20VC: Twitch Founder & CEO Emmett Shear on When To Persist vs When To Give Up For Entrepreneurs, The Fundamental Tension When Scaling Orgs and How To Optimise Them & How The Role of CEO Fundamentally Changes with Scale
Posted on 21st February 2020 by Harry
Emmett Shear is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers and the things we love. Prior to Twitch’s exit to Amazon for a reported $970M, Emmett raised over $42M in funding from some of the best including Thrive Capital, Bessemer, Mike Maples, Aydin Senkut, Paul Graham and Y Combinator. Emmett is also a part-time Partner @ Y Combinator, advising YC companies on everything from fundraising strategy to product decisions to hiring and firing. Before Twitch, Emmett co-founded Kiko, a company he later sold on eBay for 6 figures.
1.) How Emmett made his way into the world of startups with Kiko? How he ended up selling that for 6 figures on eBay? How that led to the creation of Justin.TV & Twitch?
2.) Why does Emmett believe starting a startup is like “deciding to take on the burden of Sisyphus?” At what point in the journey does is start to get easier? Does Emmett agree with many on the show who say, “it does not get easier, it just gets different”? How does one know when to give up vs when to persist and follow the vision?
3.) How does Emmett think about structuring an org at 1,500 people? Why does Emmett believe there is a fundamental tension when scaling teams between centralisation and decentralisation? How does one structure a reorg without causing instability? How does one communicate the reorg to the team? Where does Emmett see many go wrong here?
4.) Does Emmett agree the best CEOs are the best resource allocators? How does Emmett approach internal resource allocation today between both functions and projects? What does he find most challenging here? What does the decision-making process look like? What are his takeaways from Apple, Amazon and Microsoft in how they determine and process resource allocation internally?
5.) How does Emmett believe he has changed and evolved as a leader over the last 10 years with Twitch? What elements has he found the most challenging to master? What has he done to combat those weaknesses? Where has he always been naturally strong? What makes him so good at those particular functions?
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