I'm going to try and explain this as easy as possible in laymen terms so everyone can TRY to understand. Those that understand, thank you for understanding and those that do not.. well, we're very sorry.
First things first. When we set out to build a single board computer at $15-$29, we were set out to create a community of developers and help bring a $15 computer to the masses (note that it costs us $15 to make them), to be introduced to education, developers, innovators, and more. from a simple sub $50,000 goal to create our first batch of boards and with a mental preparation that we will probably sell no more than 5000-10,000 boards, became a campaign that sold over 45,000 boards collectively in less than 50 days. Now, what does this mean? We had put a February/ March / April delivery date because we know that we are able to deliver our expected amount, and to date, we have shipped over 10,000 boards. Now to delay issues..
Imagine if someone tasked you to run to the supermarket to buy them 10 cases of drinks because they have 100 people coming over for a party, so you took your minivan and went to the store to by 10 cases of drinks. When you are there, they called you and said nevermind, they misread the number. it was actually 10,000 people attending, and now then need 1000 cases of drinks. You're there by yourself with a miniman, how can you physically bring 1000 cases back by that night?
Not the best anology but same thing goes goes with a restaurant. If your restaurant is prepping for 100 diners, but 10,000 show up, what happens?
We've put in as much measures as we can to expect an overload of orders, but not THIS much in this amount of time. instead of waiting on the funds to be transferred, we mortgaged our houses to pre-pay and prepare for the worse.
Some of the worst included people showing up at our office threatening to kill us if they didn't get their board. (this resulted in an arrest). He had pledged $22.
Then we have this pledger who ordered a board with a power supply: We at Pine 64 aren't the only moderators on the forum and I'm sure the moderators blocked him because of the quick use of foul language. His board was in line to be shipped on Tuesday of next week, but we kindly canceled and will be processing his refund as that what he instructed.
And no, we did not receive $1.7M from Kickstarter, as things are not as easy as it seems. I want to show this to everyone so everyone understands running a Kickstarter project and pre-selling $1.7M is not as grand it as it looks.
We netted a total $1,559,658.83, which I agree, is a great number, and we still had to pay our advertisers, marketing firms, PR firms, and more, but easily over $250,000 in third party fees were immediately gone.
I'm not here on a rant, because I am at fault, for delaying a project that was stated to deliver. And instead of celebrating a huge success of creating one of the largest SBC projects on Kickstarter, instead i want to jump off a bridge. The project has not just given me additional stress, and with threats emailed and physically arriving at our office I need to care for the well being of our employees. For that very reason, our phone numbers and addresses were removed from the website. We receive hundreds of emails like the ones above that drags our focus away from doing what is actually important, shipping.
To the members and pledgers that personally reach out and say thanks, or dropped by the office or visited us at conventions to see the product and support us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I'm not here making excuses but here to showcase what we face and what we are focusing on. From the Pine 64 launch, we have helped employed an additional 3 individuals over at China Postal Service that didnt have a job but now their only job is to assist with sorting and shipping. We're scrambling as fast as possible, but due to the complexity of some members' orders and configurations we've structured our shipping orders a little different.
As we are confident that we should be able to fulfill 80% of the orders by April's end and 100% of the orders by May / early June, we've shifted the shipping protocols to ship boards without add-ons first, in the 2GB, 1GB, then 512MB order. The reason why for this was the 512MB had a small issue we wanted to confirm before shipping out.
Once units have been dispatched, individual tracking numbers are added into a database for us to re-upload into the tracking website for you to receive your tracking numbers. Sometimes, this may occur up to 2-3 days after the product actually ships so some may receive the product before the email actually goes out.
To date, 1485 of you have not answered your surveys (despite the weekly notices sent) and 9,258 pledges with over 10,000 boards were dispatched as of March 31st.
These batches include the BOARD only and BOARD with WIFI pledges. The shipping plan will dispatch the following units next (This goes for FEB/MAR/APRIL pledges):
BOARD (with or without wifi) + POWER SUPPLY
BOARD (with or without wifi) + POWER SUPPLY + ACRYLIC CASE
BOARD (with or without wifi) + POWER SUPPLY + ACRYLIC CASE + ACCESSORIES
Once this batch finishes, then will follow with Keyboards, SD/Operating systems, and other modules.
The biggest delay currently is with our ABS case as the previous mold we've cracked did not fit certain HDMI ports and currently the factory making the case is addressing this issue. Once we have dispatched the above list, we may make a decision of dispatching boards first then ABS case separately incurring the shipping costs ourselves so we can get these products to you guys. the Final designs arrived and i will be uploading them onto the website for download shortly. Depending on the schedule of the ABS delivery, we will keep you guys updated.
All apparel ordered - t-shirts or sweaters, have all been dispatched separately from your order first, and we are currently working on dispatching the Lithium polymer batteries (separately from your order). We have been working with international hubs to try to get the Pine 64 and accessories to closer distribution centers so people can order accessories and receive them sooner.
This is great experience, for me and the rest of my team, and I'll never forget it, and I'm here 100% to see this to the end, as we constantly focus on streamlining the process. So as you see, it's quite tough for me to individually change orders, or pull orders and as on Kickstarter, it's a pledge to bring a project to life, and you have. The pledge is not a guarantee that it will arrive exactly on time, and even though delayed, we've been just slightly shy of 400-500 physical packages a day.
When Pine 64 first started, it was just TL and I, with help from David and Vicky from our factory side for production and KH Goh for engineering. and through this process, we've designed and manufactured over 10 proprietary module designs in the last 60 days, shipped over 10,000 packages, and helped other people across Asia gain jobs and experiences. Stateside from here in Silicon Valley, we've grown from a small office to a much bigger office and even partnered with local PCB manufacture to fastrack development on Pine 64 boards. We've also added 2 full time staff members and inspired hundreds of people to want to learn development.
I would do all of this again in a heartbeat but learned to state the delay factors much better. Historically on Kickstarter, many projects get delayed for the same reasons that we have, from the sudden spike of orders to natural disasters, but I hope we've handled it fairly well. Despite the delays, we do hope to get 90% of pledges all out before end of May, and focus on software development and support.
We're currently in process of doing the write ups for the board with full installation instructions, however, most of the software installations can be found at http://wiki.pine64.org
Again, my sincerest apologies on this hiccup, and we're doing everything we can to rectify the situations. I hope this statement above and my transparency will show everyone what we're about and the same thing we ask for everyone's respect in inquiring about your orders, as you have every right to - I'm just asking you guys to inquire nicely as opening up with threats or foul languages won't get you anywhere.
There are a few pledgers that have helped alot in this process, especially Ghost of Tom/ Ghost of Jared, whom has contributed a lot on Kickstarter answering questions. There are also a few of you that have reached out to assist and I will personally reach out shortly to thank each and every one of you. Lastly we could not have reached our $1.7M pledge mark without some of our best associates and that includes the team from Vanson & Associates, Max Borges Agency, and Jellop. Our project was also recently featured on First Backer Newsletter and we'd like to invite you to join its growing community of Kickstarter backers - You'll receive fresh Kickstarter amazing deals and awesome freebies delivered right to your inbox. Check them out.