We understand delays. And after 4 months of patiently waiting, I think reasonable questions like “how many have you shipped” or “at your current rate of production, what can we expect” should be answered.
What terrifies me is this void of information, especially regarding perfectly reasonable and simple requests.
We all assume that production is ramping up and that more and more people will receive their printers as time goes on, however, when the company refuses to answer completely reasonable questions about production and shipping, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll even be around to supply resin in 6 more months. I hate to be so cynical, but considering that here, in reality, the company can’t make a blog post without starting off with an apology seems really suspect. I’m not even asking for an estimated delivery date (which, in every other industry beyond those started from Kickstarter, is a completely reasonable request as well), I just want to know the status of a company that we all essentially bankrolled.
If you were building a new house, and the contractor wanted you to pay up front for everything, and then, refused to tell you when he’d be done building it (and furthermore, wouldn’t let you visit the site) - you’d demand a refund, right? I mean, we all understood there was risk in involving ourselves with a company like this… But when they can’t be bothered to check their email or give realistic estimates regarding fulfillment and shipping (poking around, it seems that if you ordered today, they’d estimate your shipping in November, try not to choke as you laugh) shouldn’t that raise some red flags?
We’re on the verge of cancelling our order and backing another horse. I understand and can deal with delays, but I’m not sure if I want to do business with a company that intentionally denies its customers basic and reasonable information.
Cancelled my order. Formlabs, you are a laughable company. Shame on you for the dishonesty.
Thank you for posting Jon,
We try to post updates to let customers know that we are actively working to make everything produced by Formlabs better while those who have orders with us wait for their Form 1s. We understand that people have invested a lot of money into their pre-orders and Kickstarter pledges and we take our responsibility in seeing these orders through very seriously.
Building the Form 1 is a complex task, that has required an immense amount of work in engineering, materials science, industrial design, and software engineering. Everything we design and build is new, and has never existed before. As such, there are bumps in the road that can happen that we cannot always anticipate. We don’t like our customers feeling uninformed, but we would prefer to say nothing rather than making failed promises. We acknowledge this has already happened with shipping dates.
Your concerns are completely reasonable and it is not our intention to leave users in the dark. We have just expanded our customer support team this week and plan to update our supporters on our shipping status by Friday.
We are a very small, but determined, team taking on an immense project and we strive to not only provide a game changing product, but develop better communication channels so our customers don’t feel shut out.
Thank you Jory for your response, however you did not at all address my question.
I want to know why Formlabs chooses not to answer questions regarding status. I’m not asking for forecasts or predictions on when you will ship things, I just want to know how many you have shipped.
I don’t think that’s an unreasonable question, and it is one that has been asked all over your forums, and I’m sure by many people in correspondence with your company directly. Why does Formlabs refuse to answer such a simple and reasonable question? One could choose to infer that your Serial Numbering system (though unique and interesting) is just another way to mask production numbers.
I think those of us who have essentially given you money with which to build other people’s machines deserve an answer. We paid you up front for a machine, and you won’t even tell us how many you’ve built. That’s not just strange, it’s downright wrong.
Please, how many machines have you produced to date?
Don’t pour petrol (gas) onto the flames, is an old saying.
We will be addressing your exact question this week in an public update to Kickstarter.
Pardon me if I’m out of line, Jory, and I don’t mean to be contrary, but why should I believe that? Pushing out a “public update” that is essentially going to be a 3 or 4 digit number seems ridiculous, especially with such a poor track record of communication on the part of your company.
So what happens if Friday comes and there isn’t an update? Is it then a game of “Oh we’ll make an announcement tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes, Jory. We all wrote you a pile of big checks, you cashed them, and then went quiet.
I’m sorry, but platitudes and empty promises aren’t going to be enough for much longer. I guess we’ll see what “this week” brings, or should I tack on 6 months to that, as well?
I have re posted a couple of your comments to KS, if not us it would be within a couple of months from other backers anyway!
Furthermore, I think it’s incredibly unprofessional to put such an important announcement or press release out via Kickstarter.
I understand and agree that Kickstarter backers should receive their machines first, but you’re a real company now, not a startup. You should be making these kinds of announcements from your website to all of your customers, not just the ones who jumped on board first. As a latecomer (we ordered in January of this year) I feel like I’ve bought into some awkward pyramid scheme, where my money is paying for the Kickstarter rewards you couldn’t produce on time, and in turn, future customers are bankrolling my machine.
This is a dirty way to do business, and if you don’t right the ship soon, cancellations and refunds will be the least of your problems.
I apologize if I’m getting heated, but the more I think about this whole situation, the more frustrating it is. All I’m asking for is a number. How many machines have you produced? I gave you thousands of dollars for an unproven product knowing the shipping date would probably slide. Customers who come after the Kickstarter fulfillment are no less important than your original backers. Posting updates to your Kickstarter page (not to mention making us wait for simple answers) is highly unprofessional.
My apologies, I foolishly assumed you were a Kickstarter backer without checking. We will of course be updating our pre-order customers as well.
Meanwhile Formlabs posts a Wired review of the Form1 that states “The first Form 1 printers have been rolling out to early adopters for the last few months, but if you want one, you can pre-order and get it around the end of 2013.” Are you still telling your new customers that they will receive their machines this year?
I know that running a business is no easy task, but a little bit of transparency and good will with your customers goes a long way. Especially for the kind of customers who are willing to hand over a large sum of money with no promise of a delivery date. You’re taking advantage of people.
Jory, when exactly will this information be available to me, regarding the number of units produced so far, or the status of my machine?
Friday has come and gone. When can we expect this announcement? The blog post regarding your growth as a company said “later this week” - can we expect an update over the weekend?
Friday is still here, or was, and an update was posted to KS saying 721 have shipped. The new customer service team is doing a much better job with communication already. Keep it up, Form team!
As Stephen mentioned, there was a new update posted on Friday to the Kickstarter page, as well as to the official Formlabs blog. You can find the post here: http://formlabs.com/blogs/blog/9094813-usa-canada-away.