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Author Topic: [Announcement] Butterfly Labs  (Read 64029 times)
BFL_Josh
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August 01, 2012, 07:18:04 PM
 #1

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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Inaba
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August 01, 2012, 07:19:19 PM
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I am Inaba and I endorse this message.  Yeah, seriously, it's from me. 

If you're searching these lines for a point, you've probably missed it.  There was never anything there in the first place.
Coin.Karma
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August 01, 2012, 07:19:46 PM
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awesome
psilan
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August 01, 2012, 07:23:51 PM
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Unpresidented!
Can you explain the secrecy behind the names of people at the company?

dip
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August 01, 2012, 07:26:03 PM
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Nice one dude Smiley
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August 01, 2012, 07:40:33 PM
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It does not surprise me, best of luck Inaba. It won't be an easy job you are stepping into.

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August 01, 2012, 07:40:43 PM
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So aside from psilan's pertinent question, what does your new found status as COO allow you to do or better yet what will you be planning to accomplish in this role?

You have your work cut out for you, I hope you are getting paid in real money. Smiley


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August 01, 2012, 07:41:44 PM
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I honestly did not see this coming.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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August 01, 2012, 07:47:37 PM
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whoa!  awesome!

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August 01, 2012, 07:50:15 PM
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Very interesting.   Me want ASIC :/

BFL_Josh
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August 01, 2012, 07:59:47 PM
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Quote
Can you explain the secrecy behind the names of people at the company?

There are several factors involved, but the short version is that having experienced some of the "stalking" we internet denizens tend to do when our ire is up, they are somewhat reluctant to put their privacy and sanity at risk.  Additionally, they are fairly private people and have obligations outside of bitcoin that they do not necessarily wish to mix with the bitcoin world a this time.

Keep in mind, if you are not familiar with online forums and the kind of "communication" that goes on in them, especially the wild west forums like Bitcointalk.org, it can be a horrifying place to otherwise uninitiated individuals.  As open and welcoming as we are, we are still an insular world that is hard to really break into, especially when you come bearing the seemingly impossible claims.

Quote
what does your new found status as COO allow you to do or better yet what will you be planning to accomplish in this role?

First and foremost, I'm going to get customer service on track and then get production optimized and producing units as fast as possible.  I will also be examining our supply chain and getting that beefed up so we can meet demand going forward.  Delayed hardware is easier to swallow when you at least know what's going on.  Waiting weeks for an answer is not pleasant for anyone involved, so that will be the main area of focus in the immediate future.
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August 01, 2012, 08:10:43 PM
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First off congrats on the new gig.

can you tell us when the last FPGA singles will be made/shipped and all lines moved over to the new ASICs will start?

Can you tell us the initial shipment planes for ASICs? e.g. start shipping as soon as the first one comes off the line, or create a decent stock and ship out 200pcs the first day.
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August 01, 2012, 08:10:49 PM
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Congratulations Inaba! That is really good news, I am sure BFL customer service will keep improving from now on. I trust in BFL and in your abilities. Wish you Good Luck.
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August 01, 2012, 08:11:30 PM
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Congratulations Inaba (Josh?).

Hopefully you can beat that busted machine that is BFL's customer service into shape.

It'd be my suggestion to make use of both of your user accounts.  Your Inaba account where you can continue to logically decimate the idiots and be yourself, and the BFL account to be a spokesman for your new employer.

Good luck, and I hope you're able to change the public opinion that many forum members hold of BFL.
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August 01, 2012, 08:26:56 PM
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Quote
Can you explain the secrecy behind the names of people at the company?

There are several factors involved, but the short version is that having experienced some of the "stalking" we internet denizens tend to do when our ire is up, they are somewhat reluctant to put their privacy and sanity at risk.  Additionally, they are fairly private people and have obligations outside of bitcoin that they do not necessarily wish to mix with the bitcoin world a this time.

Keep in mind, if you are not familiar with online forums and the kind of "communication" that goes on in them, especially the wild west forums like Bitcointalk.org, it can be a horrifying place to otherwise uninitiated individuals.  As open and welcoming as we are, we are still an insular world that is hard to really break into, especially when you come bearing the seemingly impossible claims.

Thanks for the explanation. It is highly unusual behaviour for a company handling this amount of money and creates the type of customers (paranoid and investigative) they are trying to avoid. Probably not the best tactic from day 1, but maybe something you can't come back from.

When does my SC arrive? :>

dip
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August 01, 2012, 08:30:36 PM
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Congrats and good luck with the new job Josh !

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August 01, 2012, 08:42:07 PM
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Congrats! This is good news and will provide great benefit for the community and BFL
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August 01, 2012, 08:44:18 PM
 #18


I'm sure this question is on your list to answer, but what I want to know is:

1. How do you feel about the published timeline for shipping BFL ASIC hardware. Is it realistic? What percentage of orders do you expect to be fulfilled on that timeline?

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August 01, 2012, 08:48:30 PM
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I'm sure this question is on your list to answer, but what I want to know is:

1. How do you feel about the published timeline for shipping BFL ASIC hardware. Is it realistic? What percentage of orders do you expect to be fulfilled on that timeline?



He haven't started on the new job yet =)
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August 01, 2012, 08:51:41 PM
 #20

Congrats Inaba/Josh!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have a unique perspective to offer BFL & I hope they allow you to use it  Wink

Similar situations happened in the gaming community in the past.Modders & custom mappers have been hired by Activision or EA & became great allies of the gaming communities.

I hope you can make a difference Cool

Best of Luck!!!!!!!!!!

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, you are the asshole."  -Raylan Givens
Got GOXXED ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KiqRpPiJAU&feature=youtu.be
"An ASIC being late is perfectly normal, predictable, and legal..."Hashfast & BFL slogan Smiley
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