I had the pleasure to interview Matt Fisher, Vice President, Fisher Space Pen Co.
Matt Fisher is Vice President of Fisher Space Pen Co., the iconic American family business based in Boulder City, Nevada, founded by his grandfather Paul C. Fisher, inventor of the original AG7 “Astronaut” pen flying aboard every manned space mission since 1968 and used aboard the International Space Station and by space programs around the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story behind the iconic Fisher Space Pen brand?
When manned space missions began, astronauts had a problem finding writing instruments that would function properly and safely in space. The ink in regular ball-point pens wouldn’t flow in zero gravity. Instead, Astronauts used pencils but the lead often broke and became a hazard floating in the capsule’s atmosphere. Paul C. Fisher, who was then president of the Fisher Pen Company and had been manufacturing ballpoint pens since 1948, started thinking about how ordinary ballpoint pens would have trouble writing in space, but if a pen could be sealed and pressurized, it would keep the solvents from evaporating in the gravity-free vacuum of space.
After spending over $1 million dollars of his own money and years of research, Fisher finally developed his patented pressurized ink cartridge that keeps solvents from evaporating and allows ink to flow in zero gravity. Fisher sent samples of his prototype to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The prototypes were thoroughly tested by NASA and passed all tests. NASA astronauts began using the Fisher AG-7 Anti-Gravity Space Pen aboard the Apollo 7 Mission and Fisher Space Pen has been used on all manned space flights since, including NASA’s Space Shuttle Program missions, the Mir Space Station and the International Space Station as well as the Russian and Chinese space programs.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Fisher Space Pen Co. stands out because our story and our products are unique. My grandfather founded the company to create a better ball point pen but when he heard about NASA’s challenge in finding a pen that would work in zero gravity, he took a personal initiative to work out the problem and he succeeded! It is a story of true American perseverance and technological prowess. In addition, Fisher Space Pen has unique properties which makes it stand out from the competition. Our patented pressurized ink refill allows our pens to write upside down, at any angle, under water, in extreme temperatures from -30℉ to +250℉ (-35℃ to +121℃), over almost any surface, three times longer than the average pen. They are known and loved throughout the world and even inspired the now famous Seinfeld episode titled: “The Pen.”
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, Fisher Space Pen just launched its new Apollo 13 50th Anniversary Collection as well as models geared towards Law Enforcement, Firefighters and the Construction industry.
And, during this time, we are highlighting our raw brass models which have antimicrobial properties. We are also donating a portion of sales from our brass models to support Feeding America COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building your brand, especially during this uncertain time?
We think it’s important for businesses to assess their situation and perhaps use this uncertain period to upgrade digital resources and infrastructure, employee safety as well as recalibrate marketing messages to correspond with the current climate.
In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
Brand Marketing covers the brand as a whole: Mission, Tone of public image and visual elements, community stance and other elements.
Product Marketing covers specific products, their properties and value proposition.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing during this uncertain time?
- Adapt operations to current climate, as well as official health guidelines.
- Review public stance and messaging.
- Find ways to help customers, community and medical professionals.
- Upgrade digital infrastructure and increase digital and social media content.
- Plan for an uncertain rest of the year.
Your company manufactures its products in the USA, has your supply chain been disrupted?
No disruption. Luckily 95% of our suppliers are in the states. We are fully stocked and open for business.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
Social Media plays a very important role in our branding efforts. It’s important for our company to cultivate relationships with our customers. Much of our customer service interaction happens via social media. It is immediate and allows us to stay in touch with the public in a more personal way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We have always cared deeply for organizations that help society thrive as a whole. We strive to develop products that support our heroes. Recent initiatives include our Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line Space Pens (#M4BLEBL & #M4BFFR) for our men and women in blue and in red. A portion of the proceeds are donated to respective foundations to support them. We are also donating a portion of the proceeds of our RAW brass M4 and bullet (#M4RAW & #400RAW) space pens to “Feeding America – Covid -19” during this difficult time. They have antimicrobial properties to help fend off the virus. It’s initiatives like these that we will always practice at Fisher Space Pen Co. Hopefully they will inspire others to support those who protect us and people in need.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? “You’re such an inspiration for all the ways that I will never ever choose to be.”
This quote from one of my favorite musical artists has helped me remember to define my own path and be my own person. Don’t get me wrong, my grandfather and father amongst many others have been huge inspirations and role models, but there are forces out in the world that will attempt to alter your reality or direction in life. It’s important to pay no mind and focus your attention elsewhere.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I’ve always been a fan of Elon Musk. Gifted him with a pen last year just to show how much of an inspiration he has been to our family and the company.
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