UPDATE: Don Mak in this screenshot asking if anyone knows the contact for Unwire.hk – attempting to do damage control after the news outlet’s first piece on Arist. Don Mak is connected to the Nelson/Benson Chiu Kickstarter consultancy business, and is also pretty famous in Hong Kong as an internet marketer.
Taken from Reddit
Today Unwire.hk published a follow up report titled, “Arist coffee machine brothers says ‘We did not bring shame on Hong Kong’s name!”
The Arist brothers met up with the editors to show proof that they’re not running a scam. The article is in a Q&A format. Here’s the translation:
Why don’t you just show a video to clear your name? Nelson: If we showed it our patents would be in trouble!
Backers ask: If Benson and his brother are innocent, why not show a video of the machine working? They can prove the machine works, and backers can see if the new design meets previous promise and restore trust.
Nelson says, it’s not that they don’t want to shoot that video, but, “If we upload that video, even if it was only for backers, no one could guarantee the video wouldn’t be leaked. In the patent application process, even if our application gets approved, there will still be an objection period (?). If someone took these videos and photos and objected to our application, our patent will go down the toliet!”
Nelson also claims that the data and design drafts hacked are just documents from the early stages, so it would not affect the final design and delivery date by much. But if these early designs have any similarities with the final design, they will still pose as obstacles to the patent application process, which is why the brothers are so anxious about the hacking incident.
But during the interview, Benson and his brother showed Edward (the author) a video of the coffee machine working and the latest design. Edward saw that the machine was successfully controlled by the mobile app, and successfully made a cup of coffee.
Are they running off with the money? Nelson says they have already announced a three-month delay
The public also claimed that the Arist brothers do not have the ability to create the coffee machine, and their Kickstarter campaign is only a scam. Now that the money is in their hands, obviously they’ll run off with it, because Kickstarter has already stated that even if the a campaign organizer fails to develop their product, the backers would still not get a refund.
Nelson says they definitely did not and will not run off with the money. “Actually when we were planning our Kickstarter campaign last year, we expected to deliver in June or July this year. But earlier this month we have already informed backers that the actual delivery date will be three months late, which means we’ll be delivering in October. Even though we had this [hacking] incident, it shouldn’t cause too many problems with Arist’s delivery progress. According to our estimate, we should still be able to fulfil the promise of an October delivery.”
Nelson also asks why would they make a show, create a prototype, and promote Arist in such a high-profile manner if they planned to run off with the cash from the beginning.
There’s no way the cost of the machine would be so low? Nelson says everybody overestimated the production cost
Skeptics also ask: if Arist has so many features, but backers’ pledge can be as low as US$299, then they must be pricing at a loss, meaning that there is no way they could manufacture the Arist coffee machine at this price, so it must be a scam.
Nelson responds that this is just the masses not understanding the actual production costs of a machine. “A lot of people think that for a product, the production cost is 70% of the retail price. This is incorrect. In actuality, a product’s cost of production could be only 10% of the retail price or even less. The rest of the retail price is not from cost of production, but slotting fees, advertising fees, etc. So we’re not actually pricing at a loss.”
Nelson also says that crowdfunding on Kickstarter already got them great publicity. With the machines provided by the Science Park, they have saved on the costs of buying the machines (equipment for manufacturing), so this helps them lower the retail price.
The article ends with the editing staff saying that the brothers just didn’t respond to the tech blog in time with their comments. Now that they have reached out to the tech blog, they hope that this provides the public with another perspective.
The comment section is full of skeptics. A few translated comments:
“How can there be no backups or hard copies of something so important? This is so suspicious.”
“They can’t even tell the difference between patent and trade secret…very suspicious.”
“Their reason for the delay makes no sense. Patent applications for product design/function can take several months or even over a year. I’ve applied for a (Hong Kong only) patent for the exterior of my product and it took me several months, so if they were really going to deliver in July, the possibility of not having even started the patent application process should be zero. If they already have the patent, even if the hacker stole the whole design, they would still be protected, even if it means there’s a high chance of knock-offs appearing. The coffee machine is so large, even the steel mould’s development fee should cost over a million. Even the mould-making process would take at least one to two months. If they were to deliver in July, the product should be in production or under QC. If they are in production, then there is no way they could change the design, otherwise they would be losing over a million dollars. Unless they haven’t even started making anything, in which case the July delivery date has to be a lie.”
“They started off with a lie, now they can only cover it with more lies. In the end they are telling a lie that even they have trouble believing. No one will dare say their project is based in Hong Kong on Kickstarter in the future.”