Meeting the makers at Twitch: Fems & Daniël Lippens

It’s TwitchCon time! The huge convention organized by the world’s biggest streaming platform is coming to Rotterdam on 28, 29 and 30 June and thanks to our beloved partner Deloitte, we had the opportunity to give a student from Rotterdam the experience of a lifetime by interviewing Twitch’s Director of Community Marketing and Production Mary Kish. 

Imagine adding the Community Marketing and Production Director of Twitch to your network in preparation of starting your thesis. This is exactly what happened to Julius when we told him that Deloitte sent him to Ahoy Rotterdam for a chat with three well-known Twitch names. Packed with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and a backpack full of questions we headed to the venue. 

We as well as Julius had some burning questions for Mary, Fems and Daniël. Ranging from their motivation to start streaming to the importance of mental health in the world of streaming: they gave us some great insights on what it means to manage a huge community like Twitch’s and what the plans moving forward entail. In this first part we’ve talked to Dutch renown streamers Fems and Daniël Lippens, who’ve built their career and community over the past decade. 

Daniël, you’ve been a radio host for so long now. How different is it to stream on Twitch instead of on the radio? 

Daniël: Not that different, actually. The fact that it’s pretty similar is actually what drove me to Twitch. Because I started out doing internet radio back in the day and that’s pretty similar to what Twitch is now. We had an audio live stream and people could even react through MSN.  

Initially I’ve always wanted to do television, but you needed a really huge team to accomplish that. But over the years I’ve noticed that you don’t need such a huge team anymore to go live, and that’s exactly what Twitch is doing now. So that seemed to me like a natural next step in addition to what I was already doing. Twitch is basically the same as making radio nowadays, but with a chat that’s on steroids! 

Fems, like Daniël said: the Twitch chat can go wild sometimes. How do you keep up with this chat and find a natural balance between keeping up with it and playing your game? 

Fems: Whenever I start a stream, I just focus on the chat for a while and greet as many viewers as possible before actually diving into the content. Because whenever I’m playing a DJ set for example, it’s impossible to react to every question out there. Luckily, my audience knows that and doesn’t get disappointed by it in the slightest. 

So, I anticipate this. Every stream I start out with a small segment of just chatting with my viewers, greeting everyone, asking how their days went and stuff like that. This is when the chat goes wild and I can actively keep up with it, but whenever I dive into the actual gameplay or other content, the chat goes a bit slower because people are just chilling and enjoying the stream.

"Don't be afraid to make mistakes. If I didn't make them back then, I wouldn't know what works and what doesn't. Learn by trying!"

Fems - Twitch Streamer

Fems, earlier you mentioned you started out as a World of Warcraft streamer but later shifted to another target group. Did this shift evolve naturally or did your audience dictate what you needed to play? 

Fems: Honestly, I do whatever I like on stream. Of course I care what my audience thinks. For example, if they really dislike a certain type of content, I might skip it in the future, but I just try everything. And what I’ve noticed over the years is that my audience really enjoys me trying out different types of things. 

So, in the end the audience won’t dictate what I do, but I definitely keep in mind what sticks with them and what doesn’t. Because when they’re having more fun, I’m having more fun as well. And that’s also why I might try out games that are popular right now but won’t necessarily keep playing them just because they’re popular. 

Daniël: Can I touch on this? Because to me it’s really like a chicken and egg story. The reason something’s popular is because people enjoy it. So, you should at least give it a try to see if you enjoy it, but if you’re not and your audience notices, it’s never going to work out as a stream. Because people will subconsciously feel when you’re not having a good time and that’s not what you want. 

What did you both study to accomplish what you have and to end up where you are today? 

Fems: I actually started studying Biometrics, which is a medical study, but I quit because I’ve always had this urge that I wanted to do something creative. So, then I started doing Communication and Media, aiming to become a designer before I found out about Twitch through a friend. 

And I’ve always liked to play games, so I came up with a plan to design something for myself and see how it looks on stream while simultaneously doing something I love: gaming. It worked out quite well and I still actually work two days a week as a designer still. But it’s something I can still perfectly intergrate in my streams by designing my own visuals and emotes for example. 

Daniël: You shouldn’t ask me this question, haha! When I was about 16, I realized I wanted to be making media and I landed a job as a camera operator back in the day and I quit school at that time. After that I started making moves in media, so first as a camera man, later on the radio and then things just naturally ended up here.


"I believe that if you actually really want something hard enough to put in the work, it's going to happen."

Daniël Lippens - Twitch Streamer

Did you have any connections to end up here? 

Daniël: I just started doing my thing. I believe that if you actually really want something hard enough to put in the work, it’s going to happen. If you have the time, the patience and the dedication to actually put in the work, it’s going to come your way.  

And also studying is very important. Even when you want to become a good Twitch streamer, it’s essential to study what other people are doing as well to see what works and what doesn’t. The opportunity is there for the taking, but you need to be ready when that opportunity comes.  

In the core, Twitch and other streaming platforms do the same thing. But what makes the community aspect on Twitch so important? 

Daniël: It’s an origin story, really. Twitch originated from one person streaming his entire life for weeks on end and this fostered the culture of memes, emotes, and community. So even though other platforms have the exact same functions, people just don’t use them much in the same regard. Compare it to a night club for example. You have some of these really cool night clubs with a whole cult following and a unique vibe. Now you can put the exact same nightclub in a different city or district, but it won’t get the same cultural following as the original one does!

How do you deal with viewers that struggle with mental health, like feeling depressed? 

Fems: I talk about mental health a lot since I have an anxiety disorder myself which I was scared to talk about on my stream at first. I thought people might judge me or think about me differently, which obviously wasn’t the case at all. So, my streams are kind of open in terms of mental health. 

And I’ve experienced viewers with mental health issues before, like people posting their whole life story and how they’re feeling low in life and thinking about giving up for example. It’s really hard to deal with but I acknowledge them and try to talk about it and empathize with them in hopes of giving them a push in the right direction. 

But on the other hand, I’m not a psychologist. I can’t give the best advice on how to proceed from here on out. So, I try to nudge them in that direction to seek out the help they need and if I can be of any added value in that regard, that’s a huge win for me.  

What tip can you give a student that wants to start streaming? 

Fems: People have a feeling that whenever they start streaming, everything needs to be perfect. I know so many people who’ve spent 2,000 euros on high-end equipment and set up everything perfectly and then they start streaming and realize they don’t like it at all. So just start out by doing what you like to do and if you want to do something different afterwards, just try it.  

And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve made so many mistakes and did so many things that I would’ve done differently afterwards, but if I didn’t make these mistakes back then, I wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t for me. Long story short, don’t think about it too much! 

Daniël: I agree with Fems. In the end, it’s all about the content you’re creating, and no amount of gear can change if you’re enjoyable to watch or not. So, start out by seeing if engaging with the audience and actually making content is something you enjoy and if it is, you can always start contemplating investing in a better setup at a later stage. 


But wait, there’s more to come! Our interview with Mary Kish, the Director of Community Marketing & Productions from Twitch will be discussed in part two of this series and spoiler alert: she had some great insights to give as well. Stay tuned!