Office Hours: I am the founder of NEWNESS, a live streaming platform for the beauty community and previously founded and led 3 departments at Twitch, growing the company from 100 to 1.5K+ employees.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Jenny Qian, co-founder and CEO of NEWNESS, a live streaming platform for the beauty community. Before founding NEWNESS, I spent 4.5 years at Twitch, helping to grow the company from 100 to 1,500+ employees. At Twitch, I founded and led 3 business departments, and was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for my contributions. I am a proud dog mom and retired mom-ager of Wilbur and Harold (@theproperpupper), two adorable French Bulldogs. Ask me anything about strategy, leading teams, scaling, the founder journey, live streaming, content, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @jennyq!Elphas – please ask @jennyq your questions before Friday, March 26th. @jennyq may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hey @jennyq! Thanks for offering office hours! I lead our talent acquisition team at Kinship, a pet care technology company that is scaling quickly through acquisition, organic growth, and expanding internationally. What is the healthy ratio of recruiters : open jobs, and how did you ensure optimal talent density as you grew and hired fast?
Hi Jenny!A few things:How did you come up with the idea for newness?Love to learn more about your process for testing and validating ideas.
Thanks for answering questions, @jennyq!Why did you decide to start a new live streaming platform, instead of building community on or using the platforms (such as Twitch) that already exist? I think beauty is an ideal community for live streaming. What do you see is the role of live streaming for shopping? (beauty and/or fashion?)
The beauty community is incredibly special and deserves something built specifically for its needs. While there are livestreaming platforms out there already, none are built specifically for beauty. Existing platforms already had their community norms ingrained in them, and there are so many nuances to the beauty community and all the wonderful ways they show up for one another – we want to capture all those nuances in our product. I think beauty is such a powerful conduit for connection. It’s inherently social in nature, and naturally lends itself to live shopping! We’re actually already seeing it on NEWNESS with both beauty and fashion streams.
"While there are livestreaming platforms out there already, none are built specifically for beauty." - this makes total sense! Thanks for answering my questions, Jenny!
Nice to meet you @jennyqThis is awesome! I am interested in creating a live streaming platform for dancers and performing artists so this is a very timely post! I am sure you faced some opposition with your idea. How did you convince people that this was important to do right now? How did you find your co-founder and what skills did you look for to complement your own?I also see you are a fellow Longhorn #HookemHorns
Yay Longhorns. Hook em!!!In regards to finding a cofounder: this was a struggle for me. I spent 6 months trying to find one and almost threw in the towel (I was about to go through all my savings.) First, I wanted someone I could trust, so I only looked in my existing network. I also wanted someone equally as fearless, because there’s so much uncertainty in being a founder. I met so many people who told me they loved the idea but timing just didn’t work out or they wanted to see traction first before joining. Every week there’s a new challenge and I wanted a partner – someone that was equally excited to tackle challenges (instead of feeling intimidated by all the things that could go wrong in a startup). There’s a million things that can go wrong. But there’s also hope that it could work out, and that we can bring something magical into the world. Find someone that can lift you up. I also wanted someone that I really get along with. My cofounder Youri and I call each other work wifey--we are literally “wifey” in our phone contact. Like a marriage, trust and respect are the foundations to a good cofounder relationship. It also helps to find someone with a complementary skill set – for me that was finding someone technical. We have a clear split in responsibilities. However, I would say the skillset portion is the least critical. I used to think it was important to find someone with completely complementary skills so the two of us combined covers all the functional areas within a department. Now, I think this is the least important. Just find someone complementary enough. Any additional skills you need, you can always supplement with mentors, advisors and investors. The skills needed will always evolve with the business anyways. In regards to “why now”... the landscape of social media is changing, and I really believe we’re about to witness the next wave of social platforms. Many of the platforms today leave us feeling more lonely and less connected. This is only exacerbated by the pandemic. I also read a stat somewhere that around 50% of consumers are fatigued from sponsored content and are starting to disengage. Now, I’m not opposed to sponsored content, but I personally don’t like it when content feels salesy. And static video or posts can only go so far whereas livestreaming allows for conversation. There’s more cues for the viewer to see if the creator really loves that product or if they are just pushing product to make a quick buck. Also, NEWNESS allows for creators to make money directly from their community. If creators are no longer dependent on only sponsorships to make a living, they have more creative freedom and can be more authentic with their opinions. And I think the connection and authenticity is what so many of us are craving these days.
Hi Jenny, Newness looks really cool! What sort of audience size do you have? I work with a number of beauty, skincare, and wellness brands who are looking to expand their reach! Would love to send some new brand partners your way if it's a good fit!
Could you talk about about your career progression? As someone who is starting out in her career, I’m always curious about the story of how people come to be at the role they have today. You don’t have to go in-depth. A high level overview is fine. Thanks for your time!
Of course! I started off my career in investment banking. I was assigned to oil and gas investment banking because I’m originally from Texas, but energy couldn’t be further removed from what I’m really excited about : beauty, fashion, and gaming. After two years, I was really craving something fast paced. That’s when I first discovered tech. I loved the speed of innovation and the buzz of startups, but I soon realized my heart wasn’t in enterprise. I needed to be on the consumer side. In particular, I wanted to work on something I was actually passionate about. I started interviewing for fashion tech and gaming and Twitch just happened to be the first offer I got. At that point, I was hooked on League of Legends (squishy midlane assassins anyone?) and had spent countless nights staying up until 5am chasing that final victory. I ended up at Twitch and I fell head over heels in love with it. But I didn’t love my role, and ended up having an honest conversation with the CFO and proposing a new department called BizOps. I wanted to work on something more forward looking and strategic, and BizOps was the internal strategy team that didn’t exist yet at the company. I’m so grateful — he believed in me and really gave me the chance to build out that department. It was one of the best professional decisions of my life. I didn’t know this then, but I firmly believe in it now. Pick the company you want to work for first, not the role. Get in the door. Prove yourself. And don’t be afraid to ask / create that perfect role for yourself. So after running BizOps for 3 years, I decided it was time for a new learning experience. By this point, I had seen all sides of the business except for engineering. It was the one area I knew the least about, so I asked the CFO if I could transition my department and try something new there. He shared with me that there was a new, nebulous role there working for the GM. I jumped on this opportunity and it eventually became the Business Strategy department for the Twitch Video Platform. And then I caught the entrepreneurial bug and I quit. I just couldn’t stop thinking about NEWNESS. The first few months of being a solo founder was brutal and things really took a turn for the better when I finally found my dream cofounder. I’ll share more on NEWNESS in the subsequent posts, but want to share that starting a company is the scariest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is also by far the most fulfilling.
Thank you so much for sharing your back story. This is very inspiring. I'm glad to hear that you took a plunge to work to create your own department. :)
Hi @jennyqWow that is so exciting!It is so wonderful to see a company doing so well!Question, because your company is growing, do you need a new office to "grow" into? This is something I can help with!! If you would like me to message you on a private chat please let me know?Many thanks,Harriet
Hi Jenny, thanks for doing this! Really inspiring seeing the way you took the essence of what you enjoyed at Twitch, and re-imagined it for the beauty sector. Curious - how did you manage to convince early adopters to stream on your platform? Did you look for influencers who were already at the intersection of gaming/live streaming + beauty, or did you have to frame your messaging in a certain way?
Hi Tessa. Thank you!The earliest adopters were the hardest to get! A lot of the people we brought on early were friends, friends of friends, or creators we followed and admired on social already. A large part of it is really just rolling up your sleeves and sharing your vision, hoping that someone else feels the same way that you do. Being resourceful and also not giving up. We were also very intentional when hiring — our team is made up of people with varied yet complementary skill sets and networks. For example, my cofounder and I both came from Twitch, but our earliest hires all came from beauty. (More specifically, Glossier — they had experience in community and brand building from a beauty lens.)
Hi Jenny, thanks for doing this :)A more scientific question. There is a lot of bad/dangerous advice running around the beauty community, namely with promoting dangerous products or dangerous practices that in a bad situation can send people to the hospital. How does NEWNESS have a grasp on this kind of information being spread and is there ways that this misinformation can be controlled in a real time environment such as live streaming? Thank you 😇
Hi Jenny, NEWNESS looks awesome! I love the idea of flipping "the traditional brand/community model on its head" that you mention on the brand waitlist. How did you come up with this idea?
Community is such a buzzword these days. I’ve always longed for something more from brands. Every brand claims to have community, but when we dig deeper it’s just a bunch of customers. We believe conversation and non-transactional relationships are the start of everything. What if we can help deepen brand advocacy and create real emotional connections between a brand and their customers? That’s what turns customers into a community. What if the community is looped in and actually has a voice in things that are usually done behind closed doors, like product development? Instead of being told “this is the next trend”, there’s an opportunity for brands and the beauty community to co-create content, products and trends together.