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Dominique Karg
Mr. Wolf Wannabe
Mr. Wolf Wannabe

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So, Jordan @hellofresh reached out to me after I did angrily cancelled my service. Here is the exchange, I wanted to post it to get some feedback on my thoughts on company activities. It is very hard to know what company and individual policies dictate but my pre-AlienVault stint working in Spain turned me into a total cynic. I always expected the worst and still got surprised by how greedy, stupid and selfish people I worked with and specially *for*.

---- email below ----

Hey Jordan,

thanks for reaching out to me, I've been in your role for many years at my company and know how unfair it can seem to have people bash the product you do care for :-).

Thanks for the refund, fair enough, I was 99% sure I had cancelled. The people whom I donate the food upon @hellofresh screwups will be very thankful ;-).

Totally happy to have you share my comments with you and your team. Feel free to make them public too, I probably will to bounce some ideas on socio-economics off friends. I'm going to elaborate a bit more here since twitter only allows so much "detail" to share.

I started using hellofresh in October of last year (don't remember the date, just looked up the mails). I stumbled upon it through a coupon or something, never had heard of anything before.

I had never cooked anything before that apart from pasta and very basic things. I still remember the exhilarating experience of finishing a first meal. After about 8-12 meals I started feeling really comfortable cooking the recipes, I loved the exactness. What had scared me before on cooking where "use a pinch of salt", "add to taste", etc... I needed something very precise and the fact that I could cook the recipes without tasting them and having them come out good was an eyeopener for me.
For me hellofresh has been a source of food, yes, but first and foremost it has taken away the fear of cooking from me and taught me the necessary "basic things" (cutting the meat against the grain, cooking rice, shocking vegetables, etc...) to feel like I can try anything. I did a paella last Sunday ( and I wouldn't even have dreamed of trying it before the hellofresh "training".

The quality of the ingredients was always exceptional too. Price is unbeatable taking that into account, if it were not for the frustration.

That being said, I loved the product from day one and measured everything from that moment on. It was perfect for me, couldn't want more. When I read that Hellofresh had raised a series E funding round less than a year after a series D I dreaded the pre-IPO adjustments (I have never been through an IPO but I've seen company do all these things before going through one):
- Gaining volume at any cost.
- Reducing operational costs.
- Reducing expenses.
- Etc...

As mentioned, I have seen that before and I really dislike it:companies shifting 180 degrees to make stock more appealing at the expense of customer satisfaction. Specially true when one customer has little to no impact on the overall business, like it is your case.

- when the nice black recipe pages were changed to boring standard white ones all I saw was printer ink being saved.
- when the booklets were made smaller I saw a CFO saving money on paper.
- trial and error was introduced in many things that were working: for weeks there was no information on what "tools" to use during the recipes. A typical stupid decision from someone who doesn't give a shit about the product, pardon my french.
- Detailed recipe stickers were substituted for generic plastic bags with icons on it (it took me a while to figure out which one was which - a sign that the creative person hired to design it was probably not the best but rather a friend of the new marketing/financial/investor/whatever people).

All this trial and error was building up anger and frustration in me because I knew that apart from being an asshole in public there was little I could do to influence any of it - someone was slowly chipping away at something I really had liked. I felt "robbed" by someone in the hellofresh organization and I could not even put a name on that person(s).

What ended up frustrating me completely were the continuous mistakes. One week I only received food for 2 people instead of 4. Yes, a refund is a nice thing but doesn't make up for the fact that you screwed up my meals for a week. It felt very much like the early days when I used to play World of Warcraft: the servers would be down for 10 hours and you'd get 24h added to your play-time. Fine, awesome, fair on paper, totally ridiculous in praxis: I had a 4 hour window to play that evening, I don't give a damn about a 24h playtime (valued at... what... $1?).
Back to the errors tho. One week a recipe asked to cut 1/2 the onion in rings, the other 1/2 chopped. The rings were used, the chopped ones never referenced again and not used. Again a minor annoyance, but it made me think what kind of testing was being used and how so many mistakes were introduced.
Missing recipe booklets: happened 3-4 times in the last couple months. Yes I can print them out, yes I can have them on the ipad while cooking. The thing is... I don't *want to*. I will have a very high tolerance with mistakes made by new companies with a lot of energy. I will have zero tolerance for mistakes made by a company that has had $200M in funding.
Add missing ingredients here and there... and most of it happening a lot more often after the E round and well. More things too, but it doesn't really matter.

And every time I got a refund I'd donate the food because it was not fair for me to keep it.

So, when I decided to walk away from hellofresh I had so much dissapointment built up that nothing would make me come back. I tried to quit, but the links to doing so are in a smaller font, hidden. I am required to confirm that I want to "disable" or something like that.  Hell no, I want to LEAVE, not disable. Cancel, quit, go away, etc... And making comments on WHY I leave *mandatory*? Puff... I have only seen that practice a few times and I take it as a personal insult. If I want to leave and I'm looking for the link to unsubscribe, you won't be win me back by making me go through loopholes to unsubscribe. And definitely not by offering me a $10 coupon as in Chane's email:

"We'd love for you to give us another try, so if you're interested in coming back just respond to this email and we'll put $10 credit in to your HelloFresh account to be used towards any future delivery. Sorry to see you leaving, but hope to see you back here soon!"

That is so... standard text that I didn't even wanted to comment on it. Really? $10 after I am "screaming" in capital letters to please let me go? Again, all it told me was "there is a spreadsheet and there's a cell that says 'get the customer back'", as with the refunds. There was no "hey, this happened because of A/B/C and we can almost guarantee you that it won't happen again". 

All the refunding sounded like "mitigating collateral damage":
- We have 4 million customers. (Let's assume a $100 price per week to make the math easier). We make $400M a week before any expense.
- If we screw up 10% of the orders and 10% of the screwups are loud enough that we have to refund them, that'll be a 1% money we have to return every week, or $4M.
- If by cutting down on quality assurance, testing, printing costs, etc... we can save $4M and $1, it is worth it.
- At 4 million orders a month I can totally see how not printing the individual labels could save hundreds of thousands of $, how not making sure the recipe booklets are in the boxes can save another batch, etc...
- Bottom line: we are a more profitable company this way at the expense of annoyance to a small portion of our customers.

So, that's basically why I decided to leave @hellofresh and did so in a very upset way.

Thanks for reading me. Best of luck to you, the main reason why I explained myself is because your mail was not "canned". It really makes a difference.



On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 10:51 AM, Jordan Schultz <> wrote:
Hi there,

This is Jordan, our community team lead at HelloFresh.  I saw your Tweet, and I wanted to reach out to followup.   It looks like the account was cancelled after our weekly cutoff, or the cancellation steps were not completed fully and the account remained open.  Not to worry, I have refunded you for the recent charge, which will post in 3-5 business days.  Please enjoy this last box on us!

I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.  We are a growing business, and we strive to provide the best customer experience we can.  Your feedback is extremely helpful to us, as it helps us to know what we have to improve on-- Do I have your permission to pass your comments along to our team?  Please let me know if there's anything else I can help with.  My inbox is always open!


Jordan Schultz
Community Team Lead, HelloFresh US 
| 95 Morton Street | 10014| 

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Going to have a fun live chat with Alan tomorrow :-)
Catch the live webinar tomorrow at 2 eastern.  Dominique Karg of Alien Vault and I

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Got this shared and immediately saw that something was missing so took the freedom to add the last line :P

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2 Photos - View album

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LOL!!! (see 99 Problems- Jay-Z (with lyrics) if you don't understand it)
Best his and hers t-shirt ever!

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So true :P

Had a ton of fun taking pictures this Fri with the Los Gatos Wildcats hosting Mitty, here are some of them:

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