Tapping out... Best wishes WayTools

Dear WT,

I am saddened to be posting this thread, but I am tapping out as a backer. As a military member and entrepreneur myself, I cannot allow myself to tolerate an ongoing trend of missed self imposed deadlines as long as this has going. In the service, we call these deadlines “suspenses”, which if you miss one you must explain to your supervisor and sometimes your commanding officer why a suspense was missed without prior notification.

As an entrepreneur and successful owner a of a business, if you advise your customers you will do something, even if it means sacrificing something of your own (such as missing a family event, longer hours, etc.), you get the task done. If the task cannot be done, you are 100% sure to advise all customers that something is not going to be done and why. I understand as a new innovative invention that the TextBlade needs work as you described in multiple blog posts, but this trend of missed deadlines and leaving your customers in the dark ultimately are a sign of a business on a downhill slope.

As assumed, I certainly am not here to say how to run your business, because only you guys can do that, but as a customer (and ultimately an investor since we believed in your product) who is constantly seeing false promises, I am tapping out and expect my money back ASAP.

I wish you guys the best and certainly hope I come across a TextBlade someday, perhaps on the rack at a Best Buy. Until then, good luck with your journeys.

-Brandon

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I second that. I’m done I would rather have my hundred bucks and save 10 minutes out of my week from checking for updates and being disappointed. Glad I finally canceled. With my luck they will actually ship this month.

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I agree. With my luck they will ship this month. But I am content with my decision for the time being and will wait until they have really entered mass production, which they originally indicated when I first placed my order. In the mean time, I still need a practical keyboard to increase productivity, so I went with the next best alternative from a much larger and reputable company.

Without a doubt WayTools is onto something big and I applaud them for sticking to the mission of making one of the best keyboards ever designed. As we all know and believe, they just have too many unforeseen hurdles and are certainly not handling it in the best fashion when it comes to timely and effective communication. They are in a very deep reactive state rather than proactive which is not a great place to be in.

Just FYI, it took about 2 days for my refund to appear on my credit card (cancelled Jul 22, credit appeared Jul 24) so to their credit, Waytools refunded pretty promptly.

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Oddly, I’m still emailed threads from this forum. I bowed out a few weeks ago and my reasons mirrored those posted this evening. Like you, I wished Waytools the best. I really wanted this to work…but my enthusiasm turned to indifference. No hard feelings. The company refunded my card in record time. Honestly, I was never worried about that. Then, a few days later some vitriolic twit started bad-mouthing the folks who bailed. It was almost funny how petty some posters can be. Hopefully, once the product is ready for commercial release we’ll all be able to give it a try. Until then…life goes on.

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Bcharleson - thanks for your thoughtful post. We too are sad that you won’t be getting a TextBlade, but glad you could exercise your freedom to choose, and hope it was fast and hassle-free for you.

We’re proud to have several family members in the military (retired from USAF SAC and Seal Team Six), and we greatly admire the discipline and standards of decision-making for military work.

The military is organized around operational excellence. This is appropriate and necessary for the nature of defense work, and also for operations-centric commercial enterprises, like FedEx for example.

New technology is created from a different core ethic - innovative excellence. This is a very different arena, and demands a different focus. Product excellence is by far the most defining pillar, and it absolutely must be right. You must be aggressive and willing to put forth extraordinary effort and sacrifice to achieve great leaps in performance.

Sometimes that means sacrificing near term profit, or suffering through humbling delays, or lost opportunities to commune with customers, or not seeing your family - all in order to drive hard to get the product right. That is a hard choice you’re sometimes forced to make make if you are committed to delivering something great.

That said, no enterprise, whether focused on innovation or operating efficiency, can ever do enough to communicate perfectly with its customers. Yet all enterprises should try.

We expect that our communication will look quite a bit more shiny once we’re shipping. We also think that shipping great stuff is the ultimate form of communication, and where our customers want our minds right now. We’re sorry we’re clearly less communicative while our heads are down to get this right.

We set hard goals for ourselves, to purposely push the envelope of what can be done. When you work to achieve what no one else has, you must adopt this posture.

We don’t pad our estimates, and that leaves us vulnerable to criticism, but it also forces us to keep our edge. Padding estimates can make you look like a hero on paper, but for milestones that are not so remarkable or valuable. It also can easily devolve into institutionalizing a ponderously slow and watered-down approach (as is common, not accidentally, in large defense programs). Hyper cautious approaches kill dynamic innovation.

We’ve layed our process out it in the open and tell folks what we’re doing. We make estimates, which clearly reflect our optimistic bias toward what’s possible.

Some folks nonetheless like to reframe our estimates as guarantees and promises, and then chide us for "breaking’’ them if it ends up taking longer. That seems a bit unfair to us, but we still publish their point of view.

We respect the world you come from bcharleson, and how you see things, and certainly regret we can’t meet all your expectations while also holding fast to our standards.

We hope you too can see us for who we are, and the delightfully useful advances a different culture might bring to you. We also hope that we did right by you by honoring your wishes.

p.s. - thanks also to misterb, who put care and craft into his writings, to sort through his conflicting feelings for the benefit of others who might be in a conundrum.

That each of you would put time and care into explaining your choices rather than simply moving on is quite remarkable. It is in some way a measure of how the promise of this new technology might really matter, and that you chose to write about it means quite a lot to us.

Thank you.

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As always, I am impressed by your openness on this forum. However, it took me some time to find this posting when checking in to see when I can expect my textblade.

Could you take a moment and update your Blog? Would be quite helpful and valuable to continue to watch the process and issues you face in delivering this great little product.

Thanks

Tom

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Sorry WayTools, I have no doubts you are sincere and that you honestly believe you are doing your best at communicating with your customers. And I know you try hard, and applaud you for that. But the first (and most important) part of communication is listening. Listening to what people ask for, how they respond to your communications or lack thereof, how they judge your actions. And then - once you have listened - based on what you have heard you craft your messages to address their concerns as best as you can. In that, you have failed.

Please see this as constructive criticism. It is a crying shame how much goodwill you have managed to lose by getting your communications wrong. As the poet Blake once said: “Too much, or not enough” Your elaborate technical update failed to address the questions most people actually had. such as “how certain are your estimates?” “what issues are you struggling with?” “can you share some of your struggles so we feel included?”. To many of those questions a few short lines once a week would have been a godsend. But you insisted on over-crafting your responses, adding long periods of silence to the aggravation of continuously missed deadlines.

Once again, I am trying to help, as have so many others. But you have to be open for our feedback to make that possible. Be as clear as you can when you communicate, please, less detail, more punch; less defensiveness, more sharing; and most of all instead of promising things and then consistently missing your deadlines, set deadlines only on the things you know you can deliver, and take everything else one step at a time, communicating in short bursts about every step you take.

I’m still hoping for a great product with a wonderful user-experience. But then I AM an incurable optimist ;-).

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You respond to a customer leaving, but won’t update the order page, the blog or even respond to your customers on the forum. Way to go!

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[quote=“bcharleson, post:1, topic:836”]
I am tapping out as a backer…this trend of missed deadlines and leaving your customers in the dark ultimately are a sign of a business on a downhill slope…If the task cannot be done, you are 100% sure to advise all customers that something is not going to be done and why.
[/quote] I’ve been telling WT since day one to get on the ball with communication or risk losing customer trust during this critical announce—>ship time.

Now customers are canceling orders, with many saying it’s due to lack of clear communication about product shipping, thus the loss in trust. These are only the “visible” cancellations.

And still, with stereotypical engineer attitude, though they apologize, WT continues to insist they’re “right” regarding communication and the customer is wrong.

If WT hired just one…one effective communications person, that person (communicating effectively with engineers/manufacturing) would convert their unknowns into a shipping estimate the communications person could personally manage communication for.

  • The shipping estimate would be more realistic, less ego driven
  • the setbacks wouldn’t be the taboo that engineers tend to make them
  • therefore customers would know the what/why about setbacks shortly after they happen
  • and if setbacks piled up, the communications person would ensure customers know early on about a shift in shipping estimate vs. being blindsided with little notice
  • and even if shipping moved at the last minute due to unforeseen disaster, there’d be enough trust built that fewer customers would jump ship

Being blind-sided multiple times due to lack of timely communication is a big reason why loyal first adopters are jumping ship.

If you can’t win the early adopters, you’ll never make it to the early majority; there won’t be enough customers; the business will evaporate into oblivion; and it won’t matter that WT, “…achieved what no one has before.”

IMO, YMMV, and other disclaimers.

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Not if they are dead…

Except when you don’t. We’re still waiting on that “in-depth blog post that goes into even more detail on the problems the company faced with production” promised in the MacRumors article five weeks ago.

You have got to be kidding me. You frame your estimates as guarantees. Your original press release of January 13 didn’t say “deliveries are estimated to begin in February,” or “our most optimistic goal is to ship in February,” it said “deliveries begin in February.” Period. Then in March, you said “we start releasing TextBlades to customers end [of] April”—that sounds a lot more like a guarantee than an optimistic estimate.

I admit your dates have been getting vaguer and vaguer since you missed the April deadline, but this snide little jab is completely out of line: you took our money, told us we’d receive a product within a certain timeframe, and have so far utterly failed to deliver. A little “chiding” is the least you deserve.

Hold on a second. Which are they? Estimates or hard goals? It sounds like they’re estimates when we’re calling you out on missing yet another deadline, but “hard goals” when you’re patting yourself on the back for “pushing the envelope.”

And how’s that working out for you, anyway? You have missed every single “hard goal” you’ve set. You say you’ll ship in $month, and you don’t. You say you’ll ship in $month++, and you don’t. You say blog posts are coming “tonight,” but they don’t show up for days, if ever. And when people—your customers, who have already paid you—demand the transparency and communication you promised at the outset, you deflect with arcane technobabble or meaningless warm fuzzies or passive-aggressive asides about “some folks” twisting your words or more self-congratulatory speeches about how ~advanced~ and ~innovative~ you are, a company that has sold however-many products and has so far shipped zero of them.

How about taking some responsibility for this mess? For advertising and selling a product that was months away from being ready for mass production, let alone shipping? For overpromising and underdelivering at every single opportunity? For missing deadline after deadline after deadline and then having the gall to blame us for having ~unrealistic expectations~? Who set those expectations, @waytools?

What have you shown us of who you are? What evidence do we have besides a bunch of misleading marketing baloney, nearly seven months of broken promises “overly optimistic estimates,” other people’s orders cancelled at your own spiteful whim, and a bunch of rambling, defensive, and evasive forum posts?

Wow. People are calling you out on your absolute failure to follow through on even a single one of your commitments—that must mean your mysterious vaporware really is great! Just… wow.


You know, it’s not that I’m impatient. I don’t mind waiting. I’ve lived my whole life without a TextBlade; what’s another few months, right? No, it’s you, @waytools. I don’t care if this thing is the best keyboard ever made. I don’t care if it’s made out of unicorn blowjobs and 50-year-old Scotch. At some point, putting up with your continual dishonesty, lack of transparency and integrity, and frankly terrible customer relations was going to outweigh the hypothetical benefits of this alleged “product”—and apparently I’ve reached that point.

Since the one thing you do manage to consistently deliver is self-serving bullshit, go ahead and pat yourself on the back because you so magnanimously refunded my money for a product I never got. Go ahead and tell yourself I don’t understand ~innovation~, I must be a millennial who’s all about instant gratification, or you’re too much of a ~forward thinker~ for my poor underdeveloped brain—whatever makes you feel better.

But I want to be very, very clear: I would have waited all year for this thing. I would have recommended it to all my friends; I even would have bought a few extras as gifts. I’m not cancelling my order because it’s late—shit happens, I get that. I’m cancelling my order because of your farcical mismanagement of this debacle, your refusal to own up to your mistakes, and because your sanctimonious attitude on this forum, and especially in this thread, makes my skin crawl.

I’m officially done with you. Thanks for nothing.

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Now that is a keyboard…

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I was gonna say, I want that to be the new marketing slogan.

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It is - but for a different line of work…

So much this. @waytools as a company is so full of crap their keyboard should come in brown, though that would probably push the product to 2016. Whoever decides on communications is a small person who should take all the vitriol from customers who have not yet cancelled their orders after a delay of half a year. There should be no more flowery speech or platitudes in response to complaints and concerns. Every reply on these boards should be a virtual kowtow to the customer. Every blog post should begin with a picture of every employee on their knees to express their humility and sorrow for their continual failure to deliver a product. Every customer who cancels should receive interest on top of their refund. Every customer who has remained on board should receive their textblade for free as a token of good will. Early adopters can be the best form of advertising for a new product. Keeping them happy should be the quintessential drive of a company, and promises that the still unseen product will be amazing does little to engender charity after what they have gone through to this point.

do not cancel my order, I will do it myself should I so decide

I think that I will also get a refund for my order. Don’t take it the wrong way, it’s not because I don’t believe in the company, I have great hopes for the product, and I hope to see it become a success.
The reason I am refunding is because I simply need the money right now.

I promise though, that if I get enough money in the future, I will place another order.

Not quite sure if I want to see an answer on this post.
I really don’t believe it would be a satisfying one.

Too bad; I’ll miss your “angry Derpy” avatar.