Saturday, March 01, 2014

Big Y results starting to come out at FTDNA

At the FTDNA Administrators Conference FTDNA announced the Big Y test. This test sequences the Y Chromosome and returns millions of results. As others have written, it will greatly increase the definition of the Y Tree. Results were expected in December 2013, then a series of delays occured and 28 Feb was announced as the release date. As it happened, only 100 results were released on 28 Feb. Other results will be released over the next month. This has caused a number of people to complain that FTDNA has been cavalier in it's treatment of customers with unrealistic release dates. Today FTDNA sent out the following email:

Dear Valued Customer,

Yesterday, February 27th, we began releasing results for the Big Y orders. We have received some incredibly positive feedback and this is much appreciated.

We are also hearing the frustrations from those who have not yet received their results, and we would like to address the matter publicly in the form of a sincere apology. The entire FTDNA team has been working very hard over the last few months with high determination and many late nights. Launching a new product is always a challenge with many moving parts, some more predictable than others. Unfortunately we ran into some surprises beyond our control when one of our suppliers ran out of certain reagents we needed for running the Big Y product. However we recognize that it is our responsibility and duty to meet our deadlines and keep our customers informed when problems arise.

With the Big Y launch, we failed to properly manage the expectations of our customers. This was an honest oversight, in which we internally had a target to release first results in February, but we didn’t pay close attention to the dates being communicated on the status pages for those orders. Big Y was a new product and the status entries were updated automatically. We should have manually adjusted these dates earlier on as needed. So while we were thrilled to release the first results in February, we failed to realize that everyone expected results this week. I personally take responsibility for this miscommunication and mishap with the website delivery dates and hope you accept my sincere apologies.

I am well aware that as a company we have a bit of a history in missing deadlines. A big contributor to that is that we have typically been very ambitious in taking on difficult projects while still wanting to deliver information quickly to customers. The Big Y product is a great example. It was a cutting-edge project that pushed us deep into next-generation sequencing and advanced data analysis. Our ambitious, risk-taking attitude has won many of you over and delivered incredible thought leadership and leading products over the years. Unfortunately, our poor estimates and turnaround time expectations have frustrated many of you along the way as well. We are committed to continuing to be the company that is willing to push the envelope and take risks to bring you the best in genetic genealogy, but moving forward we will strive to be more careful in setting accurate time expectations.

Again, we are sincerely sorry for any frustration we caused with the delays and miscommunication of turnaround time. We are very proud of our achievements with the Big Y and feel confident about the high quality product we are delivering! We hope you will let the wonderful product we produced make up for delays that were needed to refine it! We have updated expected results dates on customer pages and will work around the clock to beat them.


Nir Leibovich
Chief Business Officer
Gene by Gene Ltd.

Thanks to Tim Jansen, M.D. for the notice.

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