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Seriously guys, chill! While I agree Massdrop could step up their efforts on giving more frequent communication updates, it's pretty obvious that they don't exactly have Amazon-level warehouse logistics at their disposal. Pretty much nobody else but Amazon does. I have no idea how profitable Massdrop is at this point, but I'm guessing that like most businesses, they run as small a staff as they think they can get away with. Most drops aren't anywhere near as popular as this one, so I doubt they have the resources to regularly process a workload like that overnight. Have you ever waited in line for 15 minutes at Target because they have 3 cash registers open, even though there are like 17 more unstaffed lanes available? Same reason, but I can give a company the size of Massdrop way more of a pass than a huge corporation for occasional customer service delays.
The fact that Massdrop is smaller and newer is also why they have interesting exclusive products like the TH-X00 available and Amazon and Walmart and Target don't.
Absolutely. I don't have problems with delays and I think it's acceptable and logical that they have less people than maybe an operation shipping ~2000 things should. That said, it doesn't take an entire staff of people to have a bit more communication with the people who support your company. An update from the company shouldn't be vague enough to cause more questions after. It's an easy area to improve on and I hope they in the future can be more transparent with their communication.
I must be in the minority here, but when I sign up for group-buy for a unique product (or anything else with this long of a lead time) with an "estimated ship date" I just automatically add two weeks for miscellaneous production and logistical delays. While more transparency would be nice, I think it's a little overrated. I'd much rather they focus on the actual work of running the site and managing production, shipments, and product development than overspend time on status updates.
I like the way they do it now. "Expect an update from us on 4/29 or sooner if something comes up." Nothing came up, and we got our update on 4/29. "Expect another update from us on 5/9 or sooner if something comes up." Sounds good. I don't have to even think about this until 5/9 unless an update or a shipping tracker pops up in my inbox.
@MitchW I largely agree w/ you that the "Expect an update on (date)" format works pretty well overall. I should add that one caveat to too much transparency can sometimes be that it leads to accidental "over-promising", which can be worse than waiting a little longer to make a sure statement.
Perhaps adding some better standard discussion forum features to the Massdrop software, such as "sticky" posts that show on every page or somewhere prominent, as well as improved threading/searching functions would help make the communication more obvious to everybody. (I know the updates come via email as well, but in my experience with group communication, you can never repeat important info too many times...)
Ultimately, though, having participated in many "group buys" on various enthusiast forums in the past, I can tell you without a doubt that all my Massdrop experiences have been*vastly* smoother. I think their system is a pretty good balance between access to interesting "niche" products and just enough "business-y infrastructure" to make the process fairly reliable and successful. Everything can be improved, but they're doing a solid job.