separate 12-pack of Pentel lead refills.

Quicker Clicker plus Lead Refills

It's a small gesture, but it's much appreciated from this customer. Thanks, Pentel. Your products continue to be expensive up front but they are totally worth the premium price.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Growing responsibility on a solid base

People who cannot handle small, easy duties should not be entrusted with more power and responsibility. Basically, be faithful with the small things, and you will be entrusted with bigger and better things.

I particularly like this lesson because I love the process of building and focusing on smaller tasks, but at the same time I've always been a big dreamer. As one would expect, though, I also experience that impatience to move on to the next step, even if I'm nowhere near ready.

But that's the way the world works.

I've been thinking too, that the ability to wield power and responsibility is not entirely intrinsic. True, you can be put in charge of small things as a test of your potential, which is a property that never changes, and it does serve as a way to winnow out the good from the bad.

But I realized that the process and experience of handling the little issues and tiny problems is itself critical to bringing out any latent potential or untapped talent in people. So essentially, you've got to be trustworthy in the first place, but handling the little things is crucial practice for the big leagues.