Dan does discuss this (quickly, in his fashion) in the Q&A session linked above…but…
Because Dan talks really fast, a lot of people can miss what he’s saying, so I’m going to take a shot at paraphrasing him a bit:
There have been a lot of individual customers concerned that if Glowforge loses too many people (from pulling out or getting tired of waiting, or whatever) that they will not be able to get their money back.
That isn’t something that you need to worry about. They can afford to give every one of us our money back, and still go on to create the machines.
- They are using Venture Capital to pay the salaries now, ramp up production and create units for testing.
- They have set our money aside to be used to actually build our machines when the time comes.
So when we get the letter notifying us that our machine is about to ship, that’s when they use our money to pay to have it manufactured.
If we tell them no, we don’t want it anymore, they just don’t build ours and send the money back.
They probably run a few units in advance of that, but they have enough to refund if we need it.
This product will still go to market whether they have our money or not. The units that come out later will cost more.