I posted this on the other thread but seems like it may deserve its own. Moderator please feel free to delete if you think it is unnecessary.
But I have to disagree with Haskell - I think there are some serious fairness issues here.
And I have to agree with Jay. Lotta red flags.
I don't want to get branded with the "bad attitude" stamp but a few weeks ago you said Epic was finalized in its major respects and "released for production". Well, honestly I thought that's where you would have been when you asked us for $5000 deposits on stage 2. I understand how getting the exact board and electronics design finalized can be hard to predict and have delays, but I'm having a harder time understanding how the manufacturing and assembly line stuff wasn't virtually completed quite a while ago.
But that's all water under the bridge. No, I don't want my deposit back, and no I don't want another camera - I want the camera I ordered, from the company I have been on board with and promoted since day one.
But before you start asking about altering the program, after you've taken those 25% deposits, it's time to lay out what's really going on:
A realistic `description of what you are doing in terms of mfg. facility and how long that is going to take; what's going on with these circuit boards - AFAIK board manufacturing is pretty straightforward from lots of suppliers with pretty short turnaround and usually the time it takes is more about lead time scheduling - if they can make a few dozen boards they can make hundreds in another day or two. Special lemo connectors can take awhile but you've known what those were for months. I thought you would be CNC machining body parts for all of the epics but even if the long range plan is casting, the additional cost to CNC is not that great in strict dollar terms or as a percentage of the price. Seems like you should have your own CNC capability, but if not there are dozens in your area. And how many man hours does it really take to handbuild one of these?
Maybe I'm mistaken because I've underestimated the complexity, if so then educate us a bit. I can't see how some better disclosure at this late date, so close to delivery and given the announcements the other players have already made, will really give away any big secrets to competitors.
As far as a new program, I think anything that dramatically changes the cost of entry or delivery order is unfair.
In particular a higher priced/no trade in/jump the line version just reeks of unfairness.
Here's my scenario for what might be reasonable and fair (no consulting fee, this one time :-) )
1) you lay out that it is going to be say 4-10 weeks (whatever you think it is) to get real production setup.
2) you estimate that you can make 10 to 20 (whatever it is) per week in the mean time. The prepro number will be limited to that max times the max estimate of weeks e.g. 15 units x 10 weeks = 150. Beyond that it is unfair to string the other people out, and you should just wait for full production.
3) You offer the stage 2 people to take their camera early (in order of original SN/delivery date) as one of these "handbuilts" for a $1000-$1500 (and $1500 is pushing it) premium on top of their $19500.
I'm not saying that $1000 will or won't cover the difference. I'm saying that it should either 1) cover it or 2) you should eat the difference as part of development and learning costs, goodwill and the PR value of getting it out or:
3) DON'T DO IT if 1 or 2 isn't acceptable. I'm sure many would buy outright at a high price, but regardless of whether some will go for it, it is abusive to the rest.
PS I had serious concerns about saying this at all/possible repercussions, but I think it needed to be said. Please take it in the spirit it is given. And Happy Thanksgiving to all the RED team.