Pre-order Pointlessness?

Apparently, anyone can buy a Dwarf right now online through Reverb while those of us who preordered what seems like eons ago are still waiting.

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Hey!

I’m not sure if you’ve been getting all the emails? Not defending their decisions but the mod team did say they were going to do this.

I can understand people are frustrated. Weighing the factors I’d probably have made similar decisions.

I’ve found it has helped me to focus on the fact preordering has worked out to be cheaper, rather than faster.

I can’t wait for the dwarf to arrive!

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This was a really hard decision for us to take, but totally required.
As @danmh mentioned this was explained on an email a few weeks ago. Please let me know if you received an email called “COVID impacts and shipping delays”. If you didn’t I will forward it to you.

As a backer, I am hoping for the long-term viability of the company and its vision. I am waiting for a physical product, but part of its value is the plugin ecosystem and the continuing development and support. To provide this, the company needs to keep the lights on. This pandemic has been tough on the economy and resulted in challenges to securing funding, supply chain, and costs. I am lucky to be healthy and looking forward to the dopamine rush of getting the Dwarf, but I also feel good supporting a company that I believe in.

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Thank you so much for your understanding and nice words :slight_smile:

May I weigh on this one?

Whereas I understand the frustration of preordering and seeing it hit the stores ahead of getting one’s own (happened to me twice already);

Whereas it must be frustrating to be eagerly waiting for something and do not see things moving along as initially conceived (happened to me countless times);

Whereas excuses, as plausible as they might be, do not actually solve the problem (In some organisations one of the most desirable skills is effective excuse-writing), and;

Whereas it may look like it’s downright mismanagement that leads to decisions that impact us negatively (says a person who worked for a massive international organisation that used funds so poorly that only 30 cents to the dollar actually went to what they were intended for),

I certainly support the decision of Mod Devices to raise cash selling their product at full price ahead of fulfilling fundraising orders, for a number of reasons:

  1. They need the cash to keep producing while also catering to current users (updates, bugfixes, repairs, etc). If the cash flow is halted, that will imperil operations and the entire project/product may fail. (Example: Osborne Comp.)

  2. If they accept the easiest way out of cash crunch, which is to go public – and please notice that I am NOT an anti-capitalist, let’s-fight-the-power type of person – and operate with profit expectations rather than continuous development, they get stiched up to a point that, if their capital is too diluted, they get scrapped at the first sign of trouble. (Example: Axon guitar-to-midi technology, then owned by Terratec)

  3. If they raise cash by selling technology and/or writing for specific and proprietary platforms – which is the second easiest way out of cash-crunch, they become preys to their parent company. (Example: Emagic and Redmatica)

I could go on with this list, but you get the idea.

This pandemic brought smaller businesses to their knees – I myself lost my small business and a 5-year contract. Whereas mid to large corporations had access to generous lines of credit, a company like MOD can hardly qualify for the 20-40K Euro relief funds offered by governments. Since they produce items that are a non-discretionary purchase (that is, non-essential products), chances are they would have no leniency on defaults in the near future.

Worse yet, supply chain and even logistics were so badly disrupted that everyone is paying 2-3 times for the same product just to get in line for them. Some transistors are priced like gold these days. LCD displays even more so.

Therefore, I understand Mr. Puccinelli’s frustration, but I would rather see MOD not need risky loans or venture capital, so they can keep the grip on their technology and build a cash cushion to allow for a solid roadmap for future improvements and products. (BTW, fundraising works like a very risky loan: if you don’t produce what you proposed, you lose it all. No mean interest rates like banks practice, but still at very high stakes).

I would have LOOOOVED to have gotten a Dwarf at 200 Euros less than the list price…

(I hope nobody takes this reply as a personal criticism. Moderators, feel free to delete if need be.)

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A good thoughtful post. I’m looking forward to my Dwarf, and at the same time, just as Covid has caused problems for manufacturers, Covid has also caused problems for gigs – i.e., the use/case for the dwarf! I fully support what they are doing to keep the business ticking over in very difficult circumstances.

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I find it more than pointless, but exploitative. We got nothing for 1 and a half years, they got the money and used it as ‘investment’. Just goes to show how terrible pre-ordering is for the customer. Not the first pre-order mistake, but I promise myself it’ll be the last - don’t buy a product that doesn’t even exist at the time of “purchase”.

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For one it’s not “used it as investment” … you realize that running a company, developing a product and setting up supply and production chains all take time and money? and that the last 1.5 years have taken a lot of extra time and effort to accomplish even minor things, let alone bringing a new product to market?

I’m amazed that MOD managed to persist through all of this and are now actually pushing this product to market. The choices they’ve had to make to stay afloat have unfortunately disappointed many people, like yourself, but they are actually still going strong. They could’ve just as easily gone under and then it would’ve been much worse (actually then you wouldn’t even have a forum to complain on).

Be happy that they succeeded and are not one of the many bluetooth waterbottle companies that have failed their crowdfunding entirely.

Yes crowdfunding is always a risk. Meeting expectations and delivery goals is hard (even when there is not a pandemic or supply chain issues), but MOD managed to persist and are delivering. If you didn’t want any risks then go to a store and buy a product directly.

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We totally understand your frustration. Yet, 1 year and a half ago we were not expecting a pandemic that would also exploit us by locking down for more than 6 months, creating disruptions in our plans and in our work, leading us to difficult decisions, etc. etc. Now another consequence is a huger crises on the semi-conductors industry that spiked the price of the components that are inside your Dwarf, so the device that you pledge for a certain value, doesn’t cost anymore the same to produce as we expected when we set those pledges. This disrupted all our plan to put the device in the market.
But you certainly know and understand all of this and even more. This is not happening just with MOD Devices, not even only with this market.
Let’s just hope that the disruptions don’t affect everyone’s life even more.

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As if the overall disruption caused by the pandemic wasn’t enough, manufacturers of electronic products were also hit with the fire at Hynix chip plant in China late in March (which cut DRAM production worldwide by 15%!!), the Renesas plant fire in Japan also in March – this one left all automakers hoarding chips so that companies like South Korea’s DB HiTek slapped a 20% price increase of its lineup some weeks ago, and also a recent fire of a polysilicon factory in early june in China of which few official bits of information are available.

The situation was already bad with the trade wars sending shockwaves into the markets and constraining production due to tighter supplies of raw materials and fears of retribution.

Whereas the EU plans to counter the chip shortage with local investment, knowing Europe would make you skeptical of how that would translate into lower prices and significant increase in output in the short-term.

A company like Mod Devices will not only have difficulty accessing components, but will also likely have to pay retail or near-retail prices for them, since no one is currently selling in bulk (not even Apple gets the 3% discount anymore).

So, unfortunately, we will need to navigate these times with a lot of tact and patience.

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I can totally confirm @QuestionMarc’s examples. My (small) company is developing electronic automotive components and experienced price hikes of more than 200% for some components. We currently simply buy what we can obtain on the market. Very happy that MOD devices is still alive and kicking it! \m/

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It is even worse, to be honest.

We use NXP chips in our devices’ controllers and with NXP the situation is tragic.

As you said, traders have hoarded to the suppliers - just like toilet paper when COVID kicked in - and now we’re panning the market to find spot purchases that still make some sense.

The chip that used to cost around $5 is now costing $50 for immediate shipping. You can, of course, wait “a bit” until November 2022 and get it for “just” $10.

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