With the recent publication of the closing of genoQs Machines GmbH by regular legal procedure, we are issuing this long overdue message to give you a realistic outlook for the future. We also want to contain the spread of inaccurate information about the circumstances that led to this, and share our view of things.
Isn’t it a bit late?
Let's start by recognizing that by all standards of proper stakeholder communication, we could have hardly done worse than we have. However, with strong personal and private factors involved, with a lack of certainty about our own future, and most of all with lack of creativity to do a better job, we let the situation get a little carried away. Fine, maybe more than a little.
How did it all start?
genoQs Machines is the fruit of passion of its two founders, Gabriel Seher and Marcel Achim. The acclaim received for Octopus in 2005 moved us to establish a limited liability company (a German GmbH) known as genoQs Machines GmbH, which was the most suitable platform for legal and commercial operations. The company helped us serve customers on all continents of the Earth, and for us it has been like a third, invisible man in the circle. We are sad to see him go.
But it seemed to go so well?
As anyone with industry insight might expect, genoQs Machines is a labor of love. As such, financial achievements are a welcome side effect, used to support further R&D and sometimes to appease impatient wives. We see our greatest achievement in the roads where genoQs led us as human beings: the joy of making music with our machines, the joy of meeting wonderful minds in our user community, and the joy of seeing that things can actually happen when you believe in them. Sounds cheesy? It was transcendental. And so it seems paradoxical, doesn’t it, that the user community was given our insistent silence in return.
Back on track. When we kicked off development of Octopus, around millennium time, we were both university students and musicians. By 2008 we were each a husband and father of two children. Hear the (screaming) difference? When genoQs Machines was registered in 2005, we lived only ten minutes apart in the same city, and shared one physical space for genoQs-related work. In 2007 the space was extended by a small playground, featuring teddy bears, chimes and cheap plastic keyboards. Those were sometimes mis-used for the final testing of machines to be shipped out. Umm… child-labor? Ok, wrong topic. Today we live five time zones apart. Each of us accounts for what feels like half of that, stubbornly following the genoQs pattern. Isn’t it ironic…
How did it happen?
Without globalization, we would probably never be where we are; but genoQs simply would not have been feasible to begin with, either. But let´s make it simple. We both have a duty to use our skills and talents to maximize our work output, in terms of value as currently determined by our families as opposed to our musician's minds. Unfortunately, this translated into many significant events over the past 18 months, as each of us switched jobs, career paths, houses, and ultimately countries--in some cases more than once in a year. A reliable mid-term outlook for genoQs was impossible to determine under these circumstances, with every week looking like the next might bring some longed-for clarity. Operations (order fulfillment, production, and delivery) carried on, and for that we can thank our excellent suppliers, business partners, and most of all, our production and support associates.
So what about the shutdown of the company?
genoQs Machines GmbH as the business operations platform is being formally retired as of January 2011, and will exist as a legal entity until the end of 2011, as “GmbH i.L.”, which means "in liquidation". The law imposes this time frame in order to give any creditor (i.e. suppliers, customers, investors) a chance to make their claim against the company. It is important to understand that this retirement takes place following our proactive decision and action, and not because of external triggers such as legal or financial difficulties. The retirement follows our recognition that the current platform does not support any possible operation model that we see as an option for the future.
What does it mean for us Octopus and Nemo users?
Have we lost interest in genoQs? No, we haven’t. It was a soul child, and that has not changed. Do we want to carry on? Yes, we do. In fact, there is probably little we´d rather do, in an ideal world. Do we have the resources and conditions to carry on as we did in the past? No, we don’t--not for the time being. Do we have a concrete plan on how to make it happen anyway? Work is in progress, and outside ideas are always welcome.
Do we support our products, such as warranty-covered repairs?
Yes we do. We have staff with the expertise to perform part replacements on our machines.
Do we still have needed parts on hand?
Yes we do. We have both an upside stock of critical parts, as well as close links to our suppliers. We take pride in our reputation with suppliers of being conservative payers, which now plays in our favor. With some, over the years, we have become good friends.
Do we expect lots of repair work?
In all honesty and confidence -- no. Octopus has been on the market over six years now. The observed failure rate over Octopus and Nemo production (other than a call-back of motherboards that we initiated and completed ourselves) during the three-year warranty period for most, has been a low, single-digit percentage with no particular pattern, and most problems have been fixable by users with our remote support.
Do we take new orders?
Yes, on a limited basis. Please contact us for availability and current delivery times. We will give you our best estimate and work to meet the stated shipping date, but we may also ask for flexibility on your end, should it be needed.
Oh right, will you take our money and disappear?
No. We are working hard every day to be good role models for our children, so that is definitely not on the program. If we cannot meet our up-front commitments, you don’t need to meet yours, in which case you may decide that your payment should be reimbursed.
Sounds good, but do you at genoQs even read and answer emails?
Yes we do. Sometimes it's on a best-can-do basis, and our timeliness may vary, so please bear with us. We know what it means to work hard for money, and therefore we will always prioritize financial agreements and matters with our customers (and our suppliers) over all else.
Can we be reached by phone?
Please write us an email first about any urgent matter. If we agree that it is best handled by phone, we will make that happen in a timely manner.
Do we follow and answer posts in our forum? Or in external forums?
Not as we have in the past, nor as much as we probably should. However, you can write us directly about any critical issue, and we will work with you to find a solution or a workaround.
Will there be another official OS release?
There is a backlog of material that could be worked into a new OS release. The material is split into “bug fixes” and new features. Some bug fixes are already done and working in unpublished versions of the OS, while others were produced by programmers in the user community. There are some bugs known to us but not fixed, and others may not yet be known to us officially. We need support from the community regarding the latter. As of today, and with our users' support, we are prepared to drive a consolidated, official bug fix release for the current OS version, under our leadership. A suitable time frame could be the first half of this year.
What about additional features?
As far as new features are concerned, we cannot make a statement at this time. However, the source code is freely available, and we are not a formal bottleneck, although we understand that this in itself does not offer others full control.
The bottom line?
- We have messed up communication with our most valued community, our users, and we are deeply regretful of that.
- It does hurt us to have to watch the company closedown over the coming months, because of the many feelings went into it as it was. But we have to stay realistic and deal with the consequences.
- We are working to find a new path and move the project to a different platform and operation model. We should have a picture of that by mid of 2011.
Why should we trust in all of the above?
Because we have no reason to lie to you.
Did we land on the moon (in 1969)?
genoQs Machines GmbH i.L., Stuttgart, Germany
January 30th, 2011