TECHLI Gets Nine Network PBS TV Deal & What’s Next
TECHLI has been quiet for awhile.
My name is Edward Domain and I am the founder and CEO of Techli. I’ve had some talented people work with me on TECHLI in the past but am starting over- a clean slate. I wanted to write a letter and publish it here to share what’s happened and what is next.
Running a startup is hard. If we all had a bitcoin for every time we heard this phrase, read it as a sentence or wrote it ourselves, anyone involved with being an entrepreneur would be stupid rich.
TECHLI has been no exception. Way back in 2007 when I lived in San Francisco, I worked at a startup backed by a famous VC. I was talking to her one day and said, “I wish the Midwest had a VentureBeat or a TechCrunch.”
Her response was the inspiration for me to launch Techli when she said, “Eh, that’s flyover country.”
In the years since, I launched Flyover Geeks which then turned into Techli as I got into an accelerator and raised a very small seed round. Six months later I won an Arch Grant in their first cohort of grantees and per the regulations of the grant program I moved to St. Louis.
After eleven months in St. Louis and starting to cover startup news in cities outside Silicon Valley, I had a near death accident and thought it was all over.
I lived- barely- and experienced an outpouring of support from the startup community like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I healed very, very slowly. Techli languished. After spending six months in the hospital I still wasn’t 100%. 2014 had a few steps forward and a even a few more back. It is very hard to work- let alone run a startup- while you are dealing with daily pain and trying to keep a clear head when just thinking is hard and thinking about business even harder.
Finally in 2015 I was moving forward- a VC that has experience in new media verbally agreed to a deal with Techli and I was ready to rock- except for some reason my right arm kept going numb in May of this year. I didn’t think much of it until a doctor’s visit had me immediately admitted to the ER to schedule some emergency surgery. A vein had to be transplanted from my leg to my arm so my arm didn’t turn gangrenous and get amputated.
I lost my VC deal due to concerns about my health, the recovery from the latest surgery took a couple months and suddenly I was half way through the summer and trying to find my way forward.
TECHLI on TV
In all this time, I refused to quit. I briefly flirted with scrapping it all but I knew inside I wasn’t done. Finally, after three years of trying, I closed a TV deal with PBS/Nine Network in St. Louis. TECHLI’s TV show, ‘The Domain Tech Report‘ can now be seen in St. Louis Wednesday nights at 10:30pm, re-run Sundays at Noon and can be watched online live as it broadcasts on TV.
The goal of the show is to highlight entrepreneurial activity and innovation in the St. Louis metropolitan area. While definitely not a huge city, St. Louis is punching above its weight with entrepreneurial growth and it keeps getting better. ‘The Domain Tech Report’ is a show about entrepreneurs in St. Louis- there have only been three episodes broadcast so far and already we have viewers from cities outside St. Louis. I love St. Louis for a lot of reasons- it has problems, yes, but it’s an underdog proving to the nation despite its problems it’s still a city on the rise and I always like an underdog. St. Louis is the perfect home for TECHLI.
Here’s the 1 minute trailer for ‘The Domain Tech Report:’
Since launching TECHLI in November of 2011, the new media landscape has changed dramatically and continues to change dramatically. Strategies and goals I had in 2011 that were interrupted by health problems and a corrupt governmental entity here (The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Commission) are no longer the best way to grow a media startup. While I could go the clickbait, massive (bad) traffic model, I don’t like it and find it annoying.
Moving forward, I am taking the company in a new direction. We will keep producing the TV show with an eye towards building it into something even better than what it is now.
We’ll also run stories on Techli that are insightful, cover entrepreneurship and more. Where TECHLI was previously just about startups and startup culture, TECHLI is going to produce editorial and video news in the vein of VICE. It won’t always be tech or startups- there is too much happening in the world, too much change happening faster than ever before, too many stories that deserve to be told. Through TECHLI it is my hope to tell those stories in a meaningful way that gets people to think about the events shaping our world in new ways. TECHLI has the word ‘TECH’ in its name and I think its applicable to our new world- technology is enabling the good guys- and the bad guys- in new ways and as TECHLI tells stories shaping the world using those same technologies I find the name fits.
That means there might not be a steady, daily flow of content here on TECHLI. There WILL be content, but its not going to be the press release of the week or some generic article about nothing. TECHLI is going to make you think. Not all of it will be deadly serious- some of it will be covering a cool coworking space or startup just like we’ve always done, but that will be the dessert around the main course of more serious fare.
There’s enough noise and fluff in the system- TECHLI is going to be a voice for change in the world that cuts through the noise and, hopefully, gets people thinking. That type of content takes time to produce and, as someone most definitely starting over from zero- it’s going to be tough. I didn’t get into startups because it would be easy and I’m not building a startup because its easy. I’m going to change gears a bit with TECHLI and grow into a news company that contributes to change in the world.
I hope you’ll follow along with me- eventually ‘us’ as I build a team and occasionally I’ll partner with and/or accept contributions along the way and hopefully tell stories that people want to hear and stories that matter.
See you out there!