Jun 25, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Twitch Employee — John Rizzo, Chat Dude

Name, serial number, position, and when you started at Twitch.

Hello! I’m John Rizzo and I work at Twitch as a Senior Software Engineer. My first day was on December 9, 2013, though it’s amazing to see how much the company has grown in the short time since I joined!

(Editor’s note: We don’t have serial numbers. We just have watches we can’t take off.)

Where were you prior to starting at Twitch?

Before Twitch, I worked at a startup called imo where I worked on a chat system and social discovery network. Before imo, I had internships at Google and IBM.

When you’re not at the office, you’re…

Rock climbing, watching a movie, playing music, or watching/streaming on Twitch!

Where did you hear about Twitch/your position at Twitch?

I was an active Twitch viewer and streamer for about a year before deciding to apply for a position at Twitch. I was able to experience first-hand how Twitch connects gamers across the world and is helping esports rapidly grow into a mainstream form of entertainment. When I decided it was time for me to consider a new job, it was a no-brainer to apply to Twitch.

What do you do at Twitch/what does your typical day look like?

I currently work on chat system. My average day consists of designing and implementing software which lets us handle the highest-volume chat rooms in the world, and making our user’s chat experience excellent. A lot of my time is spent programming, though much of it is spent thinking about systems design and discussing problems/solutions with other Twitch engineers (though I take breaks to do some gaming with other Twitch employees!). My last two weeks have been spent redesigning and reimplementing the part of our chat system that handles the viewer list and displaying moderator/staff/admin badges next to messages. If I was told a year ago that I would have such a huge role in improving the chat system I’d spent so much time interacting with, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

What’s the best part about working for Twitch?

There are so many great things about working at Twitch that it’s hard to choose just one, but I love the engineering culture at Twitch — everyone is passionate about the company and the product, and the team is so small such that everyone has a huge impact. The quality of the team and culture is so excellent that it’s difficult to see from the outside looking in — I had to experience it first-hand to appreciate it (cough we’re hiring cough cough).

What’s your favorite perk at Twitch?

This is another area where it’s difficult to pick one favorite thing — it’s a toss-up between all the gaming equipment around the office I can play on versus the free monthly massages.

What helps Twitch stand out amongst other startups in the City?

We’re nurturing a new form of sport/hobby into the mainstream, and our culture reflects that. As our CEO Emmett Shear stated in a recent interview, “We want you to feel as if you’ve stepped into a corner of the internet”, and our culture really makes employees feel like they’re incubating this new area of entertainment by living it on a daily basis. It’s kind of an intangible thing, but we can just “feel” that what we’re doing will make a long-lasting impact on entertainment and socialization — it’s a very exciting thing to be a part of.

What advice would you give to someone looking to join the engineering team at Twitch?

Love what you do and always be improving yourself. Our engineering team spends a great deal of effort to improve our internal processes, tools, and way of thinking about how to do things the right way rather than rushing code out the door. This kind of thinking requires a dedicated mindset focused towards taking on responsibility and improving yourself, the team, and the company. Never settle for “good enough”!

Are you interested in becoming an engineer here at Twitch? Then check out our careers page!

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