My Worst Investment Ever: Joel Comm and Travis Wright

mwie: joel and travis

An original by Dr. Andrew Stotz, My Worst Investment Ever features investors and financial titans from around the world to share their heartbreaking tales of investment misfortune.

Listen and discover the best practices for risk management that will keep you in the game.

In This Episode…

Joel Comm is a New York Times bestselling author, blockchain enthusiast, professional keynote speaker, social media marketing strategist, live video expert, technologist, brand influencer, futurist, and eternal 12-year-old.

With over two decades of experience harnessing the power of the web, publishing, social media and mobile applications to expand reach and engage in active relationship marketing, Joel is a sought-after public speaker who leaves his audiences inspired, entertained, and armed with strategic tools to create highly effective new media campaigns.

Travis Wright is a top marketing technologist, author, keynote speaker, blockchain advisor, tech journalist, and podcast host. He is the former global digital and social strategist at Symantec for the Norton brand.

These two gentlemen are the hosts of the podcast Crypto Curious and Crypto Serious.

The current paper currency model is going to go away. A big shift is going to happen. The paper money system is going to crumble.

– Travis Wright

My Worst Investment Ever

The Big Idea
It was 2009, and it was a good year for Joel. He had staff strength of about 38 people running several successful projects. The money was flowing, the business was good. So together with his team, Joel came up with one of the first pieces of technology that would bring email marketing type of delivery to mobile.

Think of Constant Contact and AWeber, where you can send bulk emails to people that have subscribed to your list. They came up with technology that would allow you to do that to mobile phones.

Blood, Sweat & Money
Joel put a lot into this project spending somewhere in the low six figures of his money. They did everything they could to promote the system. They showed up at trade shows and demonstrated it, but people didn’t respond. He tried to raise venture capital to grow it but didn’t get the response that he wanted. He even tried looking for partnerships, but no one was interested.

Meanwhile, every month, he was pouring more money into it because once you’ve set up shortcodes with the mobile services, you have to pay monthly to maintain them. Otherwise, you lose them.

Hitting A Wall
Joel realized soon enough that what seemed like an opportunity and a cool idea had hit a wall. He then tried to sell the software that he had invested a lot of money into to somebody who could pick it up and run with it. But that too didn’t happen. So now he was left with a failed project, emotionally bruised, and six figures less. But he still held onto the system.

Pulling The Plug
The failure to successfully launch his system was hanging over him and crushing him. In 2013, he saw the bill for what it cost him to keep this thing running and was faced with the challenge of what to do – does he keep paying for this, hoping he could salvage it and get something out of it; or does he pull the plug and flush the whole thing down the drain?

Joel pulled the plug and thought that he would feel these waves of crushing defeat because he had made the worst investment of his life, and that loss had cost him a lot. 

Surprisingly, he experienced something different – he felt this release like the burden was just instantly lifted. Now he could focus his attention and energy on things that he was far more passionate about. Letting go allowed him to put this failure in the past.

For other insights, listen to the full podcast below:


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Last updated on

March 20th 2020, 4:07 pm

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