On one hand, Purism is doing great and amazing things. I bought a Librem 5 phone a little over a week ago, and think it likely that I will be happy with my purchase in the end, even if the product is less than perfect.
Releasing a new product to production can be less than a smooth process. I’ve done it myself. I think that we all understand that the process can be daunting. So it’s reasonable to give Purism some leeway with respect to this process. It is possible that there are things that should be communicated at optimal times (a slippery slope to traverse).
If more than another few weeks go by without some explanation from Purism about what is going on, and still no reports of anyone receiving their product, I will see more than just a new product release challenge at that point.
As customers, we have a right to assess our level of risk, which we all probably see as being higher here than it would be than if we were making a purchase from Google or from Apple. But while giving risk it’s due respect, there is more than just risk as an issue here too.
Regardless of which business arena we operate in, the need for clear communications is critical to the survival of any business. In some cases, ‘reputation’ can be an asset that can show up on a list of company assets as intellectual property. Like privacy, ‘clear communications’ is a social purpose that needs to be respected. Otherwise we lose our ability to assess our own risk because someone else has potentially used our information against us. Granted, the information belongs to Purism for now. We have entrusted them with it out of necessity. But the risk is still ours and we have no way to assess that risk because information is being withheld from us. Does Google have a fiduciary relationship with respect to our information? Yes, it’s all in the twenty-page agreement that we agreed to before we could get our phones to work properly. That doesn’t keep people from hating what Google does with their information. I expect more from Purism. At some point, forgiveness for poor communications wanes and that asset called ‘reputation’ starts to lose value. As a believer in Purism’s stated values, I don’t want to see that happen to Purism. Purism’s biggest assets right now are these vulnerable intangibles, not the ability to deliver a perfect phone. Campaigns are fueled by belief and trust, not by collateral. All may (appear to) be forgiven after we get our phones. In the long run, I am more concerned with who I am doing business with, far more than I am worried about my seven-hundred dollars. If Purism does not share information appropriately with us very soon, the shortcoming will be counter-productive toward their stated mission. I can handle some human shortcomings, technical setbacks, and the fact that un-foreseen things happen. I typically avoid doing business with those who misuse my information to my disadvantage, regardless of what I could potentially gain from that business relationship. Right now Purism, the information is in your hands. Please choose wisely. Your future may depend on it. We’re on your team. We all want to see you succeed. We really hope you’re not just like another version of Google or Apple. Don’t let us down. Second to that, we all want our phones… sooner or later.