Soylent Manufacturing Update 2/11


#22

When you place an order and are given a delivery date, you kinda expect it to be there by the delivery date. It sounds to me like they didn’t realize they weren’t going to be able to fullfil the order until to late.


#23

I’ve tried to be patient throughout this processes but it’s getting silly at this point. It’s been almost 9 months since many of the original backers handed over money. There have been countless delays, countless changes to the formula (it not being vegan, the sucralose debate, going down to 2000 calories).

The communication has been there but it’s still ridiculous having to wait this long and deal with this many changes with no definitive end in sight. Do we know for sure that it will finally start shipping end of march? Do we have any sort of confidence that people will be able to actually order new supplies once our initial batch runs out? I don’t want to pay another $255 for a months supply and then have to wait another 9 months to see it it. The fact that I paid that much already with no results is getting frustrating.


#24

I work in the manufacturing business, and can tell you all that this happens more often than you think. And there’s not a damn thing the Soylent team can do about it. The worst that usually happens is some grumbles…sometimes companies build in a penalty clause that makes the offending party pay some amount every day they are late, but I’ve never heard of someone cancelling an order because of delivery. Know why? Because once you’re a few weeks in, no one else can deliver faster than the company you’re already working with, so you might as well stick it out.

Also, I don’t remember the Soylent team promising any particular delivery date. I remember them giving us all the information they had, and their schedule they were attempting to meet. “We should get ingredients by February, and hope to be shipping by early March” essentially, telling us the delivery dates they were expecting. Well, someone told them they couldn’t hit the promised date, so the schedule has to change.

Someone mentioned vaporware, where a product is promised and promised and never delivered, common to the electronics/software industry. Something else that is common to the software/gaming industry is releasing a game before it’s ready to quell the complaints of missed deadlines. This inevitably brings complaints of “they should have finished it before they released it”. You can’t please everyone. Given the choice between releasing a first run of an inferior product and waiting for the good one, I’d wait for the good one every time, because no matter how much you say “no no, the real one’s better than this!” the product you release is the product you’ll be judged on, not just by consumers, but by media as well. They have to get this right the first time.

If you agree with their premise, and think it’s a good idea, support them and sympathize with their struggles, don’t get angry with them for things out of their control.


#25

What are they going to do to make it right? Are they going to give you a discounted product or are they just saying to you “tough”?


#26

I have to chuckle because I’ve participated in several crowdfunding campaigns. Every one of them experienced delays, and every one of them had the same archetypal backers leaving the same comments. “This is getting ridiculous!” “I paid my money X months ago.” “I’m going to get a refund!” “This is no one’s fault but yours.” About the only one I haven’t seen yet is “Let’s get a class-action lawsuit going!”

The idea that anyone would make life-altering plans based on a product that A) They’ve never tried, and thus have no idea how their body would react to and B) For all intents and purposes doesn’t yet exist seems extremely shortsighted. What if you find you’re allergic to one of the ingredients? What if your body can’t cope with no solid foods? What if there happens to be a delay in shipment? What if it arrives and you get a bad batch with mold or something?

I’m as excited as anyone about the arrival of Soylent, but I think people need a bit of perspective. Sometimes stuff happens and no amount of “tough guy” attitude or businessy bluster can fix that. I’m still psyched for a product that has the potential to change my life, and possibly the world. I told myself when I saw their first estimated delivery date to not plan on anything before May or June 2014 because that’s what happens with startup companies. Delays and setbacks are the name of the game.

I think the thing Soylent did that hurt them the most was have TOO MUCH transparency. I’ve loved reading the updates on the process, but the bigger companies people are talking about don’t give such updates for specifically this reason. How many delays on an iPhone have you heard about? Does that mean there have never been any at all? We just don’t hear about it because Apple keeps everything behind a veil of secrecy until they’re ready to launch immediately. Soylent could have done the same thing, but they chose to keep us in the loop. I appreciate that, and I’ll be excited when my product finally arrives. I do hope they’re learning from their mistakes and figuring out how to keep a steady supply moving out the door, but I also hope we can all be patient with a company as young and small as this one that’s doing something so monumental.


#27

I support your decision to keep your standards up, even if it delays production.

I’d like to thank the Soylent team for your continued transparency. The previous update that disclosed a delay gave me the opportunity to try a DIY Soylent to fill a need that I previously planned on using the official Soylent for. That process could not be going better and it means I’m not impacted by additional delays because I have something else in place in the meantime. Thank you team!


#28

Im all for quality control, testing, etc…but i ordered this stuff during the fundraising, when the first samples were being tested. i did so knowing that it would not “taste good”. i am not happy about waiting a year so that the flavor is better. if i were that into flavor, i wouldnt be looking for a food alternative.
Any more delays and i want my money back. Just send me soylent version 0.1.


#29

I think @Budsygus said it best. I’m disappointed, but it’s understandable; I think most of us are in this for the (potential for the) long haul.

In the meantime, I’d like to encourage you to provide more frequent updates. Even if they’re just filler - random pictures or other things that are inconsequential. The hardest part for me has been the intermittent communication. Soylent is so existing that the weeks of radio silence is sometimes hard to take.

Thanks for the hard work and the updates!


#30

Your company should scrap soylent and start selling excuses. No supply problems there


#31

Thank you for the update.

I’m sure these delays are just as frustrating for the Soylent team.


#34

Two confirmation items for @JulioMiles:

  • If I understand the post correctly, everything but the rice protein is still expected to arrive on time. Does this mean RFI should be able to get the QA done for everything else in the meantime, or will they be waiting for the protein before starting the process as a whole? I would hope for the former, as it would make a lot more sense, but it sounds like RFI has not been so great at communication so far.
  • As @antiman77 brought up; was any rice protein delivered at all? Even if it wasn’t enough to justify a large shipment, I’d say at this point there’s value in trying at least a small production run, if only to catch any further “well there’s this other test we forgot to tell you we have to do…” from RFI

I understand delays from upstream. But I also agree with a few of the other people that they are a little less acceptable from RFI/supplier’s side – these guys don’t have the buffer of “new company”, and I’m hoping that after this, there are plans to put a lot more weight on their regular communication.


#35

Delays suck, but I’m sure no one is as disappointed as the guys at Soylent. I’m sure they desperately want to share this awesome thing that they’ve been working so hard on with all of us, and it’s the worst thing ever to have your plans ruined because of something pretty much completely outside of your control.

So, Soylent guys, rock it out, do your thing. March 20th or May 20th I’ll still be excited. But, I think the point of, “If these rice people are so fast and loose with deadlines now, how are they going to consistently provide for a product that people are literally going to be using as their only food source?” is a valid one. It might be prudent to figure out an alternative in case this company proves consistently unreliable or, hey, goes out of business? Has a factory fire? Single points of failure are crappy in any system.

Until then, I think I might go check out the DIY board you guys have so considerately provided. Kitchen science, where’s the down side?!


#36

I’ve been waiting this long, and I sure as heck don’t want something “sub-par” after being so patient. Get it right, people, and I’ll be good holding out just a bit longer until you do.


#37

I can see how you might overwhelm a producer with what seems like a number of orders I don’t know if you guys ever even anticipated. I agree with a few others, take your time and get it right. As much as I can’t wait for Soylent, it needs to be done right.

I was talking to a co-worker of mine today at lunch and he mentioned how he tried to make something like Soylent as well. Not commercially, just for his own use. And it turns out that the biggest issue he had was the rice protein he was using was too grainy. So it was like trying to drink sand. And he just couldn’t do it. That explains how important it is too me to get the right texture along with everything else.

Don’t compromise.


#38

Thank you very much for updating us so quickly after you learned the news. I appreciate it a lot, and still look forward to my 4 week supply!


#39

I imagine a lot of face-palm took place during that call. That has to suck.

Like worse than when that girl you were crushing on in elementary school took your ice cream and kicked you in the coin purse as a thank you. You know, theoretically speaking of course.

@JulioMiles - In beard we trust!


#40

This reminds me of when I evaluate how long it’ll take me to make a design or program something. No matter how reasonable I try to be, I’ll never, ever get it right. Usually it’s about twice as long as planned. Heh.

Good luck, people. This is annoying, but well. Shit happens.


#41

Well, I havent read past your post yet… But I would suspect your post wont be greeted with much friendship and warmth. LMAO! I could be wrong though. Oh, and I agree with you 100%.

I guess the usual suspects havent arrived yet.*


#42

My analysis shows that the relationship between the anticipated shipping date and the actual shipping date is asymptotic.


#43

First, I want to say thanks to you guys… this level of communication is exactly what was needed, and was missing from the unfortunate January “experience.”

If you remember (but probably don’t), when the January production update came out, I was furious in an outspoken way. My chief complaint had nothing to do with the delay itself, hiccups in production, etc. It had to do with communication, timely notice, etc. I very much appreciate you apparently hearing that feedback, and letting the community know about another production delay well ahead of time. That’s all I asked for, and it was delivered… so thank you. And now, I feel like I can defend you…

For those that are critical… yes, it is indeed frustrating. However, nothing can be done about global shortages in raw materials, and a producer patent on a screen that ensures the product will be high quality. There’s no way to source the ingredient from another manufacturer (as the chosen producer has obviously not licensed that patent). However… they are letting us know, and explaining it, well in advance. There is no way to expect the team to control things beyond their ability to, perform miracles, compromise product quality, etc. However, here is what they CAN control: effective communication and customer service.

In my view, they have accomplished those two things.

Ben L.