Should FP announce early and sometimes get it wrong, or better not announce at all?

You peeps do now about RSS right? :wink:

But really; there is great stuff ahead! And thnx for the tip @therob, will post new posts here in the forum :smiley:

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Don’t worry. I have RSS set up and would link your blog post into the forum

I’m a big fan of forgiveness and forgetting. As long as there is trust, I prefer not “perfect information” over none or intentional false one. A important part in this is to be able to wait. And to wait again. Things take time, I get that. I don’t mind if things take a bit longer. For me this is not about looking perfect for customers and shareholders that’s more Apple’s and Sony’s business. It’s the values and the movement, right?


Possible lessons to be learnt by Fairphone - don’t make wild claims about sales (“50,000 sales of FP2 in 2015, and 100,000 in 2016”) and delivery times (“November 2015 for those who pre-ordered”). Incorporate time for possible/probable delays into the original time schedule. Keep people who have paid months in advance happy with frequent and explicit updates on what is going on. People don’t want a rosy picture, they want - and feel they have some claim on - the truth. Easy, no?

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Hey @joekafka,

Thank you for your post. I moved it here as it seem to be more on topic.

With the delivery almost starting I’m asking the logistics team almost four times a day if they have any news…

If they (for example) tell me; We think delivery is delayed by one week, but we can’t promise anything, should I share that here on the forum? Or keep it to myself until I know more?

What do you think?


I don’t think sharing such a statement on the forum could be considered as “wild claims” :slight_smile:

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@douwe share! :smile:


You have to decide what and when information should be shared, but my impression is that people here generally want more information than they are getting. You have to remember that some of the 20,000 FP2 owners are a little nervous about the whole project. Is delivery of the phone going to move into 2016? Will the phone, when it finally arrives, prove to be a pain in the arse to use? (FP1 seems to have multiple problems…) Will Fairphone collapse in 3 years leaving us stranded with no support?

The truth is simply that there is no certainty, and the story describing the most likely scenario will constantly change. You can’t always predict knock-on effects of what initially seemed like a minor problem. It even takes time to assess the initial problem.

Would changing the information more often make people trust the project more, or will it make them trust it less? Depends on the person I would imagine.

This would work for me, as it clearly states that it is the current outlook, which is subject to change. If you want to make it even better, you could add ‘We’ll keep you posted as things develop’, but this does mean you’ll actually need to keep people posted (and potentially deal with the ‘it’s been 5 minutes, where’s the update?!!1!’ type of posts).

True, I posted something of a bit of a rant about the marketing above substance surrounding the FP1 a while back. I would say it has gotten better over the past two years. I would also say it doesn’t hurt to occasionally voice dissent about the communication style.

On a side note, as the below is only tangentially related to communication:

That’s an inherent risk to any kickstart/pre-order project, but remember that you can still return your device within 14 days of receiving it if you don’t like it. You can also cancel your order before it ships. You can even do that, and order a new FP2 when you feel more comfortable about the capability of the phone (when it’s been field-tested by 20.000+ users for a while).

Difficult to predict, but note there aren’t many manufacturers that provide support for three years on their projects even if they don’t go bust. In addition, the FP2 should be able to run other OSes like cyanogenmod, which decreases your reliance on Fairphone for software support - though support for repairs will likely become more difficult if they stop doing that.


I have to say that I like newest information about what exactly is going on.
In this forum, I think it is difficult to update information all the time because nobody will know anymore what exactly is going on.
In my opinion, this piece of information:

is not worth much. You can’t count on it and we don’t know what happens if the piece of information proves wrong: It could mean, delivery is not delayed or delivery is delayed two weeks or two months. Not much use for an information that might be incorrect.

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Is that a hypothetical or are you saying delivery is delayed by one week? Either way I apprecite the team is busy but I think the communication has been very poor.

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You like to take risks :slight_smile:

In crisis communication we encourage entreprises to communicate as soon as possible, even if they don’t have all informations.

There is almost 3 months the thread about random reboots is open and users are patiently waiting for an official communication and fix.

You may consider not communicate could begin to affect your product and your brand.

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As @Johannes magically just pointed out in another topic

"Basically, some people prefer getting many updates over getting updates that have a high certainty, and others the other way around. In many cases Fairphone doesn’t know something for certain (such as when their supplier delivers the back covers, as their supplier seems to not be able to to stick to delivery schedules), which puts them in position where you end up with feedback that, depending on the preference of the person posting is either:


(Where it seems that the two statements are mutually exclusive). "

Nope. You cannot not communicate (Paul Watzlawick)

a) "A appears to be not communicating at all."
b) “A keeps making promises he does don’t keep.”

It states:

If there is communication A appears to not really say anything to prevent making promises that could bite him later on.

That is the problem. I would say be bold. It’s not the critic that counts … it’s what you accomplish. The ones that cry “I want this now!” and stamp with their feet most often do not understand the complexity involved.

So if you explain the complexity honestly and carefully and they still stomp … they are just kids and will not help you or your product. But people that will understand will support you and will even help you with the ones stomping.

But if explaining the complexity fails … you got a problem.

Talking about it: I stopped reading the blog posts. They most often do not contain the “hard” information I look for.

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Communicating what you do know is usually far more effective,

If FP had updated the customers like this:

Disclaimer: the information is just an example!

It has come to our attention that the backcovers in the colors Transparent, Black, Black translucent (or others) are not available as we are shipping out the orders. Sadly a delay in China has meant they were not produced in sufficient numbers and at this moment in time we are unable to determine when these backcovers are arriving in the Distribution centre. The phones for these orders are being held at the Distribution centre and we will make sure that when the covers arrive the phones of those orders waiting will be packaged with priority and shipped .

Then the next week:
Sadly we are not yet able to determine exactly when the back covers in the colors… will be available at the Distribution centre. Production of colors… has begun, and we are hopefull a shipment of covers… will be sent within the next week. We will keep you apprised of the situation.

Then The next week:
Good news! The covers colors… have been produced in China. We expect them to be shipped in the next few days, and we should recieve them at the distribution centre within the next 7 days. We will keep you informed of the timeline for delivery of your phone.

The next week:
The back covers colors… have arrived at the distribution centre! They are being unpacked as we speak, and assembly of your orders will commence tomorrow. We expect to be able to shop approx. ??? phones a day, so you order should be shipped in 4 days time. Should anything affect our planning we will keep you informed.

Dear Customer, as we informed you earlier this week, the back covers have arrived, sadly we were not able to meet our planned shipping targets. As a result your phone was not yet shipped, but it will be shipped within the next two days. I hope you enjoy your phone, please contact us if you have not recieved a notification of shipping by the end of the week.

All these messages took me 15 minutes to write. It is all about keeping people informed, making hem feel welcome and appreciated for their purchase and patience.


The bit you quoted was something I originally wrote. As I was kind of in a rush at the time my idiom was a bit off - probably ‘where it would initially appear that…’ would have been clearer.

There have lately been a lot of posts about both the customer support team (other issue) and the frequency/content of other communications that detract the focus from the topic being discussed. There’s a tendency to start a mini version of the discussion in this topic in each of those topics. I haven’t had the time to (nor do I particularly want to) go back and move relevant posts here - this may not even be possible as often these posts also contain information that is directly relevant to the topic where they were posted. Referring to this topic (as a response to new posts on this matter) helps keep the other discussions on-topic and hopefully fosters a good discussion on the communication issue here. Having it in a central location maximises the odds that the folks at Fairphone read along and there will be some form of impact. I do realise my comment that Douwe quoted is a bit blunt (partially rushed, partially for brevity), but I’m hoping it still draws people to the discussion here.

Also: I’m not saying that there aren’t any problems, and I’m not saying that anyone is wrong in their views. I’m definitely not trying to silence the debate either. I’ve had my share of frustration regarding communications as well, so I can understand where people are coming from.

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Hey all,

I can fully understand peoples frustration and need for information. I myself once was a Fairphone 1 early buyer and boy did my refresh button suffer a little over two years ago :smiley:

From the top of my head, I’ll try to clarify a bit how things work here and why we share information and why we sometimes don’t.

For starters, Fairphone tries to share as much information as possible, but to do this well we need to:

  1. Get alignment with partners if any of them is involved (for example; how much details can we share about the machine making back-covers and the issues with it without harming their business or unwillingly sharing their company secrets?)
  2. Get details from a colleague who has the most up-to-date information. (Example: when will the random reboots be fixed? I’d have to ask @keesj and get his time and attention)
  3. Make a proper message. Most of us our not native English (as you can probably tell from my odd spelling mistakes here and there). So if we want to write a blog post; we need a native copy writer to check it. Also to make sure the message is as clear as possible to prevent misunderstanding.
  4. Decide on the channel, timing and frequency. We do not want to spam people & we don’t want to keep them under informed.

Now there are difficulties to be overwon in all these steps.

  1. Partners might answers slowly or have all kinds of legal obligations that we need to read through.
  2. Colleagues might feel uncertain if they can promise something; in the case of bugs; it is very hard to predict when you have solved a bug. Thus telling we are working on it, does not mean; we are solving it…
  3. There is no way a message can not be interpreted in multiple ways. This is one of the wonderful things of language (and why machine translation will never really work). So a clear message to us can be puzzling to the reader or the other way around, no matter how hard we try.
  4. Timing is crucial, and this is what many people are referring to in this thread. When do we communicate what? For some people having a little information every day is great, others won’t read it and consider it spammy. We try to work with many different channels in order for everyone to be able to choose their favorite one, but we can not accommodate to everyone’s needs.

Sometimes we choose not to share part of the story, because we feel that a few days later we get new information and we will be able to share the whole story. Of course the moment we don’t get the anticipated extra information, and have nothing to share, is the moment when things get difficult. Do we after all share the tiny bit of info, or do we keep hoping that the extra bit of information that will complete our message will arrive soon?

One thing I hope you can believe from us is that any information we have that is verified and confirmed will be shared with the community as soon as possible. That means that the answers to open questions are also open for us. The reason we don’t answer these questions is because we don’t have a verified and confirmed answer.

And (because I have some idea about what @fp1_wo_sw_updates will say now) all this also applies to the meta question as to why we do not have the answer.

Your questions do help us to understand better what the needs are at the moment and they do help me to tell the team here what stuff we need to work on. So although you might not get your answers as soon as you’d like, it does not mean we don’t read them and take them into account. So, please continue asking and discussing, but give as a little time to answer.

Truly yours,


Hi @Douwe, thanks for the detailed explanation of how your communication works. There are definitely a few steps in there that I personally hadn’t thought of (like the possibility of harming partners’ business models by oversharing or needing a native English speaker to read over your drafts).

I have my FP2 in the meantime, but for me personally the regularly scheduled updates to the delivery blog post were really helpful while I was waiting, because it was just a reliable update that I could count on, regardless of whether something new had happened or not. And because it was on the blog and I could check it at my own convenience, it also didn’t feel like spamming/oversharing.

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Hi @Douwe,
I appreciate your feedback and thoughts, but let me explain why I feel a bit disappointed about the communication.
I’m a proud FP1 owner, and I follow this project since its born although I was not one of the first-hour buyers; I was very happy to see the FP2 born with its great features (on top of all the modularity) but honestly I was very scared about the price, given that I bought my FP1 only 1 year and half before (my trend is about 3-4 years per phone and only when they deserve the investment - open hardware/software, or fair causes -).
I was very doubtful if it was better to stay in the project and buy the FP2 or stay with FP1 in order to not have another phone closed in a drawer, collecting dust.
Then I was able to find a buyer for my FP1, she wanted to get a fair device and I wanted to limit my expense, and the buyer (which needed a new phone) agreed to wait for the FP2 delivery before getting my FP1.
Now, long story short, I’m not able to say her when I’ll be able to give her my phone, because the scheduling is not clear and I don’t have any information of when my FP2 will arrive; please consider I ordered it on 14/1/2016 when the schedule was mid-end of February, after my order changed to “Prepare batch” with expected delivery March until 3-4 days ago when it changed its status again and now it says “April”.
So what I see in all the information process is the lack of news on a per-order basis, and that is what I assume is needed for being clear with buyers; I read in other threads of emails sent to buyers regarding the (un-)availability of their phones due to back cover production issues, but I didn’t receive any of those emails, so should I assume my transparent phone is not already produced due to delays in production chain but NOT due to the transparent back cover?
I appreciate the updates on the blog and I follow them daily, but I think those news are general and don’t cover all the issues regarding orders in process; I consider it useful for people who are willing to buy or are simple interested in project development.
What I see is missing is deeper knowledge for the orders already paid, and I wish Fairphone could better optimize this process, if they want to achieve a 150k phones yearly production.
I hope to receive better news today waiting my phone… :slight_smile:
Have a nice day!


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