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Will
7413
Chief Product Officer
Oct 19, 2015
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Hey Everyone,
Three years ago, sitting at the IKEA dining table in our first house (Massdrop was run out of houses for the first year of our existence), we decided to add discussion sections to our drops.
Since then, we've been perpetually impressed with the time folks spend posting and the depth of content they produce. That said, there are downsides to the standard discussion structure, and while we've done our best to mitigate as much as we can, the "vocal minority" problem is one we've yet to solve.
This is a normal situation that forms when something happens that a group of members takes issue with. If the group of members is big enough, then the community will ultimately accept their complaints as reasonable, and address the underlying cause of their concern. If the group of members is too small, then the community judges their complaints as unreasonable, moves on, and the passionate members of the displeased group continue to post and derail discussions with their complaints.
In this discussion, there are ~15 people acting as a vocal minority, expressing their displeasure about the timing of this drop and the availability of the Desktop upgrade, and exhibiting the kind of behavior listed above. While the discussion has moved on, I want to address these complaints, clarify a few things, and ask a couple questions for the purpose of bettering our messaging practices. Even though the discussion has moved on, I think there’s some legitimate confusion to be resolved.
First, to make sure we're all on the same page, these members participated in the first drop, bought a standard O2 for $69.99 USD shipped, and are displeased because once all their units shipped out, we launched this drop, where members can purchase standard O2s for $79.99 USD shipped, and Desktop O2s for $94.99 shipped. The changes made to create a Desktop O2 (RCA Input, rear power jack, 1/4" headphone jack) were all requested in the discussion of the first O2 drop by dozens of users.
The overall sentiment from this vocal minority is essentially “I wouldn’t have joined the first drop if I knew the second drop would have the most requested additional options”. Here’s our response:
1. We made it clear that the first drop would not be able to accommodate those requests in this post: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-o2-amplifier/talk/246075
2. We’ve already stated our intent around creating mod-kits for purchasers from the first drop (in the same post linked above). This is something we still intend to do, and we’re working out the logistics now (specifically around replacement plates, everything else is off the shelf components).
3. By participating in the first drop, you were able to take advantage of pricing based on expected costs ($69.99) rather than pricing based on real costs ($79.99), glad to elaborate on this if necessary.
Hopefully that response covers everything. Getting to the question side of things, it’s clear this information could have been communicated better, and I’m interested in your thoughts on the matter.
Maybe we can make some kind of “discussion digest” email for complicated drops. Idea would be to take all the important questions and responses from ~50 pages of discussion, and condense it into a single email. Obviously a couple problems with that (“more emails” is never a great answer), but if you have ideas or thoughts, let me know via email (will@massdrop.com) and we’ll keep the discussion going (don’t want to hijack anymore space on this drop).
Thanks for your patience and support of this drop, hopefully this covers all the pertinent information and provides an avenue for continued discussion to those who feel most impacted.
Oct 19, 2015
nat.ken.cole
72
Oct 19, 2015
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Thanks for your explanation, Will. I'm not one to divert a discussion thread's focus and energy, so I apologize for my couple of comments detracting from what this discussion thread is supposed to be used for.
To constructively contribute, I will say that the build quality of the first version does seem to be really high quality, especially for the price. Massdrop's intention was for a high performance-to-dollar ratio for the budget/entry level audiophile (myself included), and it sounds like they nailed it (pun intended). FWIW
Oct 19, 2015
theimmc
869
Oct 19, 2015
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Thank you for addressing a very complex issue - Massdrop staff doesn't usually talk about it (and probably for a good reason too). I would like to suggest a section on the Description page where updates are posted, because while the discussions are interesting, navigating through it is quite overwhelming.
And regarding this : "We’ve already stated our intent around creating mod-kits for purchasers from the first drop (in the same post linked above). This is something we still intend to do, and we’re working out the logistics now (specifically around replacement plates, everything else is off the shelf components)." - THANK YOU!
Oct 19, 2015
andrew.b
261
Oct 19, 2015
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Agreed. I think it would be beneficial to make a sort of F.A.Q. on the description page so that all the information is front and center.
Oct 19, 2015
MassEDU
182
Oct 20, 2015
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Well done. Sorry that you had to re-clarify what had already been clarified. Aside from the first O2 drop's manufacturing delay issues (which is understandable for a custom drop), MD has handled the O2 drops and now this ODAC drop very well in my opinion. Keep up the good work and keep improving. Patience is a difficult virtue to abide by at times. We must all get better at it.
Now as to suggestions to improve the communication of information, I'm with @theimmc. Add a filter option at the top of the discussion or description page that allows people to filter out only messages from MD representatives like yourself (while continuing your usual email practices for crucial info). Since I already follow discussions of products I'm interested in, I can't say something like that is necessary for me. But that may help others and avoid you having to write a clarifying post like this again.
Oct 20, 2015
stinkyTheDonut
47
Oct 20, 2015
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My 2 cents:
I think simply reiterating that mod kits were on the way when the second drop began would have averted all the world's problems.
Much of the confusing discussion on all drops can be avoided by updating the description page. This is a group buy site and it should look a bit more like one, with updates and all continually added under product the description. My suggestion is to list all updates and potential changes at the bottom in bullet points with headings of drop number and date. That way, any newcomer can grasp the context of discussion from previous drops as well as remove the need to have the same questions be asked and answered constantly. This should also serve to remind some impatient people that this is a group buy that involves manufacturing and not a retail store with items in stock.
While I'm at it, will mod kits include internal odac option? =D
Oct 20, 2015
kravlin
79
Oct 20, 2015
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Totally agree here. I love my O2 and I'm not gonna stop using it and Ill definitely be modding the heck out of it. I wish I'd known the kits were in the pipeline earlier though.
That being said, Massdrop. You guys have got to communicate better. So many updates get lost in the sea of things here, the Fc660m case drop is literally pages upon pages of people asking if it'll fit the Fc660c (that case i'm looking forward to, as i'm typing on one right now), the Noppoo drop was just constantly people asking where stuff was, the knife drops are full of people asking why you won't ship to their country (which I get it, eventually the confiscations just get too much, and it's not worth it anymore, but EXPLAIN that somewhere in the description. PLEASE)
There's a lot that goes on in the discussions that never gets emailed out and is hard to find. There really needs to be separate "drop updates" from discussion (though seeing you guys actually talk and show your excitement for some of the stuff you're doing is very very cool). Just providing easy access to that information, even if it's "There's a strike going on and stuff got delayed" or "For some weird reason, 90% of the supplying company staff turned into marmosets. We're having to source new people to work for them" will help a lot. The planck drop has already seen some massive pitfalls, but regular updates with upfront information from Jack (even if they're just "Things are shipping! haha!") have even dampened the issue with the cases not getting done until December and such.
Additionally, if it's something that's being manufactured and completed by you, make that apparent graphically or when people checkout or something. MAKE THAT STAND OUT. You guys are doing group buys on unique one of a kind products with some very cool partners and projects, which is REALLY AWESOME. You need to make it stand out that you're the ones selling and managing this, not another company who's just gonna hand you the product and you reship. Handling the entire process on your own is much harder, and it means that delays and stuff happen, but if people go in with the mindset that you're doing it on the fly FOR THEM, the "hey, this is gonna take another week!" thing isn't so bad. It tempers their expectations a bit.
I'd also like to say thanks to both Alex and Will (I'm hoping I'm remembering names right). You both have provided stellar updates and really stepped up on several occasions. Hats off to both of you as dealing with angry crowds is both difficult and can be flat out draining.
All in all, I want to see Massdrop do well. So many cool projects, tech, designs, and other stuff can come through here, Little guys with cool ideas can get their product out to people, and it'd be really cool to see this continue happening, there's just some really rough edges you guys need to sand down and refine to make this work so much better.
Oct 20, 2015
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