Keynote Speaker, Marketing Technologist, Columnist, Futurist, Smart Ass

Lessons from my First Tech Startup Failure, Ten Years Ago.

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 3.36.46 AMMy first tech startup, MethodLaboratories was a big web project that started with an idea from my good friend, Jonathan Shaun.

Methodlabs was where we featured artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creatives, gave them free webspace, showcased their work and even created t-shirts for the artists and designers that submitted their work.

To make the project a reality, I learned and mastered HTML, CSS & Javascript, as well as designing the whole project.

We also brought in the talented Alexander Petrides, who helped do all of the tough, custom modifications on the code.  He actually built the Dropbox-like feature, and helped customize our user profiles system and many other things.  Together, we grew the concept into a large web property with tens of thousands of members.

In many ways, we were a bit ahead of our time: 

1. We gave them all their own personal profiles, allowed them to upload their art, and we’d feature the most talented artists. This service was Pre-Myspace & Pre-Facebook.

2. We also gave each artist 20mb-50mb of free space where they could upload most any type of folder or content. This service was in a Pre-Dropbox world.

3. We allowed artists, designers and musicians to send us their artwork and we’d create custom shirts for them… this was Pre-Threadless.

4. We also built a custom content management system for the site. This allowed our site editors/curators to log-in and update the website through a WYSIWYG editor. Paste the URL, give it a headline, upload a picture… and we’d update the links on that category… we also had the ability to create your own web post/article. This feature was Pre-WordPress.

5. We had our own custom iRadioLab. This feature allowed you to pick genres of music that you liked, and we allowed you stream the playlists on-demand. This was Pre-Pandora.

My co-founder, Jonathan Shaun, and I raised no money. We made no money. Post Tech-Bubble was tough in Kansas City, MO, where the Kansas City entrepreneur community had not quite blossomed, yet. However, we learned lots of things and increased our skills, which fueled the fire within.

By my estimation, we should each be worth at least half a billion, at least. We were SOOOOO close to hitting on FIVE different successful business models.  But, the tech bubble just burst and blah blah blah…

However, success and fortune are a fickle bitch, so you have to keep moving forward, learning, growing, and evolving in this business world.  Eventually, one of these ideas will bust through. 🙂

waterproof_golf-pantsJonathan Shaun is now CEO and Lead Designer for Makers & Riders, which creates technical menswear. He has designed some of the most comfortable pants that I’ve ever worn. And they are waterproof.  You can go skiing, golfing, cycling, and the go to the office. Pretty bad ass.

And I’m the Chief Growth Officer and Venture Catalyst at MediaThinkLabs.  I took my learnings, kept honing my SEO and content marketing skills. Then learned social media, and now I focus on Marketing strategies and Enterprise Marketing Technology Stacks.

BTW, this code has been “lost” for nearly ten years exactly… until I stumbled upon a CD backup tonight.  My other two backups were on drives that had long since crashed… So, I thought this site was gone forever.  It’s like seeing a ghost, actually.  It’s a very odd, yet rewarding feeling seeing this thing again.

Here’s a walk-through of Circa May 2002.



  1. dq's Gravatar dq
    April 11, 2014    

    That’s pretty badass Travis. Huge amount of effort obviously went into that. Like you said, even if it’s not successful at least you learned something that you can take with you and apply to future projects. Right on.

    • teedubya's Gravatar teedubya
      April 14, 2014    

      Thanks Devin… yeah, hours and hours in the lab, trying to figure out this space. It’s a never ending journey, for sure! 🙂

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Travis Wright is a Venture Catalyst, Public Speaker, Digital Disrupter, Marketing Provocateur, Stand Up Comedian, Tech Blogger & Brand Awesomeizer.

This Travis Wright guy shares marketing resources, industry analysis, interwebs strategery & random hilarity along w/ occasional sport or political rants. If you can stand his jokes and want his opinion on something, feel free to connect with him.

email: tw [at] traviswright [dot] com