My newest project, The Quest, is a podcast where I bring the world stories of the people who struggled to find their own purpose, made it in the outside world, and then found deeper meaning beyond success. My guests so far include The Chainsmokers, Michael Seibel (CEO of Y Combinator) and Steve Huffman aka spez (CEO of Reddit).

Starting in 2021, I want to co-build this podcast with you all. I am launching a fellowship to let some of you work with my guests and me directly. We are looking for people to join who are walking an interesting path and discovering their true purpose. It went live 1 min ago and you can apply here, now.

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Comments: 1797 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

dominus4081278 karma

With newer DMCA restrictions in place, why should streamers use your service if in fear of copyright infringements brought on by something as simple as singing a song?

0hn0traps859 karma

Ask Amazon. He’s not involved with Twitch anymore.

JustinKan1678 karma

This is the answer. I can't speak for the current policies of Twitch because I actually really don't know any more.

spumpy598 karma

What is your technical background?

JustinKan1176 karma

I was a shitty self taught programmer.

Chanceisking931 karma

*Shitty, self taught programmer who studied physics at Yale.

JustinKan1585 karma

Anyone who studied physics knows that physicists are the worst programmers

X29013000156968467 karma

What advice do you have for people who feel "stuck" on the "traditional" path (big tech, finance, consulting)? I've listened to your story and your podcast, and though inspiring, I find it hard to break out of the current routine and into the unknown/unstructured. Any advice appreciated

JustinKan800 karma

  1. What do you really want to do in your life? It is important to find a direction. If you don't have one, that is ok, maybe you need to just take a break to free some space up.
  2. What are you afraid of? Everything you want is on the other side of fear. What are you afraid will happen if you leave your traditional path? Are these fears real? How can you mitigate them?
  3. Quit soon. It just gets harder over time.

dabooboo1382 karma

How do you stay motivated to continue to work hard after a successful exit? What makes you excited to wake up every morning?

JustinKan560 karma

I think you've got to find something that is intrinsically motivating to you. What do you love doing that you will do not just to get money. Because for many people, after you get some money, you realize that getting more money won't make you any happier.

Syntellio60 karma

You repeat this point a few times: what would you like to do if no one was watching and if not for the money. I never really thought about it that way, it was always what has a chance of making the most money - but that now seems short termist whereas for (internal and external) success, you gotta take a long term view

Kevis163 karma

Rich and successful people always say follow your dreams because that's what they did but you have to be careful of confirmation bias. For every person like Justin there are thousands of people that dumped their life savings into a startup and it didn't work out. There are people that will be working until they die because they chased a pipe dream for too long. If you talk to someone like that they might have a different answer. So I think there's a balance you need to be careful of.

JustinKan344 karma

I am actually not saying "follow your dreams." I think many people have a reality of bills to pay and minimum money they need to earn which may prohibit them from starting a startup, becoming a musician, etc.

I'm saying that if you want to finding lasting satisfaction you should look to identify things (whether it is hobbies, parts of your job, etc) where you have intrinsic motivation. This will work a lot better than simply chasing money.

Samuelwu732328 karma

What is the most difficult decision you've had to make? What were the trade offs?

JustinKan615 karma

I laid off 180 people last year. This was a very tough decision.

It came down to: do I really think there is a path forward for this business, or am I just making everyone do a fire drill until we reach an inevitable outcome? I decided it was the latter and the right decision was the hard one (which was to call it early).

alexandrualexandru19269 karma

What's more important? Number of users or retention?

JustinKan493 karma

Retention all day

Bladeteacher179 karma

Mr. Kan, what's its your opinion on the hyper sexualitation of several female twitch users? There seems to be a divide between the community and where they stand about this topic. To some, they are harmless, but for others, they are just milking a male demographic that's lonely and craving a female to interact with. I'm just curious about your opinion on the matter, since they not only seem extremely prolific nowadays, but also quite popular. I'm not bashing anyone here, whichever people want to stream is fine, but I'm still curious about what a founder has to say in the matter

JustinKan386 karma

Please note I don't speak for Twitch here and haven't been involved in the company in a long time, so this is just my personal opinion.

Twitch is like very other platform (where this problem exists). This behavior exists on television, on Instagram, on Youtube, on every asian streaming service. It exists because it is human nature for men to want to spend time with women, and in general women are the gatekeepers in the early stages of male <> female relationships. I don't know how you change human behavior, or if it is even desirable to. My personal feeling is that it is fine as long as it is not exploitative.

Kareem1997171 karma

some questions i've talked to other young founders about have been:

1- is a certain amount of status & social recognition necessary for a good life? 

2- do young founders know how to build meaningful relationships? (what drives us to seek status may be the lack of deep social connection in our lives. the problem is a) we think fame / lots of money will solve this problem and b) even if we know fame / money won't solve this problem (& deep relationships will), it's not actually easy to know how to build deep relationships.

thoughts on either?

JustinKan519 karma

  1. No, because extrinsic motivations will never sustainably make you happy. If you become a little famous, there is someone more famous than you that you want to become. If you become more famous, then you look at people who are even more famous. And so on, etc. The hedonic treadmill never ends.
  2. Many people (young or old) don't know how to build meaningful relationships. Money and success won't solve this problem (the type of interactions people want to have with you when you are high status are not often conducive to building deep relationships).. this is what I learned in real time. My suggestion is to build deeper relationships by 1) invest in spending more time with people around you, 2) developing a genuine curiosity for people i.e. learn to be interested in people not just for what they can do for you, but because you are curious about people, 3) get comfortable being vulnerable with other people -- real growth lies at the edge of discomfort

sterfri165 karma

How much would you say that luck or chance played in to your entrepreneurial journey?

I am not at all implying that you just got lucky and bam you're wildly successful but I am suggesting that luck or chance has a large part in all of our lives.

I am curious of how it played out in your life and successes.

JustinKan637 karma

That is a great question. I'd say that I have been incredibly, incredibly, unbelievably fucking lucky in my life. This isn't to discount the hard work we put in: I think hard work put us in the position to capitalize on many lucky breaks. But to put it all on me would be ridiculous.

I was lucky to be born in America. I was lucky that my parents insisted on investing in my education and sent me to private school. I was lucky to grow up just a couple blocks from my friend Emmett Shear, who eventually became my cofounder (and is the CEO of Twitch today). I was lucky I got into Yale off the waitlist, where Emmett also went and we met our third cofounder. I was lucky a friend suggested that we start a company in college, and that we were able to recruit Emmett. I was lucky another friend forwarded an email from Paul Graham about his new investment fund Y Combinator the day before applications were due. I was lucky YC funded us for our shitty first startup, and then again after that company failed for I was lucky that we met our first venture investors through a random connection that happened to come to a dinner party we threw. I was lucky that Emmett suggested we pivot to what became Twitch.

The list goes on forever.

RepairmanJacked143 karma

Deeper meaning beyond success. I like that. Do you think it would be smart to start a company (not me, I'm broke) where you buy up medical debt, then require the debtors to just pay what you paid for the debt + expenses? That way, people pay way less, and can fund the next round of medical debt purchases. Essentially, it's a way for people to dig themselves out of medical debt much quicker than otherwise possible while not relying on donations, which allows the service to work perpetually (or until we unfuck the medical systems in America).

JustinKan163 karma

My friend is building a company like this.

JustinKan469 karma

A big part was being able to "bank" a win. Before we sold Twitch, we were struggling entrepreneurs. Afterwards we were "successful". We thought being successful was the goal, so it seemed to make sense at the time.

Plus, it was a lot of money and the marginal utility of money goes down. The first $1000 is more meaningful than the next $1000. Same for the first ten thousand, first million, first ten million, and so on.

FranginBoy99 karma

Are you happy ?

melindagedman137 karma

Look at that hair. Of course he’s happy. He’s free.

JustinKan554 karma

My happiness is directly correlated with hair length (and thus is at an all time high).

I'd say that post-selling Twitch I wasn't super happy. I had been chasing after an extrinsic goal (becoming a successful founder) for so long and accomplishing it felt like kind of a let down, to be honest. I still was plagued with "what ifs" and desires to start an even bigger company.

Then, several years ago, I sat in an ayahausca ceremony for the first time. Plant medicine revealed to me since I was a kid I had always felt disconnected from the people around me, and that all my life I had been chasing extrinsic goals (like becoming successful and making money) in order to get the approval of other people. I had always felt this deep need for approval, whether from friends and family, or just random people on the internet.

Even though this wasn't a particularly pleasant self-realization, I also realized that in a way this behavior had served me (I had become successful because of it), and I could love myself for it. Lastly, I also realized just because I had lived this way for the first 30-something years of my life, I didn't have to continue like this.

I started building a daily routine of self care that included daily meditation, exercise, quitting drinking, changing my diet, and gratitude journaling. I now try to only work on things I am intrinsically motivated to do: helping people around me, making content when I feel like making content, deepening my relationships with people. And I feel much, much happier than I've ever been.

Mapex70 karma

Not sure how close this is to the experience you’re describing above, but only recently (I’m currently 34) did I realize within myself that the reason throughout my life that I have been socially awkward and “cringey” in public is because I have this underlying, extrinsic goal of getting people to like me by acting a bit outrageous, saying and doing outrageous things, to get a laugh. My “medicine” was 15 years of psychotherapy to curb and conquer my major depressive disorder and social anxiety, but recently after playing Cyberpunk 2077 and interacting with the character of Johnny Silverhand did I make some more realizations about my innate validation approval.

For being a self-alleged punk rocker, I realize I don’t act as “punk rock” and authentic to myself as I could, and this inauthenticity permeates my public persona as well as my personal relationships. Chasing this extrinsic goal of approval from others, in turn, caused me to fail at achieving that very goal.

I might be rambling at this point but what you said about your past of seeking approval to your present of self-compassion, self-care, and relationship building really spoke to me and I thank you for sharing this deeply personal aspect of your life.

JustinKan46 karma

love this

chique_pea48 karma

I’d love to hear your usual daily routine!

JustinKan161 karma

Gratitude journal, exercise for 30-1 hr, meditate for 25m. That is basically it.

samwsmith26 karma

gratitude journaling

That sounds interesting has it helped with your mental health? I seem to be only able to remember the bad things some times.

JustinKan99 karma

It isn't intuitive you can practice gratitude. It wasn't for me. But you can.

The more you practice something, the more it becomes second nature. By journaling the things you are grateful for every day, you will be practicing gratitude, and spend more of your time being thankful what what you have. Which feels amazing, and can counterbalance the negative thoughts you might have every day about everything that could be better.

NNLY23 karma

What are the three things you are grateful for today?

JustinKan100 karma

Today I wrote:

  1. Grateful to get to see my brother soon
  2. Grateful for my family
  3. Grateful to be at home in my office

kaze_ni_naru15 karma

Ngl this sounds like a Tim Ferriss episode starterpack

JustinKan26 karma

Tim is very inspiring to me!

Ambitious_General70110 karma

Do you think you had to go through an experience like to be able to truly appreciate and understand the things you value now? I’m asking this with utmost respect, as I sometimes feel like with most people who come to a similar conclusion, they’re already ‘fulfilled’ from a career perspective or at least financially stable to be able to shift a big chunk of their focus on their wellbeing. Hustle culture and all.

JustinKan20 karma

Yes - I think becoming successful and then realizing the emptiness of it made me look for more. If I hadn't become successful than I would probably still be grinding away at trying to get that brass ring.


jfc imagine not being entirely happy with a 970 million dollar sale. But props for the growth.

JustinKan4 karma

jfc imagine not being entirely happy with a 970 million dollar sale.

I know!

carlotta4th76 karma

Is your name why is used to be called And if so... why did the other partner not get some dibs on part of the name?

mappum151 karma

It used to be an IRL stream that just followed his life, but they kept getting SWATted so they shut it down and just let people use the platform they built

JustinKan207 karma

This should just be my new bio.

JustinKan137 karma

They were not stupid enough to volunteer to wear the camera around 24/7.

yashbrownz1171 karma

I would love to hear your perspectives on how you can find the "cream of the crop" especially in spaces that are gaining a lot of momentum. Due to the pandemic, we've seen such a huge rise in things like ed-tech, telemedicine, indie online content / streamers, to name a few. How do you go about figuring out which ones are trying to take advantage of short-term trends vs those that will be around for the long haul?

JustinKan125 karma

I try to think about what trends are going to last, because something has fundamentally changed about the world and customer preferences. For example, I think telemedicine is here to stay, as people generally don't want to leave their house. Before, many applications of telemedicine weren't allowed, but that was loosened during COVID and unlikely to be pulled back. So to me that appears to be a long term trend.

Whereas replacements for travel I think are very short term. Humans like to travel, and just can't right now. So in that industry I think things will revert once there is a widespread herd immunity / vaccine.

krymson2450 karma

What's your step-by-step process in determining whether or not you'd make an investment in a company in the public markets?

JustinKan91 karma

I am a terrible public markets investor. I wouldn't take my advice. But if you want it, it is basically: do I like this company and think they have tailwinds because they have some sort of brand or network effect? If so, invest.

Muthafuckaaaaa43 karma

Do you wipe back to front or front to back?

JustinKan79 karma

Front to back exclusively.

Redicent_42 karma

Do you have any tips for a 14 yr old like me to start on the path of entrepreneurship?

JustinKan115 karma

Nothing is preventing you from trying to build a business right now! The first step is the hardest one.

The first company I tried to build was in high school (it was a planetary systems modeling software). It never went anywhere, but I learned a bit.

My suggestion is to try to identify a problem that you care about. Then just start brainstorming solutions and trying to bring them to life, and talking to potential customers to see if they like/want any of your solutions. If you find one customer, you basically have a company!

ridinslab41 karma

Justin, I think I've found my path in life and I'm starting down it. I've got a big opportunity (internship) in front of me and I'm pretty nervous, because I know I shouldn't really be given it as I'm not credentialed, and don't have any professional experience.

When you talk about people walking their own path, I really align with it.

My question is: When you are given an opportunity for something, and you feel you're woefully unprepared and unequipped to tackle it, what do you do? As excited as I am to start it, I'm also equally fucking scared because I feel like as soon as someone sees me produce something that they expect to be adequate, I'll be discovered as a fraud. It's like I've been working to get here, and now I wish I wouldn't have even started because I don't think I can actually do it and I don't want to waste anyones time.

Love the stuff you've created (including whale!), thanks for doing this.

JustinKan124 karma

Everyone is plagued with self doubt all the time.

Think about this: the most successful CEO and founder, whose company is growing exponentially, is always in over her head, because she is working at a job she has no experience in and is wholly unqualified for (because her company is larger now than it was last month!).

When we started, I made mistakes that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to my naiveté and lack of experience.

Take the leap now and know that every trips some of the time, no one knows anything, and you figure this shit out as you go along. That is what life is.

ckim199234 karma

What are the few essentials you look for in a great idea or investment opportunity? Is there a hack to being a great VC or is luck still heavily involved?

JustinKan86 karma

I answered what I look for in another comment.

Here are the three skills/qualities that I think are important in a venture investor:

  1. Brand or some way to generate proprietary deal flow. Sequoia has a brand for backing the winning startups. Y Combinator has a brand as the Harvard of Silicon Valley. My friend Jason Lemkin has a brand as the "SaaS guy". Whatever it is, you want to build a brand that attracts founders to you.
  2. Analysis. Are you good at seeing what the future will look like, and what could potentially end up as a big company?
  3. Hustle. The best deals are going to require a lot of work to get in. Maybe it is convincing a founder to let you invest when they aren't looking for money. Maybe it is winning a deal over others with better brands or name recognition. Example: several years ago I saw that Teachable (which sold for >$200M last year) had raised a Series A on TechCrunch. I loved the idea and emailed them, and then met with the founder Ankur and convinced him to reopen the round to let me invest. If I'd just waited for him to come to me... I'd have been waiting forever.

freerideguy1332 karma

What's the biggest struggle of managing a team?

JustinKan87 karma

You have to constantly be the bigger person, help solve other people's problems, deploy high EQ, give praise, give firm feedback without crushing others, be empathetic. It can be very exhausting.

oilfloatsinwater29 karma

What was the biggest moment of your career on Twitch?

JustinKan84 karma

The day we sold it, I woke up in a pool of water at Burning Man. I was living in an insulation foam yurt that I'd made myself (which turned out to not be very water proof), and it had unexpectedly rained the night before. I spent the whole day drying out my shit and then walking around looking for someone with a working cell phone to try to text the outside world and see if there was any news.

That was my biggest moment.

inamisithe29 karma

What's your podcast production tech stack? And, what's the production flow look like?

I am always curious about how people handle producing pods. They seem very time consuming, but lots of busy people are still pumping them out.

JustinKan41 karma

For video podcasts I use (which I am trying to do more of).

For audio, I use zencastr (if it is online) or garageband (if in person). Then someone edits it in Descript. Then we use Simplecast to distribute.

DaiHarT26 karma

What kind of toppings do you like on your pizza?

JustinKan67 karma

Pepperoni. I know that is hella boring.

I also like Hawaiian!

T3RM1N8T0R24 karma

Being a successful entrepreneur, how has your wealth changed you, if at all?

What were some of the things you weren't able to do before without this wealth?

JustinKan73 karma

The biggest thing is the ability to fund projects that I want to see in the world. I'm building an app called Kin ( that is a social habit tracker to help people adopt healthy habits. It isn't really a startup, more a project that I want to exist.

The second biggest thing was I bought a piece of land where I can host people. I love connecting with people so it is nice to be able to have a place that people actually want to come that facilitates those deeper connections.

Other than that, I can stay in nicer hotels when traveling.

socialfinance24 karma

What do you look as a technology investor when you analyzing new companies?

JustinKan70 karma

As a tech investor I look at a couple things:

  • The founders. You want to find people who are going to run through walls to bring their vision to the world. These are people who have a special level of motivation, whether it is because they have something to prove, or this is their life's work (or hopefully both). Founding a startup is super hard and there are always reasons to give up: find the founders who are going to keep going when the night is at its darkest.
  • Why is this happening now? What are the systemic / structural changes that have enabled this company to exist and grow very fast right now. For example, with Twitch, a couple things fueled the growth: 1) ubiquitous broadband bandwidth becoming widespread, 2) video games shifting away from cinematic-like experiences to multiplayer modes (starcraft, league of legends, fortnight) which could serve as a means for streamers to easily create lots of content.
  • The market. Do people spend a lot of money in this market and/or are there many buyers for this product? Building a company in a small market and in a big one is the same amount of work (a lot). But if you build into a small market, you end up with a small company.
  • The product. Is this product great compared with your alternatives. The point of technology investing is to find the places and products where technology enables the creation of a breakthrough product: one that is just much, much better than the alternatives. Having a great product is what is going to enable incredible growth.

pingnop24 karma

I was a huge fan of the idea behind the Whale app. I believe there's a lot of very valuable knowledge out there where Twitter is not quite the right platform. What are some key learnings from that project and if it was resurrected today, what's one key element you would change?

JustinKan42 karma

I think you have to find some repeatable behavior, or something people will pay for. Cameo did a good job with this (people will buy cameos for their friends and family for birthdays/holidays/etc).

We failed to find it.

cozythunder23 karma

A common concept in startups is the idea of a "virtuoso programmer", a single programmer who is 10x more productive than the median. I have a STEM background, but have only been coding for a year and I'm having trouble understanding this concept. How is the skill of a programmer measured? By the speed they can't implement a new feature? The technologies they're familiar with?

I'm working on my startup and I'm striving to be a great programmer, but I don't know what I should be aiming for or how to judge my own skills.

Also I'm curious about the QandA app Whale that you started a few years ago. I'm actually about to launch something similar, and I only just discovered you'd done something similar. Can you share thy it ended up shutting down, or anything insights from the process?

Here's my (very early) landing page if you want to take a look!

JustinKan38 karma

You don't have to be a 10x programmer to make a successful company. You just need to use whatever skill/resources you have to listen to your customer and directionally build what they want. I definitely wasn't a 10x programmer when we started, and while we recruited 1 or 2 virtuouso programmers in the early days, it definitely wasn't the norm.

Re: Whale, I think lots of other companies have been successful where we weren't. Cameo is a similar idea but just with a different angle. If we had been paying attention to what customers wanted, perhaps we could have pivoted the business.

travisharris8019 karma

Do you watch Twitch? If so, whose your favorite streamer?

JustinKan62 karma


Funkyfresh56219 karma

What should young entrepreneurs explore in this new decade?

JustinKan66 karma

Climate, e-commerce, robotics/industrial automation, influencer economy, digital healthcare. Those are some of the areas I am interested in.

slowmagic17 karma

What is your thesis with the cannabis industry? Do you see any particular winning verticals within the space?

JustinKan29 karma

I think brands in cannabis are a potential opportunity. If you look at alcohol, most of the value in the industry has accrued to consumer brands (Diageo). I think the same dynamic should emerge for cannabis...

superbeewax17 karma

Hey Justin! In your opinion, why isn’t there a YC for other industries like restaurants for example? Do you think it only works for software?

JustinKan50 karma

YC works because the earnings from the winners (like one Airbnb) can fund hundreds of companies that don't work.

Restaurants is tough because the upside is pretty capped for a restaurant. If you become the biggest restaurant startup, you might be something like Shake Shack (which I think is worth ~1b), which isn't enough to pay for all the random fliers you are taking on people with no experience.

There might be other industries that work -- perhaps there could be a YC for musical artists.

Redicent_15 karma

How did you start your journey of entrepreneurship?

JustinKan47 karma

I started my first company as a senior in college. It was called Kiko, and was basically a crappy version of Google Calendar before Google Calendar came out. It sucked in every way (we were terrible founders, terrible programmers, it was kind of a piece of shit, we didn't talk to customers) but at least we got started on entrepreneurship.

krymson2415 karma

What are the most socially impactful and highly profitable opportunities in world right now in your eyes?

JustinKan45 karma

Companies that address climate change. Customer preferences are shifting: people are starting to give a shit about what they buy (as long as they don't have to sacrifice very much). People are voting with their wallets: Tesla, Impossible Foods, etc.

If you build a product that is good for the world, high quality, and with a great consumer brand you will kill it.

ohnotadeer14 karma

What's your biggest learning from Atrium?

Also, thanks for doing this and sharing your learnings!

JustinKan63 karma

Biggest learnings from Atrium:

  • Start with the Mission
  • Start remote - lots of people choose jobs they want to be flexible / based on location. Remote is better at this time in the market.
  • Only do something where you have intrinsic motivation. If you don’t, you’ll lose motivation when times are hard or your own goals change.
  • The more people you have, the harder it is to bubble up feedback or turn the ship. The emperor has no clothes effect is real.
  • There is no skipping of the R&D phase of a company - if you try to skip this you miss the part where you are forced to develop something differentiated. Very hard to solve this with money.
  • Adding more money to a situation of lack of product market fit rarely works.
  • Don’t build a services company. It’s more work to manage everyone and the reward isn’t there at the end of the day.
  • CEOs can’t delegate getting in the trenches in the beginning
  • We should have moved more quickly to a flat rate hourly model and iterated the business model.
  • Ability to frame strategy and communicate it is rare and requires experience.
  • Should have asked “who are we building for?” and ruthlessly iterated for them.
  • Create market situations wherever possible and avoid “fake markets” where it seems like a market but isn’t. I.e. you employ someone and they kind of have to use your software -- this is a fake market.
  • Build in a space where the iteration time of your product can be very fast.
  • The culture is set early and very hard to change.

Syntellio13 karma

What advice would you give to someone in their early 40s who’s had a corporate career and wants to build a tech startup? What should the focus and mindset be?

disaster_accountant20 karma

Join YC’s Startup School program. It’s free and let’s you flush out many aspects of launching a successful company.

JustinKan12 karma

Ditto this.

707RiverRat13 karma

Do you think any advice helped you to get where you are today and if so, what was it?

JustinKan51 karma

My college master (what they call the professor who runs the dorm you are in at Yale, I know) used to say "If you will it, it is no dream." Sounds fucking corny but it was inspirational to me.

My mom used to encourage me to make friends with people and I think that helped me surround myself with smart people that eventually became cofounders, team members and collaborators.

gulagjammin13 karma

I have a question about the description of your podcast, specifically:

people who struggled to find their own purpose, made it in the outside world, and then found deeper meaning beyond success

Does this refer to people who struggle to find meaning, seek success as a means of filling that hole, then realize it does not fill that hole?

Or does it refer to people who forgot they wanted to find their own purpose due to material success, then re-connected with that quest to find purpose?

JustinKan14 karma

Both! I love both types of stories.

BasedJedi11 karma

Hi Justin, what is the single worst thing about YC in your opinion?

JustinKan12 karma

YC is great and I'll never say otherwise.

Roble1810 karma

Which was the original idea to found Twitch considering that youtube already existed? Did you imagine that would became the best platform for streaming?

JustinKan12 karma

My friend and cofounder Emmett thought the gaming streams were the only interesting content on He suggested we pivot to them. At the time, there was no game streams on Youtube.

Our only goal in the beginning was to be bigger than

vermeer8210 karma

Do you ever feel that your biggest achievements are already behind you? How do you find motivation again when you know you will never reach those highs again?

JustinKan24 karma

Yes, I worried about that constantly before.

But after switching to intrinsic motivations, I've realized that lasting happiness doesn't come from external events. Which helped me come to terms with the idea that maybe my biggest professional achievements are behind me. If that is the case, it is ok.

DarvinRumHam9 karma

There's such a fine line between giving up or persevering on a business idea, and there doesn't seem to be a clear cut answer to choose which one. From your experience, what insights do you have on when to give up or when to stick to something? And thank you for making yourself available for this AMA!

JustinKan26 karma

Unfortunately I am not aware of any algorithm to help you decide. I think founders generally give up when they can't think of any more things to try to make something successful: they run out of ideas. This is why it helps a ton to build something for yourself: it is easier to come up with ideas for what will make your customers happy when you are the customer of your own product.

Odm10227 karma

When you have an idea for a new project/business where is the best place to start to get yourself on the right track?

JustinKan13 karma

It is cliche, but talk to customers and validate that you are building something that they want to use/pay for.

BigsbyClause6 karma

Most everyone talks about going through a struggling startup.

How did you manage the fears that any of your startups have had after a "very successful" year, knowing you need to continue to replicate the same results (and keep growing), to meet expectations?

JustinKan13 karma

As a founder you need to find a way (eventually) to disconnect "how its going" from "how do I feel about myself". Otherwise the fears will eat you. You are not your company -- and being a founder is just a kind of (very hard) job. You just need to show up and do the best you can every day, expectations be damned.

Palc_temoc26 karma

What do you do to pass the time these days?

JustinKan28 karma

Make podcasts. Starting to make youtubes. Invest in companies. Take care of my family. Drive my bulldozer around.

legendarysquirrel5 karma

Hello Justin, congratulations on the podcast, heard a few episodes and loved it. You got a sick voice btw. My question is how's your new fund Goat Capital going? Are there any specific industries you are investing in at Goat Capital. Do you invest in applicants rejected from YC at Goat Capital or do you prefer investing in YC alums? ?

JustinKan7 karma

We invest inside and outside of YC network.

We are particularly interested in climate, robotics, e-commerge, digital healthcare, the creator economy, and wellness startups.

voraciousfreak5 karma

What are some products that you wish someone was working on that don't currently exist?

JustinKan19 karma

An AI for my life.

gvk015 karma

Hi Justin,

Will you invest in startups/founders outside of the US? I know the US is great, but there are over 6.7 Billion people outside the US, and it might be a good opportunity to invest in some of them too. Just wondering what you opinion is on that?

JustinKan7 karma

Yes, I have invested in many startups outside the US, including Razorpay, Paystack, Xendit, Socksoho, and many more.

Sizzle1292 karma

What is your favorite twitch emote?

JustinKan3 karma


mappum2 karma

It seems like Twitch discourages IRL streaming - the category was deleted and successful IRL streamers eventually give it up and conform to just streaming games.

Is this just because of the swatting problem, or are there more reasons? If a streaming platform were to solve the swatting problem (e.g. by working with law enforcement), do you think IRL streams could become viable?

JustinKan3 karma

I don't know the reasons, but this is too bad, as IRL streaming was how we got started with our own show :/

CreativePhilosopher2 karma

What's the next "big thing" in streaming, gaming or otherwise?

JustinKan2 karma

Streaming commerce, which everyone is talking about now.

SverreDanger2 karma

How was working with lawyers every day compared to media?

JustinKan6 karma

It taught me that I want to spend every day with founders and technologists.

CrusaderOfDragons2 karma

Will you answer the questions regarding Twitch or just the other stuff?

JustinKan4 karma

As I answered at the top, I am not involved any more and not in the know... so any answer I gave on the Twitch policy stuff would just be random conjecture at this point...

magneticgoldgiraffe2 karma

Hi Justin, what would you say your success rate has been on your serial entrepreneurship? How many businesses or ideas did you work on that ultimately failed? What kept you going when that happened?

JustinKan3 karma

1 mega success. Many failures (3-4). 2 where the jury is still out.