Twitch CEO Dan Clancy is Doing the Small Things

Twitch's new CEO Dan Clancy is streaming, meeting creators, communicating with staffers, and other small things that give me hope, but time will tell!

Twitch's New CEO, Dan Clancy, just got off a public video call with notable character CEO_OF_AMOURANTH, a figure in the Mizkif/OTK realm. Their brief CEO Summit ended with Clancy suggesting, "...I can whisper you, and get the CEO advice." Mizkif's offline channel ate it up, with Mizkif himself saying how big the call was. From the same broadcast, a clip of him singing Country Roads (a song firmly in the meme vault of Twitch) was posted to Livestreamfail, garnering mixed reactions. A further clip of Dan trying to say "WideHardo" also got posted. Dan ended his stream about an hour later, suggesting his plans to stream every Wednesday and some Sundays.  

While it's unlikely that these small moments alone will radically improve his perception among the community - they do help. Clancy is coming into the top job at perhaps the worst macroeconomic time possible, with his first responsibility being the face of a 20% layoff of Twitch employees, while Twitch viewership is in a clear degrowth phase post-pandemic, having made the worst possible first impression, and after Twitch spent the last five years accruing a communication debt with the community that would make US Politicians cringe. To say he has an uphill battle ahead of him is an understatement.

To his credit, Dan is starting to pay off some of that communication debt with top creators. Several say they've met with him in recent months, including Asmongold, Mizkif, ExtraEmily, Maya, Esfandtv, Tubbo, SypherPK, and a dozen others. He's also been a guest on the SpawnOnMe Podcast and sought out media opportunities. Dan is putting himself in positions to be seen, which starkly contrasts with the previous CEO, who, other than token appearances at Twitchcon, was a ghost.

Internally, Dan is also working to regain trust among employees who were spared from layoffs but demoralized by the experience. Several staffers have told me he's made an effort to meet more staff and increased communication digitally - penning what are essentially blog posts covering things like what Twitch is, user-generated content, and why Twitter amplifies negative sentiment.

In a recent update, Dan penned a letter to staff talking about all the creators he's been meeting recently: "Over the last few weeks, I have been able to meet with a range of streamers and our employees in Austin, London and Los Angeles - and I'm heading to Toronto this weekend and Seattle next week." He continues later in the letter speaking about specific creators he's spoken with, including "Boaty and Captain Puffy have been with Twitch since the days and talked about what it was like for them in the early days... I also got to talk with LydiaViolet who started streaming only a few years ago and has only recently started to grow a larger community on Twitch. You could see the excitement in her eyes and the enthusiasm for her life, and for the community she had been able to build on Twitch in just a few years."

Some of these efforts seem to be winning over current and former employees. On Blind, comments include: "It's nice to see Dan streaming. He's making an effort." Another user says, "Dan is a million times better than Emmett in basically every way." To which someone else replies, "I was very skeptical about Dan but have come to this conclusion too." Elsewhere, current staff tells me they feel similarly "I'm coming around to him," and another says, "He's trying; it won't ever be the same as it was, but yeah, he's trying."

Personally, I'm in the same camp. The pessimist in me recognizes Dan's actions straight out of a "Things a New CEO Should Do in their First 90 Days" blog post. But the realist in me sees that he's trying. If nothing else, he's definitely learning what it's like to be a streamer - having experienced technical issues, muted mics, some minor trolling, and forgetting to turn off his stream after raiding. Meanwhile, I optimistically hope this is part of the most remarkable comeback story ever told. Against all odds, Dan Clancy leads a ferocious, sustained effort to rebuild trust with the community and leads Twitch into its next glorious era. One with a fair 70-30 sub split! But the future is unwritten, so for now, I'll appreciate the small things and hope his stream indicates things to come.

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