Losing backer to DIY


Like a lot of people in your target demographic I’m an engineer and general nerd working in tech who was fascinated by your blog and 30-day experiment. When it became clear that the lag between generation of buzz and delivery of product was going to be excessive I decided to try one of the recipes available online and have since done my own month-long trial. I have been beyond pleased with the results and enjoy the absolute control over all of the inputs.

The repeated delays and production problems have left me with low confidence in your company’s ability to continue timely deliveries once shipping finally begins.

Then there’s the final formulation of Soylent 1.0. It contains fish oil, which has a disgusting flavor. This has required you to repair the product with an artificial flavor AND and an artificial sweetener. This is EXACTLY the kind of crap many of your eager backers were looking to avoid in the first place. The assurances made that the amounts are small and that it is all in the name of balancing the flavor fall pretty flat.

I appreciate your initial work and the publicity around it. Without that there would not have been the excitement that produced the DIY recipes nor would I have considered trying this. For that much, I consider the backing money not completely wasted.

But the question remains - why should I come back?


Ease of use. Regulation. (The idea of its being open source is that people can hack on it - you’re only doing what you’re meant to!)


Why should anyone care? You seem to be happy with your choices. They were offering refunds and I don’t think that’s changed. If you still want to give Soylent 1.0 a try, go ahead. (Seriously, as a DIY’er, how could you resist if given the opportunity?)

On caveat: You seem to think you already know what it tastes like. There isn’t any amount of discussion, description, or assurance that can combat irrationality. But, in particular, lumping all fish oil into the same flavor category just isn’t logical. Fish oil is a hugely variable thing. Here’s a thread about it if you’d like to discuss it there further.

I’m not sure how large of a percentage DIY Soylent folks are part of the whole picture. I do know that I don’t want to buy ingredients and mix powder. The fact that Soylent supports the DIY so clearly could mean that it’s just fine if you don’t “come back.” Perhaps you are fine just the way you are! Honestly. <3


Agreed - I don’t expect my decision one way or the other is going to tip their fate and things are going well on my current path. From a business standpoint I have to wonder if they are just going to write off people that have gone to DIY due to disappointments over delays & formulation or is there a plan to provide some other sort of product or service that would bring a bunch of them back.


It takes about an hour to make a batch every 10-12 days. Re-ordering supplies online and picking up a few from local sources takes a trivial amount of effort. Cost is ~$1.50 per serving using premium ingredients. And, as you point out, hacking the recipe for adjustments or experimentation is a big draw.

The question isn’t why go on with soylent at all, it’s why choose Rosa Labs’ soylent instead of continuing with open source.

As a single consumer my decision won’t make or break the business. But I am part of a broader group that is in the heart of their market. That group is interested in the entire concept (again - full credit to Rob & Co for getting momentum behind the idea and for supporting the open source recipes), fully capable of implementing it themselves and often motivated enough to do so. Within that group it is unlikely that I’m the only one disappointed in soylent 1.0’s formulation. If that subset represents enough potential future sales the formula will need to be fixed (again) or alternative versions will need to be developed.

The ideal product (though clearly difficult to implement) would be customized per order and coupled with lab services for analyzing results and providing data to feed back into one’s personal formulation.


I can’t see how you can say you are ‘beyond pleased with the results’ and then start to poke them with the ‘artificial’ ingredients, and start using your capslock. So ungrateful to those who obviously helped you improving your life.
And you missed obviously a key idea of soylent: to make a scientifically uncontested optimal balance in nutritious elements. Nature (as the opposite to artificial) is nowhere a factor here. And that is a very important part of the concept. Suck it up and deal with it.


Credit was given for the concept & community. My issue is with the retail product and production delays. Money was paid, results were expected and not met (still haven’t received initial shipment)

Your comment adds nothing to the discussion and smacks of troll.


C’est le ton qui fait la musique!

And… There was no retail product when you gave them your money. There was a crowdsourcing campaign for developing it. As a tech engineer you surely know how much more time then expected a project can take before turning into a first grade product. And since we are talking food here, it has to be good.

As a DIYer myself, I only expect to order some samples of their product in the future out of curiosity and I will only talk with the outmost respect of them. I will recommend their product to my aunties and uncles and all those for whom i am not prepared to sell samples of my homegrown soylent mix on saturday morning because i have a life of my own.

So, my point is… I think your arguments to worry about their business are not so relevant. Soylent Corp is aiming for a big market, and they will easily manage to reach it. They have all the time of the world.


We’re going to have to agree to disagree. NRN.


Delays were communicated as they arose, true enough. The objection comes from repeated poor estimates that led to slip after slip after slip. When a pattern of bad estimates is established it is not at all unreasonable to be concerned that future new situations (first round of re-orders, first changes in formulation, etc) could lead to more delays in those situations that would lead to interruptions in deliveries.


Were this an established company with this reputation, or a company run by people who had previously built such a reputation, I would be inclined to agree with you.

As it stands, I think that “less than a year” is well within the grace period of “learning process” for people who are wholly new to starting a company. Yes, it’s possible that this is the beginning of a negative trend. But it’s also just as possible that these are some of the initial lessons learned for a new company. I think the next few months are probably going to start painting a much clearer projection of future performance. Even if there are still a few hiccups (e.g., the reorder process may not be perfect), if they keep trending toward smoother operation, it bodes well in the big picture.


I have the opposite stance. I’ve worked for a very large food distributor so have a slight understanding of what it takes to produce and distribute very large quantities of food on a commercial basis. When I saw the video of the Soylent Team spooning their product into those bags, I was saying to myself: “This is going to take a while to get to market”.

I’m absolutely staggered that the Soylent Team was able to get this project off the ground and near distribution in such a short time between initial concept and manufacturer.



And yes, it is to be expected that people, while waiting for the actual product, will be experimenting to find something of their own and some will be enormously successful. People who are even interested in Soylent tend to be the hobbyist type because they have other things to do than make one boring meal after another.

The real competition won’t be from the DIY Soylent people (who after all have Rob and his crew to thank for a lot of the ideas), but from people (most of them) who have feelings about “real meals” as opposed to the “fake meals” that Soylent is. Even when those real meals come from fast food joints. Even the DIY’ers might be tempted to take nicely packed Soylent™ packages along for camping trips because sealing food in a way that is impervious to degrading is difficult (as the Soylent Team has apparently discovered).



A not unreasonable point of view.
The comparison of retail with my version of open source will be interesting but I expect it will be a data point rather than a turning point.


While the various responses from other community members may be food for thought the real intent is to hear from Rosa Labs on the matter.


Wow! I’m not an Engineer. I am blown away by how you guys think. Soylent is awesome! You come back because you want to. You have to want to. Name one other time in your life where food has gotten you this excited. It is mathematical, efficient, and has this symmetry to it. You stay because you know that no one has ever accomplished what the Soylent guys have accomplished. Soylent will become better, and it is people in the “target group” who will provide the most convincing arguments for making sure it is. This is going to change nutrition the way the UFC changed martial arts. There is more complete nutrition in Soylent than most people in the world ever get. You come back because you’re needed to help push this thing where it needs to go. It’s going to be a success, and you will be one of those crazy early adopters who actually made the stuff himself and lived on it. It’s going to be wild.


is your recipe on diy.soylent.me ? i’d be interested in having a look.


I am an engineer, have been for over 15 years. I don’t want to be lumped in with this guy’s false logic.

Being disappointed is being disappointed. You can wrap it up however you want and post here about it. No one will stop you. But quit using the engineer status as some kind of shield or whatever the hell you’re trying to do with that.

As an engineer I have found it very valuable to withhold my personal opinions until a part or process is in my hands. In my mind Soylent is one in the same. I have my reservations about its current construction but I withhold my final evaluation until it is in my hands.


People are so good at finding ways to make something about themselves.
The question is for Rosa Labs.


You did post a public question in a public forum with public answers. Requesting an answer from @rob or @JulioMiles personally at some point is reasonable, as they have great forum presence here, but If you’re looking for a private response from them only, perhaps you may be better served sending an email to info@soylent.me.