Over-promise, under-deliver

All those claims are being made by a company who now has a track record of talking big and not delivering, though. They have squandered their goodwill, at least for me, and so now all I have left is skepticism for anything they say. There is zero reason for me to believe they can execute on delivering the pro by summer based upon their inability (and concealment of that inability) to hit multiple delayed dates for the basic. =/

Sure, but you’ve got exactly 2 options. You can believe what they say this time, or think they are full of it and get a refund. You are still here… so it seems like you are saying one thing, but acting another way. If I thought someone was ripping me off, I wouldn’t let them keep my money.


We didn’t order a pro, we ordered a basic (though another delay on that wouldn’t come as a shock either). And we are discussing whether to cancel, since we don’t want to make an irreversible decision hastily. Being involved in these forums is part of that consideration, with many good points of view.
It is not as black and white as you propose.

Ehh you’re just spinning your wheels in the hypothetical mud. You can complain and try and make up some imaginary grey zone all you like, but your actual choice is in fact A or B. You’ve chosen A, and are just pretending to wear a B’s clothing.

The people who choose B aren’t on the forums talking about goodwill and skepticism, they have gotten their money back and are on to other things.

Embrace your choice, for all who remain are A’s.


You are very dismissive. This decision involves more than one person and a large amount of money. I try to give full consideration before choosing an action that can’t be undone. Don’t confuse weighing options with avoiding action.
If criticism of this product or company bothers you, I would advise avoiding threads like this one. “Get on board or leave” is a needlessly myopic position.

1 Like

Not making emotional decisions (which tend to be hasty decisions) is a good plan.

Let it all sink in and in the meantime take a look through the forums. I can see on the profile that you’ve only been on the forums for a pretty short time (logged in, at least). Only major updates have been communicated via email, like the delay email everyone just received (apparently the majority wanted only significant updates via email). A lot of additional info is communicated throughout the forums by Dan and his team. Other nuggets are spread around. Maybe not the most ideal thing to have breadcrumbs everywhere - but that’s what it is.

For example, here is a summary on status that no one received in email, but most on the forums read:

Watch the Q&A and see what you think of that (I haven’t yet - hopefully find time tonight).


Not at all, you’re just confusing logic with emotion. If you think about what you are doing and saying logically you will quickly see the issue.

You are listing a bunch of reasons you don’t believe GF staff and really why you don’t think they will even make the next deadline. All of which are reasons to cancel, if you truly believe them.

So you must be stating all these things in the hope that someone will tell you something to put your mind to rest and not cancel. And WHAM instant problem. No one on this forum is qualified to tell you anything about production other than GF staff, which you’ve very very very clearly made a case against being able to trust them.

So what are you doing? You want the people you don’t trust to tell you to trust them?

So again, you can A: join the rest of us and believe that glowforge is trying to get this done. or B: Not believe that and cancel. And if you’ve got money issues that are tied up in this, I highly suggest getting your refund, because they very well may delay again.


While you are correct that ultimately there are two end states, once again your position seems to deny the validity of anyone’s process of reaching those states if it takes them longer than it has taken you.
It is possible to simultaneously want a glowforge and have significant misgivings about the company making it. Neither of those feelings are quantifiable in a purely logical equation. I wrote this post to voice my take on the situation, and given the number of likes it seems to have resonated with people. If you have any commentary on my initial points I’m happy to consider it.
You are entitled to a black and white worldview where everyone who stays must have their mind made up and be either silent or positive, and where every critic must leave. It’s one I don’t share.

1 Like

I am glad you were able to reach the correct conclusion. See you at the finish line.

I find inherent fallacies when considering your theories. First, any boss should have the philosophy of “under-promise and over-deliver”, in fact it is something that should be common sense to anyone. There is zero benefit in over-promising and under-delivering.

Second, the point of your statement appears to be that they over-promised and under-delivered on purpose. The result of that purposeful act was the loss of several millions of dollars between bonuses to us and changing factories to a US facility. So they purposely spent several millions of dollars that they could have kept as profit… to what end? What possible reason could they have for that?

With hindsight anyone could look back and say “well, you should have just said July 2017 in the first place”. Its obvious now because it’s happening. But to the Glowforge team, it wasn’t obvious back in the inception of the project or the subsequent milestones. They attempted to under-promise and over-deliver. They made a mistake and ended up doing the opposite, at the cost of several millions of dollars in profit to them.


I disagree - there are times when the “marketing” value of an “optimistic” promise exceeds the pain & penalty to be paid when those promises are unfulfilled. Most people won’t wait 2 or 3 years for something if that’s the initial promise. But many will stay once the sunk cost of participation has occurred. Look at Pebble and Oculus for example.

If an over-promise brings in X orders and the under-deliver costs .1X in returns then as long as the .9X remaining exceed what reasonably could have been obtained with more realistic projections the company is ahead. For some companies needing to prove the market now is more important than the cost of some number of lost sales a year or two from now. It certainly helps with VC money to have a product you can point to that has 10,000 committed customers in fact, even if you expect to lose 1,000 of them when you inevitably miss the initial projections.


@chadmart1076, @jamesdhatch: funny enough I liked both your posts because you are both right even though you’re looking at it from two different sides of the spectrum. If you are selling a product, or worse, an idea, then you have to be overly optimistic. Truth is most people I have known weren’t being dishonest on their optimism in these kinds of situations, but in their enthusiasm they have frequently been unrealistic. I have little doubt that while the glowforge team and dan in the beginning were aware it was going to be a long shot to make the first announced deadline. I bet even the second delay wasn’t a shocker once they got into the process and starting seeing the problems, problems they likely hadn’t thought would be as difficult as they ended up being, like the power supply issues they had. I think this third one probably took them by surprise - not on December 2, but within just a few weeks before. When you are focused so tightly on a particular deadline and trying to make it with everything you have then you can certainly rationalize a path to that finish line. So to some degree I think @jamesdhatch is right in that the initial timeline during the first round of sales was overly optimistic, and that optimism certainly attracts more customers. I Think @chadmart1076 is also right in that in the end the overall perception needs to be “promise less deliver more” so your customers are exited about what they receive and not dissapointed. I can see the glowforge team doing this too, wanting it to exceed our expectations, putting quality over timing. If only it was as easy as picking one side or the other, but in most cases both sides come into play and I think glowforge is a great example of that. To be clear - I don’t think glowforge (@dan) lied to us in the beginning. I think they were overly optimistic - which they had to be to get the whole endeavor off the ground. I think here towards the end of the race they are trying very hard not to under-deliver, and unfortunately for us that has led to some disappointment in the scheduling.


The original marketing was a deliberate deceit to get customers on board. It portrayed a product that could already do everything and could be delivered in Dec 15. Once they had thousands of orders they said, “oh we only meant beta deliveries in Dec 15, production in June 16”.

I find it hard to believe Dan thought that was true either. I didn’t believe it and said at the time that I would be surprised to see it before Dec 16. Surely even if Dan was that naive about product development some of his engineers would had told him it isn’t possible to go from a prototype that didn’t do any of the revolutionary superpowers to mass production with world wide approvals in nine months.

I think the first date Glowforge actually believed was Dec 16. That would be an optimistic project plan but when the beta was six months late that plan would have already been in tatters.

1 Like

This has been discussed repeatedly in the forums. It has always been the “first units” would be shipped December '15. That was determined to not be a deliberate deceit, the company meant it to be betas all along, but were more vague than they meant to be. They have apologized multiple times for this and the recognize that initial fault.

At the time of the Pre-Orders they truly thought they were going to ship by the end of Q2 in 2016 (and this was also in the initial pre-order campaign promises). So their first delay was announced in April '16 (two months before the “due date”) because of a delayed Power Supply and lack of their ability to do adequate tests.

I also don’t believe @dan lied to us at the beginning. I think he was being optimistic and unfortunately missed his expectations. He let himself down as much as he let us down. He is learning about this process as well, keep in mind that his previous Kickstarted success was Robot Turtles which, while an excellent game, is a world of difference from a Glowforge.


@palmercr, I guess I had a different perception right from the beginning. Knowing it was a crowd-funded start-up, I never even had the thought that the machine was already ready. I assumed it was a mock-up. In truth I didn’t really think about it that much. I looked at it as the company was starting and this was going to be their product. I believed them when they said and wrote “under development, final product may vary.” Since neither of us have inside information on what was said, thought and decided by the glowforge team, Dan, his co-founder and the VC’s, we’ll both just have to look at it through our own filters and make our own assumptions and decisions. I’m sorry you feel lied to. If it was me I don’t think I could support a company that intentionally lied to me, but that’s just me.


Sorry but I simply don’t believe that. Given how careful and guarded Dan is with his statements and how the advert must have been checked by other people in the company, I can’t see how they accidentally put “Pre order now for a special price, first deliveries in Dec” and didn’t think it wouldn’t be interpreted that the pre-orders would start being delivered in Dec by most people that read it.

It is true that if I had realised the true situation I would never have gone for it. I don’t feel any risk because I can always get my money back, so I might as well wait until they offer to ship before deciding whether it is actually something I want. It is a no lose gamble while they still have VC backing.

I does leave a very bad taste in my mouth to know the company was founded on a deceit. Knowing Bre Pettis is involved doesn’t help with that either.

From my end, I assumed December 2015 was when units would start shipping. Nothing indicated in the FAQ or the order form that would be the case. The forums were only accessible after you had a login, so you couldn’t see anything until you ordered, so no notice at all of that.

There is a bit of revisionist history going on, but regardless , it is what it is, and we are here now. We move forward, not backwards.


In my opinion I think the problem is at the onset most people believed the Glowforge to be a completed product that was ready for production. The product that was shown in the promotional material appeared to be complete and working. There was no mention that a lot of work remained to be completed before the first units would be shipping. They statements made that they would be shipping the first units by the end of December and the rest in early 2016 was simply not true with no realistic way to make this happen. I placed my order on September 25th so I had expected that my Glowforge would be delivered in December of 2015 or early in 2016.

I am just guessing but my though is that the initial pre order phase was done to show interest to the venture capitalists that are funding the company that there was a demand for the product. I understand that in order to get the capital needed to actually go into production the initial pre order phase would not be enough money and additional funds would be needed.

In my opinion they could have handled the matter much better if they had used the model Tesla used for the new model 3. They took a deposit of $1,000 for a product that is supposed to be about $35,000 as a minimum. This deposit is fully refundable if the purchaser changes their mind. If Glowforge had taken deposits of say 10% of the cost of the unit purchased I don’t think so many people would feel so angry at this point in time. This also assumes they had been more forthcoming in the actual development state and more realistic in the projected shipping dates.

In order to get in on the initial pricing which we have been told is going to be considerable less than the price of later units we had to pay the total upfront. There is no guarantee that after the initial orders have been completed that he new pricing structure that Glowforge states will actually remain in place. This is the price that they are suggesting but if they have difficulty making sales at that price then you will see it drop to what the market will pay. If people are not going to be willing to pay $3,000 for a Glowforge they will have to lower the price or go out of business.

Yes it makes sense to start high and get all the rich customers first and then reduce it later to get the next tier of customers and so on. That way you maximise profit and prevent a huge rush of orders at the beginning that you can’t fulfil.

And I am not saying that people won’t pay $3,000 or more for a Glowforge. But the number of people that will pay $3,000 for a Glowforge is not that great in my opinion. When the first flat panel TV’s came out the people that would pay $4,000 or more was pretty small. As the price dropped to less than $2,000 many more were sold. As the price has dropped to below $1,000 for them they have replaced tube TV’s for almost all new purchases.

There are many products on the market that have some of the features of the Glowforge. The Glowforge is trying to make a product that will appeal to the non technical people and be as easy to use as a color laser printer for paper. There are other makers that have Laser Engravers and cutters that can print directly from a file just like a color Laser printer. Glowforge has promised some features that will make the process easy for the average non technical user and that is a great goal. They are trying to be the “Apple” of the laser engraver/cutter market and hope that people will pay a premium price for the convenience and ease of use. This type of strategy is very difficult to maintain in the long term as others will add many of the same features to there products at a much lower cost.

Look at Smartphones as an example Android Phones came after the Iphone and now account for about 88% of the smart phone market. Apple only accounts for 11% and Blackberry which started the market is nearly dead. Why has Android been so much more successful is that they cost less and have price points from very low to just as high as an Iphone. the personal computer is another example. Apple has a very small share of the market compared to Windows PC’s Microsoft did not try to control the hardware market and only makes the most common operating system. Apple controls the hardware and software for everything they sale. It does make for fewer problems on average and less issues with compatibility but you pay a premium price.

In my opinion for Glowforge to succeed long term they will have to make a product that is vastly superior to all other products being sold. Many of the features they have promised are vastly superior to what is on the market today. Only time will tell if they can maintain the same lead and innovate more than others. I can tell you right now they will not be a player in the business market for laser cutters and engravers without some big changes to the machines. They will need machines that are much larger, higher power and with features such as rotary tools. This is a market that will pay $10k or more for a machine but it needs to have these features and more.