My first post - expressing frustration


#1

I’m generally a patient person, and I’ve been silent through all of the delays, reading the emails and forum posts. I’ve tried to stay positive about GlowForge. My brother was in town recently and I was telling him about why I purchased one and the promise of the device for my small business, and as the words came out of my mouth I realized just how ridiculous it sounds – that a product that I ordered on September 24, 2015 has still not been delivered, and that the company that’s making it hasn’t been very upfront about why, and that the current promise is that I’ll have it by the end of October 2017 - more than two full years after I ordered, and even if I do receive it by that time, the air filter I ordered won’t be here until at least December.

I get that more people are getting their emails, and that at least one Pro device has been delivered. I ordered a Pro, at 9:21p.m. on 9/24/2015 for the curious. I’m also seeing that at least some of the folks (in the apparently-controversial spreadsheet) who ordered ordered a Pro as much as more than two months after me have now gotten their emails. That just seems even more disrespectful.

I realize I’m not the only one in this boat, by far. I feel bad for folks who are international who might have to wait even longer (or not – who knows? The communication hasn’t been very forthcoming, though I do see @dan respond in some of the threads).

I’m not going to claim to be some great businessman and make claims about what GlowForge should be doing internally, but I am in some ways a “professional customer”. I tend to give my business to folks who are honest and upfront with me, and I often don’t hesitate to give repeat business when I’ve been treated fairly, even when the news isn’t good. I’m reaching the point where as much as I believe the GlowForge product may be great, how the entire process was and is being handled is leaving a bad taste in my mouth such that when it’s time to upgrade in the future, a competitor (that doesn’t even exist yet) may have a very strong chance earning my business by simply setting expectations early on, keeping me updated early and often, and being more transparent and forthcoming with news and specifics as to when I’m going to receive my unit. Had GlowForge said “it will be two years” when I ordered, I might have actually been ok with that, and I might have gotten a cheaper unit with fewer features to get me through until GlowForge was ready. If they ended up delivering a couple months early, great!

In a nutshell, GlowForge may be setting a high bar for features, but it is setting an incredibly low bar for customer service.

Do I still want my GlowForge? Yes. Am I going to wait around forever and quietly accept more delays? No.


People who ordered months after the campaign are getting their Glowforges?
#2

For what it’s worth, and I have to dig through the updates to find where it is- but before production units were shipping we were told that people contributing regularly to the community on the forums, ‘Regulars’, would have priority over the sequential orders. Seeing people further down the list getting their emails is this policy in action.

EDIT:


#3

of note is that this is of course only a handful of real units in comparison to orders.


#4

And disproportionally represented on our shipping board because forum activity and spreadsheet participation are highly correlated.


#5

exactly.


#6

Hah! It’s more than a handful, it’s as much as 0.01% of orders! (Although many are likely early buyers too.) :sunglasses:


#7

yup, it’s why i’ve never been bothered by it personally (of course it doesn’t matter for as an international orderer.

:grinning::smiley::smiley::rofl::rofl::rofl::joy::joy::joy::joy::sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::sob::sob::sob::sob::sob::sob::sob:


#8

For some reason I thought the ‘participation’ note applied to pre-release units (e.g., who would get them). I personally despise policies like that. For someone like me who is an introvert with social anxiety and other related challenges, it’s just another slap in the face. It took me more than a week of internal dialog before even making my first post. I don’t see much value in talking about a product that I don’t even have yet – posts would be about “can it do x” (which I could not answer) or “when is it shipping?” for which the information is already posted by the company. I don’t talk about my personal life in public forums, and it seems rather pointless to talk about other products and projects in a forum about a specific product that I don’t have yet. Participation in the forum should be independent of shipping, otherwise you end up with folks making posts just to get closer to the front of the line or being given a benefit just for being outgoing, and people like me get left behind.


#9

it’s such a small blip that unless people brought it up via order dates, it would never have been noticed. while i understand your feelings, i think calling it a slap in the face is a bit much. it’s something that affected the place of a few dozen units at the very most and really is not worth getting upset over.

it’s nice that you think having any discussion on these forums has been “pointless,” but there’s been a lot of knowledge sharing and learning. simply because forums aren’t for you doesn’t mean that regular participation doesn’t help other users.


#10

The problem is they are being made so slowly that even a few dozen means months of delay.


#11

perhaps, and for a handful of people, as said. though i don’t necessarily buy that.


#12

I didn’t say that having “any” discussion is pointless. Responses like that are another reason I don’t like participating in the forums – me respectfully sharing my honest opinion always has to have someone come along and twist it or add things that aren’t there. I listed three very specific things. There are things that don’t fall into those categories, like asking for clarification on a policy, or reporting a problem with ordering, and of course folks who actually have a device can support others who have a device. If other folks get something from particular discussions, great for them, but that should have zero effect on when I get my order.

If they were producing units at a pace that indicated they were on schedule I wouldn’t even notice because day one orders would have likely been all shipped weeks ago, and when I say “shipped” I mean actually on carrier vehicles and/or delivered.


#13

sure, i just think that a lot of the useful discussion (for obvious reasons, as the glowforge hasn’t hit mass shipping yet) on this board has been about not necessarily the glowforge. business practices, software, other maker tools. stuff that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with laser cutting. that’s what i referred to when i said ‘all,’ i wasn’t twisting your words.

this place has issues with drama and whining and cheerleading sometimes, but it has a lot of good content. and simply because you haven’t felt able to participate it doesn’t diminish the value of that content to a lot of people, and it’s insulting to call it pointless.

we’re all frustrated at the delays, trust me.


#14

I said this should have zero effect on me receiving my device. I said that if other folks get something from those discussions, great for them. It’s pointless to me, and I am completely entitled to that opinion. It’s not an insult, it’s my opinion. That forum participation policy suggests that someone who ordered a year after me could probably start a long thread about ice cream, everybody likes the post, and they receive their unit months before I do.


#15

I can understand that, but if it makes you feel any better - they are not choosing extroverts or people who post silly nonsense to pass the time, they are choosing people who have helped with building and refining the machine over the last year or so, and those who signed up for Beta testing. (You could have signed up for Beta testing as a volunteer without interacting on the forum at all and still been considered for early receipt of a unit. Several of the PreRelease users tend to keep a very low profile. But the two things that they all had in common were - they each represented something that would give information to Glowforge that they needed while they were refining the machines and processes, and they were willing to help Glowforge to get these things out.)

Not everything is 100% ready yet. Those who are getting the machines now know that, and are willing to accept that in their permanent machines, knowing that there might be some slight improvements later.

The only way Glowforge has available to them to determine who is willing to accept that is through the forum interactions and those who signed up as Beta volunteers. Otherwise we’re just another name in ten thousand or so.

Hopefully your next post will be to show off what you just made on your shiny new Glowforge, if you don’t want to socialize here.

But you ought to try it…most of us are pretty nice, if slightly opinionated. :wink:


#16

But that’s not how it works. It’s not a count of posts but also how useful those posts are to other people and how many people found those helpful. And to top it off no one knew there was anything in it for them when they were freely participating by adding useful content here.

As a result of those people’s participation in ways that GF found useful there are features available now that were added to the hopper (& delivered), there are designs heading for the design catalog and there are a raft of tutorials and how-tos that cost us a fragment of a position in line.

If you think forum sourced features like the new cut & paste into the GFUI or the expanded temperature management or the tutorials have no value then I guess you were ill-served by GF’s policy and have every right to feel slighted. Otherwise you’re the recipient of value that GF couldn’t pay for directly but has chosen early delivery as recompense. Similar to the gift certificates to Inventables and the monthly credit added to our accounts in the store.

In fact it could be argued that to be “fair”, those gift certificates and credits should be based on your original buy-in and the amount you spent. After all, those of us with fully loaded machines on order have nearly $5,000 invested while others getting the same credits have less than $2,000 invested. That seems like a slap in the face, no? While we’re at it, maybe the international folks should get even more because they’re paying so much more based on currency valuations and customs & VAT costs. Or maybe we should index it to the buyer’s income because $2,000 might mean more to you than $5,000 means to me. Or perhaps people with businesses get favored treatment because they’re using it for more important stuff. Or maybe schools & maker spaces because kids after all…where does it stop?


#17

People can certainly feel that way if they want. Those can be argued and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but honestly ALL of those are a far cry from shipping units out of order. The comparison is ridiculous. “First come, first served” is a virtually universal business practice. It stands to reason that some will take issue with a company choosing to send units out of order.
Some people have found the forum posters (who got a bump in line) useful and thus have no issue with glowforge’s policy. But others do not find it especially useful and their opinion on that matter isnt any less valid.

This is just my opinion but honestly if these things werent already in the hopper than thats surprising. Maybe they actually came from forum users but It seems like people building a laser company would have already come across these ideas ages ago in one of the undoubtedly many brainstorming sessions they must have had during product development. Those are functions I would have already expected based on the info available about the machine.


#18

Then you should be surprised. Some of what they’ve done and have acknowledged in the forum as a suggestion they’re adding simply don’t exist in any other laser on the market anywhere despite all of the other people having bright ideas and brainstorming sessions. :slight_smile:

You’re entirely welcome to feel slighted, it’s a feeling after all. Whether the company “should” or “would” or others “do” or “do not” is irrelevant - just justification to yourself for being properly put off. It’s going to have no impact on the company’s decision - Dan pretty much already said that.

And if you really think all or even most companies deliver in FIFO order without regard to factors like ease of delivery, size of order, relationship with the company, treatment of your waiter or any number of other non-place in line factors, okay. But I’d suggest not making any critical decision that require that to be true :smile:


#19

I feel you, pdbarnett.
I also wonder at this meritocracy based ship schedule jumping.

If you’re Adam Savage (or some fraction thereof), with all the tools and skills and internet megastar followers, you get chosen for a prerelease beta unit. This in turn qualifies you to get your production unit even faster.

I understood from reading the agreement on the beta application that there was indeed some benefit to being an influential social media maven or an experienced hand at manufacturing, and that makes sense for flushing out bugs.The beta also was very fight club… do not ask about your beta status and do not talk about it.

Now that we’re in “production shipping” times, If you didn’t get to be in on the beta… tough noogies. Also if you’re not filling the forums with your personal projects not made on a glowforge that you can’t have… double tough.

Seems like if you already got one, you get one faster.
If you want to start from zero with a promising new tool, keep waiting.
If you don’t already own a laser or have access to one through work or school, go pound salt.
If you make or do things that aren’t related, no extra points.

This is the pattern I see.
I’m not crying foul, and everyone can’t be first.
I am waiting just like the majority of folks who didn’t get the fickle finger of fate pointed their way for a prerelease unit and a faster release unit.


#20

The only Pro unit I’m aware of that’s “jumped the queue” since their production run has started is someone who submitted to the NYC Maker Faire sponsorship lottery that GF did/is doing.

Is it fair to those who have been waiting since day one? Probably not. But did everyone have an equal potential opportunity to be selected for it? Yes.

I find it far more fair than the early shipment of orders to forum Regulars, and I really also don’t have a problem with that. =)