Dec 2016 Glowforge Q&A


#43

I understand that for a lot of people this is their first endeavour with regard to ordering a product that’s in prototype stages. I don’t think they ever seriously planned to ship by 12/15, but I do think they meant their first slipped date. I suspect Dan was a little naive in terms of the fact he’d finished a successful Kickstarter, but building hardware is really hard and comes with an unbelievable number of surprises.

So while I can’t excuse the missed dates, I can certainly understand them, and I’m not willing to rise to the level of calling them liars.

Mostly, I was saying there’s little point in getting upset over something that is probably wrong, but either way needs further clarification from the team. If you’re concerned (which is understandable), Dan mentioned on the video that you should start a new subject in this Q&A forum, instead of adding to this thread. I only bring it up because I want to make sure someone on staff sees your concern.


#44

I know it’s called the ‘pro’, but it isn’t exclusive to people using it professionally. Lots of people who bought the pro plan to use it for personal use, and lots of people who bought a basic plan to use it for business. I don’t think either group, pro or basic, is more unfairly inconvenienced than the other. We’re all in it together. And we’re all responsible for our own decisions, just like Glowforge is responsible for theirs.


#45

Yes we are all in together. But in my opinion companies who bought it should be helped out first. And if people will do a refund they should get back what they invest at that time.


#46

Why?

You can absolutely still do a refund if you feel you need to! They haven’t stopped that. If you’d like to cancel your order, you’ll receive a full refund. It’s sad to see people having to go that route, but totally understandable.


#47

I just decided to cancel. I went in initially for the whole Monty (pro + filter). At this point I haven’t heard anything from Dan or the team that indicates that they are doing active testing with the pros. If the basic got delayed often, then logically I would assume that so would the pros and the filters. I know it’s been said that it’s very close to the same thing, but in reality close doesn’t mean it won’t have its own unique issues. I love the forge concept and the community, but I can’t move forward with this lack of transparency. Even if I was just going to be a hobbyist, this seems like too much uncertainty for an expensive purchase. I wish you all the best of luck, and hope to buy a gen2 pro forge a couple years in the future. Disappointed, but I guess that’s the way of it right now.


#48

I just watched most of the video.

Repeatedly saying that you have made a decision to communicate X way and that it is constantly under review…not really sufficient. I would have wished for an acknowledgment that X isn’t working. True, no communication model will be perfect for everyone…but, the GlowForge has been DELAYED OVER A YEAR. There should be more than…we failed you and we are staying the course. Seriously!!!

How’s this for a communications model going forward:

  1. There are 3 (5, 10 whatever) milestones that we have to hit to reach our currently stated goal.
  2. The dates for each milestones are as follows…list the milestones (you don’t have to even give specifics…Milestone 1) and the respective date.
  3. Monthly updates on milestones that are hit, on target, changed, slipped, whatever.

You have or SHOULD HAVE this information at your fingertips. Regularly sharing basic information about your ability to hit your SECOND goal date is a communication change that would go a long way toward building back trust. Right now we have…I’m sorry I failed TWICE…I’m good…stay or leave.

Also, try making these announcements earlier in the week so you can be present in the forums after the announcement.

These are two EASY suggestions for improved communications, increased trust with your owners and community, and a decrease in returns.


#49

I understand how you feel. For some (like me) it’s a substantial investment. And if you need to find an immediate solution, that’s what ya gotta do.

I’ve chosen to stick with it. As far as I’m concerned the money’s been spent and it’s just gone. Eventually I’ll get something very cool out of it. And I’ll still want it. I haven’t seen anything else coming out that is presumed to match the Glowforge.

Good luck to you!

  • Tom

#50

Those feeling that we need frequent updates - milestones, as Kim put it - did you not hear Dan’s explanation for why they weren’t happy with the quality of the units?

Totally unpredictable and very unusual issues arose in test units - the static accumulation on a sticker, for example. There is no way to mark something like this as a milestone, as you don’t know it even exists.

The next appropriate milestones - in my mind - would be “100% reliable, repeatable operation” and (for the pro) “reliable feed and spatial recognition of material”. There’s really not much beyond that, that software couldn’t address. Yet they don’t know what else might crop up before that milestone is reached. How can you predict based on the unknown? I’m not trying to be argumentative here. If you had to hike across a mountain, but had no idea what conditions, what new obstacles, you may face, how could you accurately predict when you reach your goal? You could guess when you might arrive, based on past experiences, and that might be close to reality. In this case, they are developing something we’ve never seen before. I said it earlier, but this product will be ground-breaking when delivered per expectations. They’ve raised the bar. With that comes higher risk, and I am not alone in being thankful that they are taking the road that leads to a reliable product packed with features.

We’re all disappointed that we have to wait longer. I get it, but we’re not talking about the latest PC based on iterative versions of existing components. I can’t imagine ANYTHING about this product that wasn’t developed in some way solely for this task. Nuts and bolts, perhaps…


#51

I’m sorry we let you down, Chris. I’m fully accountable for what happened. As a company, we see that every time someone cancels who should have had their Glowforge delivered already. Every one of them hurts. Every one of you who stays - who we let down - hurts even more.

My profound apologies - live casts make it easy to misspeak. We have absolutely no interaction with the LEED standard at all. We hired a firm that consults as to air quality to advise us on how to ensure the Glowforge and filter operate safely and reliably, not to obtain LEED certification.

We expect production Pro units at Basic units at the same time.

I did, based on the information and plans we had at that time. I don’t blame you for thinking I wasn’t telling the truth, as it clearly didn’t come true. But it was optimism, not falsehoods, that brought me there.

I’m proud of how well we’ve done building the functionality we promised, but ashamed at how poorly we delivered on the schedule for it.

Thank you for taking a chance on us, Micah. I’m sorry we let you down.

Thank you for taking the time to watch the recording and to share your thoughts here. I’ll be giving this a lot of thought.


#52

Maybe you’re just more hopeful than I am then, Dan. I saw hardware and thought…nahhh, that’s gonna be a while. :wink:


#53

Thinking Dan was talking about 12/16. At least that’s what I thought he meant when I read his reply.


#54

Me too.


#55

Agreed. A fuzzy metric at best, as proposed.

It’s also impractical to try and measure that any better without incurring more of what Dan is trying to avoid. I’m keenly aware of that, their sacrifice for financial stability and the due diligence to their backers. I’m not trying to add weight to their troubles and I have to respect how far in front of this he’s trying (and succeeding) to get.

On the other hand I’m canceling my order in 24 hours of getting another of these letters. This is bad girlfriend territory, I really love the idea of living with a GlowForge but my friends are starting to use that helpful “I know you love her” voice.

I’d imagine Dan is likely seeing an up-tick in cancelations from the last one and I doubt those are going to be linear. I also believe forum contribution is disproportionately positive to general client sentiment, letting those voices express that feeling is good for all of us. I’m being honest here to get over this lest it fester.

I’m wondering if his staffers who argued for no timeline were on the right track. Show me a general list of issues (nothing that gets you in trouble), let me see it grow and shrink in near real time and I’m less likely as upset. He’d also be better equipped to chase the quality benchmark he’s targeting.

I think I’ve said what I need to about this live QA and this issue as a whole. I will likely, however, pay more attention to this forum and topics relating to delivery. I’m going to go look for the more frequent notice option.

Cheers, and thanks for letting me vent a little.


#56

Hi @dan, I don’t know if I’m allowed to ask here on this page, but I don’t quite know where to check on the status of my volunteer beta (pre-sale) tester standing. How can I find out if I am on a list of expectant beta testers? I am a retired electrical engineer/ Physics teacher (aka, have enough time on my hands to tinker with a GF and give you feedback). I already tinker with a 3D printer and a CNC machine, both of which I built and calibrated from kits. I am also an avid (you might even say advanced) woodworker, with many ideas for jigs and projects that can be made on the GF.

I had worked at Xerox, GAF, Sperry Rand, Hewlett Packard, Good Housekeeping Magazine’s Engineering department as a product tester and technical editor, plus many other small companies doing design, testing, and other responsibilities like QA, etc.

I also taught high-school Physics for 16 years (in addition to the 20 years in engineering), so I am pretty well versed in communicating feedback clearly (having had to teach teenagers that science will benefit them in their future endeavors).

So, if I can be of any help, I am ready and willing, and it would be an honor to participate in testing and reporting on a GF. I have many, many great ideas that I would try on the machine.

Best regards
Steven Zara


#57

Thank you Steven! We’ll reach out if we have a beta unit for you.


#58

Thanks for noticing and replying to my post, @dan. I met with Bailey and the other nice members of your team at the NYC Maker Faire this past Oct. 1st. I enjoyed chatting with them while waiting to have my luggage tag engraved and cut.

At the good Housekeeping Institute, I designed and built test fixtures to evaluate, compare and rate many consumer products, ranging from wood floors and tiles, BBQ’s, paint, toys, TV’s and DVD’s, computers, game consoles, DIY hardware and tools, to digital cameras, gadgets and Holiday gift ideas, etc.

I would take the following approach to evaluating and reporting on my beta unit: With my engineering hat on, I would check the GF for functionality of any features that it has built in and considered ready to use (in accordance with your instructions), then, I’d use different materials (i.e. paper, cardboard, leather, fabric, wood, acrylic, etc.). I would repeat this often (daily, or at regular intervals) to test for repeatability, precision (cutting circles, thin features, etc.), and durability. Of course, reporting confidentially on my findings, and posting publicly what I would be at liberty to report on the forum.

Then, with my consumer/end-user hat on, I would test things like wood veneer cutting and engraving to make inlays in gift boxes and other items… Next, I would cut templates in 1/4" wood, and align two identical pieces (with thin dowels and lasered holes) to make a 1/2" routing template for routing hinge mortises in cabinet and box door projects. For my electronics projects, I’d fabricate front panels for project enclosures, acrylic and wooden gears and parts for my robotics (I had mentored and taught young people for the Science Olympiad competitions, and taught special-needs kids how to build their own line-following robot based on the Arduino Uno).

Finally, I would like to test and try making artistic projects (tea candle holders, lamps, toys, etc.) using a myriad of materials from paper, acrylic, cardboard, wood, etc.

I am going to stop now so I don’t bore you or any readers on the forum.

Best regards,
Steven Zara


#59

Unfortunately you’ll need to fill out the beta form, if you haven’t already. There is room on there to make your case; they don’t, or haven’t choose / chosen based on forum posts.


#60

Hi @jrnelson, I did that a looong time ago. Thanks.


#61

I’ve been waiting to post this hoping that time would soften my comments and thoughts. Regretfully while time has softened my language I still have some direct questions.

I am not a “hater” but I’m not a blind optimist either. I’ve met and spoken to @Dan and hopefully he will respect my comments and questions as a customer, teacher, and professional industry tech-analyst.

@dan you have built an impressive following with some amazing design specifications and while I know units exists is the actual design complete? I’m not just talking bug fixes for quality control but are you still working on features and how to implement them? There is a big difference here between the two and if the unit is still being designed (i.e. there is unit you can point to and say “That one - we need thousands of That one” then how could you send out an email saying that everything was on schedule for shipping in December?

I understand you have a new corporate relationship and with that fabrication/integration relationship came the need for a press release. That’s how business works. But for me, and I am guessing many others, that press release is a sore spot. When it was sent out (a week before this most recent news) was there any possibility that the units “could” (not “would”) ship in December as indicated? Going back to my previous assertion - if you don’t know what is being built how can you promise that it could go out in a matter of weeks?

I do have faith that the product you want to design will be built. But 2 years of anxiety from your customer base (and I will call us customers and not investors as we didn’t participate in a Kickstarter but a pre-sale campaign) - 2 years of anxiety will burn through a lot of good will, and I would hate to see during that time some other company define a market based on the compromises that your customers are willing to sacrafice for functionality.

Your offer of a refund has always been lovely - but the game of chicken we are playing here doesn’t scream of loyalty. After all this time and after these contradictory messages doubt isn’t timidity or disloyalty it’s common sense. And it hasn’t been rewarded - it’s been tested - wait longer and you get more. That’s predicated on a belief that this will happen.

Personally I have the finances, facility, and experience to work with a commercial laser. For me this was going to be fun and exciting but for others it was going to be transformative - life changing - and when you read these posts you are looking into the faces and dreams of those for whom this product will change and define what they do. That’s the spirit that made me hitch my wagon here but I feel lied to (by that damn press release).

The pizza place can’t call me when the pizza was supposed to be delivered and say they haven’t started making it yet because they don’t quite know how this pizza is gonna be made and they don’t have all the ingredients yet. It looks like you knew before the press release and that makes me feel bad.

If I were you I know what I would do - but I’m not going to play armchair quarterback on a user form (I mean customer waiting forum) - you know how to reach me. I’m also not going to give you the lawyer deposition question of “At what point did you know that it was impossible to make the December deadline?” I won’t ask “Why did you lie to me?” Because I know why. I won’t ask “Why did you think this wouldn’t blow up in your face” because I have kids :slight_smile

I regularly tell my kids (both my children and my college students) that the bad feelings you are feeling and the apologies you give are a good start but they are not transactiononally equivalent. Crying because you got caught sneaking a cookie doesn’t level the playing field - you wish it might but the cookie is still gone and I caught you sneaking.

So as I re-evaluate my position as a customer (with thanks for that possibility) I ask what will I get NOW to keep me going other than promises of a full disclosure that to be honest isn’t any of our business.

Lastly - here is a reverse wood block engraving of the Flammarion Engraving and a print made just from the resin and soot and the block cleaned up.


#62

Then no worries, they’ve definitely got your info.