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  • Twitchy
    replied
    Originally posted by KarlJ View Post
    My primary concern is the possibility of all the impatience, speculation, and idle curiosity causing a distraction to the development and manufacturing process (I mildly sense that may have been the case bringing the Synapse to reality). It speaks volumes to me that there is a process where new products are evaluated in a real world environment with an eye toward the quality and performance you specify before presenting the final product.
    I second this. Tom and his team have been doing a stellar job in desiging and making the bags. We don't want to be detroying that now.

    Personally I would love to know what Tom is working on and to be able to see the prototypes. It just adds to the whole TB community. As for the release dates .. I'm a firm believer in "it'll be done when its done". If it takes a long time for the perfect product ... well the computing world waited 6 years for half-life 2 to be released! I bought TB for the product quality, not the name (mainly because I never heard of TB till a month ago!)

    Leave a comment:


  • gmanedit
    replied
    I have gotten used to the date slippage, so I don't mind the ETAs. It's frustrating when the dates change—especially when it can be a matter of years—but, perversely, I've come to enjoy it; I can hear the groans across the forum. I might not feel this way if I were a photographer holding off buying a camera bag, but then again, I would be using something as a camera bag. I might not have bought a Smart Alec if the Synapse had come out first, but it didn't.

    For me, what it comes down to is TB is a one-man shop. All the ideas, sketches, models come from Tom; he doesn't farm it out. As we might say in my former workplace, he is the bottleneck. (There, I was the bottleneck. Nothing went out that I hadn't signed off on.) Add to that, sourcing all the materials and findings, and scheduling production runs.

    Maybe there should be another forum category, for upcoming designs and all the "How's that diaper bag coming along?" posts. People who feel they're being teased by estimated dates could avoid it.

    Leave a comment:


  • KarlJ
    replied
    Originally posted by Darcy View Post
    We can keep our targeted pre-order dates internal until the webpage for the new bag debuts and pre-order is actually possible, if that's what the majority of people would prefer.
    Tightening the lips may make for smoother sailing… that’s just my opinion.

    The forum and the blog seem to be outlets of reliable information, even more so if one checks them regularly or subscribes to the newsfeed. Amazingly though not surprisingly, there are still posts that pop up asking “if anybody has heard anything about _____.” This strikes me as amusing since even if there were someone who “knew” something, it would also be reasonable to assume they couldn’t disclose it or it wasn’t official.

    My primary concern is the possibility of all the impatience, speculation, and idle curiosity causing a distraction to the development and manufacturing process (I mildly sense that may have been the case bringing the Synapse to reality). It speaks volumes to me that there is a process where new products are evaluated in a real world environment with an eye toward the quality and performance you specify before presenting the final product.
    Last edited by KarlJ; 08-13-2010, 11:01 PM. Reason: sp.

    Leave a comment:


  • Darcy
    replied
    Tom creates new designs or makes updates to current designs as the design inspiration strikes him or as he sees fit. That's going to remain the same.

    I think most people want to know what is on Tom's design list. We know that we enjoy sharing the creative process with all of you. Part of the new website design that we're working on will include a page that is a list of the designs that Tom is working on - without availability dates. (I know you will appreciate this, gmanedit!

    We can keep our targeted pre-order dates internal until the webpage for the new bag debuts and pre-order is actually possible, if that's what the majority of people would prefer.

    Leave a comment:


  • falconea
    replied
    Have any of you visited the factory? It isn't large, and it's being slammed with massive orders for iPad bags and other bags after they get prominent publicity on on-line blogs etc. My guess is that Tom is spending time behind a sewing machine trying to keep up with delivery deadlines and not actually designing.

    For all your comments about timeliness, consider that when a product page says "will ship by Mid-August" they in my experience ALWAYS get it out sooner than that.

    The only other option is to outsouce the manufacture of the most popular bags to another factory. We all want our TB bags to continue being made in Seattle, don't we, and not in China?

    Audrey

    Leave a comment:


  • dclawyer
    replied
    This thread has become way more interesting than I anticipated. I certainly agree with itlnparrot's points.

    I'd like to add a couple of points: I don't expect perfection. In my opinion, the perfect bag (or anything else) doesn't exist. I appreciate a well made and durable product. I don't expect to use a bag for 20 years. Not because a TB bag won't last that long but because what we want in a bag changes over time. We now want key tethers, places for laptops, iPhones, iPads, 3-1-1 bags etc etc. The world will keep turning and what I want to carry and how I want to carry it will change over time. This to me is not a bad thing. It's just how things are. I want a bag that will stand up well to frequent use in real world travel but I don't expect to use it for 20 years.

    The candid exchange of views here is refreshing and speaks well of TB customers and Darcy too .

    Leave a comment:


  • PM4HIRE
    replied
    Over the top marketing efforts set a high expectation that must always be met!

    Before I retired, after 40 years in technology project management, I was ALWAYS careful to set an expectation that I was 95% sure I could successfully meet, rather than jerk senior management and staff developers around...this rule meant a lot less stress in my life.
    Last edited by PM4HIRE; 08-13-2010, 12:51 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • itlnparrot
    replied
    Backpack -

    That isn't the complaint, quality and the perfection of the product is not what I was referring. The complaint that DCLawyer and I echoed was the announcements to preorder, or constant chatter about a new product that is pulled prior to the previously set expectation.

    In the two years that I have been following TB forums and less than a year after selecting TB over RedOxx I have seen continuous references to new products that are coming soon complete with pre-order expectations.

    January 2010
    April 2010
    June 2010

    Are three examples where Field Journal, Parental Unit, etc were given moving dates for completeness.


    May 2009 for Camera Insert: here is an example of the Camera Insert from over a year ago.
    Update: Camera Insert
    Many of you are emailing or calling us to ask for updates on the new camera insert that Tom is designing. Here's the latest: the design is completed, parts have been ordered, and we'll have the first sample to photograph in 3-4 weeks, at which point the insert will be available for pre-order. Stay tuned!
    darcy | 13 May 2009 3:41 pm | New Bags |


    Small business or not (happen to be in PD and grew-up/worked professionally in a local, family owned business) such promises and failure to deliver have costs. I am a bit of a TB Fanboy, I rave about my Aeronaut. I also have deferred buying the Gator as my Diaper/Camera bag but my patience is waning.

    My suggestion was more in line with the updates to the Co-Pilot, Western Flyer and Aeronaut of recent... Iterative updates to the design (tie downs; pocket for rolling luggage).

    If the products were perfect to begin with, there would be no need to make any more changes. You cannot account for every user scenario prior to a launch. Tastes and needs change over time. Yes, I expect my Aeronaut to last several decades of great use. I recognize that TB products are a great investment...I wouldn't be spending time on this forum if I didn't feel that to be true.

    I just ask that the expectations for new products being delivered are fair and can be met, at least Darcy and Co are quick to communicate and provide new expectations and an explanations. Many companies shy away from owning this type of communication.

    ***

    regarding "commercialism" aka consumerism. I don't disagree. I'm not advocating our throw-it-away culture at all... Just implying that the dev cycles could be sped up a bit ... "Don't make the Perfect, the enemy of the good." --- there is nothing perfect.

    BTW - Darcy, Tom and others ... I am appreciative of the situation you are in from a communication perspective. I'm not trying to destroy an ego's or damage careers...just to provide constructive feedback. These new product updates are a 'little' frustrating...

    Leave a comment:


  • Shiva
    replied
    I have been reading this thread with some interest. I think, for me, Tom Bihn as a company represents a different philosophy towards "commercialism" altogether--so it is NOT just about design and perfection: it is also about production, marketing, employment practice, environment and usage, and a whole bunch of other things. From what little I have seen of them, they remind me of how Patagonia used to be almost 20 + years ago. I
    used to love Patagonia cos of their overall company philosophy: make a few products; make form follow function; and be minimalist overall: if one bag can do multiple jobs, then one needs fewer of them and there is less waste.

    Over the decades, I have watched that change and they started to belt out products --like software updates. And I do believe their designs have suffered; as well as their quality. A garment bag (The Burrito suiter) that I bought 15 plus years ago is still there and has endured countless trips. If we buy fewer things and products last forever, then it does mean that somewhere in all of this, the business has to be "worthwhile." After all, they are in the business of making products but also making a living.

    So in the marketplace of commercialism, it is not always possible I suppose to balance "money making" with "product integrity." The reason we have so many different versions or updates is fundamentally a $$ motive; not a design one.

    Sorry for the soap box: but I do hope that TB will continue to hang on to its design philosophy, and not go the way of others. I would rather they made 4 bags than 20 of them.

    s

    Leave a comment:


  • backpack
    replied
    I have just used every single bag I own to transport some of my family essential things during an interstate move.


    Here are some of my findings.

    Bags from various manufacturers from no name to high priced brand bring on anxiety about zippers and fabric reliability as well as faulty design (bulky bags heavy enough to use as workout equipment which have no room to store a significant amout of things)



    In contrast, Tom Bihn bags, even packed to the gill, perform beautifully, help with organization because of their array of colors and are really tough.

    My ever present Pouches and the Cafe Bags and Backpack Packing Cube for Aeronaut that hold them have already received compliments in my new city.


    I am proud to own and recommend Tom Bihn offerings and creations.

    Nothing beats durability and innovation when it comes to any product or service.


    After using them during 3 moves and countless trips from the grocery store to multistates trips, I love Tom Bihn products even more.

    I don't mind waiting for innovative products as long as Tom think R&D is necessary.


    I have only been a Tom Bihn customer for 4 almost 5 years.

    The company and a handful of fountain pens manufacturers are the only ones I can recommend wholeheartedly.


    I resent the comparaison with the Redmond company whose "innovations" include vaporwares, a faulty OS, swiss cheese "security" and such a level of sophistication that anything remotely more complicated than basic use requires a third party sofware provider.


    Maverick is right when he says:"perfection takes time"


    Owning a Tom Bihn product is like eating organic, local food; it is more expensive but it tastes and looks so much better and is good for one's health.


    Fast food and mass produced goods are not good for the planet nor the users. What happens to mass produced bags which fail after a year of school use? They end up in the landfill.


    We know from Tom Bihn bags owners that the lifespan of a Tom Bihn bag is at least two decades.
    At the time of the first designs fabric technology was not as sophisticated as it is now, I believe my bags will last a lifetime and I will most probably be able to pass them on.


    PS: Large Pouches make great minimalist briefcases

    Leave a comment:


  • itlnparrot
    replied
    I completely agree with DCLawyer.

    Why I refer to a lot of the conversation around the new 'releases' as vaporware. Too much discussion, commitment to deliver and then last minute pull. Ala TB's neighbors in Redmond.

    Now, I like everyone here truly appreciate the quality and design of a Tom Bihn bag. I also appreciate Tom's commitment to perfection... However, wouldn't it be better to add iterative improvements to the bags. Release the Field Notebook 2 years into dev. Get input from users that speed improvements that lead to a 2.0 or 3.0 version within 6 years instead of 8(and counting). Customers are happy to see improvements and TB is happy to have the additional revenue, faster feedback cycle and paying, and broad set of research.

    (btw - I do understand that materials/foam of the camera insert is critical... but 8 years for the Field Notebook, 2+ for Parental Unit...etc is too drastic especially after years of open discussion)

    Leave a comment:


  • gmanedit
    replied
    Hi, dclawyer.

    I sympathize—for me, it's "How hard can it be to make cafe bags in Ultrasuede?"—but there is a certain charm in watching ideas evolve and offering our own ideas. (I begged Apple to bring back WindowShade and never heard back.) Well, in the meantime I've got a cafe bag, and the Synapse finally came out, and I certainly appreciate feeling each time I buy a bag that it's going to last forever. But it must be hard on the prospective camera-insert buyers.

    Darcy, it would be fun to read a list of Tom's upcoming designs, at whatever stage they're at, just to see what he's thinking. As a sweater designer, I put ideas down on paper even if I have no intention of producing them. I like to see other people's thinking. Bring on the vaporware; just label it "idle thoughts."

    Leave a comment:


  • Darcy
    replied
    dclawyer,

    I appreciate your point. There are so many designs that Tom plans to produce, or has in the works, and I admit it's hard for me not to share news of them with everyone because they're so exciting.

    Leave a comment:


  • dclawyer
    replied
    I understand that TB is a small company and I can see that a lot of thought goes into each bag. I appreciate that very much. At the same time, I don't think it is a good idea for a manufacturer to talk publicly about products a long time before they come out. Apple in my opinion has this right. When you talk about a new product you should be able to ship soon. Otherwise, it's vaporware. A company that did this (and maybe still does) is Nikon. They announce a new lens and then maybe in 4 to 6 months you can buy it. That got old. I now use Canon. When Canon announces something by and large you can actually buy one soon thereafter.

    Leave a comment:


  • aiethabell
    replied
    Originally posted by maverick View Post
    as excited as we all are to see the new bag designs debut, be it the parental unit, the gym bag, the camera insert or the gym bag, i think we all also understand and appreciate that perfection takes time.
    Ah, Maverick, you forgot one... the single-compartment Tri-Star!

    Leave a comment:

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