The Next Chapter

I promised you last time I’d talk about what’s next for me, so here’s what I’ve been thinking lately.
The end of The Lab did two things (besides killing a pretty heft chunk of my income): it gave me one week a month with nothing to do, and it eliminated my only regular television exposure.

Thanks to Amber, and some work she’s passing my way, I think I’ll be able to mostly replace the income – phew – and I’m sure I can find something to do with the extra time (like make sure all the TWiT shows come out weekly from now on). But what about TV?

Our minor experiments in doing video versions of TWiT have convinced me that audio is the more popular medium. TWiT audio gets many times more downloads than video. That makes sense to me, since people have more time to listen to audio than they do to sit down and watch video. But there’s something about video that captures people’s attention. I’ll go one step further, there’s something about live video that’s very compelling for both viewers and hosts. I’ve missed live TV ever since TechTV went under four years ago, and I’ve been looking for some way to get that excitement back.

If you’ve been watching the impromptu live streams of the Tech Guy radio show, you know they’re very popular and I have a lot of fun doing them. (Tune in TWiT Live Saturday and Sunday from 2-5p Eastern.) So much fun that I’ve expanded the live broadcasts to include some of the netcast tapings including TWiT. We run an IRC chat room at irc.dslextreme.com #techguy during the video and the interactivity adds so much on both sides.

I’ve also been watching what Chris Pirillo has been doing on Ustream and Robert Scoble on Qik, and I have come to believe there’s significant interest in live streaming video.

Towards the end of last year I learned that the downstairs offices in our building would soon be vacant. I’ve always coveted this space. We’re in a quaint old cottage built by a lumber baron at the turn of the century. He paneled the entire downstairs in redwood and it’s gorgeous. We don’t really need the space – right now TWiT is just Dane and me – but I leased it anyway, three days before Rogers cancelled the show. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the extra space at the time, but my plan now is to turn it into a streaming video studio.

Here’s a quick video tour of the new TWiT Offices. (Yes that’s my Emmy on the mantle – I’m not a complete TV newbie!)

To begin with we’re going to stream everything we do at TWiT, including the production of all our shows, live and interactive. To that end we’re adding considerable bandwidth: a T1 line and a cable modem to our existing DSL connectivity. We’ll Skype over one, stream over another, and reserve the third for surfing, uploads, etc. I’ve also started furnishing the office with antiques – I don’t want this to look like any TV show you’ve ever seen before – and we’re adding lights, cameras, microphones, and computers for video production. We hope everything will be in place and we can begin streaming daily by the end of April.

Don’t worry – the existing TWiT shows will still be available as audio downloads, but soon you’ll be able to watch them being made and interact with them live. Some of the shows may begin to offer video versions, in addition to the existing audio versions. I expect we’ll be sending two to four hours of live video out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – with five or six hours on the weekends, including the Tech Guy behind the scenes.

And in a month or so I plan to expand the Saturday programming to include a live show, tentatively called TWiT Live, which will be our first official video podcast. We’re still working out how this will be done, but I’m modeling it on the Tom Green show. I think what he’s doing is ground-breaking. Of course it will be entirely tech focused and feature many of the TWiT regulars you already know along with any tech celebrities we can lure to Petaluma with promises of food and wine.

I’m not interested in duplicating existing television models – I want to deconstruct TV and get to something more direct, more intimate, and much more two-way. I haven’t really looked at the business model for this, but fortunately, between my day jobs, existing TWiT advertising (thank you Audible, Astaro, and FIT!), and your generous donations through TWiT.tv we have the money to get this thing off the ground and, I believe, keep it going indefinitely. As Dvorak has always said, and I believe, a business model will emerge. My goal has never been to build an empire, or even a business. I just want to be able to make a living doing what I love: talking about technology with a community of engaged and intelligent people, and perhaps, along the way, to help people understand how to better use technology in their own lives.

So I hope you’ll join me in this grand experiment. It’s only possible because of the large and active TWiT community. Your feedback and participation is all it takes to keep us going. I’m excited about where TWiT is going and I thank you for your support through all these changes. Here’s to the next chapter – I think it’s the most exciting yet.

182 Replies to “The Next Chapter”

  1. Stumbled across a Chris Pirillo video on YouTube and thought… I’ve seen this guy from somewhere before… Then Chris mentioned TechTV.. Ahhhh… that’s where I’ve seen Chris before… It really made me miss TechTV. Leo where RU? I want my TechTV, money for nothin’, get chicks for free… I want my TechTV…. I want my TechTV…

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  2. Despite the fact that TWiT content is all about the spoken word, I think there is clear value to that content being on video and I really look forward to this project.I’ve been a TWiT show listener since before the days of the name and I think this is an exciting progression. Exciting enough for me to feel the need to support you with a $10 monthly donation.
    Keep it real, Leo – just don’t be *quite* to obsequious to that Thurrot chap. He and his evangelism deserve a harsh grilling sometimes.

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  3. Leo, I know you don’t have an actual show up and running yet, but, could you please set up a feed to subscribe to in iTunes so that I can have it subscribed before you do get everything rolling. I want to get the new feeds as soon as you start.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Jim

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  4. Leo, I was so disappoint when I heard the Lab with Leo was canceled. I have been watching you on TV since 2000 when we first got the TechTv channel. I really enjoyed you on The Screensavers, Call for Help and most recently the Lab with Leo. It is unfortunate the TV networks have not released the importance of tech show you do. I have learned much about technology from you. Due to you I have switched to using Linux and open source software exclusively.
    Good Luck with the streaming of TwitTv. I am sure it will be a great sucess.

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  5. This is gonna be great!!! I miss seeing you on tv every day sine TechTV died…I have learned a lot from you and still do…Best of luck Sir Leo!!!

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  6. Leo, great ideas always come from great minds… I have been listening for about 2 1/2 – 3 years now, and really enjoy the quality you bring to technology. I’ll keep an ear to the ground and eye to the horizon for your new launches.

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  7. Awesome, I have missed you since TechTv went and ZDTV! I loved those shows! And now I can get a fix, like coffee in the morning LOL

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  8. Hi Leo,I have missed your ideas and suggestions since the screen savers went away. I really enjoyed your show and watched most every day. i have not found a substitute for that show yet. I would like to watch the new show you are talking about above. But what is a podcast. I don’t have any ipod and likely never will so that means i can’t watch your new show. i thought an ipod only play sounds and music anyway so how could it show video stuff? I guess I’m behind on tech stuff now that the screen savers isn’t around to keep me up to date. I hope to find a way to see your podcast. let me know how to do that.
    Thanks.
    Tom

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  9. I think video is a great idea! I hope you do offer some videos (expecially Twit Live) for download because I won’t be home during the day to catch the live versions (and I’m too much of a twit–literally–to remember to watch the radio shows on the weekends). Also the idea of outtakes shows is great–though I love longer-length videos (a la Revision3’s Tekzilla and Dvorak’s Cranky Geeks) there are times when I just want to take a break for a few minutes and watch something short (like most of CNet’s videos).
    Thank you, Leo! I’ve been a fan since ’99!
    Lola

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  10. Can’t wait Leo I found you again a year and a half ago. Ever since then your podcast have been a constant form of both entertainment and education.
    CAN’T WAIT FOR TWIT LIVE

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  11. Congratulations on a long and successful run, Leo. I’ve been a fan ever since Call for Help started screening in Australia and I’ve learned so much from you over the last few years. You made technology simple to understand and watching you, Amber and Sean became part of my routine every day. I’m sad to see it end with The Lab’s cancellation but I look forward to following you online. Can’t wait for TWIT Live! I’m sure it will be successful and break new territory. The future of TV is online and it’s great to see you at the forefront of it. Thanks for the memories and all the best in your future endeavors.

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  12. I was an avid Screensavers watcher, bought an MP3 player just to listen to all your podcasts and follow you as much as possible on your various sites. This new chapter will be fantastic and I plan to be there as a viewer and supporter throughout. Good luck!

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  13. Great vid tour, Leo. Keep us apprised with new vids as you build out your studio. I’m excited about your new venture launching and can’t wait to see more video!

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  14. This is what I’ve been waiting for ever since you left TSS! I just hope that you tape all the live shows and make them available for download as video podcasts. Ideally, you could work something out with TiVo (like the guys on Cranky Geeks and DL.TV did) so that I can get them automagically (either through them or via the TV). 🙂
    Best of luck with the new studio!

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  15. Leo, I wish you the best for the future.
    Have a you considered doing something like – photoshop user TV but long the lines of lab with leo or call for help.
    I would call Scott Kelby and see what you could produce and continue your great show on the web- Rogers can go to hell !! G4 TV is filled with smutt and garbage TV- I will be cancelling G4 as well.
    Leo you are the best !!!

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  16. Farewell to the Lab: “…It’s a pity that a tech show like The Lab, which covers a wide variety of topics and doesn’t talk down to its audience, couldn’t survive — or even get U.S. distribution. Fortunately, Leo isn’t standing still, and plans to launch an online version of the show in the next few weeks from his studio in Petaluma, California…”

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  17. I guess I’m 100-something comments late on this, but hey, better late than never.
    Deconstructing TV is the right way to go. You KNOW how to do TV, and you know the results that await (good and bad). We don’t know what will happen in the new thing (whatever we end up calling it). We know Pirillo and Scoble and Jeff Pulver and all kinds of interesting folks are trying things.
    I’m going to bank some of my money on your horse in this race. Knock ’em dead, Leo.

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  18. I’d love to see a video version of TWiT. I watch Dvorak’s CrankyGeeks quite a bit on Tivo using it’s downloadable feature, I’d love it if TWiT could get on that as well.

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  19. Leo, I would so welcome having you back on any screen again teaching me more about technology. The one thing I would request though is a show dedicated to a very few specific subjects where you teach beginner/intermediate users various computing tasks, like networking two computers in a home wirelessly, or the basics of setting up your first web page (IN LAYMAN’S TERMS). I already know some of the basics, but I’d like to be educated on more advanced things too.
    Your shows are great, but are, much like your brain, very frenetic. You skip a lot of things when you’re helping newbies and I can tell that when they hand up the phone, they aren’t going to be able to do what you’ve told them because they don’t know what you were talking about.
    Please use the TV network as a way to really plan and script some things so that there is some semblance of a product and not just a lot of talking. Also, what would be great is to kill the first 10 minutes spiel of the call for help style show where you give the same “I’m excited about technology” speech each week.

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  20. Great news Leo! I love your podcasts on the Twit network and would love to donate. But I don’t like Paypal so as soon as you accept any other form of donation, I’m in 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

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  21. Great stuff, everything you’re involved in.
    One request: please make it so I can stream the show over TVersity to my PS3.
    That’d be great.

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  22. Can’t wait Leo. I have listened to every TWiT since the 1st podcast plus all the Cranky Geeks TiVoCasts and much, much more. Keep up the great work!

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  23. Leo, I think this is great I can’t wait for the new show, I’ve been a fan since Call For Help and The Screen Savers, watched The Lab downloaded off the Net,also listen to ALL your Podcast at work .Don’t know where you find the time !
    Keep up the great work.

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  24. I’m not sure I can cope without you, Leo. What a tremendous help you’ve been over the years! Now that I have a DVR I could watch you whenever I had a mind to and fast forward over stuff that I already know or that doesn’t apply. (ref. comment above) With the DVR some of these shortcomings of TV are being overcome…. and then off you go! No! No! No!

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  25. Keep going Leo, and I guess you are from the sounds of it. I really miss your show on TV. I’m going to tune into TWIT. I really love your Deconstructing TV idea. What I can’t believe is that there is no room for you on TV with all the satellite-cable channels.

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  26. It's amazing you've managed to accomplish this dream. To mold a network, beyond that of those longing for TechTV, is a staggering feat. I am now able to view more compelling, honest conversation and discussion on the matters of technology, expanding to a grander view of its effect on society. Best of all, I can view this content coming from knowledgeable, established names, that understand the details and inner workings, laying the framework in our minds. I wouldn't say that I'm happy for your past loss, but your network has come to a greater fruition. You once served to help people with Windows, but now you help people understand matters greater, changing your corner of the world.

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