Home / Technology / Here's what it's like to work at Twitch, one of the most popular gaming companies in the United States.

Here's what it's like to work at Twitch, one of the most popular gaming companies in the United States.

The first thing that greets people entering downtown Twitch's headquarters in San Francisco, even before approaching the company's impressive illuminated logo affixed to an exposed brick wall, is a big one. TV screen. Nine tiles are arranged – a collage of nine streams of Twitch users streaming on the platform at that time, in real time.

There are some of these monitors around the office in busy areas; they could display players when they play Fortnite or The Legend of Zelda. You can also see other users or brands, or even the Amazon parent company, streaming live sports games, social meals, movie marathons or knits.

At any time, more than a million users are watching something on Twitch, founded in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear as an extension of Justin.tv, the forerunner of the brand. Justin.tv was originally a "lifecasting" site experience started in 2007, during which members could broadcast everything they did, even trivial. However, in 2011, as they found, users most often turned to live gaming channels, prompting the founders to launch the game centered on the Twitch Interactive game.

A day in the life of a Twitch employee

Since then, the company has become a full-fledged entertainment company extremely attractive to future employees. But what sets Twitch apart from similar organizations, say employees like Erin Wayne, community marketing manager, is that communities sure Twitch are the communities at Tic.

"Our employees are also players, viewers, moderators, creators and some of them are even prominent banners," Wayne said. "We have maintained a way to master the mutual passion between Twitch as a company and Twitch as a community, and this constantly drives us to improve and innovate new products in response to the ideas and needs of the community. community."

These days, Twitch has evolved to offer more diverse stream categories, but the game – in a very broad way – remains steeped in Twitch's work culture. The visual and art installations around the nine floors of the office have been conceptualized and executed by selected Twitch players and streamers. There are two rooms "ready for Instagram" equipped with impeccable lighting and a Twitch broadcast facility allowing employees to play – "We like to live the product here," say recruiters – close to home. a workshop room built for employee-led seminars.

On the ground floor are some 6-on-6 game rooms with stadium seats near a cafe with free coffee and smoothies. On the other side of the barista is a lounge filled with arcade games, pinball, cornhole and a myriad of classic video game consoles. Around happy hour, this place is starting to be busy.

"I think every console goes back to … there is an Atari here," said Thomas Tessier, head of programs at the University, adding that the pinball "Game of Thrones" The room is (also) very popular lately. "

For non-gamers – and there is plenty here too – there are many leading brands for a more dominant pop culture. The conference rooms focus on Millennial and Generation X interests, paying tribute to Netflix's "Stranger Things" series, as well as to the "Harry Potter" series, as well as to Bob Ross. , who was the subject of a marathon on Twitch several years ago.

"There's actually a Bob Ross wig on a mannequin," says Tessier.

As evidenced by the presence of "happy trees" near meeting spaces, Twitch is gradually gearing its programming towards general entertainment, cooking and sports content. The work culture is starting to reflect that. In addition to "The Joy of Painting," Twitch also hosted marathons featuring Julia Child and the Power Rangers. In addition, their parent company, Amazon, also occasionally uses Twitch to broadcast original Prime programming.

These types of non-gaming streams are becoming more and more popular, and nowadays, employees may watch what is broadcast on one of these channels on a screen in the lobby of the company or the cafeteria. Or it could be more adorable content.

"A channel I watch is sometimes just kittens," says Brielle Villablanca, Twitch's new director of corporate communications. "The kittens, just playing, I could watch it for hours and hours." (Twitch), they're all kinds of strange, dynamic, unique people, and I think that's represented in our culture that we have at office."

Another specific benefit to Twitch underscores the priority it gives to the understanding of its users: paying access to a leading gaming or entertainment conference. Once a year, employees can attend the TwitchCon event, its own event aimed at professional and amateur streamers, or at another event, such as the Comic-Cons and e-sports competitions, to the extent of the 39; company.

A difference between Twitch staff and external users is important though: free food. Twitch's cafeteria offers three meals a day for employees, including sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, tacos and salads. The "Twitch 20s", according to Tessier and the rookie from Gina Greenwalt University, are very real, especially in this time of day when other special culinary events are taking place.

"It's (for) the Donut Day," says Tessier, highlighting the current billboard. "They made a donut drama last month, they donut today and you can vote, you can buy tickets to participate and it's a non-profit, this time it will go to Larkin Street. Youth. "

There are many of these types of extracurricular events around the office. Twitch welcomed star Harry Shum Jr. ("Crazy Rich Asians", "Glee") for a discussion on the theme of the Asian-American heritage last month. Sharmeen Browarek Chapp, Senior Director of Products at Twitch, also recalls the Women's History Month Debate, which "brought employees together to discuss important women's issues. in technology through a really fun event ".

What it takes to be hired at Twitch by its recruiters

But despite all the creative benefits, there is still a lot of work to be done. For employees such as Greenwalt and Tessier, it is helpful to have autonomy and choice as features of Twitch staff.

"As an individual, I have a lot of time on my time," Greenwalt said. "(Tessier) and I had a 30-minute break, we went to a candle shop and worked late, but we made that decision so that we could say that's what it takes to get the The people who are really good at owning it and who feel empowered are doing really well in places like this, and people who need a lot of structure might not do it. "

In addition to controlling their time, Mr. Tessier said candidates are now looking for companies that suit them perfectly. A company like Twitch, which offers employees the opportunity to be part of what he calls "a phenomenon of pop culture," is appealing.

"People should join Twitch if they want to work at the cutting edge of technology," said Browarek Chapp. "We are paving the way for live content and live interactive content.I believe the future of consumers will use all digital content beyond our current goal, the game."

At a turning point for society, the Twitch user base is proliferating rapidly. Now the company is also in "hyper-growth mode", as Greenwalt says.

That does not mean that they will hire anyone. Being one of the most fashionable entertainment companies in the business world today, they arouse a keen interest. It is not particularly easy to get started.

What exactly are recruiters looking for companies like Greenwalt and Tessier? Dynamic, flexible, kind and open candidates. They must be able to adapt to changing objectives and predictions, as Tessier says, which is "just around the corner". But above all, they have to be enthusiastic about their own interests, be it Pokémon Go, Game of Thrones, FIFA, Super Smash Brothers or anything else, maybe even the periphery of traditional groups.

"People who can show that they are unreservedly passionate about something they do, whether for pleasure or for work, are a very good cultural fit for us," Greenwalt said. "In the end, we think that passion translates into your work."

Tessier, looking for donuts, returns with a few for the table. In addition to the sugar rushes, what is the most compelling reason to work here?

"They were growing and changing every day," he says. "We live, I keep coming back to (ownership), but we are really a space in which we will continue to grow, and you can undertake your projects in a meaningful way."

The biggest selling point for him? "I would say come and be part of the entertainment revolution."

Alyssa Pereira is a producer of SFGate. Email: apereira@sfchronicle.com | Twitter: @alyspereira

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