Please post the video to YouTube as soon as possible. I wasn’t able to watch last night because of robotics practice.
It should be up sometime today.
the replay is up on twitch as of late last night. the first 20 minutes or so is “preshow” and you can skip it.
Went and checked twitch and I could watch it there. Thank you for the quick response
If FIRST severed their relationship with IFI more than a year a go, what was the watershed moment that led to that separation? Was it the QC issues, the toxic culture, or some other reason that led to the break-up? IF (big if) it was because they thought the organization’s leadership posed a danger to the community… Thankful that the rest of us are being looped in. I want to applaud FIRST for taking action, but also curious about the timing.
If FIRST is willing to make a statement through FUN, how long until they make a statement publically through more official channels that all teams are likely to see?
Just want to clarify: FIRST did not make a statement through FUN. I (FUN) reached out with an official media inquiry as a credentialed media member and I (FUN) was provided a response to some of my inquiries of which this was one of them that we choose to quote. Small, but important difference to note.
I would like to avoid confusion that FUN is a sounding post of FIRST. We are separate organizations who share many common goals and values in serving the FIRST community and appreciate FIRST responding to our inquiries.
I fully respect and appreciate that FUN, as a media outlet, made an inquiry to an interested party who issued a comment on a story.
There is value in them issuing an independent statement/release on this topic to broaden the reach, not just in the context of FUN’s segment and follow up threads. At this juncture, I’d be mildly surprised if that happens. Based on the statement they provided to FUN, my read is that their decision was independent of recent allegations and they haven’t changed their posture based on recent events.
In other words, if they made a decision this week to stop sourcing IFI parts for the KOP, and they didn’t independently announce it but only shared that in a response to FUN’s inquiry, I’d be surprised and disappointed. However, from FIRST’s POV, they’re providing a comment on a decision they made nearly two years ago – so a new statement confirming that would be surprising. I’d love to see a more pointed statement on more recent events, but I’d suspect both the legal risk and practical mess of doing so will stop them from saying anything meaningful soon.
IFI was a supplier to FIRST Robotics Competition Kit of Parts through the 2021 season. Since then, FIRST has declined any further support from or relationship with IFI.
This reads that 2022’s season did not have any KOP contents sourced from IFI - so it wasn’t something decided this week (as you note - just making it super super clear in my reply here).
I don’t believe FIRST has ever historically made ‘statements’ on changes to the Suppliers’ list or even program sponsors, so I am wholly unsurprised that we didn’t learn about it other than sleuthing through the site until now, when they need to make a clear distinction that they are no longer affiliated.
I agree, both as a community member and as a communications professional, that they should at some point say something given community backlash, but given their lackluster responses to other community issues (defending their relationship with the mayor when asked about Houston’s lack of safety for LGBTQIA+ students, etc) I don’t believe that HQ will want to step into this with statements until they point that they absolutely have to.
I guess this is what really gets my goat. If FIRST made this decision as a response to conduct at IFI, their actions are close to useless, omitting IFI from the KOP, without a public statement. I can’t imagine the financial business gained by KOP is enough to be interpreted as a true sanction or hardship on IFI, so without the messaging, what was the point of breaking ties? I’d have to imagine there were other factors involved in breaking the ties, but I won’t speculate as to what those factors might have been. Or, you know, (pure speculation) FIRST was threatened with legal action by IFI for coming out with a defamatory statement.
Some have mentioned Tony Norman and IFI’s stranglehold on Texas media as a reason why this story won’t get picked up there.
I wonder if an investigative journalist in New Hampshire might be interested in a story since it affects FIRST.
If this gets picked up in the news cycle as “Major Supplier for FIRST Robotics Competition and VEX Robotics Competition Faces Allegations of Company Wide Sexual Harassment Perpetrated by Senior Executives”, FIRST might actually feel like they need to respond to save face.
We may never know unless you want to ring up the prior FRC Director and/or other employees who may or may not be still employed with FIRST due to their significant turnover.
I’d imagine this goes much higher than Frank.
(Just for reference and not a direct response to @jaredhk ) You have the VP, CEO (which has changed), Board and Founders. I don’t think I’m missing any higher levels.
For YouTube archives: We’re going to split this show into two parts.
Part 1 of FRC Round Up Ep 13 contains mostly our original stories and FRC headlines including WFFA updates, Game Manual changes for 2023 and discussion on the CTRE Phoenix system and the future of component paywalls. https://youtu.be/piDblRXrW5w
Part 2 in regards to our YPP Topics and IFI/VEX story will be posted soon. This segment may contain mentions of information that viewers may find disturbing. We will not be placing our Ad Partners on these videos and viewer discretion is advised.
It might be even worse for IFI if something gets picked up because Vex products are in classrooms nationwide. They are one of if not the biggest supplier of educational robotics for schools
This goes all the way to the top!
Looking through last years KOP checklists shows this is true. No IFI parts.
As for speculation as to why, previously they would supply CIMs and Victor SPXs. Last year rev supplied Spark Maxes and Andymark supplied CIMs, so it could be as simple as FIRST already had what they needed and therefore didn’t need them from IFI.
The wording of the statement suggests FIRST chose to end its relationship with IFI. Of particular note is how they mentioned that FIRST has no intention to renew that relationship in the future. The word “declined” combined with that suggests a bit more at play than just “oh no worries we already have enough CIMs”.
The vibe I got from that quote is very much ‘yes y’all, we’ve known, we’re already handling it’ without being that outgoing. At least, in the context of more recent unfoldings.