Although negative comments in this discussion about MLD are accompanied by high praise for Ron and his innovative gear, I want to add my perspective about Ron and cottage operations in general based on a personal purchase from MLD (which was 100% positive as far as I'm concerned) and from my dealings with several other cottage outfits.
Within the past 6 months, my single order from Ron (which was a bug bivy) was delivered within just a few days after I placed the order on-line. Ron was equally quick to remedy a small issue with the size by simply sending me another bivy to replace the first one, which resulted in minimal delay for fully resolving the issue.
As far as dealing again with MLD, I have no hesitation at all because I know that Ron does fine work and will do his very best to provide excellent service.
What more could I ask for in this day and age of faceless retailers for whom profits and sales volume trump quality, creativity, and personal attention? Exceptions are rare.
If waiting for an item is sometimes necessary because Ron is busy taking care of backlog (or getting away to do what we all would prefer to be doing), no problem. Life's too short, and people of Ron's talents, commitment, and direct personal accessability too few, for me to get in a tizzy about having to wait awhile. If I need or want a particular item but can't wait for it to be delivered, then second best from somewhere else, or even a MYOG project, will just have to do.
Although MLD is technically a company, I don't think of it as a "company" like North Face, Patagonia, or many other big operations that neither can nor will ever provide a level of service and commitment to any single customer as does Ron (and as do other cottage operations).
I would hate to see MLD become more like a big "company" in the interest of mass production. Getting bigger easily leads to reduced quality, less innovation, and loss of the opportunity to have the designer/manufacturer personally respond to calls and emails to resolve issues or just talk about his products.
What would we do without Ron and all of those others blessed by the same inclination and commitment to create great gear and share the fruit of their ideas with all of us -- for a reasonable price, of course, to make their effort possible?
Bottom line: If Ron didn't make his very lightweight bivy, I would have missed out on a great item of gear since no one else has taken time and effort to design and manufacture it.
I appreciate Ron of MLD, just like I appreciate all of the other cottage outfits run by Henry, Brian, Dave, etc.