[Dec 2 2016] Q&A with Dan


#140

But the point is, is that until today, we were lead to believe that both versions were to ship before the end of this month. Nothing has been indicated that there were insurmountable problems to prevent that. That letter was the first indication I’d seen that the Pro version wasn’t ready. If it’s not, which seems apparent, I’d like to know more details. If it is another problem, common to both types, fair enough. But details, please.


#141

Delays in the delivery of product or even the disappearance of well funded startups is not unusual, it happens frequently here in the valley. I do not see this as the problem at Glowforge.

Very often the founder of a company is not the person to carry the company forward into production or delivery of product. Of the founders that I have worked for many of them have stepped aside and brought in a professional management team to either deliver the product, set the company up for acquisition, or take the steps necessary for an IPO. The best of the founders stick to what they are good at and that is generally the technology and not the running of the business. A CEO needs to be just that, an executive. It is a unique set of skills that not many possess.

My personal opinion is that it is pretty clear that Dan is out of his depth here. I also believe that he could likely serve the company and the community better as CTO and leave the daily running of the company to some equipped to do so. He has venture backing and surely that person or team has the connections to make this happen.

Too often, way too often the founder rocks the baby to point where the company gets into a critical situation. Either a cash flow crunch, serious technical issues, or as here, a PR disaster that damages the integrity of the company.

I will find out who their main backer is if he is part of the general VC community. If he is an angel investor it will be more difficult. The fact that they are using only VC money is encouraging. The statement made by Dan that their VC is OK with this massive delay is worrying. No team or individual that I have worked with would be OK with such a delay whether a technical problem or a supply chain foul up. We are probably not being given the entire story here as well.

My wish is that Dan will realize that he cannot do everything in the company and will step back and allow others to come in and leave him to whatever he believes he does best. The string of events at the company clearly prove that he cannot be the executive and the technical lead at the same time. The sooner he realizes this the faster the company will come into its own and progress. Whether is be the lack of transparency in communication, the lack of ability to focus on all aspects of the company, the apparent ignorance of issues with the international users, or the reticence to hire an actual PR and marketing team. Dan has shown that he is a charismatic and visionary founder but clearly not the person to take this company into the future on his own.

Having seen this countless times my advice would be to loosen your grip on the reins and step back. Take a good look at yourself and your abilities. I believe that adding the right people will allow you to truly focus on the machine and lessen the time you have to spend apologizing to your customers and backers.


#142

@dan. MAY HAVE MISSED SOME OF WHAT I SUGGEST SINCE MY #11 POST early this morning. Not trying to be redundant.

Simple solution for transparency. Make a list of ALL that needs to be accomplished prior to limited production and distribution to crowd funded backers (approx 10,000 of us) and then the list of what needs to be validated/accomplished before mass production. Post the list and update daily with LIMITING FACTORS explained and a date that your team will have that step completed. Again, pictures replace a thousand words (ie., production line, inventory, product enhancements, etc)

Thanks, Brian


#143

Dan
I’m a contactor/designer/installer/programmer/customizer in the electronics industry,delays are common,and expected ,only thing that matters is the end results are high quality ,Please DO NOT TAKE A MUCH NEEDED DELAY PERSONALLY,FORGE ON YOUNGE MAN!!


#144

That $3000 valuation will soon drop immensely when large numbers of backers cancel their orders.


#145

I would like an explanation on why it wasn’t until Dec 2nd you announced the delay.

You made 2 announcements: Nov 23 (Flextronics Press Release) and Nov 29 (Pre-release units going out) but made no mention of a potential slip. In fact, the press release even says, which we now know is a lie, that volume shipments will begin by the end of December. Furthermore, during this update period, the “Latest Schedule” banner on the forum continued to state that pre-order units would be shipped in December.

Yet in your email to us today you said realized there was a problem in Early November.

So what changed between your realization in Early November and the announcements in Late November? Which then changed 7 days later to be a 6 month slip?

Follow-up,
You either deceived us with the late Nov announcements or in the email you sent us today. Which was it?

Edit: Added links. Added a comma. And added “Latest Shipping Update” comment (in italics).


#146

Will the the live stream be via youtube. At 4p I will still be at work and want to make sure I can view it.


#147

You’re right, obviously, but I’ve backed a number of kickstarter/pre-order campaigns many of which have run >1yr behind schedule. Most of them have followed this cycle but were totally unapologetic for the delays and almost never offered any type of compensation. Making things is really hard, scaling is harder, even for experienced teams.

Despite the predictability of this pattern I appreciate Dan’s effort. No question they can and should do better with updates, but relative to many other companies and campaigns this failure is being managed reasonably well.


#148

Thank you for this opportunity to learn. I REALLY hope that people will use this for the right reason and not as a venting session. I understand and share the frustration, but the situation is what it is. I’m interested in learning more about this amazing project so that I renew my excitement.


#149

Shame the Q&A isn’t sooner, as 4pm PST is 1 am CET. Can you do it earlier next time so that European customers can also join in?


#150

Of the kickstarter projects I’ve backed that delivered on time, none of them delivered products that made me happy to have gotten in on said projects.

I do not feel deceived, as some here claim to be. There was a pretty clear disclaimer in one of the recent shipping updates(the Oct. 19 update) that said something about not being “absolutely certain” they’d ship on schedule. It also mentioned quality not being high enough, yet. I kept that in mind the following months.

Keep on chugging along, Glowforge Team! I will wait patiently for next summer :persevere: (that’s a perseverance face, not angry face - work hard, persevere!)


#151

Hello @milleraudiovideo as some one in the electronics industry you would also realize that schedule and time to market is also a metric of quality. So the end result here is not high quality.


#152

Yes, because Dan resigning will certainly speed this process along.

Assuming malice to what appears to be testing delays and scope creep is an uninformed view.

I hope the person who grabs your spot enjoys their product when the delay is over.


#153

Or they had an idea there would be slippage but felt it best to convey it as part of the planned announcement, being that between those days was a major US holiday.


#154

Hi Dan,

There are two provisions in your terms and conditions which make me question your company’s integrity in light of the most recent delay. The first is a waiver of the right to participate in a class action. The second is the waiver of a right to participate in a class arbitration. (Apparently GlowForge doesn’t think consumer protection laws should have to apply to them.)

Your company decided to prevent its customers from being able to file class action lawsuits and now you’re looking at a situation where a class action would have been the most appropriate remedy. What are you going to do to make it right?

After many months of delays, you’ve stated that your company has made on average $22 in interest per customer. I might suggest it would go a long way to rebuilding your company’s credibility if you would issue a check for the interest earned to all customers, without them individually having to take you to arbitration to get it. This would be more appreciated than a freebie package we didn’t ask for.


#155

I brought up the Terms and Conditions wording many, many months ago. After a response from GF I checked and found out that the wording is fairly common in tech companies in California and Washington. Nothing overtly shady. Just typical lawyers.


#156

Hey Glowforge team,

I backed the Pebble Watch so I understand Delays. I am also a HUGE fan of The legend of Zelda so again, I understand delays. I am not worried and appreciate that you are putting quality first. Dont get me wrong, I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!!!..but am willing to wait to have a good product.

My Question is: You mentioned that there are some accessories for the glowforge in the future. would one of those accessories be a tool to spin round objects to etch or engrave say a bottle or glass? I have seen these for other laser cutters and would really like to see the same for the Glowforge.

Respectfully yours,

Mike


#157

There are two paragraphs from recent updates that show nothing that guarantees shipping in December 2016(emphasis added to the below quotes is mine).

From October update:[quote=“dan, post:1, topic:3179”]
Q: So does this mean you’re absolutely certain you’ll ship on schedule?
A: No. Unfortunately our schedule can never be absolutely certain, because production surprises with far-reaching consequences can arrive at the last minute. We’re working every waking hour to get your Glowforge on time, but if you’ll forgive me repeating myself, meeting our schedule is the second-most important goal we have as a company - eclipsed only by making sure your Glowforge is as good as it can possibly be.
[/quote]

From November press:

Planning does not equal delivering. I planned on making a lot of art in December, but that sure isn’t happening because we’re moving /shrug


#158

It’s a values choice. I’m general counsel for a consumer goods company, and we don’t require binding arbitration or a waiver of consumer rights when they purchase from us.

Just because it’s common doesn’t make it right…


#159

That information is readily available either through something like Crunchbase or SEC searches: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/glowforge/investors


Schedule update (December '16)