The Story of OnePlus - Chapter 3: On Being Misunderstood

  1. Carl
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    Carl , Jun 6, 2014 :

    As we’re approaching our half year mark, I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and reflect. When we founded OnePlus, we thought we were doing something meaningful. We thought that we could be impactful, but we didn’t know it would happen this fast.

    We didn’t expect to have this many hear about us, support us, and want our product. We couldn’t dream of this many people wanting to join us, companies wanting to work with us, and media giving us such praise for the One. To be frank, it’s been very surreal. We’re just your average guys and girls, learning and adapting as best we can as we go along. For everyone involved, OnePlus has been an emotional rollercoaster ride to say the least.

    In the beginning, when only a select few knew about us, they would fully understand what we were trying to do. Back then, communication was much simpler. Every time we got interviewed, or when we wrote a forum post, everyone would read and understand.

    Today, things are drastically different. Our popularity has exploded. People are hearing about us through many different channels, and our old ways of communication are no longer sufficient. We’re seeing a lot of misunderstanding and confusion, with people asking the same questions over and over again.

    From the beginning, we wanted to create a superior product, and make it accessible to more people through an aggressive and risky business model that puts the customer interests first. It’s unfortunate that few people understand this, which only means we’ll work harder to improve our communications.

    To start off, I’ll try my best to respond to and explain some of the most common misunderstandings.

    Why doesn’t OnePlus release precise dates?

    Starting a company, and shipping a modern flagship involves many moving pieces. Some of the things we need to consider include component access, certifications, legal issues, partnerships, logistics, and people operations. With this in consideration, it’s almost impossible to stick to a fixed date, which is why many of the bigger and more experienced companies don’t either.

    The invite system was a really bad idea. Why not just do pre-orders?

    Our invite system allows us to control exactly how many devices are in circulation, so that the various parts of our product and company can scale along with our sales volume, to ensure that all our customers can enjoy a certain level of service.

    If we received 10 million pre-orders, we would not be able to handle it. The amount of people pressuring us to ship the devices they’ve already paid for, asking questions on when they would ship, and asking for refunds and cancellations would not have been sustainable.

    With this level of attention, no matter what you would do would attract a ton of negativity. People are just not used to a startup company having this much demand, and expect us to execute at the same level as companies that have had 20+ years of a head start.

    How many devices have you produced?

    We have produced a ton of devices. Exactly how many is a trade secret. Not even the industry giants share this information, which leaves even less reason for us to do so. As a small player that has a lot of eyes on us, we are already in a disadvantageous position compared to the big guys. Giving them more information to analyze our operations and strategy is not smart at this moment.

    Rest assured that we’re not limiting availability due to production issues. We just want to ship a really good product, and give you a great experience when you actually buy it.

    I thought you would ‘Never Settle’, but you’re settling with (insert complaint).

    ‘Never Settle’ does not mean to do anything to one extreme. Much rather, it’s our product philosophy and our commitment to you. We have created a product with amazing day to day experience, and not a gimmicky or bloated product imbalanced toward any one area. In the process we’ve made a lot of product and business choices that directly benefit the end consumer. No one has ever seen anything like this, and we haven’t found a great way to scale up communication, which is why there’s misunderstanding.

    Why don’t you launch in my country?

    At this point in our development, we need to focus on doing fewer things well. If we can’t provide you with a great experience, we would rather wait until we can. It’s not just about shipping a device, but just as much about providing you with a high level of service in case anything goes wrong.

    I’m tired of waiting and have bought the (insert smartphone model).

    Great! Don’t settle for the OnePlus One if it’s not what you really want. Get what you really want instead. Life is so short, and you shouldn’t settle on something you use every day.

    We are not interested in people buying our product because of price. Much rather, we want those who appreciate our design sense and premium build quality. We want people to choose us because they really like our product and what we represent.

    You have overhyped the product, and should have delayed your announcement.

    And let excess inventory build while not knowing how much demand there would be, on a product that already has no profit margins?

    By the time I get the OnePlus, it will already be outdated.

    How so? No other phone will offer the design nor build quality of the One, in such a well balanced package. If we’re talking specs, phones with Snapdragon 810 won’t ship until 2015. The OnePlus One is not close to being outdated anytime soon.

    If OnePlus haven’t been making phones, what have they been doing?

    First of all, we have made lots of phones. Secondly, we’re working just as crazy hours now as before we launched. There’s a lot of parts to starting a new smartphone company executing at this scale. On top of that, we’ve been developing our global strategy and hiring aggressively. We’re very excited for the future.

    The OnePlus Forums suck

    Yes, we are aware of this and are working on it. There’s a huge potential to make this an amazing place to relax, geek out and get inspired, and we are actually going to run it as a separate product complete with its own product manager in the months ahead.

    You are encouraging the selling of invites and devices on eBay

    We can try to alleviate this, but If a product is sufficiently popular, there is no way to stop this. Apple doesn’t have an invite system, but when iPhones are released they can easily fetch 2-3x their price on eBay during the initial periods too.

    OnePlus has missed their chance and will fail

    Some day, this may very well be true. We are passionate about OnePlus and have been working hard on this project that we believe in. If we fail, there would be no regrets, because we’ve tried our very best. Our time here would become an amazing story to look back and reflect on with pride.

    Update (June 18): I originally stated that Snapdragon 805 devices might not ship before 2015, but it looks like they'll start shipping late this year. 805 is not a big departure from 801, so I've changed the example to 810 in highlighting my point that the specs on the One is not going to be outdated anytime soon. Apologies for any confusion or hurt feelings.

    Read Chapter 1: Before Launch
    Read Chapter 2: 2014 Flagship Killer
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

  2. herbmks
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    herbmks , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thank you so much for this post!

    I hope that as many new members as possible will read this and understand why everything is going the way it is. Some seem to forget that you are a brand new company and time is needed to make everything work the way you want it to. This post was really needed and luckily it came before everything went bad.

    I hope that whatever changes will come to the forums will make it a much more pleasant place!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

  3. heymecalvy
    Gingerbread Jun 6, 2014

  4. q8tiprophet
    Honeycomb Jun 6, 2014

    mr.rkp, Fjodor_NL, Darnell and 2 others like this.
  5. magischerherbst
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    magischerherbst , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thanks for the update @Carl . I think the Forum just needed this. :)

    The Chapter 3 was clarifying and touching like the previous two.
    I hope this will help people here to calm down.

    Keep up the amazing work! ;)
    Hope to hear from you guys, soon, again.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2014

    thewho, cody1960, Horgabost and 8 others like this.
  6. neoand12
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    neoand12 , Jun 6, 2014 :
    This is a great post and should address a lot of the problems around here and the amount of hate that you guys get on Twitter and G+ (hopefully)

    A lot of what you said is true and I think you guys should be working hard to deliver a great product. I have the device and use the Oneplus one and so far it has been a very great experience. Many do not know of this but if they tried it I'm sure there is no doubt in my mind they would love it.

    I also like the fact you guys said "Don’t settle for the OnePlus One if it’s not what you really want. Get what you really want instead. Life is so short, and you shouldn't settle on something you use every day." No one is begging anyone to wait for this device. if you love the LG G3, Nexus, GS5, HTC One, etc...then buy it. No one is losing sleep on the device you are using. Anyway keep up the good work OP and keep working hard on devices.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

    Dwil23, hislordship, kenzo17 and 13 others like this.
  7. infernowheels
    Jelly Bean Jun 6, 2014

    infernowheels , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Good points Carl, I wish the best for your company and I'll keep on supporting OnePlus even if I may end up buying a different phone instead. It's almost 6 months for me as a forumer here too, really glad I stayed and more power to all of you working day and night to create the best smartphone today~!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

  8. theacer
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    theacer , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Honestly, this is all I was hoping for. A voice of authority just touching base with us. Thanks @Carl

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

    Khaos, mr.rkp, NDENILE and 5 others like this.
  9. KilgoreTrout
    Honeycomb Jun 6, 2014

    KilgoreTrout , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Why this, guys?

    Ah not you too. I liked you.

  10. Linkwint9
    Honeycomb Jun 6, 2014

  11. slimgym20
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

  12. vwtang
    Gingerbread Jun 6, 2014

    vwtang , Jun 6, 2014 :
    thanks for the update..... at least we know what's going on....

    portree2k and DarkOpera like this.
  13. zygi10s
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

  14. Cholo*
    Gingerbread Jun 6, 2014

    portree2k likes this.
  15. gl0stick
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    gl0stick , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thank you for this update Carl.

    Might I suggest starting some sort of Q&A thread for clarifying a few key issues a day.

    Also, you guys should attach a tag, or logo to thread titles that Oneplus representatives have responded to. This will make it easier for the community to see what Oneplus' official stances are on certain topics.

    For example David S. responded to this thread:
    Is OPO hiding in a cave?
    and after he responds the title could turn into something like this
    Is OPO hiding in a cave? [1+]

    Where clicking on the [1+] would take you to the representative's post.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

    jschlager, jhodder, dewidh and 15 others like this.
  16. agodo
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    cody1960, Patman75 and portree2k like this.
  17. david.s
    Lollipop Jun 6, 2014

    david.s , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thanks for the update!

    @Carl That video is how some people might feel if they don´t get an invite hahaha ;)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014

    mr.rkp and portree2k like this.
  18. frinvs
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    frinvs , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thank you for the update. I'll be here waiting for my invite, keep working hard. thanks

    portree2k likes this.
  19. Kureen
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2014

    portree2k likes this.
  20. master94
    Jelly Bean Jun 6, 2014

    master94 , Jun 6, 2014 :
    Thank you for the post. Hopefully people actually read and don't just complain.