Meeting the makers at Twitch: Mary Kish

The world’s largest streaming platform’s own event, TwitchCon, 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, following an interesting interview with two of the Netherland’s top streamers, Fems & Daniel Lippens.

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. 

In this second part, we had the opportunity to sit down with Mary Kish, the Community Marketing & Production Director of Twitch. She lives by the credo “To know your audience, you have to be your audience” and that’s why Mary still streams herself and is constantly engaging with the Twitch audience to see what moves and drives them. She was delighted to talk to us about how she got into streaming, what the importance of a community means on Twitch and here’s what she told us: 

Dan Clancy, the CEO of Twitch, told us in a Q & A that he loves streaming, but isn’t really into games that much and rather makes music. What about yourself? 

I’m originally a gamer. I started out reviewing games but was always fascinated by the live streaming aspect of it all. Like most people, I got into it as a hobby, because I’ve always been the most excited when I could just stream the newest games to release.  

Over the years I’ve kind of developed this kind of instict to think whenever I’m playing a game: “Why am I not streaming this?”. Over the past ten years this hasn’t changed one bit. I still very much enjoy streaming whatever’s out now. It just adds tremendously to the experience. For example: playing Lethal Company is fun, but streaming Lethal Company is insane. 

Games like League of Legends and Rocket League are great examples too. These games have those amazing comeback or other epic moments and those are the perfect moments to be thinking “everyone should have seen that”. So yes, whatever I’m playing, you can probably find me playing it while streaming! 

Over time you develop the skill the look at the chat every now and then to answer questions and really engage with your community. Practice makes perfect!

Mary Kish - Twitch Director of Community Marketing & Production

You’ve had quite the career path already: starting out as a game reviewer and ending up as the Director of Community Marketing at Twitch. But what did you study to end up where you did? 

I went to school for video production, I was always kind of fascinated with post-production. My dream when I was in college was to become the person who cut the trailers for GTA. That was my dream job, but obviously that’s a very difficult job to get! 

And so I settled, like many people. I started working at a video company that sometimes would get clients in the video game industry. I cut the trailers for those games and even though it were just small, mobile games, but I cut the trailers and I felt really good about that. 

This is what I did for a couple of years before landing my big break. Besides my job I was always making ‘fake’ game reviews, pretending to be a real game reviewer. When an opportunity arose, I just sent those in and landed a job as a game reviewer. During the next years I was reviewing games but like I said I kept being fascinated by the live streaming aspect which obviously grew tremendously over the past ten years. And that’s how I ended up at Twitch which is heavily focused on video of course so you could say that the circle is now complete! 



Looking at Twitch the community is an important factor in the success of the platform. What makes the community aspect is more important on Twitch than on other streaming services? 

There are different values to each service out there. The question is: “What’s the best place for the piece of content that you’ve created?”. The Twitch community is there for what’s happening right now and to witness organic reactions, whereas other platforms are excelling in video’s on demand for example.  

If you want to see the latest, you hop on Twitch and see someone’s reaction to a new update or new game live. And that’s what Twitch is all about. All the content on our platform, is happening live so when you want to find a community or streamer that you can instantly engage with, you know you can find it on Twitch, whereas on other services other types of content will pop up when you’re looking up specific games or activities. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those, but that’s why the community aspect is in such high regard on Twitch. 

When you’re livestreaming, how do you keep a healthy balance between playing your game and interacting with your community? 

Well, that takes some skill, and you’ll build it over time like a muscle! The first time you go live, it’s quite difficult to separate the screen from your video game and we will all struggle a bit with which one you should be focusing on.  

But something I’ve learned to get adjusted to is to notice in my peripheral vision is if chat is moving really fast, something interesting is happening. So I don’t have to always actively look at the chat to know that something funny or exciting is happening and that’s when you can react. But over time you also develop the skill the look at the chat every now and then to answer questions and really engage with your community. Practice makes perfect! 


Whenever you set your boundaries from the beginning, your community will tend to be accepting of your boundaries, but it's always your own responsibility to maintain them.

Mary Kish - Twitch Director of Community Marketing & Production

Over the last years parasocial relationships have become more and more of a hot topic for streamers. What’s Twitch’s take on this? 

You can absolutely make connections with people you don’t really know, and streaming tends to build that up a little bit more because you’re looking at these people in their home. You can see their dog bothering them while gaming or their mom coming in telling them they forgot to take out the trash for example. And that can really help while building a community because people are getting really close to you as a streamer. 

On the other hand of that spectrum however, the streamer is still a performer. In the end they’re putting on a show and there should be really important boundaries. As soon as you go live for the first time, you should set those boundaries for yourself: “What do I find acceptable for my audience to see?”. 

Whenever you set those boundaries from the beginning, your community will tend to be accepting of your boundaries, but it’s always your own responsibility to maintain those boundaries.  

What’s the one tip you like to give students who want to start live streaming on Twitch? 

You don’t need any kind of high-end equipment in order to go live for the first time. Enjoy going live for the very first time. Try it and see if you enjoy it. Figure out what you like. If you like playing games with your friends, then go live and see if you enjoy strangers watching you play those same games.  

And if it brings you joy, then over time, invest in your set up. But it’s all about going live and see if you enjoy it first. You’ll probably have close to no viewers the first few times. Are you still enjoying being live when this is the case? If so, you can start building from there on out. So give it a whirl! 

After the insightful answers these three lovely people gave us, we can’t wait to travel to Ahoy Rotterdam again at the end of June to experience three days full of excitement at TwitchCon. We want to thank Fems, Daniël and Mary for taking the time to talk with us and Deloitte for making it possible for a student to experience an event like this from up close. 

So whether you’re a streamer yourself, love watching streams in your free time or just generally interested in the streaming environment, TwitchCon is the place to be this summer! Will we see you there?