16 Years Of Twitch
My work on Twitch began in October 2006, when Justin, Michael, and I drove across the country from New York to San Francisco. Kyle would join us three short months later, when we got him a one way ticket to fly out to San Francisco during MIT’s externship week. We were making a 24/7 live reality television show about Justin’s life. I thought at the time that we would most likely fail and give up in less than a year. My cofounders and most people we knew probably thought the same. I thought I’d start my real startup once that happened, but in the meantime this was just too crazy of a stunt not to try.
16 years and four months later, I’ve never set up direct deposit a second time. Justin.tv, Inc. turned into Twitch Inc., Twitch Inc. became a fully owned subsidiary of Amazon, and along the way we have grown to more than 8 million streamers a month. While the 24/7 reality television show was in fact a bad idea, interactive live video on the internet has turned out to be a pretty good idea. What’s kept me at it for so many years? I love the people I work with, I love that we create the opportunity for streamers to earn a living doing what they love, and I love the way we create a context for community for our streamers and viewers to come together where they can feel belonging and connection.
With my first child just born, I’ve been reflecting on my future with Twitch. Twitch often feels to me like a child I’ve been raising as well. And while I will always want to be there if Twitch needs me, at 16 years old it feels to me Twitch is ready to move out of the house and venture alone. So it is with great poignancy that I share my decision to resign from Twitch as CEO. I want to be fully there for my son as he enters this world and I feel ready for this change to tackle new challenges. I will continue to work at Twitch in an advisory role.
It’s hard to put into words how much Twitch has been for me. Twitch has been a place of community for streamers and viewers, but also for me. Twitch has been like my family, the place I’ve spent more of my waking hours than anywhere else. With the arrival of my son, the time has come for me to focus my energies on building that tiny little startup family, and I’m ready to dedicate my energies there. Twitch will always remain part of my extended family, a community where I grew in so many ways alongside Twitch itself.
I’ve never had more confidence in Twitch’s leadership, in all our people, and in our product, than I do today. For many years I truly felt Twitch might die without my guidance and input, but I no longer feel that is true. I think in fact it’s exactly that growth which has allowed me to even consider the idea that I might not work at Twitch.
Dan Clancy, our current President, has been a close partner to me these past few years. He will step fully into the role of CEO, effective immediately. He cares deeply about the Twitch community, its streamers, and our staff and understands what makes Twitch, Twitch.
I’m incredibly grateful, not only to the amazing folks I get to work with at Twitch today, but to everyone who built it along the way. There are far too many to name, but specifically in addition to my Justin.tv cofounders Michael Seibel, Kyle Vogt, and Justin Kan, I want to call out Kevin Lin, Jacob Woodsey, Jon Shipman, and Mike Ossareh who formed the core team that led the Twitch pivot within Justin.tv. I could go on listing names but there are just too many to fit here. When I had the dream that we should build something to grow this gaming thing on Justin.tv and help me watch more StarCraft II, we made it into reality together. So I suppose I also want to thank Blizzard Entertainment for waiting ten years to release a sequel to Starcraft, thus ensuring I’d get roped back into watching video games on the internet as a 28 year old.
I have a deep sense of gratitude as well for all the streamers who trusted us early with their content and their communities, and all the streamers who have continued to do so to this day. I know some of you may find it hard to believe, but supporting as many of you as well as possible is the number one goal for everyone at Twitch and always has been. I also want to thank Amazon for being the best acquirer I could have hoped for. Amazon truly supported us and really allowed a product as different as Twitch the room to grow and to be itself.
Thank you, everyone, for your support, your critical thoughts, your trust, and your help. We built something great.
With great gratitude,