A note from Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways CEO and Co-Founder:
If anyone has worked at a start-up or a small company, this story is probably all too familiar for you. It goes something like this -- have an idea, build the dream, learn from your mistakes, and keep running. I want to share one version of this story. We made a mistake that impacted our shop owners over the last day, we've learned a ton and will continue to learn, and I think we might even get some new running shoes.
As Shapeways grows, we are continually pushing against the boundaries of what is possible in both the digital and physical worlds. We have helped to make 3D printing available to many people for the first time and made it possible for designers to earn money from their designs with very little investment and no financial risk.
The Shapeways website was originally specified to handle only 10,000 users and was not set up to for the complexities of our growth: two distribution centers, over 10 suppliers, thousands of shops selling hundreds of thousands of products in a broad range of materials. We have used the tools at hand for as long as we could, doing some tasks manually that we could not convince our software to do. In a start up, you build the tools as you need them, and automate processes as resources become available. We are now working on rebuilding the back-end of the site to handle our growth and to automate many of the tasks we currently do manually.
One of the processes we have been working on really hard to automate is the Shapeways shop owner payments and reporting, allowing you to effectively run your businesses. The entire team has had their heads in this project for recent weeks working long days, late nights and weekends to make the accounting as clear and transparent as possible. It's been something we've been promising for a long time, as we realized it is one of the most important processes to automate.
We released the update this week just before the monthly shop owner payments, gave each other a high five and went straight for the liquor cabinet. We then proceeded to make the silly mistake of sending out last month's payments instead of this month's.
We have corrected the error, notified all those who were affected and put in place extra checks to ensure we never, ever, ever make the same mistake again.
We are working really hard and fast to make the Shapeways website scale with our growth. We have made mistakes in the past and we will make mistakes in the future until the robots take over, but we will continue to be as transparent as possible to ensure you understand exactly what is happening. Finally, we will always fix our mistakes.
We really appreciate your patience and understanding as we deal with these growing pains. We thank you for making it possible for Shapeways to enable anyone to make anything with 3D printing. The future is here, and we're excited to create it with you.
ust a warning to users on shapeaways,
may 7. i made a order
may 9. shapeaways told me my info on our company was not enough so they coundt sent without VAT, I asked to pay the VAT but no , they had to cancel the order and send back the money so I should made a new order.
but now 8 days later i still hasnt got my money, and paypal does work and can fix that in 3 sec.
so what to do now?
I cant made a new order since i dont have any money
I cnat get my money since shapeaways does nothing,
so if you have a printing issue, find another company this dosnt work, they are maybe all seek or dead.
Yes, we've all had our problems but I for one would hate to see Shapeways close down. I may not make much money monthly but it all helps. I liken it to the stock photo micro payment sites that sprung up over the years. I was one of the first to join the site that started it all and I make a regular amount of money (albeit very small) for doing nothing after the initial photo's were uploaded. Shapeways is pretty much the same thing; upload a design, order it, take some nice photo's and do a little bit of social networking and/or advertising to generate revenue. Eventually, as the 3D printing boom peaks (we ain't seen nothing yet!) you may not even need to advertise your store as customers hopefully flood into the site.
So, yes, there are still some frustrating problems with the site but as they get resolved I'm looking forward to the future.
I'll second lensman's request to please open a supply and shipping facility in Canada; shipping, taxes and duty are about a minimum $20 per order. One thing at a time, however...
Shapeways is definitely on to something BIG - otherwise you wouldn't have grown so much so fast over the last year!
"We are working really hard and fast to make the Shapeways website scale with our growth. We have made mistakes in the past and we will make mistakes in the future until the robots take over, but we will continue to be as transparent as possible to ensure you understand exactly what is happening. Finally, we will always fix our mistakes. "
That's the right approach; maybe put a little more emphasis on double checking the code before you hit 'enter'
Don't forget about us in the Shapeways community - let us know if we can help. We're very interested in seeing Shapeways grow and improve.