Neo1973 Phase 1 sales / order process / misconception

Peter A Trotter peter.trotter at
Tue Aug 7 10:02:05 CEST 2007

On 07/08/07, Harald Welte <laforge at> wrote:
> Hi all!
> I tried to stay out of this entire discussion (like most non-technical
> discussions) for a long time.
> But I think there is just a big misconception of how and what at least
> certain people percieve and what is actually going on.
> First of all, OpenMoko is a very small company.  We have 19 full-time
> employees in Taipei, plus something like seven external people, mostly
> developers, not all of them full time.
> Now think about this. 19 people to do everything, from sales through
> software R&D, distribution, logistics, webshop, system administration,
> handling all external inquiries, business development, and so on.  This
> does not include the hardware R&D team inside FIC Mobility, which is
> smaller than OpenMoko.

Sounds like a herculean task - I'll continue to wait quietly. Keep up the
good work.


Everybody in that team works overtime, for many months - even way before
> starting the 'phase 1' sales.
> So starting to sell those developer previews is something that drains
> every last resource that we have (and don't have).
> So please remember, this is an extremely small team, everyone doing the
> best he can, trying to create a completely new class of mobile device.
> Starting to sell those units to _interested developers_ who want to help
> building this device is something that puts a lot of additional load on
> us.  The community has been pressing us to release those devices as
> early as possible, and that's what we did (after many mostly hardware
> R&D delays).
> So if you have any kind of inquiry, remember that you are one of more
> than 1000 other people who ordered in a very short timeframe.  It's
> almost impossible to give any reasonable response.  And if every of
> those > 1000 people inquire on the status of their order every day, then
> we don't get anything done (especially not processing the actual orders)
> but to respond to those status inquiries.
> I know this is a very insatisfactory situation.  But please step back
> for a minute and think about this consumer-like attitude of complaints
> like "oh, you don't have the business process to handle orders".
> Yes, we don't have the business process.  Yes, we don't have the people
> and/or resources.  But: Yes, we're still doing it.  Selling unfinished
> products to interested developers.  Developers who have an idea how
> difficult this project is, and who want to help us moving forward with
> this project.
> But please don't think you're dealing with a multi-billion international
> company with a sales and customer support department.  You are dealing
> with a bunch of [mostly technical] people who have a strange idea about
> what kind of difference they could achieve in the world of mobile
> devices.
> We have something like > 700 of your inquiries that nobody hasn't even
> had a time to look at yet.  I'm not even talking about the > 800
> inquiries that are somewhere being processed and have at least received
> one response.
> Oh, and don't think that hiring more people will help.  Think about how
> long it takes for any new person to understand the process, and how much
> time you need to spend to teach them.   The outcome would be visible at
> a time that phase-1 for GTA01 has long been finished.
> We're crazy because we're trying to do the impossible, with an
> impossibly small amount of resources, and an impossibly small team.
> So please understand that it's also impossible for us to respond to
> individual inquiries.  You can place an order, you will get an order
> confirmation.  We charge the credit card, you will get a confirmation
> that the payment has received.  And you will get another message as soon
> as your shipping has been made.  You can cancel at any point in time
> before the item is shipped by mailing CANCEL on an otherwise empty line
> to your ticket.
> But please don't try to change addresses, inquire about the status
> (which is clear based on the last mail you received), change the product
> quantity, credit card number, or whatever.  Any such inquiry is bound to
> be responded in a way longer than acceptable timeframe, and will
> probably not have a satisfactory answer anyway, plus it will delay
> everythign else.
> Yes, this is no industry standard customer care.  But hell, we are
> selling to developers inside our own community, not to end-users !?!
> Thanks for your understanding.
> --
> - Harald Welte <laforge at>
> ============================================================================
> Software for the world's first truly open Free Software mobile phone
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