The Collapse Of Open Labs & Victor Wong’s Deck

On August 4, 2010, all assets of Open Labs, Inc. consisting primarily of the patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other Intellectual Property associated with the most of their products will be sold at a public foreclosure sale.

Here’s the announcement from The Statesman, a local Austin, Texas newspaper:

NOTICE OF PUBLIC SALE OPEN LABS, INC. MUSIC PRODUCTION EQUIP. Notice is hereby given that substantially all of the assets of Open Labs, Inc. will be sold at a public foreclosure sale to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4, 2010, at the offices of Open Labs, Inc., located at 3701 Drosset Drive, Suite 150, Austin, Texas 78744. The assets of Open Labs, Inc. consist primarily of the patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other IP associated with the following Open Labs products: NeKo XXL 61-Key Music Production Stations, NeKo QX6 61-Key Music Production Stations, MiKo LXD 37-key Music Production Stations, MiKo QC6 37- key Music Production Stations, DBeat Mobile Music Production Stations, SoundSlate Rack Units, SoundSlate FW Rack Units, Open RiFF 2.0 Software, MimiK Software, and other Open Labs products. The assets to be sold also include furniture and equipment, office supplies, artwork, and musical collectibles. For more info, contact Greg Young, Okin Adams & Kilmer LLP, 7004 Bee Cave, Bldg 1,Ste 110, Austin, TX, 78746, 512-681-3732.

Although never like to see a manufacturer go out of business, we can’t say this is shocking news to anyone here at FutureMusic. And though we loved the company’s O-Live concept, there wasn’t much else in terms of marketing that was noteworthy. New products lacked serious innovation, and were just priced out of reach of most potential customers.

Insiders at Open Labs point to Victor Wong who made one poor decision after another and was eventually ousted by CEO Hank Coleman at the company’s eleventh hour, but it was too little, too late as the firm spiraled downward. Coleman attempted to circle the wagons and look for life-line investments to keep the concern afloat, but by that time the company was a Black Hole.

So what did Wong do as the ink was still drying on Open Labs’ foreclosure statement? Throw a huge bash at his townhouse that resulted in his makeshift deck collapsing at 4am. Twenty-six people were taken to several emergency rooms around the Austin, Texas area. Hospital officials said the incident resulted in the most trauma victims since Hurricane Rita struck in 2005. No life-threatening injuries or fatalities were reported, however at least five were in critical condition.

Considering the 26 impending lawsuits that he will most likely field in the coming months, the industry will probably not hear from Victor Wong again…

6 comments

  1. elmoumlang /

    Let’s be fair here. Hank Coleman is responsible for his share of the Open Labs debacle. He’s been there since near the beginning and was CEO for at least the past 3-4 years of the company.

  2. True, but this Victor Wong made one bad marketing decision after another at the company and clearly there was a serious lack of judgement and concern for the well-being of others at his party. In fact, the allegations against Victor Wong continue to get more serious every day: http://www.kvue.com/news/Texas-Alcoholic-Beverage-Commission-launches-investigation-where-balcony-collapsed-99975344.html

  3. victorwong /

    Hello all,

    Victor Wong here. This is a response to the blog posting from future music. I will address each section individually.

    ————————————————————-

    Post: “Insiders at Open Labs point to Victor Wong who made one poor decision after another”

    Response: There have always been different factions within Open Labs that have struggled against each other, depending on who you talk to, you will get a different answer.

    Post: “and was eventually ousted by CEO Hank Coleman at the company’s eleventh hour”

    Response: We had a board meeting on May 26 to determine the future of Open Labs. Three plans were presented and I, as Chairman, along with the board, voted to keep the company operational so that it can be put up for sale, seek additional investments, or wind it’s business down in a proper manner. To accomplish this, we had to cut our budget down to almost nothing. I, along with the bulk of the employees had to be laid off. Hank and several people were kept on to keep the business going. We made the official announcement at a company-wide meeting on Friday, May 28.

    Post: “but it was too little, too late as the firm spiraled downward. Coleman attempted to circle the wagons and look for life-line investments to keep the concern afloat, but by that time the company was a Black Hole.”

    Response: The plan was to keep it running to seek other larger investments. However, the debt structure that the company has now created was very large and accruing multiple five figure interest payments each month, which made it an extremely unattractive investment.

    Post: “So what did Wong do as the ink was still drying on Open Labs’ foreclosure statement? Throw a huge bash at his townhouse”

    Response: The party was on the request of several of my friends and was in part a celebration of reaching several milestones on new product designs I have that address every single issue that has been detailed in this blog post. In addition, since giving up the CEO title, I only had authority to deal with Marketing, Artist Relations, and Product Concepts. Well before the recent lack of responsiveness from Open Labs, I was laid-off, with essentially my entire staff. There was nothing I could do to help Open Labs. However, there are many of you Open Labs users out there who can attest to the fact that I still took your calls personally and tried to help out in any way.

    The foreclosure was not discussed in the board meeting. It was initiated by one of our investor groups/creditor after I was laid off and after my resignation as Chairman. I only heard about it second hand. There was nothing I, nor anyone else, could have done about this, once that investment group decided to go down that road.

    Post: “that resulted in his makeshift deck collapsing at 4am.”

    Response: I contracted a professional company to build the deck. (should be in the news by now)

    Post: “Twenty-six people were taken to several emergency rooms around the Austin, Texas area. Hospital officials said the incident resulted in the most trauma victims since Hurricane Rita struck in 2005. No life-threatening injuries or fatalities were reported, however at least five were in critical condition.”

    Response: Yes, this was a tragic accident. Many people got hurt, but it could have been much worst, we were all very lucky. The most severe injury was a shattered vertebrae requiring back surgery. I am glad that I was the one that had to bear the burden.

    Post: “Considering the 26 impending lawsuits that he will most likely field in the coming months”

    Response: We are working with all the injured parties to come to a quick resolution.

    Post: “the industry will probably not hear from Victor Wong again…”

    Response: Well, since I now have titanium in my spine, and feel a new kindred to The TERMINATIOR…I feel I have the right to say the words “I’ll be back!”

    Here are some additional quick corrections that you guys may not have heard on the news:

    1.)Yes, I do own the condo, but am making payments to my brother.
    2.)The deck is only 16′ X 16′, not 60′ X 60′ as reported.
    3.)The desk is not only 1 week old, it was build around Jan 2010.
    4.)A professional company was hired to build the deck.
    5.)It was a private party so we charge $5 at the door to pay for the doorman, bartender and body paint artist. None of the money went to pay for any of the alcohol or to me. In fact, I put in several hundred dollars of my own money to make sure it was a good event. An affidavit has been taken by the TABC from the doorman that states this as well as it being printed right on the invitation.
    6.)Citations were issued for the deck not having a permit, which we are working though at this time.
    7.)No other warrants or citations have been issued by the city, state, TABC in regards to any of the other many things the press speculated on.

    I won’t be able to check the blog regularly so if anyone needs to get ahold of me, I can be reached at vwongplay@yahoo.com.

    Most Sincerely,
    Victor Wong

  4. jxsbebop /

    Unfortunately, I must report that Open Labs is brushing me off. I feel like I’ve been cheated. I’ve purchased $10,000 worth of keyboard equipment with this company. $4,000 for dBeat that isn’t functioning properly. I’ve been working on resolving crooked chassis, BSODs, intermittent power supply issues, noise audio outputs, pitch bend issues, imaging issues, controller hardware issues since July of 2009. I have complied with all their troubleshooting requests from the top down. My Neko XXL for the most part is functional except for a couple issues (key bed issues, aftertouch issues, pitch bend issues, and some annoying imaging issues).

    In March of 2010, Hank Coleman, promised me he would get me another replacement with a different product that would prove to be more reliable. Needless to say they haven’t given me my replacement and now I have a $4,000 paper weight. Before I purchased my Neko XXL they were giving me excellent customer service and now at this point they are completely ignoring me (except for one person, Michael Corley). I’ve sent 7-10 emails and 5-7 voicemails in the passed couple of months and the person who offered me isn’t saying anything to me anymore. He told me that the delay was due to manufacturing problems outside of their realm, but now I see one of the products that he promised he would swap with me and he still isn’t responding. I know they are fulfilling orders because on the Open Labs forum people are receiving brand new DBeats and Miko LXDs.

    It appears they’re going through some financial trouble, but I have been a very patient (I’ve been troubleshooting the DBeat for over a year) and courteous customer and now I fear my good intentions have been taken advantage of.

    My dBeat is a $4,000 paper weight. I was promised it would be replaced with an A stock replacement and their web site showed that they had it in stock, but because they’re trying to make another $3,700 instead of honoring their word to me.

    Last I heard, they are now saying I wasn’t ever promised a replacement. I was so shocked that they are now saying that. I have documentation showing the conversation. I didn’t ever think that I would need it because I didn’t think they would do this.

    I’m extremely shocked that they are doing business like this with a customer who has purchased $10,000 worth of keyboard equipment with them. I feel so taken advantaged of.

    Hank Coleman (the CEO) is not responding back to after all his promises. I hate to say it, but it appears that he made all these promises to persuade me to buy a Neko XXL and then after I bought it, silence…he got back to me a couple months later….then silence again…I’m not saying they treat all their customers this way as it appears they do try, but in my case after all the issues that have happened with me, they’re choosing to ignore me. I’m actually surprised that he’s ignoring me and apparently now I hear that he’s saying he never told me that they were going to swap out my dBeat and I have emails proving otherwise.

    I hate to say it, but it looks like they’re not going to respond back to me unless I am more vocal about how they are treating me (which at this point is basically just ignoring me). Also, now Tech Support isn’t getting back to me regarding some issues with my Neko XXL. Particularly, the pitch wheel. When you bend a note it doesn’t come back to the correct value. So you’ll come back to a different key after you a bend a note.

    Also, the key bed aftertouch is basically useless (at least for both of the key beds for mine-it was replaced once already). You’ll be playing and the aftertouch will get pinned at 127 and I’m sure that I’m not triggering it. This happens in Reason, Cubase, & Ableton Live. At this point I just disconnected the cable for the aftertouch.

    I feel so cheated. When I do actually talk to someone, it’s we completely understand that you’re upset, but we’re not going to give you a replacement that we promised to you even though we have it in stock according to our web site. And to top it all off, I purchased an extra year of their flagship “platinum” support. They charge $600 for this.

    I can say a lot more, but I won’t at this point. I will just warn people if you have issues that go beyond the normal surface level problems OL knows how to resolve they may treat you the way they have treated me and Justin Stewart (but lucky for him they contacted him back to make it right). And no, I don’t want to go the route of suing them. At this point I’m not sure how far I want to go with this…I’m just very disappointed that they’re treating me this way.

    I just can’t help, but think “$10,000 in keyboard equipment with one company and they’re treating this way…wow…I didn’t think it would come to this”. And I purchased the Neko XXL after all my issues with the dBeat thinking that they would in good faith treat me right and fair. They’re responding to other customers on their OL forum, but I’m getting ignored.

  5. jxsbebop /

    Open Labs and I have resolved this issue.

  6. flavaflo /

    Wow…If this rambling, moronic video directly from Victor Wong himself doesn’t scare you to death, nothing will…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb95ZQPCVls

    Would you buy gear from this snake oil salesman? No wonder Open Labs failed…