To The Point - Ben Goldhaber
An interview with the Co-Founder and CEO of Juked.
Welcome to the second edition of To The Point, an interview series where we feature prominent figures from the video game and esports industry. This week we’re thrilled to welcome Ben “FishStix” Goldhaber, Co-Founder and CEO of the esports social network app, Juked.
Ben is an esports industry veteran who created GamesCast, an esports stream aggregator that made it easier to watch live events from a single website. He later joined the founding team at Twitch when it was still known as Justin.tv as their first ever gaming hire - helping it become the power house streaming platform it is today. We’re excited to chat with Ben about his career, the current state of the esports industry and his esports platform Juked.
Your career in the gaming industry has been very entrepreneurial so far, could you give us a brief overview?
I believe that entrepreneurial side projects are the best possible way to gain experience, connections, and a reputation in the industry. Building GamesCast.tv back in 2009 is what got my foot in the door at Twitch after all. Working on the GamesCast project gave the relevant experience and connections that made my career possible - I got to experience partnerships, marketing, social media, PR, and gained dozens of invaluable connections that have opened doors for me for the rest of my career.
I preach this all the time to people who are looking to get a job in esports! When I've hired for my teams over the past 13 years I always look for people who've taken initiative to build something outside of their day job, and weigh that over your resume or education every single time.
What were the main takeaways from your experience launching GamesCast.tv and Twitch that helped guide the development of Juked.gg?
Community has always been at the center of what I do and what I'm passionate about, and the same can be said for what we're building with the Juked app. We want to see esports flourish, first and foremost. That connection to the community was our superpower in the early days of Twitch, and we hope it can be as well as we get the Juked app off the ground :)
Do you think the esports industry as a whole is in a healthy state right now? What aspect is in need of immediate change?
I don't believe esports is healthy right now. Growth has been limited, in our opinion, by how inaccessible esports truly is. To follow esports, you have to scour Liquipedia, Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, YouTube, and other community sites almost daily. And the discussions that happen on these social channels tends to be shallow at best, toxic and hate-filled at worst.
Our mission with Juked is to solve all that, by creating the first true one-stop-shop for esports fans: a place where fans can follow their favorite games, teams, and leagues, and get everything they need to stay up to date. A place where they can join a community of like minded fans around the games and teams they love, without the toxicity.
We believe by fixing these core issues and making esports more accessible, we can unlock the true growth potential of the industry. That's what we're focused on.
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