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

Hey @Douwe,
please don’t announce something, you can’t fulfill! You made me reload the Fairphone-Blog every 15 minutes or so yesterday evening!
I am looking very curious towards every update to come :slight_smile:


Woops. I am sorry… :flushed:

I am tempted now to share another insight with you about a blog that will go live tomorrow to make it up to you. But I guess there is a change of going down the same rabbit hole you just dragged me out …

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same with me yesterday… @Douwe your web analytics tool should definitely see a spike in the number of direct hits to the blog page… :joy:


Ah, come on, do appreciate the announcment itself!
If we now complain again that @Douwe “promised” the blog comes today and its coming 1-2 days later, the chances are quite high, that we wont get an announcment in advance any more…which would not help us, right?

So I still vote for this kind of communications with @Douwe about what is most likely planned (blogs…), without nailing him down for keeping so-called “promises”. We should notice that he is not working against us, the news-hungry-community, but is only one of a meanwhile big FP team.
Cheers, Robert (sorry for becoming off-topic)

P.S.:@Douwe: Maybe you can support us with dropping the link here in the same minute, when a blog post comes online, so some people can be saved of having broken fingers of hitting F5 permanently after any announcement you made…


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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