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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Jan Ostman - DSP Synths
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Jan Ostman - DSP Synths
vvvvv56
Hi guys; I hope it's okay to post this here? Does Jan Ostman of DSP Synthesizers/dspsynth.eu still put in an appearance on the forums, or has anyone any direct contact information for him?

I ordered a uMIDI2CVliteCable 3x months ago on 21/11/17, and paid using Paypal. Jan was having a (I think it was a new product?) sale at the time, so I did pay less than the current shop price. Apart from the Paypal receipt I've had no contact with Jan, and no confirmation of receipt of my order. I've no problem waiting a bit longer if he's in the process of assembling a batch, but as I haven't had any communication from him, I thought I'd check here in the hope that he will get in touch to assure me that my order hasn't got lost in the system. I've sent emails to him on 3 occasions, and I haven't yet received any replies.

I was hoping to use the uMIDI2CVliteCable to get midi from my iPad into my Lunchbox case.
BugBrand
Repeat behaviour and unfortunately you are beyond the Paypal claim window.

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/search.php?search_keywords=jan+ostma n

+ lots more info around the web
Robscorch
Oh boyeeee here we go... Enjoy the show!

I wanted to have faith in this guy too. Mostly because we love custom chips in the diy, but ultimately here we have an example of business not being handled up on. Loads of excuses and what not will be given though it was to little way to late. Hopefully lessons were learned. MY ASS IS BLEEDING
starthief
Heh. I bought a uMidi2CV on November 7. No acknowledgement of the order or anything.

Finally wrote to him on December 20. This was his response -- on the same day:

"Postnord lost my shipment of parts from China.
I'm hoping to get new parts this week.

I'll ship asap."

Honestly, given all I've heard, I don't expect to ever see the module and I'm not sure if I should even bother emailling again to collect another excuse. I suppose I could see what happens if I ask for a refund, but the path of least resistance is just to write off the $29 as a lesson learned.
erstlaub
starthief wrote:
the path of least resistance is just to write off the $29 as a lesson learned.


This basically seems to be Jan's 'business' model.
cygmu
BugBrand wrote:
Repeat behaviour and unfortunately you are beyond the Paypal claim window


Isn’t the claim window 180 days now?

I’d definitely file a claim if possible, given his lack of response.

What a shame!
Jarno
Not following up on (financial) commitments is shitty, and there always was a distinct lack of communication, but he has had some health issues in the past, those might have returned (or not).
BugBrand
Jarno wrote:
Not following up on (financial) commitments is shitty, and there always was a distinct lack of communication, but he has had some health issues in the past, those might have returned (or not).


He has been posting recently only his wordpress site.

I am not sure whether to believe that he was ill. His quote / last post on MW Feb 17:

Quote:
A week after I launched the Tiny-TS I got really sick.
I have spent christmas in hospital for cancer treatment.
For a while it was really bad.

Most of the people that ordered my modules have been refunded.

I don't intend to do the same with the Tiny-TS.
They have started to ship from last week.

I'm very sorry about this but my life comes first.

/Jan


But if you check the updates of his Tiny TS Kickstarter then he was posting a lot to get people interested then.
Note also that there are still people complaining on that KS about not receiving products.

He stinks and I am sad that people still get conned.
Dogma
BugBrand wrote:
Jarno wrote:
Not following up on (financial) commitments is shitty, and there always was a distinct lack of communication, but he has had some health issues in the past, those might have returned (or not).


He has been posting recently only his wordpress site.

I am not sure whether to believe that he was ill. His quote / last post on MW Feb 17:

Quote:
A week after I launched the Tiny-TS I got really sick.
I have spent christmas in hospital for cancer treatment.
For a while it was really bad.

Most of the people that ordered my modules have been refunded.

I don't intend to do the same with the Tiny-TS.
They have started to ship from last week.

I'm very sorry about this but my life comes first.

/Jan


But if you check the updates of his Tiny TS Kickstarter then he was posting a lot to get people interested then.
Note also that there are still people complaining on that KS about not receiving products.

He stinks and I am sad that people still get conned.



Damn......shit you just gotta believe someone when they say they have cancer guys.....if he doesn't in fact have cancer then he's the biggest piece of shit alive but I would seriously have faith in humanity on this one......
I hope he is ok - I tried to buy some chips for a protype and he tried his best not to sell them to me so there's another side to his story
BugBrand
Yes, I hope I'm actually wrong commenting like that.
But, numerous issues with communication & lack of delivery leaving frustrated customers - it keeps on happening.
flts
Harry Frankfurt wrote about the distinction between lies vs bullshit. A liar makes a clear distinction between truth and lies, and tries to conceal the truth, whereas a bullshitter doesn't really care whether what he says is true or not but simply whether the listener is convinced / persuaded or not.

I tried to be understanding at first and think he was just a bad businessman and communicator, maybe telling a white lie because of personal issues and trying to set it straight eventually. Tried to sort of act as a mediator in a one or two cases that seemed more like a misunderstanding / ego clash than actual ill will.

At this point, however, I'd just label the guy as a genuine bullshit artist.

He's now been in it years, first producing "all corners cut" low quality stuff (see those euro PCBs and panels?!) and not even shipping a big part of it, getting angry and defensive when someone dares to question his business practices or competence (see: multiple forums, whether about aliasing in oscillator code, or even minimum effort for making a proper eurorack PCB). Then once again disappearing without replying to any mails about shipment status until someone demands a PayPal refund. Taking money yet not shipping stuff because a delivery company lost his PCB or parts shipment more than once or twice - and still he sells the stuff before he actually has what he is selling that has been ordered with unreliable delivery companies from far east. First claiming he has health issues (whether this is true or not, only he knows for sure, that's something I don't want to make guesses or claims about), and after a short while producing up for sale even more stuff he is ever going to ship only to part of the people who ordered. And so on. And so on.

The only reason why there hasn't been more of an outrage is that the stuff that he sells is so cheap that people forgive easier than with modules or modular cases costing hundreds. And because he eventually DOES ship, something, to some people, and then whoever has criticized him loses a part of the case because it magically turns out he IS actually delivering. Something. He just doesn't seem to really care after the money is in his hands.

Sorry for the vitriol and probably sounding like an asshole towards someone who certainly does cooler stuff than I ever did. I'm just getting angry that the guy can apparently act like he does repeatedly with little or no repercussions.
snaper
Shame.
I bought the singel chip synth and the K4 chip, both are amazing little things.
Also, used a few of his codes for other projects, like the CZ VCO code and some drum things.
Real shame honestly, he had potential :S
lisa
Agreed, it's a shame. My guess is that he fulfills most orders, otherwise he'd never be able to keep it up for so many years.

I'm also guessing that most times when he doesn't deliver it actually depends on missing parts and such. It makes sense. The big problem, of course, is that he should communicate clearly in those cases. "I didn't get the parts yet. Do you want a refund or is it okay for you to wait?" or something like that.

Anyway, I ordered a phrase distortion VCO eurorack module from him this Saturday and I got it today so that's good. w00t
flts
lisa wrote:
I'm also guessing that most times when he doesn't deliver it actually depends on missing parts and such. It makes sense. The big problem, of course, is that he should communicate clearly in those cases. "I didn't get the parts yet. Do you want a refund or is it okay for you to wait?" or something like that.


The main problems in accepting that explanation are

1) He is using no rare, hard-to-find expensive parts, and his projects are generally low on the parts count, being mostly digital with very, very minimal supporting circuitry (see eg. the MIDI-CV schematic). Building a stock of the required parts before selling something is not a very difficult or expensive task in this case. Reordering in a couple of days even less so.

2) Even though he does have to order the printed circuit boards from far east and that's something he would have to wait for a while, one would think that if PCBs get missing or arrive DOA, after one or two incidents he would either wise up and choose a "week or two" type DHL shipment and order some extras, OR only sell the projects once the PCBs have arrived and tested working. I'm pretty sure he doesn't sell anything much bigger than a 5x10cm and some of it is 5x5cm, the PCBs are simple two layer ones in general, so the cost to stock those things and order them with slightly more reliable shipping is going to be inexpensive in any case.

3) In those cases where the "missing parts" explanation is given, people only get the explanation after quite a while when contacting Jan themselves, and often complain they STILL did not receive anything after a reasonable window after that.

Eg. there is a mention from starthief above in this thread that he ordered something on November 7, asked about the order on December 20 (about month and a half later) and got a reply that a "shipment of parts from China" was lost and will ship ASAP. The post was written yesterday, and by then the order had still not shipped.

That is three and a half months waiting for something that was already sold to a customer, with no obsolete rare parts, and without information that the product is out of stock in the first place. Or, to put it other way, a month and a half of waiting with no reply about status of the order, and then two months of waiting after specifically asking about it and been promised that the parts would arrive "next week".

And that was not the only or an isolated case in Jan's business on these forums, it has happened more than once or twice. So the repeating explanation of "waiting for parts" seems like either complete negligence on his part (eg. he should know better what to order and when by now), or an actual falsehood.

He clearly is not a complete con artist in any case - because he does ship something to some people, and people talk about actually using his preprogrammed microcontrollers and PCB projects. You mention having just received a chip of his, I have some of his drum chips as well, and got them with no problems and shipping delays whatsoever like a year or two ago. Likewise with my friend who got one of his early euro projects and even though he complained the quality is nothing short of awful, he did eventually receive them after a longish delay (and a mail to Jan asking about when the items would actually ship, IIRC).

It just sounds to me he should really stop selling anything as it seems he's incapable of fulfilling orders properly without drama and angry people, and eg. let someone else do it for him. EDIT: whether this is due to actual health issues, being a bad businessman and communicator, or one or more other reasons, I don't know. I'm just seeing the end result being such that there are a lot of angry customers and undelivered orders and yet he keeps on running the business.
Jarno
"business"
I think a lot of people underestimate the time it takes to sell stuff, and how this is time when you get home from work, when sometimes you just want to plonk on the couch (or need to cook, get groceries, do laundry, all of those realities), and not do something which feels like work.
It all starts with a friendly attitude towards customers though, and it seems that was never there.
flts
Yes, I've been there myself, might have called it "running a hobby / jobby" instead. Only that sounds a bit weird, and he still has an online store, is taking payments from people, actively marketing products in Kickstarter et cetera, which to me constitutes a business - despite the fact that he most certainly doesn't do it full time or earn his living with it.

I tend to think I give people a boatload of slack and try to be nice and calm in general (editor note: this may be a complete illusion). Hell, I have problems actually working on normal hobbies regularly, because dayjob, housekeeping and everything else just take so much energy these days. I've also done the freelance project / secondary income thing enough around a decade ago to understand how tiresome and stressful it can be to have to do something that feels like actual work after doing hours and hours of actual regularly paid work before that.

The point stands, that the said person has repeatedly messed up delivering what he has promised and explained things with more broken promises only after a long radio silence and repeated active contact towards him, not communicating about constant delays actively or at all, apparently putting the blame on not delivering anyone but himself and usually acting nasty whether about delays or constructive critique from peers. Yet he is actively marketing and selling his products and taking money from people.

I'd still want him to set things straight and go on doing stuff he likes... only that after the nth time he isn't communicating or delivering at all, or offering money back with apologies, it seems like there isn't much hope for that and it's better idea to warn people about his practises and assume he's resorting to bullshitting rather than just dealing with unfortunate coincidences.
mskala
The obvious answer is to partner with someone else who'll handle marketing and order fulfillment. He could stick to the parts that he is good at. However, that would entail admitting that he is unable to properly handle marketing and order fulfillment himself - an admission which it does not seem to be in Mr. Osterman's nature to make - and it also would be hard to follow this course now, after he's burned so many bridges with people in the community who could've helped.

On the specific issue of problems with parts: I know with at least a couple of projects he had the problem of not actually buying the parts he planned to use until he'd collected preorder money from his own customers, then finding out after he bought the parts that they did not meet the quality or schedule he'd expected, so then he was stuck with extra costs and delays he hadn't planned for. Stuff like PCBs intended to be used as panels that turned out not to meet the necessary cosmetic standards. I can certainly empathize with that. I've several times had suppliers disappoint me with parts I bought in production quantities that did not meet the quality and schedule I'd expected, even after I'd previously bought samples from the same people. The difference was that I wasn't taking preorders, so nobody else's money was on the line while I sorted out the problems.

I adhere strictly to not offering things for sale that I don't actually have. J.O. has offered preorders on timelines it turned out he couldn't meet because he had too much faith in his suppliers, and has also offered straight-up sales that he didn't disclose were actually preorders. But following my rule means that my own money is on the line both for parts that might turn out to be bad when I get them, and for inventory that I know is good but I don't know I can sell soon; and I can only afford to risk so much, and that in turn limits the products I can launch. It's a lot to ask any businessperson to follow that policy, and it does have a significant opportunity cost... so the question is, are you willing to pay what it really costs to deal with someone who invests real money before ever offering the product for sale and without knowing that it will sell?

It appears, and this is sad but completely predictable, that a lot of people cared so much about saving a buck that they didn't really think through why J.O.'s offered prices were so low.
windspirit
Can you imagine worling with someone who operates like that and trying to clean up the mess that is his business? There isnt exactly boat load of money to be made from selling DIY either.
mskala
Yeah, that's why I say - probably too late. Too many bridges burned.
search64
Wow wow, hold on. This is all supposing his problem is PR and communication. This is just not true. Just check out the Mutable Forum where Olivier tried to help him rewrite his software code, but he wouldn't listen. Or look at the hardware, which was badly designed and sometimes even dangerous. I feel very sorry for everyone who was duped by Janost, but this guy was a fucking train wreck.
TheSlowGrowth
The good thing is that slowly his bad reputation keeps spreading and people get more suspicious. I've seen countless threads full of angry customers, rants and offenses by J.O. and downright false promises about his products.
It must be horrible for him and I don't want to judge about his health situation or any other personal trouble he may be in. But after all I've seen and read about this guy, I have to admit I'm a little bit relieved to see that his long history of bad reputation eventually stops people from getting ripped off.
lisa
Tested my module tonight and it works! Sounds good too. Rockin' Banana!
euromorcego
BugBrand wrote:

I am not sure whether to believe that he was ill. His quote / last post on MW Feb 17:

Quote:
A week after I launched the Tiny-TS I got really sick.
I have spent christmas in hospital for cancer treatment.
For a while it was really bad. [...]
I'm very sorry about this but my life comes first.


if true, i sincerely wish him all the best for his health.

But, seriously, the statement is from Feb 2017, he refers to christmas 2016. After that, he had at least two now major "campaigns" that were also featured on sonicstate (and one may indeed wonder why a respectable site this this reports about these products at all):

http://www.sonicstate.com/news/2017/04/05/mini-ts-2-octave-touch-synth -announced/
http://www.sonicstate.com/news/2017/09/13/the-breadboard-ts-a-synth-bu ilders-dream/

to give some background: i purchased a few of his chips, they are really nice for what they are (if you accept the low-fi nature that is in contrast to his usual hyperbole). And in my case, also the delivery was in reasonable time. I might even consider buying more of those. Nothing to complain here.

However, I also purchased a pcb, the implemented schematics were an exercise in ill-designed minimalism, an embarrassment of any notion of "quality", ... and also it didn't work. Turns out, mr. genius never actually tested the product before selling them (he also didn't own the equipment to do so, as he later revealed). I just want to put that in perspective to the efforts some people out there put into their work before they dare to even to provide the design.

Bottom line: I accepted the loss, the pcb was about $20 plus some parts and some time spent in replacing stuff that didn't work either. It's ok, no hard feelings (even though I also suspect the low cost of some items is indeed part of the business model: people give up after a while and then just forget about it).

That said: some of his projects now seem quite expensive. Some of the drum modules are $150 (way beyond a ladik rom player and almost close to the Tiptop One). And if the design of this is even remotely anything like any schematics I have ever seen from this guy, it is very likely to be nothing but truly awful. The drumulator is $230. Even for the midi2cv better choices exist (like the CVpal from Mutable Instruments).

And I am also a bit surprised that people here give him quite a lot slack. Janost is DEFINITELY not an overwhelmed hobbyist who "just want to plonk on the couch" and underestimated the effort it takes to sell these kits or just happens to be bad at PR and communication.

If you look at some of the old threads at the mutable forum you'll see something a bit more disturbing. People there speculated about mental health issues (until they correctly realized that is highly inappropriate to do so). I am no expert either, never met him personally, and therefore will not do so either. But I can say that the way he responded in threads was highly, let's say unusual (at least for a 40 year old who just wants to plonk on the couch). He was extremely erratic, sometimes euphoric, then announcing shortly afterwards that he will stop designing any further chip because he didn't like a specific forum post. He was always extremely combative even when people took a good faith approach to explain why some of his claims were simply wrong. And easily offended by any criticism. He would announce new projects in an erratic fashion, in short order, rarely finishing any of them and usually using hyperbolic claims that easily misled people (a VA Vintage Drum Synthesizer in a 28-pin DIP). And he rather shamelessly used (and still uses) references to other products (808, 606, Juno) to promote his stuff. It might be hearsay, so take it with a grain of salt, but i think he also once got into trouble with the Roland Corp for this attitude.

Now THAT is the janost I have seen in forums. Definitely not someone just want to plonk on the couch and messes up an order now and then.


So what should be make of this? Janost certainly has talent as a programmer (which indeed contradicts nothing I wrote above). I'd say: if you like the drum chips, go ahead and try them. File a PayPal claim if they are not shipped in reasonable time. They are sort of nice (if you accept the minimalist nature, these are not VA vintage anything, it is the most minimalist approach humanly possible).

If you want to purchase anything else, in particular anything that involves a circuit board, be sure to read the comments of his previous customers.

Sorry for the long rant but given that sites like sonicstate refer to his stuff without any disclaimer somewhat troubles me. If people make an informed decision, so be it, not my problem. But people should be aware and warned that there have been issues and then make a decision. One usually gets what one pays for ... and I happen to think that here you even get a little less (even considering the low price) ... to quote flts "the quality is nothing short of awful". And shouldn't this matter also, even if he happens to ship in time?
mskala
Just to be clear, I don't think the problem was only "PR and communication" and I'm not sure where that idea came from; I don't think anyone else said it either. But I do think it was almost all what could be called "business issues" - such as advertising products for sale now that he didn't have and hadn't even finished designing, on the hope of using the funds thus raised to build the products. Even the electronic design flaws could well be put down to the business decision of trying to sell products first and do the development on them afterward.
iSapien1956672
I placed an order on Feb 3rd a module he was posting, a sale price on his Beat Wolf & DX drum modules ending Feb 4th.

So I jumped on the price of $79 for the Beat Wolf, got immediate receipt from paypal, and then crickets to this day. I have sent multiple emails to his different email addresses asking for status, and nothing.
Yet, I still see new updates to his Wordpress site, so I know he's out there taking the time to post, but not contact anyone.

angry
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