I really like my manager. She has a couple guiding principles that steer our team:
- be real with people
- under-promise, over-deliver
Let’s talk about the initial glowforge announcement, where they said units would start shipping in December 2015. At the time of selling this product with that promise, the company had:
- no manufacturer
- no reliable power supply
- no packaging developed (this takes a long time)
- no end user software
- no filter (and still don’t)
- no store (and still don’t)
- no way to identify material as described in the video
- no gov’t certification
- like forty other issues but the point is made.
If those issues had been communicated up front, people would have likely still pre-ordered… but how many people would have believed a December 2015 ship date? Or even March? Or July? December 2015 would seem like a bald-faced lie. But those details were released slowly, gradually. Each time the finish line was moved, we got a little more info. When taken as a whole it reveals a company that launched their pre-orders at minimum a full year too soon, and knew it, and hid it.
Now we are told next July. Well let’s look at that. 10000 pre orders. If the manufacturer produces AND does qa cert AND ships 100 forges per day, every day, AND through some logistics miracle has no supply chain delays, that’s over 3 months to fulfill every order. Now some of them are pro, which if you read the announcement and have any kind of pattern recognition you’ll realize are between 95-100% likely to be delayed even further because at this time not a single pro unit even exists. Some are international, which raises the question of clearing those laws and regs - also likely delays.
So what do we have right now? Less than a dozen beta units known to exist, only just enough double-beta units to allow us to technically refer to them in plural, and another announcement full of apologies and promises. Throughout this process the GF team has not been up-front, have over-promised, and have under-delivered.
This device has amazing potential, but I have to ask myself: do I want to rely on a company that behaves in this way to service my machine in a timely fashion? To host the cloud platform that my machine requires? To roll out upgrades or even the initial features promised?
I haven’t made a decision yet.