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1  Other / Off-topic / BFL Customer Communication Portal on: September 28, 2012, 01:42:25 AM
In an effort to improve our customer service communication, one facet we have been working on is our communication portal.

portal.butterflylabs.com

It's a combination of forums, articles we intend to publish and some blog style communication from certain departments within BFL.  We are also working to improve our Customer Relation Management system, which we should have in final testing next week.  Between our portal and our back end management system, I hope to improve our communications a great deal. 

The forums will be moderated, much more so than Bitcoin Talk and our forums are not meant to replace Bitcoin Talk in any fashion, but are intended to provide our customers and potential customers with a place to ask questions, get answers, find news and announcements with regards to BLF products and events as well as just talk to other users. 

I've done quite a bit of testing locally here, but I would like to get some feedback from users on what we can improve as far as that goes.  Please feel free to sign up and take a look around.

portal.butterflylabs.com
2  Other / Off-topic / BFL Requests Input on: September 25, 2012, 02:14:48 AM
Please don't turn this into a flame fest or some other off topic discussion.  I will lock the thread and promptly forget about it if so.

I would like to know what one or two individuals (in the US preferably, unless the non-US person wants to pony up a ticket) that Bitcoin Talk community would nominate and accept as credible, verifiable individuals to be flown here to KC sometime around the end of October/Beginning of November time frame to see our facility, inspect the manufacturing equipment and test out the devices.  We don't have an exact date yet as to when we would do this, but I would like to get the ball rolling as far as names in the hat and see if there's even a vague consensus on who the individual(s) might be.

I know this Inaba dude, he's in KC, but I hear he's kind of a jerk.

3  Other / Off-topic / Purchasing someone elses order on: September 07, 2012, 10:53:21 PM
I want to address the current issue of people purchasing others place in line, as it were, for pre-orders for BFL equipment.

Let me say up front that we don't have a problem with this.  However, we also can not be responsible if you get scammed, so you must be cautious and do your due diligence when purchasing someone elses place in line.

What BFL will do is confirm that a person has an order if you provide us with the persons name and their order number.  Beyond that, we are not a broker of places in line and as such, we can't change names on orders or anything like that (it would be an accounting nightmare).  We will simply confirm that the person has an order and whether or not what you think you're buying is what they actually have. 

That said, please make sure you verify that the person you are dealing with is honest and that they have a legitimate order.  I would also recommend that you make the details of your order sales/purchasing public on the forums, so that there is some sort of record of it.

We can not help you if you get scammed, though.

4  Economy / Services / [WTB] Your signature space on: September 04, 2012, 08:17:23 PM
That's right, I want to buy your signature space. 

Price depends on amount of posts and activity in the community on a daily basis.  A minimum of 200 posts required and you must be currently active to a degree (meaning you post at least once or twice a day).

5  Other / Off-topic / [Announcement] Butterfly Labs on: August 01, 2012, 07:18:04 PM
First, let me start off by saying I apologize for the length of this post.  I wanted to get all the information out there at once.  Normally, I would not make a post of this nature, but given the current circumstances, I think it is warranted.

Many of you on bitcointalk.org forums know me as “Inaba,” the operator of the Eclipse Mining Consortium bitcoin pool.  In approximately two weeks I will also be wearing a different hat.  As you may be able to guess from my new forum name, I will be working with and for BFL.  Effective August 13, 2012 I have accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer of BF Labs INC. (Butterfly Labs)

BFL is the clear technical leader in the FPGA and upcoming ASIC mining space.  As a direct result, the company has grown very quickly over the past year.  Unfortunately, its customer service, which was initially very good, did not scale fast enough, which caused customer relations and transparency to suffer. BFL is eager to improve and one of my top responsibilities in this new position is to focus on that specific issue.  I am, have always been and will always be committed to good customer service and transparency when it comes to bitcoin in general and the daily operations of related activities.  This is where I will be focusing much of my initial attention, specifically to take the pressure off of everyone involved so that they can focus on the other important factors, such as getting the hardware delivered on time!

While I may not be universally liked by everyone in this community, I believe I at least have the respect of many people. I have always stood behind my integrity and commitment to what I promise and I take ownership of my mistakes.  This will not change going forward and I will give my best level of effort to deliver on the promises I make to this community as a representative of BFL, as I always have.  If for some reason I am unable to deliver on those promises, I will provide an explanation as to why.

While there may come a day when bitcoin does not need the Bitcointalk community, that day is still far in the future.  As I have cultivated a relationship with this community through EMC, I also plan on cultivating a rewarding relationship with the community through BFL.  There is some history and baggage to overcome, but I do not believe it is insurmountable.  I also will not be part of or lend my credibility to an organization I do not believe in or one that I believe is working to undermine bitcoin at the expense of the community just to make a quick buck.

To forestall some of the most likely questions, I’m going to answer them here:

Q. Have you been working for BFL all along?
A. No. I have had no business relations with BFL beyond being a customer and also providing some technical assistance getting their equipment to properly talk to pools.

Q. Seriously.  You’ve been working with BFL from the start, you can admit it, haven’t you?
A. Seriously, no!  I first discovered BFL at the same time as everyone else, back around November of 2011.  It was purely coincidental that I happened to work, literally, across the street from their registered address of operations.  I was just as skeptical as everyone else, especially when I discovered the registered address appeared to be a Lebanese restaurant that I frequent (but never really paid attention to the address).  I learned more about BFL along with everyone else and since I was local and close by, I reached out on behalf of the Bitcointalk community to BFL, specifically Sonny, to see if I could gather more information.  I had been running the EMC pool since May/June of 2011 and had no knowledge of, or association with BFL or any of the parties involved in BFL up until it was first noticed on these forums.

Q. Are you going to stop being such a jerk on the forums to some people?
A. Maybe.  It depends. Actually, yes.  As a pool operator and an independent individual I have far more latitude and freedom to express my displeasure with some of the more intense stupidity that can be encountered on the internet.  As a representative of a company, I am, unfortunately, a bit more constrained from explaining to various people exactly why they are idiots.  As such, I will likely be ignoring a lot of the more of the ludicrous posts than I have before. To those of you who enjoyed reading my rants, I am sorry that they will be far fewer and betweener. Smiley

Q. What are your qualifications in the endeavor?  What do you bring to the table?
A. I’m glad you asked.  From a customer service perspective, and more specifically, from an online community perspective, I have extensive experience on both sides of the fence.  I have run online forums since the Fidonet days, and have extensive experience in the often caustic, emotionally driven environment that an online forum can produce.  This allows me to effectively communicate with the population, since I am one of the populous myself.  Unlike many customer facing people in many industries, I also have a strong technical background; I am able to communicate effectively with you about your problems, wishes and desires from a technical perspective.  I will not make empty promises from a marketing standpoint if I know it’s technically unreasonable or impossible.  I am also able to effectively manage a project from end to end, which will be critical in getting our manufacturing and production lines going in the most efficient manner possible.  I have also run a number of startups, and I understand the unique challenges required of a startup to function properly and successfully.

Q. Come on, for real, you’ve been with BFL all along, right?
A.  No!  Really!  I have been working for an unrelated company that has nothing to do with bitcoin long before BFL was founded or I knew of any of the people involved, and I am still working for that company, until the day I start working for BFL.

Q. What will happen to EMC?
A. Right now, there are no plans to change anything with regards to EMC, other than more improvements as usual.  I will continue to operate EMC as I have since the start.

Q. You are going to have an unfair advantage when it comes to mining equipment, you’ll be able to get as much as you want before anyone else!
 A. I will not be expanding my mining footprint as it would be a conflict of interest.  I will continue with my current obligations and already acquired/paid for equipment but will not be purchasing or utilizing additional equipment as part of my mining operations.  This is one of the hardest changes I will be making, as I firmly believe there are plenty of opportunities in this space that I am going to be missing out on, but I believe I can do more good for the bitcoin community as a whole working to provide that equipment to people as opposed to using it myself.

Q. Why now?  Why not before?
A. The topic never really came up.  BFL as a corporate entity is a startup and has been running very lean and mean.  With wild success and absolutely spectacular outlook for products, it’s time to move to the next stage of business.  With my diverse skill set, I can replace both a technical lead and a PR/community lead, thereby eliminating the need for an additional person, which means we can move that much quicker in the market as well as have that much less overhead that can go towards development instead of human resources.

Q. Are you going to become just another mouthpiece for the BFL party line?
A. First of all, there is no “party line” coming out of BFL.  They have been up front and honest with their dealings in the community from day one.  There are a number of people on the forums that feel that BFL has been dishonest and some of those feelings are justified if viewed through the lens of “Every business should be perfect, always.”  However, both Sonny and the engineers, contrary to some statements you may have seen from others on the forum, have been honest in their assessments of capabilities and timelines.  They have been mistaken, yes, but they have not been willfully or intentionally dishonest.  Some can say they should have known better, and whether or not that is true is, at this point, academic.  I am looking at the future, not the past, and I will be doing my level best to provide accurate information from day one.  If there is some information that I believe to be inaccurate, a lie, or just plain wrong, I will not pass it off as fact.  I will not tow any “party line.”  I will give you the honest facts as I know them.  There may be times that there are trade secrets that I cannot reveal, but I do not believe this constitutes falsehood or anything nefarious, as there are times where revealing certain bits of information would put BFL at a competitive disadvantage.  That will harm not only BFL, but also its current and future customers.  If there are still people that, going forward, feel that this is somehow dishonest, then I apologize in advance and I also give advance notice that there will, in fact, be times where 100% of information cannot be disclosed, either immediately or possibly ever.

Q. Help me!  Order Status?  Why is the sky blue?
A. I will not be able to answer your questions with regards to order status, etc… via PMs.  The PM system does not allow me to track or correlate information to provide accurate answers.  I will, however, be able to do that via email and our new support system that I will be facilitating in the near future.  PMs requesting information that should be directed to the support system will be ignored.  I apologize for this, but it’s just not feasible to handle the volume of requests that it would generate.

Q. Are there cookies?
A. Yes, there will be cookies.  The cake, however, is still a lie.
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