Emmett Shear '01

Emmett Shear ’01 is CEO of Twitch (twitch.tv), a San Francisco-based social network for gamers. Sixty million unique users visit the site every month to watch and interact with more than one million broadcasters who are streaming live video feeds of the games they are playing.

Twitch is actually Emmett’s third startup innovation. After graduating from Yale in 2005 with a degree in Computer Science, he immediately co-founded his first company, Kiko Software, which introduced the first Ajax-based online calendar. After auctioning Kiko on eBay in 2006, Emmett jumped into another startup. This time it was Justin.tv, a website created by Emmett and three colleagues that pioneered live video on the Internet. “We dug into it further and asked users questions about what they cared about and wanted. Then we built a platform that made it easy for them to share videogames – it was the key feature they needed,” says Emmett. Thus, Twitch was born, complete with unique streaming-video technology.

In college, Emmett soaked up computer science skills, but the development of his growth mindset and creative thinking skills began at The Northwest School. “The education I got at Northwest was personally enriching and mind-opening to the possibilities in the world,” recalls Emmett. “The atmosphere was very encouraging for intellectual and artistic development.”

Emmett credits Northwest for being a safe environment in which he could try new things. He was encouraged as a student to tackle independent projects, which challenged him to stretch himself. Not only did he try new things, he failed and tried again. “One of the key meta-skills I got from Northwest was to not beat myself up when I didn’t succeed on the first try, but to use it as a teachable moment.”