UP072: Muxy // powering viewer engagement for live streaming

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Jared Steffes 0:00
We made, at that time, partners were the only ones being able to use bits on Twitch. We made them like 6 or $7 million in six months. And Twitch took a great cut of that, too, like 1.5 million. And we got squat.

Jay Clouse 0:15
The startup investment landscape is changing, and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to upside.

Jay Clouse 0:42
Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the upside podcast, the first podcast finding upside outside of Silicon Valley. I’m Eric Hornung, and I’m accompanied by my co-host, Mr. Broken Xbox 360 himself, Jay Clouse. Jay, when are you going to join me for a little War Zone?

Jay Clouse 0:59
Well, aparently when I either figure out how to run an ethernet cable from wherever that hookup is in this new house to the Xbox, or when I figure out what the Xbox external WiFi adapter looks like, where to buy it, how to get it, and then I probably also had to buy whatever game you’re talking about, because I’ve never heard of it.

Eric Hornung 1:19
It’s actually a free game. It’s a new Call of Duty game.

Jay Clouse 1:21
Ooh.

Eric Hornung 1:22
Called War Zone. It’s their take on the Fortnight Battle Royale style.

Jay Clouse 1:27
Ah, well, that doesn’t sound like it’s in my wheelhouse, but I am getting lonely, so maybe I’ll do it.

Eric Hornung 1:34
Okay. Or you can just buy an Xbox One. And you know, you’re like two generations behind on Xbox now.

Jay Clouse 1:39
Yeah, I’m not gonna do that. I mean, I have a stockpile of old 360 games, which is why it was worth buying a $100 refurbished version of a 360, which, you know, to your credit you talked about for a long time now that your evening activity is video games, and I’ve been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption. Really enjoying it.

Eric Hornung 1:57
Isn’t it nice?

Jay Clouse 1:58
It’s been nice.

Eric Hornung 1:59
Yeah.

Jay Clouse 1:59
But I like narrative style stuff. I don’t like this, I don’t like the shooty games.

Eric Hornung 2:03
Would you watch someone play a narrative style game?

Jay Clouse 2:06
For sure. Actually, I used to love doing that. In college and a little bit after college, I had roommates who played that stuff, and I, and I enjoyed watching that as much as I liked watching a movie because it’s like watching a movie, but one that you can yell at your friend about if they screw up.

Eric Hornung 2:20
I used to watch my one college roommate. He would get really scared late at night playing these zombie movie games. So he asked me to come into his room, and we would just have a couple beers and just watch him play random zombie movie games. So I get it. Makes sense.

Jay Clouse 2:35
Was it the walking dead? Was it the choice driven Walking Dead games?

Jay Clouse 2:39
No, I forget the name off the top my head but it was pretty scary.

Jay Clouse 2:43
Well speaking of interactive video games, today we are talking with Jared Steffes, the cofounder and COO of Muxy. Muxy is a SaaS platform allowing interactive features to be added to video streams for live broadcasts, gaming, and special events. They are a veteran Twitch product and services provider. Their experiences are used by live audiences to have deeper engagement in the content they are watching, and they currently concentrate their efforts on building the best Twitch extensions.

Eric Hornung 3:11
Have you ever Twitched, Jay?

Jay Clouse 3:13
I tried to Twitch a little bit about a month ago. One of my good friends just became a Twitch partner, and so I was trying to support him. Shout out to @OGPickle on Twitch. I also tried to watch a Twitch stream of somebody live commenting on The Bachelor, which was not good.

Eric Hornung 3:28
Not good.

Jay Clouse 3:29
It was not good. Concept is good, delivery was not good.

Jay Clouse 3:32
Would you ever Twitch stream yourself playing Red Dead Redemption?

Jay Clouse 3:37
I honestly don’t even know how to set that up. I would probably more likely Twitch stream myself doing something like writing. You know, I think there’s some opportunity there for live co-working, so to speak, especially during this time. Your brother’s a Twitch streamer at this point, right?

Jay Clouse 3:52
He is. He plays on Team Feeki. He’s the lead for their Apex Legends team. So he’s incredibly good at video games. So yeah, his, oh here, little shout out, little plug here for the Hornung Clan. His, his handle is @xNungs. You can find him on Twitch or Discord or any of the places gamers hang out.

Jay Clouse 4:11
I think I saw a number on the Muxy website that they have interacted with over 120 million individuals through the extensions that are deployed on streams on Twitch right now. The company was founded in 2014, but revived in 2017, is what Jared told us before this interview, and they’re based in Austin, Texas.

Jay Clouse 4:30
It feels like this is gonna be one of those interviews that we learn a lot about the history.

Jay Clouse 4:35
I, I thought you’re gonna stop at, It seems like it’s gonna be one of those interviews.

Eric Hornung 4:38
Just seems like this is gonna be one of those interviews, you know, a lot of depth that sentence.

Jay Clouse 4:42
It’s definitely one of those interviews.

Eric Hornung 4:43
No, it’ll be one of those interviews that there’ll be a lot of history of streaming or history of Twitch, things that you and I obviously know very little about, since you don’t even know how to set up a Twitch stream.

Jay Clouse 4:55
I don’t even know how to set up connectivity to an Xbox 360.

Jay Clouse 4:58
Right. You, yeah, your, your, your rocking like a land party 1990 style gaming experience here.

Jay Clouse 5:04
So if you guys can help me figure out how to get my Xbox 360 online, tou can tweet at us @upsidefm or email us Hello@upside.fm. Love to hear your help on that as well as your thoughts on this interview with Jared of Muxy, which we’ll get into right after this. Eric, can you imagine being a founder working with Dr. Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Draper Triangle, Excel, Chicago Ventures, Refinery Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, can you imagine being a founder and working with all of those VCs and more?

Eric Hornung 5:33
Man if you got an investment from or worked with all of those VCs and they were giving you advice on your board and, you just have to be probably one of the best companies in the Midwest or in between the coasts, I would say.

Jay Clouse 5:44
And that’s exactly what Integrity Power Search is integrity power search works with all of those VC partners and more as the number one full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups, and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies. Eric, they are working with 84 plus companies in those different venture portfolios, helping fill roles related to SaaS companies, autonomous vehicle companies, big data, computer visio, blockchain. If you’re looking to hire, Integrity Power Search can help.

Eric Hornung 6:15
And if you want to learn more about Integrity Power Search and what they’re doing in between the coasts, you can go to upside.fm/integrity.

Jay Clouse 6:29
Jared, welcome to the show.

Jared Steffes 6:31
Thank you for having me. I’m really stoked to be here.

Eric Hornung 6:34
On upside, we like to start with a background of the guests. So can you tell us about the history of Jared?

Jared Steffes 6:40
Oh, boy. All right. I’ll try to summarize the history of Jared. So I grew up on a farm, born in the early 80s, so I’m at the cusp of millennialness, I suppose. Town called Elwood, Illinois, like The Blues Brothers, just south of Joliet. And I thought I was going to be a farmer growing up. But life led me down a different path. And it’s crazy. I remember being part of the farm helping out a lot there. And my uncles and my dad and my grandparents, my mom, they’re just like, Jared, there’s no money in farming, you got to go to school. And so I ended up going to college walking out with like two and a half degrees, starting a game design degree at DePaul University along with like, what I’ve been told us the largest club there, called Defrag, it’s to gaming club. And then I start coming back home. Like I’d still come home on the weekends to farm during school, but when I, when I was about finished, they’re like, hey, you’re gonna take over the farm, right? Like, no, you told me there’s no money there. And so I ended up looking at the books and I’m like, you guys could have saved like, $30,000 last year by doing this and this, and they we’re like, yeah, this is way you’re going to take over. But eventually I had a crazy uncle who didn’t want me to farm. And so I started doing startups in the gaming sector and another things. What really led me to be entrepreneurial, and I was thinking back when I was listening to your show, especially when I was driving to Illinois to go back for Christmas, and it’s like, Man, what, what triggered me to be this way? I always accounted it to like my dad and being a farmer, building, building things, because you didn’t have the money to buy them, you know. Making, making things continue to work. But then I thought, hey, my aunt and uncle had like a small gun shop in Illinois, and my aunt would ask me or pay me to come with her to these trade shows, and I would act as like a salesman when I was in my young teens. It’s pretty wild to think how that would be perceived nowadays, but you know, it was, it was something. And my mom was always a great salesman as well, or salesperson, I should say. We would be selling candy bars and other things all year round for, for our private school that we went to. And we ended up being able to buy a scoreboard for the school. And I was like, man, so that’s what got me in the sales, got me willing to be able to talk to other people. My parents really pushed me to be an engineer. But I just, the math stopped working well around fourth grade.

Jay Clouse 9:31
Totally. I relate to that growing up and I’m probably a similar place, and being around a lot of farms helped me bridge this gap between growing, up on the farm, think you’re going to be a farmer, all the way up until your uncle told you not to be a farmer, sounds like. But where did video games enter your world and become so important that you went down a degree path with it at university and also started a whole gaming organization?

Jared Steffes 9:57
Yeah, I’ve been I’ve been trying to put the finger on that one. There’s, there’s a couple moments when I look back at things that defined me. One was playing, playing games on a Commodore 64 with my cousin and learning–Commodore 64 was brilliant, because you didn’t just shove in a disk and it booted up like it did on an Apple computer; you actually had to do like a little bit of coding to get this game to load. And sometimes you had different hardware, and you had to put in different exceptions at the end commands. And I was like, this is really cool. And luckily, when I was in kindergarten, I was put into, like this special program called Ace, and they, they started teaching us how to program on an Apple IIe. And so I was making like muds and you know, muds or like text based dungeon crawlers and building bitmaps out of where to put the pixels and trying to animate them. And that was all at, like public school, I loved it. But eventually I just really got into the design factor. I was playing games with a cousin of mine. And it’s crazy. I have a lot of cousins. I had like 32 cousins for a while. Now I have even more, some of them I haven’t even met. It’s bizarre. But one of them, Brett, we would play games and we would talk about how the design was at a young age. And it was Zombies Ate My Neighbors. We were like 56 levels in, I’m like, God know if they would have put this thing over there. And he’s like, yeah, I totally see it, it would have been much tougher. And from that point, I just looked at games a little bit differently, because here it was, if you’re a normal person, you put it in a game you’re like, Okay, this is magic. I have no idea how this is taking place, I have no idea how the cell phone works. But I wanted to figure out how it worked and why it worked the way it did, and it’s all because of psychology and the way human perceived making this thing enjoyable for us.

Jay Clouse 12:03
You mentioned that you graduated college with two and a half degrees, one of them in Game Design. What were the other two degrees in?

Jared Steffes 12:09
I wish it was in Game Design. So that program didn’t exist. So this is in beginning of 2000, the Millennium just began. There weren’t a whole lot of game development schools. There was like full sail and I think two other ones. And I, I needed to be near home to be able to make college work and farm life work. So I just ended up hanging out with the computer engineering school kids and the digital art kids. And they thought I was just part of their program. But I ended up getting a degree in Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship. There was no entrepreneurship program, and marketing new product development. So I figured that was sort of like being an entrepreneur. And I got a minor in Japanese Business Language. So I wanted to work for like Square Enix or Nintendo. You know, that’s, I figured if I could speak a little bit of business Japanese, I’d be halfway through the door.

Jay Clouse 13:11
So talk to us about after college. What, what happened next on this path?

Jared Steffes 13:15
Yeah, I ended up as farming. And I was working part time at a car dealership while I was in college. And so they had me in the parts department, and then I sort of infiltrated all the other departments because I wanted to understand how the entire business worked. And luckily, the GM of the dealership, you know, he, he sort of took me under his wing and would answer these weird questions I would have, like, how, why does this person make this much money when they bring in this much money to the business, and things like that. So I was like doing that and I got hooked into like this network of just strange people because everybody needs a car, and everybody wants to have a friend at a car dealership that can hook them up with a sweet deal. It’s just like bragging rights, you know? So ended up getting hooked up with these Ukrainian folks that started a nanoparticle business in Chicago. So if you’ve been to Chicago, there’s like this diamond building. He had the office right below the diamond. And I show up there one day, they, they bring me in, and there’s these film producers that, that were in the conference room. And this meeting just kept revolving around, it was driving me nuts. So after two hours, I just stood up and I said, Okay, I’m going to take over this whiteboard. I’m going to write down some ideas of everybody that was going on. So I just started doing like SWOT analysis and different stuff. And they’re like, What the hell’s going on? Who is this guy? And they’re like, we just brought him in because he knows about video games. And so they were working on a video game for Bravo TV for a film. And next thing you know, they’re like, Hey, would you be the GM of the game studio here? You seem to have a grasp on things.

Jay Clouse 15:02
Wow.

Jared Steffes 15:02
I’m like, Yeah, let’s let’s do that. I’m 25 Let’s get wild.

Jay Clouse 15:06
Wow.

Jared Steffes 15:07
And so started working in nano. We were building like 3d holographic displays on the side, and for some reason we we’re making video games as well. So that imploded, rightly and brilliantly. I can’t wait to tell that story one day in a book. It was nuts. I didn’t know postal workers could carry guns. And let’s just say like, it got, it got pretty cool. It’s, it’s spooky. But yeah.

Jay Clouse 15:41
Take us, take us forward to, obviously you’ve followed the evolution of gaming pretty closely for a long time, it seems. So take us forward to the point where streaming became something that was happening and how you got involved with that and, you know, eventually led to Muxy.

Jared Steffes 15:59
Yeah. With all that, I tried to keep my pulse on everything that was going on in the industry. Helped build one of the first iPhone games. Steve Jobs put it on the devices in the stores because if it featured Bluetooth multiplayer, and then cratered incentivized ad network called TapMe that was acquired, one of the first ad networks for mobile. So during this TapMe phase in my life, it was the beginning, of the end of the 2000s, early 2010, streaming started becoming like a focus. If you remember anybody who had the, the OG iPhone, people would come up and they’d be like, wait, that thing’s got YouTube on it, and you’re like, yeah, it also takes photos and has a calendar and all this other stuff. But no, YouTube was the selling factor of the OG iPhone. And a new video was going to become a giant place and, in, like, what we want, growing up we all wanted to be able to watch videos on the internet, and real player and things like that, just the, the internet wasn’t ready for it. Now with this 4G LTE and 5G revolution things, everybody saw progressing this way where it’s live all the time. Meerkat, Periscope. So I kept my pulse on, on things while the early mobile apps industry was going on. And I ended up getting hooked up with Destructoid people. I don’t know if you guy have ever heard of that gaming blog?

Jay Clouse 17:24
No.

Jared Steffes 17:25
Yeah, Destructo is awesome. It’s like the culture of gaming ran that block. So if you were really passionate, the founder, Nero, he’d just be like, yeah, you can write an article or you could do this and that. So, and then I’m making friends with these guys, John Carnage and Bobby Venom. And they were early Justin TV streamers. And so I’d go over to their place, and we’d stream like, Let’s Play or they would ask me questions about what’s going on in mobile. So it’s like, Yeah, I was on Justin TV in like 2011, stuff like that seeing the early innovation of live streaming, like, from a garbage tenderloin apartment in San Francisco, like it’s just one room, but it was a streaming room, a bedroom, and a kitchen. And I was like, okay, something, something may pop out of this. So I kept really close eye on it. And then eventually, I helped video start up their streaming channel on Twitch in like 2014. And it became the largest corporate channel on Twitch for quite a while. And that really allowed me the opportunity to get deep insight at the streaming world and see how this works, how, how people are typical employees. You know, it’s just like, the motivation was completely different than just money.

Eric Hornung 18:50
Explain, explain that a little bit more.

Jared Steffes 18:52
So, a lot of people when, when you start a job in an early age, say you’re beginning 20s or maybe like before you’re even 18, you’re like, Okay, this is cool. You know, I’m gonna have this money and I’m gonna use this money to buy stuff, but I’m gonna continue being me because I don’t necessarily need this. I don’t have anything to provide for, in a way. And with streaming, it’s, it’s like an attitude. So there was a time I was working at EA games after, after that nanoparticles startup and the GM of the studio, Kudos Sonoda, like, he taught me so damn much. I would sit up in his office and I’m like, why do you dress so cool? Like, how come you don’t look like a normal business person? He said, we’re rock stars that just can’t play instruments. When we go out on the street and we tell people we make video games, they look up to us. And I was like, Damn, you’re right. You know, I look up to you. I look up to everybody at this studio. You know, I just want to absorb everything here. And streaming is the same way. It’s like, I wear something, I wear it on stream, I’ve got a cool attitude, you’re gonna give me money, and you’re gonna buy what I’m wearing. It’s influencer marketing.

Jay Clouse 20:10
At what point did you become–I’m guessing you had to become kind of frustrated with some sort of constraints that were available on streaming for you guys to develop the toolset that you have with Muxy. So talk to me about what happened that was sort of a trigger to say, okay, everyone’s streaming, we’re doing these things, but there’s an element missing here, and we’re going to develop to solve for that.

Jared Steffes 20:30
Yeah. So we, we made streamers, a lot of money, a lot of money. My cofounder, Peter, he created a thing called the cheer cup, which became like a staple on Twitch and still continues to be. The idea was Twitch was creating their own monetization tool called bits, and bits is sort of like this Pachinko ball idea where in Japan like, you go into a parlor, you buy these Pachinko balls, you play a game with it, and then you cash in your balls and get something weird and then take it outside, you get cash for it. So bits, Twitch is like, Hey, we’re going to watch these bits, we need some tools to help prioritize this, you know, and make it, make it part of the system. So he’s like, what if we came up with this idea of a busking cup. And just like it’s sitting on a piano, and people are playing tunes, and you’re like making requests, you can put some dollars in here, i’s like, you can put bits in it. And he was smart enough to say, okay, the bits need to be interactive, because streaming is interactive. When you donate, when you follow, when you sub to somebody, we built tools that put your name up on the screen, and you could do custom animations, custom coding, that was the beauty of Muxy. And so with this cup, being able to drop in bits, I don’t know if I could swear, but they’ve ***bits, like the penny bits, you know, are nickels and dimes. So they would be a lower value and have a lower weight, velocity, and mass do it. But then there were viewers that were watching the pages of Twitch just looking for anybody with a cup, and they would come along and see a full cup on the preview page, show up, drop in a $100 bit, and it would explode the cup, they called it dunking. And the chat would just go wild, the streamer go wild, and they’re like No, don’t do it again. And then he’d just come in and drop another hundo. And eventually, like more of those people dropping hundo bits started paying attention. And next phase up, you got people dropping thousand dollar bits. And the whole thing was beautiful. You know, we made–at that time, partners were the only ones being able to use bits on Twitch. We made him like $6 or $7 million in six months. And Twitch took a great cut of that to like &1.5 million. And we got squat. So…

Jay Clouse 22:52
Why?

Jared Steffes 22:52
Why? Because there was no monetization in play for developers. And they’re continuously to not be. And that’s what really drove this dynamic shift for what developer tools are being built now are streamer tools by developers, and what our core focus is from Muxy, because there was no way for there to be a tax on the broadcast. And there was a period of time where we tried to put like a service tax for us providing this. It’s not cheap. And at 1% on a donation, $1 donation, we’d get a penny, we were being attacked by broadcasters. And when a broadcaster has got 400,000 followers on Twitter, those, a majority of those 400,000 followers are just gonna be insane and cause you a lot of grief and daxing and trouble.

Jay Clouse 23:49
So this sounds like a cultural thing. It wasn’t that Twitch was not making it possible for you to tax; it was that culturally, it just wasn’t accepted for the developer tool to be compensated.

Jared Steffes 24:01
Right. It’s sort of this free to play notion that I helped create, you know, when I was making mobile games. And there was just so much free software and it’s all undervalued.

Eric Hornung 24:11
So how do you change that now in that so Muxy can make money?

Jared Steffes 24:17
Well, you look at a look at where the money starts. So in the streaming space, the money starts, either with the viewers themselves doing these donations, these Patreon subscriptions bits, or on the broadcaster side, or the, like the product side who’s trying to sell the product through these influencers. And what we’ve discovered is, yeah, we tried that that influencer side with products, and there was a whole bunch of other companies that also followed suit. Really, the only value there is in managing the broadcaster’s, going out, facilitating these deals, bringing them in, and then, then saying, okay, we’re going to take a 20% cut on this deal. And that takes a lot of like headcount to be able to be an account executive for that many broadcasters. And Muxy is really an engineering firm. We’ve had the same engineers for almost nine years now working on the team. There’s been a previous previous exit before Muxy was started, and that engineering team is continuing to work together. So we can build brilliant things very quickly. And since this advertising or this account executives, talent agencies side is really, really sort of nascent and requires a lot of, a lot of resources that we don’t personally have, we’ve looked at who’s the other side: the video game developers. And there’s the opportunity there for us to come in and help them find a way to make money off of this. There’s one thing that the video game or the video game streaming industry doesn’t get compared to enough is the music industry. So with music, if you’re at a department store, you’re in an elevator, you’re, you’re using a karaoke machine at a bar or jukebox, the artist gets paid every time their song is played. But here in, in streaming, yeah, there’s a lot of people watching video games being played. That’s, that’s an insane amount of content and insane amount of money that have gone into that game that’s just being freely broadcasted. So how can we help a developer and a streamer make more revenue by playing games that have Muxy in it?

Jay Clouse 26:37
This seems like a really appropriate time for you to kind of give an overall explanation of what Muxy is.

Jared Steffes 26:44
Yeah, so Muxy is, we’re not necessarily a platform, we are a software as a service provider that allows interactive features to be added to video games and live experiences. So an example here is the very first Hunger Game movie, when Katniss Evergreen gets stunned by all those, all those nasty words, like ever jackets or something, bugs, and she’s just up in a tree just in pain, one of her fans pays money to send her some salt in inside of the game. And that ends up saving her and ultimately wins her game. So that person who sent her that can be like, Hey, I’m the one who sent her the salt, invite me to your dinner party. Give me, give me those updates. You know? That’s, that’s the psychology of gaming that I was talking about the beginning. This is like a way for all of us to be, to be part of it. I can imagine like back in Rome when there’d be gladiators being able to be the one to throw out a sword or growing up watching MLB baseball being played and you’re like, man, how come that kid gets to be like the Bat Boy, you know. And now it’s like, yeah, there’s there’s an opportunity to be able to provide that to people instead of games.

Jay Clouse 28:09
I love that. So what I see here in my research was that you guys have over 30 different extensions right now, which where I read it was over 30 twitch extensions.

Jared Steffes 28:19
Right.

Jay Clouse 28:19
When I think of extensions, I think of things like Chrome extensions, that allows the user go and download. So these extensions, does the viewer have to go and do that? Is it the streamer? Is it the the game developer itself? How do those extensions work and get placed in front of an end viewer?

Jared Steffes 28:35
Yeah, so it’s, it’s sort of beautiful, and it’s being figured out still, you know, there. There’s a lot of tests that are being done within Twitch, and they listen to developer feedback like ourselves. So a broadcaster, say Eric is streaming, and we’re watching Eric play Apex Legends. Eric’s like, I want to provide these experiences to my viewers. So he would potentially grab Muxy stream elements or stream labs, tech, you know, build his own overlays and things like that. So those, that would be the alerts, the viewer facing stuff. And Twitch allows what are called Twitch extensions. It’s different apps created by third party developers and in house by Twitch that Eric can force to be displayed to his viewers. So there’s, there’s a couple different elements to this, there’s the on-screen, which we call the overlay. And the overlay could either be the entire screen itself, or it could be these little components slots where these apps can live. And also, there are panel extensions. Those exist below the fold, below the video. And the main differences, the overlay extensions are only on while Eric is streaming. But the panel extensions persist even when he’s offline. And these apps are, they’re front end web apps that require a pretty massive back end server to be able to handle Twitch load, which is our specialty at Muxy.

Eric Hornung 30:03
It’s your specialty at Muxy. But do these extend beyond Twitch onto like Mixer and YouTube? Or is it just Twitch right now?

Jared Steffes 30:12
So right now we’re just Twitch. But what we’ve done is we’ve created Muxy in a way to provide this interactive technology on nearly any internet video platform. So the idea is we’re the Unity 3d of interactive technology. And with Unity 3d, you go in, you develop your game, and you’re able to port it out to Nintendo Switch, PC, web, Xbox, you know, any video game system. We want to be able to provide that for interactive tech. So you build once on Muxy’s med kit, and then wherever Muxy’s integrated, your interactive live Apple works.

Jay Clouse 30:52
You said video, which makes me think that this goes outside of gaming as well. Am I reading that correctly?

Jared Steffes 30:59
You are correct.

Jay Clouse 31:00
So anyone that’s broadcasting anything can add a layer of interactivity using the toolset that you guys have built at Muxy?

Jared Steffes 31:07
Yes. And we’ve demonstrated that so far. We’ve worked with the NBA G league. So the G league is their, their farm league. And we created this sort of interactive info, infotainment panel. And my favorite feature from that is the ability to do a thing called player boost. Player boosts is a simplified fantasy element to where, while the game is going on, you could choose a single player on the court, and if that player makes an assistant, a three point or something, you would earn loyalty points and receive like a pop up notification just like the Xbox achievements. So it’s like oh, your player just scored three, here’s 10 points, and then you can look at a leaderboard and compare yourself against all the other viewers that are going on. And the NBA could offer those, the top viewers prize packages and things like that, you know. And we can see like, maybe fantasy gambling or betting and stuff really become much more than it currently is. Like, I was never a big fan of like trying to predict the outcome before something took place like, Oh, you know, the Buffalo Bills are gonna beat the Chicago Bears. You know, I’m going to put this spread on it. Like no, I want to do something while the game is going on. We grew up, most people are growing up with a phone or a tablet in their hands, and they can’t focus on one thing anymore. So why not provide that information on the big screen display that everybody’s using?

Eric Hornung 32:38
When you expand out of gaming and into video content in general, there’s a lot of large entrenched players there. And a lot of different type of power dynamics. Have you guys felt any hurdles or pushback on Muxy?

Jared Steffes 32:53
Yeah, yeah, there, that’s why we’re sticking with a niche that we understand. Game development isn’t really quick to advance in areas. You know, when we look back at the past 10 years of what took place in, in mobile apps and mobile gaming, seeing how long it took the big players to start making moves or even take it serious, like look at Nintendo, how long it took them to get, build a mobile app. That’s something I knew was going to be a hurdle for Muxy. And so one thing I learned after doing the mobile ad network is we put the mobile ad network TapMe, we went after any developer. In these, you know, medium size, the triple A, the bigger developers, it was tricky. It was tough to figure out who they were at the time because it was early. But with Muxy, we said, Here are the five main people we need to go after, that’s where we’re gonna spend all of our resources. And we did that. We ended up getting the Overwatch League, The Video Game Awards, the NBA. And then we’re like, okay, people are starting to take this serious now because once you get these big tentpole clients, they influence the rest of the agency and the rest of the world.

Jay Clouse 34:10
You had this painful experience with the tip jar where you guys were cut out of the value chain. Now I’m, I know you are wary of that. So with these big clients like the NBA or Overwatch League, is the model here big, long-term contracts with these few big players, or do these streamers, when they go and install an extension, are they paying part of that, too?

Jared Steffes 34:32
So it’s, it’s sort of crazy. Since we are helping define this market, there’s really three, three ways for us to go down. And trying to manage all those, all the different directions at one time is is challenging, of course. You know, everybody wants you to focus on one thing. But focusing on one thing doesn’t always build a billion dollar company. You know, you have to be able to turn the ship pretty quickly to what’s going on. So we’ve identified that, yes, we’re going to handle these big tentpole clients in house, so we do have to continue building some of these experiences for them. Number two is we have to provide a robust software development kit and back end service that can handle agencies going out and creating these for other companies. And three, we need to be able to supply things to the esports industry. So that’s really where the streamer focus is. We do have like a product that we will be launching soon that we call Sandbox Control. It’s being used by escape rooms and Twitch to be able to allow viewers to drive what’s going on to the broadcast. So part of that is a heat map where viewers can click on the screen, and it shows up, and then the broadcast or producers can go and interact with that thing. So Meow Wolf has used that twice to build an interactive scape. And TBS has used at once in Boston to build like this, this space escape room was really cool. But on the esports side, we’re focusing on what the main issues that esports teams face, like building tools in that regard. And I was listening to a podcast yesterday from you guys with the eFuse one back during CES, and I was like, yep, he’s, I think, definitely identified an the area that we’ve even identified. So I was like, props to that. And, you know, using technology to solve that issue, it’s completely possible. And I can’t wait to reach out to him on Twitter and be like, here’s some feedback we’ve, we’ve experienced there that could help you out. Maybe even a partnership.

Jay Clouse 36:48
We can make it easier. We’ll, we’ll introduce you.

Jared Steffes 36:50
Hey, beautiful. That’s what I was leaning towards.

Jay Clouse 36:54
Eric, you have to bounce?

Jay Clouse 36:55
I do. But I have one last question before I leave. How has Twitch changed culturally, from a policies perspective, since Amazon took over?

Jared Steffes 37:06
There’s so many new employees, you know. So you can imagine what the politics must be like inside of there. And it’s a difficult ship, because here we faced issues ourselves with dealing with all the different personalities that are using the platform. Being the platform provider, I can’t fathom what that’s like. It’s gotta be significantly a pain in the butt to deal with. But we’ve got some really, like people have known Muxy for a while. We’ve been there through the rise of streaming and have had a lot of folks using our tech, and it’s, it’s nice to be counted on as, hey, these guys haven’t done anything ever to screw us over or people on our platform. So, you know, we have what I hope is like a VIP relationship with, within Twitch and continue to.

Jay Clouse 38:03
This has been awesome. I could definitely talk for another hour, but unfortunately I have to run, so.

Jared Steffes 38:08
Unfortunately, you got to pretend to be on a call.

Eric Hornung 38:10
Yeah, exactly.

Jared Steffes 38:12
Hey, it’s all right, dude. Nice to meet you, Eric.

Eric Hornung 38:14
Likewise.

Jay Clouse 38:15
I’ll finish it out here. So you have some crazy numbers on the website here. I think I saw something like 120 million people have participated in some sort of Muxy experience…

Jared Steffes 38:25
Yeah.

Jay Clouse 38:26
…since you guys have been out.

Jared Steffes 38:27
Yeah, it’s incredible.

Jay Clouse 38:28
What actually moves the needle for you guys? Is it having one streamer that has a ton of people doing it? Or is it trying something new in these big leaks? Like what, when you look at the future, and you have these three approaches you just laid out, what really has to go right first?

Jared Steffes 38:46
The most important thing that, when we talk to a new client, and they’re like, well, we’re talking to a couple different people that could possibly provide what you guys provide. We’re like, no, you’re not, and here’s why. You only have one chance to do your live stream correctly. And we’ve built, we spent an entire year building this service to facilitate millions of viewers punching the screen, clicking buttons at the same time. And traffic for livestream is completely different than a normal video game. So, like, one time, World of Warcraft was releasing a new patch, and I think it was still at this, and so everybody wanted to be there at the same time. And it got to the point where Blizzard had to kill every person that was live inside of the game because it was just getting out of hand. So we were like, how can we prevent those moments? And one of our very first streams with the Game Awards in 20…2017, there were I think it was 80,000 right operations a second, and we ended up like deprecating or hindering in AWS like operational hub, because we were just using up–I’m not very technical I, I can talk a little bit about it, but I just know that we ended up messing up the server for other companies. And after the event, we were like, We warned you guys this was going to happen. We’re doing this with Twitch. And they’re like, yeah, you guys are gonna have to figure out something else. You know, you’ve, you’ve outgrown Lamda and all the AWS services. So we get to sit there and spend a lot of money and time thinking about how to do this, and we’ve, we figured it out. Now we can, we don’t worry about the back end, you know.

Jay Clouse 40:36
When you say to a client, you only have one chance to get this live stream right, what do you mean by that? Why do they only have one chance and what type of livestream are they trying to do?

Jared Steffes 40:43
Say you’re, you’re the Grammy’s, you know, and you want to have some interactive feature during the Grammy’s for the viewers, say it’s a red carpet thing where viewers could vote on who’s got the coolest outfit or who they think is coming up next, and having gamifying that whole, that whole experience, making it more fun. You don’t get to be like, hey, pause, you know, we’re reading chat, we’re gonna start this thing over. No, it’s gotta work the entire time.

Jay Clouse 41:14
I have the unfortunate reality of being sucked back into American Idol for the first time in a decade right now.

Jared Steffes 41:20
Hey, it happens, man, whatever you relate to.

Jay Clouse 41:24
When you talk about powering video broadcasts, what about broadcasts that are being done live, but we’re pre-recorded. Probably doesn’t matter, right?

Jared Steffes 41:33
Doesn’t matter. One thing that we’ve spent a lot of time with is trying to do frame accuracy. So video technology is, it’s really interesting when you get to it. If you start watching a live stream, whether it’s on YouTube or Twitch, mixer, Facebook, you will drop frames as a viewer. So that means next time you refresh it, it’s going to be at likely further in the future than where you were currently watching. And you’ll say, why, why is that happening? And technology is catching up to where there is more frame accuracy. There’s faster than light technology that Mixer has and Twitch is doing low, low latency streaming. So we want to get to that point where, when an esports player, say somebody on the Minnesota Rockers Call of Duty League, like, gets a headshot, we want to be able to update that to the same time that the viewers experience it, so the viewers aren’t seeing the informationthe informproviding could be considered the future compared to what they’re currently perceiving in the video stream.

Jay Clouse 42:37
Very interesting.

Jared Steffes 42:38
Yeah, there’s a lot of technical issues here.

Jay Clouse 42:40
A minute ago, you mentioned being a billion dollar company or working towards being a billion dollar company.

Jared Steffes 42:47
Right.

Jay Clouse 42:47
And as a SaaS platform, there are a lot of billion dollar SaaS platforms; there aren’t a lot of billion dollar agencies, so to speak. So what does the future of Muxy look like to become a billion dollar company, if that is something you guys are shooting for?

Jared Steffes 43:02
Right. Um, we’d like to think that we, Muxy would be integrated into every, every game that’s coming out. You know, it’s, we’re part of that game’ sengine. And recently, we won an Unreal grant, and we’re working on getting Muxy integrated inside of the Unreal engine. So that way when a game developer’s like, okay, here’s the things I got to focus on, I got to make sure my games fun, you know, do the art, all the normal stuff for making a game back in the 90s, and now you have to worry about multiplayer and your recurring revenue. So what you’re hoping is, when your game launches, that there’ll be streamers playing it, influencers playing it, people on YouTube playing it, Twitch, Mixer, Facebook. And then you want to be able to capitalize on those viewers, because a lot of those viewers aren’t going to be playing your game. They don’t have time. There’s too much content and this is a way they enjoy watching aand experiencing in your game. So if there’s the opportunity for me as a viewer to buy the broadcaster a skin that I would want inside the game, yeah, I, Muxy would be able to do that. If, if there’s a way for me to spawn a boss on that broadcaster who’s just been moving through the game at lightning speed and make him 10x more powerful and have my name, Epic Power, above the boss, and the broadcast would be like, Jared, what, what the hell are you doing, you just spawned this dude on me, you messed up my flow, and the chat, which is go wild, you know, I would feel pretty, pretty stoked about that.

Jay Clouse 44:35
That sounds like you would have to have relationships with the game development platforms, and that’s where the real customer is that’s creating business value.

Jared Steffes 44:44
Yes, that’s where our sales team and the people, evangelics, you know, of Muxy and what we’re providing really come into play. And it’s pretty, it’s been pretty cool, like it’s been well received, especially last year at E3, I was just being introduced that, like, just tons of studio executive producers and things like that, and they were like, we keep hearing about audience interaction, audience engagement, and everybody says you’re the expert to talk to. I’m like, Yes, I am. Let’s, let’s talk. You know, we’ve been doing this twitch thing for quite a while, we understand the audience, we’ve got a lot of data. So let’s figure this out together.

Jay Clouse 45:24
This is interesting, because I’m guessing that the, the medkit or this toolkit that you’ve created, is basically what we’re hoping eventually becomes integrated into these systems. But in the immediate term, you’re building on top of that to service agency clients as well as other agencies. So you’ve created this thing that lets you do this service for developers but also allows other companies to compete directly with you for clients using your toolset. How do you reconcile that tension? Why is that, why is that something that you’ve made available?

Jared Steffes 45:59
That’s a healthy tension, because right now we, we have too many clients that we can’t service. And now, since we’ve, we’ve been around for a little while, a couple of years, it’s, we’ve got developers that we can lean on and trust, and say, Okay, Outdo, we think you guys should work with, with these developers over here, and you know, they’re going to use our technology, and we’ll be there to support them. And I believe other businesses have been built the same way. Like when you start looking at what Adobe actually does, you know, you think of Adobe and you’re like, oh, the Creative Suite. But my God, there are a lot of products, there’s a lot of things being developed in house for, for other customers. And it’s like, yeah, you know, people, people don’t see that side, because that’s not the normal consumer side of things. Because if you ask a streamer what Muxy does, they’re like, Oh, yeah, they’re an alert platform. But when you ask a game developer what Muxy does, they’re like, Oh, they do interaction, viewer interactive stuff, you know, things that we’re focusing on. So we’ve got this nice segue where a streamer is comfortable dealing with Muxy products and so as a developer.

Jay Clouse 47:14
I don’t know how quickly this industry will move. So I don’t know if this is a five year out or a 10 year out question. If this doesn’t happen, or if if Muxy no longer exists in five years or 10 years, what would have failed? Why would, why would you not be around in the future?

Jared Steffes 47:30
I would say the failure would be on obviously, it’s, we would carry the failure, and it would be that this whole experience of the viewer driving broadcaster behavior inside of the game wasn’t, wasn’t explained clearly, and…

Jay Clouse 47:50
So it’s not that you think that that would fail, that viewers wouldn’t want to impact the broadcaster. It’s a disconnect in like marketing and introducing the features to the market.

Jared Steffes 47:59
Correct, yeah, because we, we’ve already done test pilots where viewers have affected the video game itself. And one was with Rage 2, sure, but that’s like a triple A title, and the viewers were able to help revive the broadcaster whenever the broadcaster died by doing these quick time actions on the screen. And they would show up and say Twitch provided you 44% more health, and the broadcaster would be like, thanks, chat. You know, viewers, we, we want to connect. You know, people sit closer to the TV because they want to feel like they’re in the audience. And this is just another way. We’re at the point where I’m talking with clients right now, to be able to bring in virtual avatars to the stadium. And imagine if I could have got that across the finish line four months ago, you know, like WrestleMania would have actually had fans in the audience that were virtually placed there. Just shoot an AR camera over it, you know, by virtual items, stuff like that, put them into the wrestling game. It’s just, it’s limitless. We, we want to be connected all the time. Esports doesn’t necessarily need to be viewed in a, in an arena, which I love being there to watch a game, but I can’t travel across the world, you know, with all my favorite team, so why can’t I place myself virtually there?

Jay Clouse 49:29
Jared this has been awesome. Thanks for taking so much time. If people want to learn more about you or Muxy after the show, where should they go?

Jared Steffes 49:35
Yeah Muxy.io, M-U-X-Y-dot-I-O. And find me on Twitter Jared, J-A-R-E-D, Epic Power, E-P-I-C P-O-W-E-R. @Jaredepicpower.

Eric Hornung 49:50
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Jay Clouse 51:16
All right, Eric, we just spoke with Jared Steffes of Muxy. Where do you want to start this debrief?

Jay Clouse 51:22
I want to understand streaming culture, and like streaming. I just feel like I’m so on the outside of it, Jay.

Jay Clouse 51:29
I agree, which is good. What a better time to get on the inside of it than when even technologically literate people feel on the outside of it?

Jay Clouse 51:38
Yeah, it feels like we’re still kind of in that first…you know, the traditional business textbook, early Adopters curve?

Jay Clouse 51:46
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric Hornung 51:47
It feels like we’re still like way on the front end of that, even though so many people already watch video games online.,

Jay Clouse 51:54
Even just the infrastructure of setting this stuff up. After after we got the interview, I was asking Jared like hey, if I wanted to streamm like, what would I actually need to do to set up, because I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at OBS? OBS is this software platform, I think it’s called like Open Broadcasting Software or something. It is this hyper configurable, we’ll set up these presets for you to show any configuration of screens and overlays that you want. So you can have like this consistent looking, it’s like what people use to have themselves in the chair and also the screen and also stuff over that. It is an overwhelming piece of software. Like it is crazy, super powerful, super configurable, and absolutely overwhelming to me when I try to do anything in it. So it does seem like there’s this barrier to getting set up to stream. But Jared pointer doesn’t stop like stream labs being really easy. He said Twitch has a built in tool that helps things. So yeah, I mean, it’s something that I want to explore personally, and it does seem like a good time to get into this space, generally whether you’re an individual trying to stream or you’re a developer creating a development toolkit like Muxy is for streamers.

Jay Clouse 53:02
And there’s just so much innovation that can happen in this space when you have those new tools coming out that are enabling new ways of audiences engaging with personalities, because entertainments not a new industry. That has been around for forever; but including new tools for audiences and personalities to engage in, in real time, I’m very bullish on that as a future of entertainment outcome.

Jay Clouse 53:31
The cultural thing is interesting because if you listen to Jared’s story of the tip jar, that he and his team built, what sounded like relative outrage from people when they thought about, quote unquote, taxing the tip jar and taking a small cut of allowing the streamers to make quite a bit of money and allowing Twitch the platform to make quite a bit of money, that’s, that’s a cultural feeling that goes beyond gaming that I think is a little bit unfortunate. You know, if, if you are powering the ability for someone to make money like directly with your tool, it’s a shame to me that they weren’t able to monetize that. So it’s, it’s interesting to think from a model perspective how they’re going about it differently this time around to prevent that same problem and build a company that can make significant revenue, can be a billion dollar company, is something that he brought up before we brought it up. And I think they have a unique model and approach to that, all be it starting with quite a bit of services in the company.

Jay Clouse 54:30
I was thinking about this during the interview. There’s such a pushback in the venture thought leadership space on having services as a model. But in an industry that’s rapidly changing and adopting by having services, don’t you kind of stay more on the forefront of what’s happening around you?

Jay Clouse 54:50
Potentially. You know, I think the risk is if you have all of your team’s capacity wrapped up in the services side of the business now I hear what you’re saying. And I think it makes sense, which is the services give the insight to what should be automated and built to help people out. The, the interesting thing that I asked Jared after you had to pop off is like, they’re a development shop themselves for major partners. And to do that work, they built this develop, development toolkit. That same toolkit that they’re building on top of they make available to their direct service competitors, which is really interesting. I mean, they have a lot of leverage there, and anyone working with a competitor, who’s using the development toolkit by Muxy knows that ultimately, Muxy is playing a part in this. But it’s really interesting to have so much confidence in your business, in the demand for the services you’re offering to say, we can’t even fulfill all of that, we don’t want to fulfill all of that, we want to work towards the SaaS platform model, and we’ll make this available to other agencies to further show the value and need of our SaaS platform.

Jay Clouse 55:58
It’s weird because I think you see that, give the ideas away for free mentality a lot. I think Seth Godin talked about it on your other Podcast, where you commit podultery, but…

Jay Clouse 56:09
Podultery!

Jay Clouse 56:14
Quick plug for Jay’s other podcast. It’s called Creative Elements. It’s for freelancers. You guys should go check it out. All right back to upside programming here. But this idea that you give away your ideas for free because it’s all about the execution, it’s different when what you’re giving away is ideas coupled with engineering capabilities. And, yeah, there’s just an extreme level of confidence in we’re going to continue being the ones who are pushing this forward. And so any, maybe wevmiss out on some things and we gain some competitors because of this, but in the long run, we’re going to win because we’re the ones creating.

Jay Clouse 56:53
Well, I think it’s really smart because ultimately what they want is for their software to be built into the game development engines, the streaming platforms. They want to be a level of software within there, which is a highly valuable licensing play down the line, I think is the way that you would think about it. And if all of the people who are building services, custom services for these platforms are using the same software underneath of it, it becomes a much more compelling sales proposition to those platforms to say, just buy this and put it into it because people are using it on top of your software all the time. Whereas if all those competitors were building their own software stack to facilitate this, now, those platforms have to choose between all these different potential softwares to integrate into the platform. And so they’re kind of inserting themselves into the center of this world, making themselves the best candidate to be wrapped into that by allowing competitors to use it.

Jay Clouse 57:52
So I want to pivot a little bit to talking about that billion dollar company that Jared mentioned, and I don’t think there’s going to be any good bottoms up analysis here on products and all that. I think we, what we want to look at is how big is this wave, and maybe compare it to some things that, this is how I’m thinking about it, compare it to some things that we already know the size of the wave. The easiest parallel for me, and the one that I think you brought up in the interview, is if we’re looking at Muxy as a set of extensions for Twitch, then what if we looked at very successful extensions in the Chrome market as kind of comps? And the question that raises there for me is how big is Chrome compared to Twitch? I don’t have great numbers, but I have some rough numbers. So Chrome has over a billion downloads, and you can assume that majority of those are users of Chrome, whereas Twitch has, as of April 2020–and this is a spike month, so it’s a little higher–2.3 million concurrent users, concurrent viewers. So those are people who are watching streams at the same time. There’s also another–and this is as of March 2020, another approximately 4 million active streamers. So one thing that pops out to me that’s interesting that isn’t related to this comparison is that there’s double the amount of streamers as there are viewers on Twitch. The second thing that’s interesting to me is this, while the growth is much faster on Twitch, if you look back to just a year ago, there were only 1.2 million concurrent viewers on Twitch, so it’s, it’s doubled in effectively a year, just thinking about in terms of comparison between Chrome and Twitch obviously Twitch is faster growing, Chrome is more saturated, so there’s, should be something to take into consideration there. But Chrome is almost 1,000 times bigger than Twitch in terms of people who are using the product, which is crazy to think about. So when you look at some of the larger Chrome extensions that have sold, like Honey, which sold for $4 billion, the market size for Twitch extensions right now just seems smaller, but growing significantly faster, maybe. What do you think?

Jay Clouse 1:00:12
I agree with that, but they’re also in this position of, from what I can tell, they are the largest provider of extensions for Twitch right now. And anything is sort of a power loss, so they’re going to have 10x the opportunity as the 10th best option and twice as much opportunity as the second best option. So I don’t know, I don’t know what the value of these either licensing agreements are for the SDK that they’ve developed for the, this development kit. And I don’t know quite how big some of the services clients are. But I mean, if you’re, if you’re looking at this as an investor, you’re not really investing in…I don’t know, you probably can’t separate the revenue. And this is where we started this interview. It’s hard to look at this and say, I don’t really want to invest in the long term services part of this business. But again, if that is what is building, or allowing the insight to build an SDK that becomes super valuable down the line, that’s different. And this is all without talking about potential opportunities to go into other live broadcasts that aren’t gaming, which can be huge in and of itself. In the interview, I brought up things like American Idol, which I’ve unfortunately gotten wrapped into, at the end of American Idol, you’re voting for who you want to continue on. And to allow interactivity in real time with other people who are watching the show on top of that, I think there’s some really big opportunity for things like that, but I don’t know any of the competitors in that space either.

Jay Clouse 1:01:37
Yeah, I think as an investor here, you’re saying, Okay, how big is this wave? To me, it can get as big as Chrome. So this wave is growing, doubled in the last year. We can easily see it double going forward. So that’s, that’s a huge value indicator for me. And then to use the Mike Maples metaphor here that I think we’ve used on the podcast before, do we have the right surfer on the right surfboard who’s in the right position to catch the wave? And it seems like from Muxy, they’ve been waiting for the right way for a while, and it seems to be taking off. So yeah, there’s a lot of questions about the model and everything. But if you’re on the right wave, you can pivot to where value creates the most.

Jay Clouse 1:02:19
Let’s talk about that surfer. Because I don’t think we’ve spent enough time here talking about Jared and his background, which I do have a lot of conviction that he has a really great background to be doing what he’s doing right now.

Jay Clouse 1:02:30
I like how he casually threw in Oh, yeah, when I worked for EA Sports. I was like, Oh, you just jumped over that little, that little tidbit of background.

Jay Clouse 1:02:38
Definitely, definitely. Worked for EA Sports came in and was running…I forget how he put it, but in his early 20s they brought him in to run this Video Game Division within whatever big company this was. Moved on, he spent time at Nvidia, which he didn’t speak to directly in this, in this interview, but it’s clear that he has been in gaming, once he escaped farming, has been in gaming for quite some time, has a really good finger on the pulse, it seems, as to what’s going on. And if he is serving some of these streamers, including Ninja, he’s worked with Ninja for this game, he served up extensions to 120 million Twitch viewers, he’s just in a really good position to know what these streamers want, what their viewers want, and how to make that happen in between. So I have a lot of conviction that he’s, he’s a good surfer to back, to use your, your language.

Jay Clouse 1:03:29
That’s not my language. That’s Mike Maples. I can’t, I can’t be stealing that, you know, but it’s mine. Yeah, I would agree there. So Jay, what do you want to see from Muxy see in the next 12 to 18 months?

Jay Clouse 1:03:44
I don’t know if this is even lacking at this point, or if we just didn’t have enough time on this call because I couldn’t get my mic to work up the front. But maybe a little bit of focus. You know, I feel like we’re still talking kind of broadly about all of the opportunities that are here in front of Muxy. And what I really want to hear more of is, but here are the order in which we’re approaching these opportunities, and why we’re doing that order, and what that’s going to open up, you know, down the line. I would like to see them say, if we’re doing services work, here’s who we’re working with, and exactly why, here’s where the SDK is, and what will need to happen to get that SDK as part of some of these major platforms. I’m not even sure I’m using the right terminology here, but that’s how I understand it. But generally just some, some focus on what is the very precise almost surgical steps that need to happen for this to be a high growth, super high revenue software company and not just a services company.

Jay Clouse 1:04:43
I would push back on that if there is no clear surgical path. Like picking a clear surgical path makes sense if there is one that you see, but I think when things are changing so fast in the esports space like they are now–esports streaming, sorry, kind of conflating the two–if you have a lead and a set of skills and a great team in place, maybe it’s better to preserve optionality until you find the thing that is, you’re ready to go all out and in near terms surgically move forward, cut bait with everything else and dive in. So I think because Twitch and streaming and eSports and everything is growing so fast right now, doubling in the last year, I mean, if you look at from when he started in 2014, it’s up 7x, just in terms of average viewers, maybe there’s going to be more opportunities that open up that are that billion dollar opportunity that right now, by preserving optionality, they have a better chance to, one, be capitalized in a way that they can attack it quickly, and, two, will still be around to know what’s going on. So that’ll be my pushback there. But what what I want to see in the next 12 to 18 months, is how real is this? The streaming and esports, because I think what you’re seeing a lot of on Twitter and in discussions right now is, oh, because everyone’s quarantined, there’s this, everyone’s predicting oh, future of sports is esports, regular sports are done. People are gonna watch remote on their computers, look at the numbers, they’re, they’re spiking right now, and that’s not going to stop, it’s going to be this new thing. And while there’s a long term trend there, is it as immediate as everyone’s saying, and is it real? And does it move in a way that’s fast enough and grabbing a big enough chunk of the, of the other you and I, Jay, who, we’re technically savvy enough to watch Twitch, but yet we don’t on a regular basis? Is there something that brings in that type of crowd? And I don’t know if that, that’s a 12 or 18 month thing, but that’s what I would be keeping a finger on the pulse of and watching how that trend moves.

Jay Clouse 1:06:55
Alright guys, let’s hear what you think what you’re looking for from Muxy, what you thought about this interview. You can email us Hello@upside.fm or tweet at us @upsidefm, and let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, we’ll talk to you next week.

Interview begins: 6:29
Bebrief begins: 51:16

Jared Steffes is the co-founder and COO of Muxy.

Founded in 2014 and based in Austin, Texas, Muxy is an online service that develops interactive features for gaming and streaming platforms. Though optimized for Twitch, Muxy’s extensions can be used for multiple streaming and video uses. To date, they have had over 120 million interactions through Twitch and are regularly creating new experiences for streamers. Jared has worked in the game design field for the past decade, having before worked for some prominent companies such as EA Sports, TapMe, and NVidia.

We discuss:

  • Ad: Finding experienced employees for your new business with Integrity Power Search (5:20)
  • Jared’s initial start in video games (9:45)
  • Starting Muxy in tandem with streaming’s rise to popularity (15:41)
  • Missing interactions in gaming (20:10)
  • Current money-making strategies (24:17)
  • Adding and developing extensions (28:10)
  • Interactions beyond video games (30:52)
  • Helping define the video interactive market (34:10, 38:46)
  • Changes in Twitch since Amazon’s purchase (36:55)
  • Working towards a SaaS billion dollar company (42:40)
  • Allowing public use of Muxy’s development services (45:24)
  • What if Muxy fails? (47:14)
  • Ad: Connecting investors online through the OmniValley network

Learn more about Muxy: https://muxy.io/
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This episode is sponsored by Integrity Power Search, the #1 full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies.

Learn more about or get in touch with Integrity Power Search: https://upside.fm/integrity

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