Building in Public: Lessons from My First Twitch Streamsby@davidsoleinh
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Building in Public: Lessons from My First Twitch Streams

by David SoleJuly 8th, 2024
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Davidsoleinh is a "indie hacker" He began live-streaming his activities on platforms like Twitch and Kick. In July 2016, six months after completing his master's degree in Computer Vision, he created an App related with Pokemon Go. Google removed all Android apps from the Play Store.
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Some months ago I took the next step in sharing my experiences with a wider audience. I began live-streaming my activities on platforms like Twitch and Kick.

The motivation for this decision stemmed from the presentation by Charlie Coppinger, who emphasized the concept of "Building in Public on Twitch" inside the Small Bets community. Intrigued by his approach and after exploring his channel, I felt inspired to give it a try.

Setting up my Twitch stream proved to be a more intricate process than anticipated, involving considerations such as microphone setup, choosing the right streaming application, and application setup. I plan to get deeper into these technical aspects in upcoming posts, sharing insights and tips for those interested.

For my inaugural stream, I opted to play the video game Palworld, reminiscent of Pokemon but with a unique twist involving guns. While there were initial nerves, once immersed in the flow, the awareness of being live on camera faded away. A highlight from my first day of streaming was receiving a sudden "raid" on my channel, with around 20 people joining and engaging in lively chat to promote my content.

On the second day, I decided to share a different aspect of my life by streaming myself as a student. I like to learn, and this was a perfect occasion to use streaming as a tool. I undertook the "ChatGPT Prompt Engineering for Developers" course on the website. Given the course's content and my admiration for Andrew Ng's teachings from past experiences, I wanted to document my learning journey. Adhering to the website's Terms of Use, which discouraged streaming without prior written consent, I took a calculated risk. I blurred the screen and added ambient music to maintain compliance while sharing my educational experience.

Although the audience for this stream was limited, I found joy in combining my educational pursuits with the unique experience of live streaming. Even though there are always chances to get to a DMCA takedown when you use other’s content, I was lucky to not get into it.

Reflecting on a Past DMCA Takedown

In July 2016, six months after completing my master's degree in Computer Vision and venturing into my first indie hacker journey, the popular game app Pokemon Go made its debut. There was a lot of hype around the release, and the first web apps that gathered information about Pokemon locations started to appear. Those were my first steps in reverse engineering APIs on web apps but I wasn’t able to reverse engineer the Pokemon GO game. One of those web apps became the basis for my Android App, "Live PokeMap for Pokemon Go."

To prevent a potential DMCA takedown, I removed the content inside Pokemon images from the App.

Live Pokemap for Pokemon Go screenshot

I also incorporated Google AdMob ads to generate revenue, and the app gained traction quickly. The initial excitement culminated in a revenue of $43.03 on the first full day. That day I remember I couldn’t sleep from excitement, my brain was thinking about improvements and new features. I even fantasized about living off the app. However, my elation was short-lived as, on the fifth day, Google removed all Android apps revealing Pokemon locations from the Play Store.

Despite reaching over 20K downloads in the first days, the app's removal from the Play Store meant AdMob stopped displaying ads, resulting in no income. Nowadays, the app is still present on app crawlers like APKCombo, even though the app is not working.

This experience heightened my determination to continue building innovative projects while considering alternatives to relying solely on major platforms like Google or Apple.