Formal request for explanation regarding International order delay


#1

I’d like to officially request an explanation from Soylent or Rosa Labs for the extensive delay regarding international shipments of Soylent. Originally, mid-2014 was quoted, but now, the delay has been increased drastically, in all likelihood extending considerably into 2015.

I’d like to know the following:

1). Why has such a dramatic delay been imposed while US domestic orders are still being taken?
2). Why are new domestic US customers being given priority over long-standing international backers?
3). What recourse can be offered by Soylent/RL to international backers (ie: delivery address changes) to attempt to workaround this delay and what turnaround time can be expected for those who choose to cancel their order at this time?
4). What is the likelihood of a possible reduction in this delay going forward?
5). Is there anything an international backer can do to advance his/her position in the queue?

I think international backers are entitled to know the above information at a minimum. I invite @JulioMiles or any other Soylent/RL to help fill us in.


#2

May want to tag @JulioMiles


#3

If I were running the show, I would deal with the issue this way.

  • Reward the international customers that “backed” the campaign with
    their original order with the right to reorders up to their original
    order monthly until general availability happens for that country. New
    customer orders would not be taken until general availability.
  • For a country that for either regulatory or business reasons are not
    a priority, offer those backers a refund.
  • State this policy publically and transparently.

The company would have kept it’s promise to it’s backers, would be totally understandable to everyone and fair. The international backers would feel like their investment was well worth it and be more likely to help spread the word when general availability is upon them.


#4

I’ll handle this.

  1. cause they can’t even get the domestic orders shipped on time
  2. logistics
  3. good luck.
  4. given they’ve missed every estimated deadline ever…would you believe any answer to this question.
  5. No.

#5

That assumes you have the capability to do international shipping, and to clear all of its hurdles, right off the bat. If that was the case, I don’t think we would be seeing this issue.


#6

@mystify The official explanation had nothing to do with regulations so not sure why people keep brining that up. They made it clear in the blog post why they were doing it. Also you didn’t read bullet point two, I have that situation covered, they should just name the countries they are offering refunds. What is so unreasonable about what I proposed that would make you defend their position?


#7

I’ve also been wondering why the soylent team seem so quiet about the international backers. I mean, I get that everyone is busy with the US launch and everything, but it would be nice to get updates about international shipping somewhere else than just the occasional twitter status. International backers are backers too!


#8

Where is this explanation?
Soylent is giving refunds to those who ask.

As far as I could tell, your “solution” solved nothing unless you assumed that it was already solved.


#9

@Mystify It is in a blog post quoted for convenience below.
Since that blog post, @JulioMiles mentioned on this forum that it may be 2015 before they start shipping to backers.

BTW, I’m used to dealing with these types of issues in the businesses I’ve worked, bad PR is not a good thing, and doing the right thing by the customer/investors should be a corporate value. My suggestion is just that, a suggestion that maybe they hadn’t considered before. Imagine the enthusiastic word of mouth support they can get from the original backers, or the rabid vitriol they may be spewing for years to come because they felt they were wronged?

http://blog.soylent.me/post/59466009067/operations-update

[quote]4.Shipping - We started the campaign hoping to ship to everyone at once, but due to the volume of preorders, this is no longer possible. The past few weeks have been spent in intense discussion regarding the best method of shipping Soylent preorders, optimizing for the following factors:
1.Fairness - Adhering as closely to a first-contributed, first-served model as possible.
2.Efficiency - Fulfilling orders in a manner that best fits our manufacturing capabilities.
3.Reorders - When a supporter receives their Soylent, they must be able to reorder immediately. The last thing we want is for someone to try Soylent for a week and then have to wait for several weeks to receive more.

To those ends, we have decided to ship all 1-month supply and higher orders first, and then begin shipping 1 and 2 week orders, starting with the earliest contributors.

We made this decision because individuals who ordered large supplies will not need to reorder for at least a month, so shipping to them first allows us the most time to manage preorder fulfillment before having to accommodate reorders as well. We project to have every Soylent preorder made before before September 30 shipped out by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, due to the exceptional volume of domestic orders, we have to delay international shipment of Soylent for several months. We will focus on providing updates on our international shipping readiness as progress is made. If you are an international supporter and have any questions about your order, please contact us at info@soylent.me.
[/quote]


#10

Honestly the only reasonable explaination I ever saw for international soylent not being available yet was regulations, that than that it would almost be favoritism heh, well I hope it’s not regulations because then the soylent should be available to us sooner than later as I imagine they are making the soylent decently fast :wink:


#11

Replying to your other post here, to avoid side-tracking that thread more:

I don’t agree with many of the conclusions you’ve drawn. That being said, I’m also not in the same situation as you. Further, I do agree that more information would most certainly be better. So far these guys have built a lot of their reputation on being transparent (as far as the mechanics of the product itself). Closing up now on the logistic front will end up (and has been) biting them.

I understand that I’m taking the optimistic view in this – I’ve placed some trust in Rosa Labs, so I’m assuming that when they go quiet, it’s because they’re very busy, and don’t have an answer they feel is good enough to post. But I do assume they’re still trying, and that the delays are a result of necessity, and not of favoritism.

I think that in general, neither of us are going to “convince” the other of their big-picture view. But I did want to say a few specific things:

Just to be clear, Canada is considered an international entity by any definition of the word. There’s still a border, there’s still customs, and there’s still differences in national law. Regardless of whether they are or are not as complex as others, those differences still exist.

Moreso, if Soylent ships globally, there’s a good chance that they aren’t going from country to country filling out specific forms. I’m just guessing here, but it seems rational that there could be a set of internationally recognized requirements and paperwork (let’s call it “Form Z” collectively) that, once complete, show that a company adheres to the corresponding requirements of any country which has chosen to accept Form Z. Obviously many countries may have their own additional or specific requirements, but if there is a Form Z out there, Rosa Labs would absolutely want to pursue that, and it would likely be the bottleneck for shipping to any international location.

There’s been some. They’ve quoted shipping logistics and domestic demand. I’m reading that as “shipping internationally takes bandwidth to set up, and we’re very busy shipping what we have”. But that is a problem, because that vague phrasing is entirely open to this sort of interpretation, and people will draw their own conclusions. I cannot say with any more certainty than you that my conclusions are accurate.

So… +1 my vote for a more clear description. The catch is, if it’s that complicated, explaining it is also complicated, and explaining it in a way that doesn’t get them in trouble later when people latch on to some poor phrasing… well, I can understand the draw of being quiet :sweat_smile:


#12

Just a hunch, maybe completely off base here:

There is very little that “big food” can do to cramp the style of an upstart competitor shipping goods within the borders of a country that is built on innovation and entrepreneurs.

That’s not the case when it comes to allowing that upstart to gain a foothold on a larger market. Once imports/exports and other things come into play there are far more opportunities to block the efforts of a company whose stated goal is to change the future of food.

The writing is on the wall for the corporations that have fed us garbage and charged us dearly for it for years. They don’t want soylent to exist, let alone expand to the point anyone can order it, anywhere, anytime.

Ultimately, soylent HAS to become the dominant source of nutrition for humanity if we are to move beyond the mindset that it is acceptable for a small wealthy percentage of the population the only ones permitted to live in health and be properly fed, while billions starve. We are not there yet, but unless we as a planet change our methods of nutrition, we can not avoid that bleak dystopian future.

The corporations that profit from the current status quo represent the interests of that elitist minority who don’t give a flying f@&# about the health of the population, or the scalability of the archaic methods they cling to.


#13

I’d also like some consolidated info for the international backers. Maybe a blog post or international backer FAQ.

Personally I’m happy with my DIY recipe, so I’m not in a major rush to receive my Soylent, but it would be nice - especially seeing as I already paid for it nearly a year ago.

I’m probably being cynical, but I suspect the international delay is for business reasons more than anything else. The Soylent team have been quite clear that they don’t want to lose customers by being unable to provide reorders. They’ve got an ideal subscription model set up for their domestic customers, and any new/repeat orders are more money in the bank (which allows them to attract more investors / do more R&D / further the cause etc).

My instinct is that we’ll get more info on international orders once the initial rush for Soylent dies down & they can work out a long term manufacturing strategy to meet the demand. I expect they also want to get an understanding of the % of customers who will reorder.

It sucks, and better communication would certainly help, but it’s often the way of crowd funded projects.

I hope @JulioMiles and the rest of the team can clarify the situation soon.


#14

Every possible solution is going to make somebody unhappy.
They said that it was due to a high volume of domestic orders. They did NOT say that this was the sole factor. It seems likely that the scenario is “We have enough volume to keep us busy domestically, and moving internationally introduces 10 other complications” not “We have plenty to worry about domestically, screw the international people”. If they have to continue ramping up production to meet their entire demand, then tackling all of the extra stuff for international orders immediately has no benefit. Esp. if part of ramping up may be to, for instance, set up a production chain in europe, so they can lessen the logistical load of shipping across continents while they also expand their production capacity to handle the demand their. This could in turn lower the cost to those international backers, wheras trying to ship to a select few pre-existing backers with small sets means taking on a lot of the added complications while seeing a smaller return, which would in turn make it harder to ramp up.
Then you factor in things like people sharing it the first time they get it, which would help it spread, and that process would be hindered if the people they would be sharing with would have to wait months before they could order. You could cripple yourself and kill your future growth if you are simply trying to get the product to a few people with as little delay as possible.


#15

Agree not everyone will be happy, even my suggestion won’t make everyone happy, but my suggestion is defensible from a promise made/promise kept standpoint and customer satisfaction. I think points are being rehashed at this point, so I’ll bow out.


#16

For the love of all things holy this has been said time and time again. I seriously seriously doubt it is the logistics of physically shipping something internationally but the rules and regulations in the destination country (NOT TO DO WITH PHYSICALLY SHIPPING SOMETHING) that the Soylent team must dot the i’s and cross the t’s before they will be allowed to legally sell a product in that country.

Get over the shipping hang up! While there are logistics that are involved in shipping mass quantities of something around the world that they must make sure the packaging is protected and all sorts of other issues, this is less likely the issue than the legal red tap in each and every country that they must go through first before they can start shipping.

They had to go through similar legal issues in the US where they are located before they could start shipping domestically! There is significantly more to the process of selling and shipping a product in a foreign countries than you realise, you are comparing it to me personally mailing you a pack of my Soylent to you personally, this is on a completely different level than that!


#17

We’ve all been trying to draw conclusions from what are often scraps of old information that may or may not be valid any longer coming from varying contexts. The time has come for an official, up-to-date reply from Soylent, offering a detailed of an explanation regarding this important issue as is possible. We can guess until the cows come home as to why things are the way they are, but until an official, current reply occurs, we’re really just trying to draw conclusions from incomplete, inaccurate and aged information and will likely end up drawing poor conclusions.


#18

Whether or not what I’ve said is the issue, I’m not guessing on processes that need to be followed.

I tried to find it earlier but please go and try and find the story of Harmonix and Rock Band, how they started and the challenges they faced shipping products internationally, it is the PERFECT insight into all of it.


#19

I sympathize with the international fans. It has to suck being one of the earliest supporters and being amongst the last ones to receive the product you’ve been excited about. In a way, I can feel their pain. I live just a few minutes from their warehouse, I’ve wanted to see if I can walk in there and just buy some, but I know that wouldn’t fly.

I’m also going to be one of the last ones to get Soylent, because I just don’t have the cash for it right now. It doesn’t help that they raised the prices. Hopefully they will lower it in the near future.


#20

@Rowas Haha, you live near their warehouse :stuck_out_tongue: ? If I where you, I would definitely walk in and try to buy some… And then sell it on ebay to me, and you will become rich !