Denter of the Week: Emmett Shear

Each week from now through December, we’ll pose several short questions to a member of the Dent family and share their answers with you. Our inaugural Denter of the Week is Twitch.TV CEO and Founder, and Dent 2014 speaker, Emmett Shear.

Emmett Shear speaks at Dent the Future 2014 in Sun Valley, ID. (Photo by Kris Krug)


Say it in a sentence: Whether you’ve met your biggest goal or it’s still ahead of you, how would you like to be known for having dented the universe?

Hopefully I still have lots to accomplish ahead of me. I want to be known for building great things and finding ways to turn things into positive-sum games.

What would I know about you after we’d worked together for a year?

I think through vigorous debate. You won’t be surprised if, after spending 2 hours discussing something, I come back with a completely different point of view the next day.

If your 18-year-old self could hang out with you now, what would surprise him most?

I’m a programmer and work in business! I was expecting to be a research scientist at 18. I was very certain.

What natural talent would you most like to be gifted with and why?

I try to have a growth mindset and so I try not to think in terms of natural talent. That said, I wish I could strike up and hold a conversation with just anyone. I find it’s the people you least expect who often teach you the most.

Which fault do you most easily tolerate in others?

It doesn’t bother me when people don’t follow social niceties. As long as we have interesting conversations and an authentic connection, I don’t care if someone reads their phone while we’re talking or forgets to call me back.

Who else is doing interesting, universe-denting work right now?

[Conflict of interest warning] My cofounder on Kyle Vogt has recently launched his new startup, Cruise Automation, which is a self-driving car company. Self-driving cars are going to be societally transformative and I think Cruise is going to be at the very bleeding edge.

What would you like to ask the next Denter of the Week?

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned recently?

Emmett Shear is an Internet entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder and CEO of Twitch, the world’s leading video streaming platform and community for gamers with more than 45 million monthly viewers. He’s a part-time partner at venture capital firm Y Combinator, where he advises fledgling startups on product and strategy. Shear also is a co-founder of, a general purpose live streaming site, and Kiko Software, the first AJAX-based online calendar. Shear graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a degree in computer science.

Dent the Future is a conference series that tackles the art and discipline of visionary leadership. The next Dent The Future conference is coming up March 22-25, 2015. Register here.