Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear announces he is stepping down as CEO after 16 years

Twitch - Emmett Shear

“Twitch often feels to me like a child I’ve been raising as well”

Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear has announced he is stepping down as CEO of the American video live-streaming service after 16 years.

In a blog post on the platform’s website, Shear shared a heartfelt look back at the early days of the company – when it was initially called, Inc – in 2006 with co-founders Justin Kan, Michael Seibel, and Kyle Vogt

“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.”

Sixteen years later and a couple of names changes later, Twitch Inc. is a fully owned subsidiary of Amazon, and has grown to have 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,” he wrote.

Shear said: “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.”

Shear highlighted that the birth of his first child had him reflecting on his future with Twitch and said: “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.

While he is stepping down as CEO, Shear noted that he will continue working at Twitch but 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,” he said.

“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.”

Twitch - Emmett Shear

Shear said that he has confidence in Twitch’s leadership, people and product. “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,” he wrote.

Shear also welcomed the platform’s current president Dan Clancy who steps 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,” he said.

In addition to thanking his co-founders, he also shared a special message of gratitude to Kevin Lin, Jacob Woodsey, Jon Shipman, and Mike Ossareh, who he called the “core team” that led the Twitch pivot within 

“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,” he said.

“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,” Shear added.

Top image: Emmett Shear

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