Aug 19

Apologies for the rant in advance but this is a bigger topic than the title implies.

I had pre-ordered Eric’s book many months back because I’m interested in the lessons but also largely out of sheer support for CustDev/Lean startup movements. These are important concepts. The mysterious art of entrepreneurship is finally getting codified into a repeatable framework. IMO this is one of the more promising developments in terms of advancements that has the most potential to restore our economy from the shitter.

So I was surprised this email from Eric this morning:

Now arguably this is a trivial thing. Being nomadic & virtual I’m trying to slim down and have less physical stuff so I’d prefer the digital version I ordered, but barring the existence of that, I’ll take the hardcover. The stance taken here though seems pretty absurd. If somebody pre-orders a hotdog from you and you decide not to make it for some reason, you can’t simply insist that they accept a burger. What’s worse, it’s not even like he ran out of hotdogs, he just seemingly decided not to make them.

Again, in the grand scheme, not a big deal and I’m far more interested in the content so we can apply the relevant lessons to our . But what’s troubling is I’ve noticed a theme developing (Eric sorry to call you out personally as the example here) where founders are so immersed in conversion funnels and A/B testing and cohort analysis that they forget the basics of running a hotdog stand. This is the guy who (2nd to Steve Blank IMO) is in a position to massively influence the next generation of entrepreneurs and he has this approach to something as fundamental as basic customer service

Here’s a novel idea Eric: explain the situation and why you’ve chosen not to make the digital edition and realize that 98% of people will be fine with the hardcover. But give folks a choice for a refund if you can’t deliver the product they purchased. To insist that they accept a substitute with a 2wk ultimatum that they’ll otherwise forfeit their money – not how you do it dude.

5 Responses to “Eric Ries, are you joking?”

  1. Eric Ries says:

    I'm very sorry. This deal was offered through Appsumo, and they mistakenly offered a "digital version" as an option. Unfortunately, because of the wonky way publishing works, I can't actually deliver a digital version to large numbers of people (even if they've paid for it).

    It never occurred to me that someone would want a refund for the whole Appsumo bundle over this, but clearly that was an oversight. If you want, I will ask Appsumo to give you a complete refund – and we'll find a worthy cause to donate your copy to.

    Glad you're looking forward to the book, and hope you still enjoy it. Thanks for the feedback,


    • Sean Tierney says:

      Eric, not asking for a refund for the Appsumo bundle at all… That was an amazing value and I have no issue with taking a hardcopy now that I understand the mixup. This makes more sense now and I would say just explain the situation in the email next time rather than hitting people w/ an ultimatum on something out of the blue w/o any explanation of what happened.

      looking forward to reading the book

  2. Sean Tierney says:

    BTW Eric, the source of my confusion was this: I didn't even realize a digital edition was promised in the AppSumo bundle. I had bought a pre-ordered version of your book from your site around SXSW time and assumed I had checked the digital option and you had since decided to revoke that and insist people receive physical book. Anyways. All good. I feel like an ass now for making this post now that I understand what happened. peace.

  3. Maxim Porges says:

    If you like Sean, just have the hardcopy mailed to my house and I'll chop the binding off and run it through my Canon document scanner to make you a nice PDF. Problem solved. :)

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