I have a friend, we’ll call her Beth, who is a vegan environmentalist who supports human rights organisations and is active in her local community. Her phone suddenly died and she asked me the question I bet a lot of us get: what do you think of your Fairphone? Do you recommend it?
I used to knock on doors for Greenpeace back in the US, and this should have been the equivalent of walking up to a house with a fuel-efficient car emblazoned with no-nukes bumper stickers in the driveway, a solar panel on the roof, and a golden retriever playing in the yard. It was a poor canvasser who walked away from a house like that without a donation.
I told her my love of the phone is kinda unconditional, cause I love what Fairphone stands for. I was honest about there being better phones for battery life and camera quality, and a few tiny things I missed about the Apple ecosystem that I hadn’t yet found ways to replicate in the Android world, but at the end of the day, the phone does everything I need and I gladly forgive some minor shortcomings for peace of mind and being a part of the Fairphone story. I talked up the fair materials and living wage benefits and incentives in their assembly factory in China. Told her I rated the FP3 9/10, would recommend.
Then I made my mistake.
I raved about how easy it was to disassemble and replace a component and how great it was that I felt empowered to fix it myself. I told her about replacing my camera and audio unit and how it only took a few minutes and the phone was designed to come apart with nothing but a screwdriver and guitar pick.
Oops. That’s a great sales pitch for ME - I found out next day it had the opposite effect on Beth. I’m her go-to “techie guy” to fix her computer issues, wifi issues, anything with a chip in it - she gets seriously frustrated with tech on a regular basis.
Her decision message was “I really love the idea of Fairphone but I’m not tech competent enough (yet) to be fixing things myself. So have opted for another iPhone this time.”
I’d had instilled fear in her that this was a phone for geeks only.
I share this as a cautionary tale for any fellow Fairphoners out there trying to convert a tech-averse friend. Maybe don’t lead with all the great right-to-repair features or brag about taking the thing apart.
May my shipwreck be your lighthouse.
Would love to hear stories from anyone who has been more successful.