Atlatl software review: Our real atlatl experience

Atlatl Software has used our company in their marketing, portraying us as a satisfied customer. At the time of this writing, our company was at the top of their customer list on their website (screen shots below).

This page was created to clear up the misrepresentations and share our real Atlatl story for anyone seeking a true first hand account. We hope that sharing this information will help you avoid the problems we encountered. If you are seeking an Atlatl Software reference or review, I invite you to contact me directly for more details. 

Chris Jackson, President, chris@samjackson.com

  1.  In consideration of brevity, I’ll just summarize the extensive documented problems leading up to February of 2015 with the following. Prior to that time the delivery of version 1.0 was one year later than the promised target. At the time it was delivered, the version was functional but had a number of bugs and corrections that needed to be addressed, but both Atlatl and Sam Jackson felt the best way to refine the version was to put it into use. Subsequent attempts by Atlatl to repair the code resulted in more features being broken and the product unusable for its intended purpose.
  2. Reaching the point described in item #1, both Atlatl and Sam Jackson agreed to halt development on the original project. Sam Jackson sought no refund of fees paid and in exchange, Atlatl agreed to provide a working offline version of the product configurator. This configurator would have no networked databases or quoting abilities, but would be suitable for educational purposes.
  3. The app described in point 2 was supplied to Sam Jackson. Despite it being the final version, it was not distributed to Sam Jackson through Apple distribution, but rather through TestFlight. In doing so, Atlatl was aware that it would expire and no longer be usable. In bypassing the AppStore for distribution, Atlatl was also aware they were in control of Sam Jackson ability to download and use the app.
  4. Because of the built in expiration, the configurator app is no longer functioning on any of the Samuel Jackson devices.
  5. Samuel Jackson has been attempting to work with Atlatl on addressing this issue. Atlatl had been cooperating with the attempts to find a solution because they the app they delivered failed to meet their obligation.
  6. In January of 2016, I spoke to Brian Dieffenderfer for a status check on progress. During that phone call, Brian expressed that he was sorry, but he did not think they (his bosses) would allow him to spend any more time or resources on it. I expressed that this did not meet their obligation of providing us with a working app and he agreed, but stated that internally it there were difficult political barriers. The phone call concluded with Brian agreeing to work with Ashton Jackson the following week to find a solution.
  7. On January 26, 2016, Brian e-mailed Ashton to say that he did not have the technical expertise to help and he was bumping this up to his boss, Victor Zak, to assist us further. We were to expect a call from Victor within 24 hours.
  8. On January 29, 2016, Victor called Ashton to say Atlatl was no longer willing to help. Ashton informed Victor that he would need to deliver that news directly to me. Victor and I spoke later that day and I highlighted the events as listed above. He said was given this problem, but no one had briefed him on all the details. He added that he can certainly understand why I was unhappy, but he didn’t think he would be allowed to work on the resources. I asked him definitively whether or not he was giving up on providing a working app, stating that if he was that was all I needed to hear from him as my next call would be to Rob Honeycutt. He stated that they wanted to avoid Rob finding out about all of this and said “let me see what I can do”. I asked him to update me on Monday with the status and plan going forward.
  9.  On the afternoon following that call, Ashton e-mailed a potential solution to this problem via a method called sideloading. In reading about it, it sounds like there is a high possibility that it could work and would only require a minimal amount of time on the part of Atlatl. Further, as best as we can tell it doesn’t violate any Apple Developer license requirements, which we understand would be an Atlatl concern. Both Brian and Victor were copied on that e-mail. Neither responded.
  10. On Monday February 1, 2016, Victor called to say that Rob had been fully informed of these details and Atlatl’s official position is they will no longer seek to find a solution to provide Samuel Jackson with a working app. Victor said that the official position is “we didn’t specify how long we would support it.” I clarified that he was stating this position about an app that Atlatl sent out knowing that it would expire and Victor’s response was “I’m sorry”.
  11. When asked if he thought that stance was fair and met Atlatl’s obligations to Samuel Jackson, Victor replied that “there are two sides, a personal belief and a business belief. Expressing how my personal morals conflict with the business answer I am forced to give would put me in a precarious situation with my employer.”
  12.  In clarifying the situation, I made sure Victor understood I was not looking for enhancements or edits to the app, but simply a working version of what had expired. He understood. I then asked Victor, if he felt that it would be right and proper for me to sell one of my customers a product knowing that the software would expire in months making the entire product unusable. His reply was “Again, by asking me to honestly answer that you are putting me in a precarious situation.”
  13. After the phone call referenced above, I left a voicemail for Rob Honeycutt asking him to call me so that I could make sure the details his employees told him were complete and that he could verify that the position stated by Victor on his behalf was accurate.

* A copy of this was provided to Rob Honeycutt, Brian Dieffenderfer and Victor Zak offering them the opportunity to comment. None elected to do so in writing. In a phone conversation, Rob indicated he didn't have any problems with what was written, but that his staff had explained to him the problem was the new iPads and iOS releases were incompatible with the software as written. It was explained to Rob that was not the case, we had the same iPads and original iOS version and that we were simply seeking a solution that allowed us to load the software they had sent us that had expired solely because of the way they distributed it to us. Rob abruptly hung up.

So almost three years, $250,000 in payments to Atlatl and much more expended by our own resources on this project and we do not even have an app that will launch. We hope this information is helpful to everyone seeking an Atlatl Software review.