Kayvon Beykpour

Co-Founder & CEO of Periscope

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 27, 2015

Discussion

Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
Hi! Kayvon here, I am the CEO and cofounder of Periscope, acquired by Twitter in 2015, which enables anyone to capture or watch a live video broadcast. Prior to Periscope, I led the Mobile division of Blackboard where I also served as a Senior Executive for four years after my startup was acquired.
Chris Sacca@sacca · Chairman, Lowercase Capital
@kayvz One of the toughest challenges for a startup CEO is prioritizing which features to build next. This is particularly true for a product as exciting as Periscope. What guides you in establishing the roadmap and choosing where the team should focus its energy?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@sacca hey Sacca. It's a mix of different inputs: 1) Our gut. There are features we just care deeply about experimenting with either because they feel right, or directionally they bring us closer to where we think the product should go. 2) Feedback from Periscopers! We're fortunate in that people who use our Product are comfortable sharing (on Twitter, over email and on Periscope) what they think is missing and what could be improved. 3) Scaling needs. This one is interesting because it's the least predictable. We've had to focus on so many "features" (many of these back-end or infrastructure, and some UX/user-facing) quite simply due to how insanely fast we've been growing. Focusing on this category of development is both necessary (to make sure the experience doesn't cripple as the ecosystem grows) and naturally more disruptive because it was harder to plan for. So the interesting/fun/challenging aspect is balancing inputs 1/2/3 in such a way that it feels like the product is growing, becoming more interesting, and adapting to the growing ecosystem.
Chris Sacca@sacca · Chairman, Lowercase Capital
@kayvz Well, it has worked extremely well for you so far. So, thanks for sharing how you think about this stuff.
Ray Garcia@raygcreative · Founder @teleporme
@sacca Great question Chris and a great answer by @kayvz as well.
Hunter Walk@hunterwalk · Partner, Homebrew
There's lots of action happening in vertical live streaming - Twitch, Twitch for coding, twitch for designers, twitch for ____. How do you see persicope playing in this vertical live streaming segment?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@hunterwalk I think there's a fascinating opportunity for live streaming use cases to evolve towards a broader use cases, but right now our focus for Periscope is staying true to why we started the company in the first place: to show the world through someone's eyes. We need (and want) to nail that.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@kayvz you've compared Periscope to teleportation, which I think is an apt reference considering where it's going. I'm super excited to see how livestreaming changes the way we see the world and new technology like VR has a huge potential to influence this space. P.S. Here's a list of teleportation apps".
Danny Espinoza@abcdannye · Founder @looksyvideo
@rrhoover can you consider @getonlow for inclusion on this list? :)
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@kayvz Hey Kayvon - Thanks for joining. I know it's impossible to know for sure, but I want to ask: How would things have been different if Twitter had not acquired you and you'd built this independently? I know you and @Jess crafted a master deal that made everyone happy - How should other companies who have similar opportunities structure the deal to make sure everyone wins?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@eriktorenberg Hey Erik. Thanks for making this whole thing (PH) and inviting me. Who knows! I think being apart of Twitter (one of the most recognizable and pervasive brands in the world) really helped our reach and distribution out the gate, and on an ongoing basis. So it would have been a lot harder for us to get out of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber. Most of the compelling and mind blowing use cases of Periscope have been outside of the tech bubble (presidents using Periscope to share with their citizens, journalists using Periscope to cross borders with refugees, citizen journalists using it to share Bangkok bombing aftermath, protests in Baltimore/etc). It would have taken a lot longer for Periscope to have even been known as a tool that these folks knew they could use.
Tarikh Korula@tarikh · Co-founder @KatchHQ
We love Periscope! Any plans for an API?
@tarikh *A publicly supported API. The private API is nice, but having to figure out what everything means/relates to and keeping up with rapid changes is a PITA.. ;)
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@tarikh At some point!
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@cjhbtn Keyword: "Private" API, chris ;)
Ryan Sarver@rsarver · Partner at @redpointvc. <3er of products
What in your background has most influenced who you are as a founder and leader?
Hunter Walk@hunterwalk · Partner, Homebrew
@rsarver boring
Shane Mac@shanemac · CEO of Assist
@hunterwalk super boring. ;)
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@rsarver A random assortment of thoughts: - Both my parents are entrepreneurs, in totally different ways. My dad helped his dad run their business when they moved to SF from Iran. My mom quit her job when I was born to start a home-day-care, which she still runs. Growing up in that environment I think had a huge (if not subconscious) impact on my desire to do build something from nothing - I was really fortunate to spend time at Stanford, surrounded by insanely smart people who had really ambitious ideas and were daring enough to pursue them even if they sounded crazy. - I was really fortunate in that I've been best friends with two chaps, Joe Bernstein and Aaron Wasserman since elementary school. Joe, Aaron and I have "worked" together since we were kids. Having such a tight group helped us all feel like we could pursue any idea together. - Focusing on HCI (human computer interaction) really helped tune my interest / eye towards design and products. I think this just made me more curious about observing the design of all things
Doug Astor@theezaven · product hunter-gatherer
Sameer Noorani@sameernoorani · CEO, Roomvine
@kayvz What were the chain of events and the process that led to your acquisition? [Edited]
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@sameernoorani 1) Our product (in beta form) felt really special. Our beta users seemed to agree! 2) @jess found us, and introduced us to @dickc and @jack 3) Twitter believed in us, and gave us the opportunity to bring Periscope to life with Twitter's support, in a way that made us still feel like we were running a startup. 4) We decided that Periscope could reach it's potential faster/better/stronger with Twitter' support.
Sameer Noorani@sameernoorani · CEO, Roomvine
@kayvz Awesome journey and smart choices. All the best going forward! Did you have funding offers at that time? If so, could you share the raise you turned down?
Patrick Edgett@patrickedgett · Entrepreneur.
@kayvz is there a live broadcast of this session on Periscope?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@patrickedgett Woah! Good point. I hear there's an app for that! Just doing this on PH this time. Plus, every time I do a Q&A on Periscope I get a text from my mom saying "Your face is too close to the camera" so i thought i'd do this one text-only for once ;)
ED@aten · CEO & Designer, Merchbar.com
@kayvz - How did you guys test and refine the features and functionality of the app prior to officially launching? (from a ux not load/scaling perspective)
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@aten I wish I had a better answer other than: 1) Our gut 2) Having an incredible early/small team that makes (in retrospect!) great gut decisions, and has the ability to tune/tweak as we iterated quickly. @tyhan1 was a big part of this. I think he's one of the best and insightful UX/UI designers, period. The 9 months of Periscope's development process was basically us building, trying/using, and iterating. Some things felt great, some didn't. We just kept going (and it was sometimes REALLY hard/frustrating) until we got to a place where we felt like we had something special.
Shane Mac@shanemac · CEO of Assist
@kayvz I heard you had great beta users too.
Bethany Kiser@bethanykiser · Website/e-publications mgr, public power
@kayvz Is your team working on any new features that would enable a broadcaster to block sexual comments? It is an ongoing problem for female broadcasters. Would love to have the ability to set keyword filters to auto block words from appearing in the live comments.
Carlos Jaramillo@cabad79 · Fundador Krecr
@kayvz can you give some tips to improve operational efficiency in my Startup and be ready to scale quickly after?
Craig Watson@cdcwatson · Co-Founder of Retro Patents
What are your thoughts around the live streaming of music events (concerts, club sets etc)? Ignoring the copyright issues for now, it feels like the timing is right to bring more live music to fans through a channel such as Periscope.
Pascal Thellmann@pascalthellmann · CMO Bounty0x
@kayvz i'm 15 years old and very interested in entrepreneurship. Until now I've never started a project were I earned more than 50$, but I believe that one day my big succes will come. Do you have any stories from your childhood related to entrepreneurship (or an advice)?
Happy Trails@happytrailsanim · CEO, Happy Trails Animation
@pascalthellmann I would say that entrepreneurship is more about spirit. It is about harnessing the spirit from within the individual.. this is something that can not be taught. So with that in mind keep pushing forward and trying to build up your visions on your own now... start as young as possible. A true entrepreneur never sees failure only opportunities and lessons.
Pascal Thellmann@pascalthellmann · CMO Bounty0x
@happytrailsanim thanks for your advice :).
Mohit@mohitify · Developer - Product - UX - Mobile - SF
@kayvz Hi Kavyon. Who do you think are your prime users. For what kind of users does periscope make most sense?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@mphreak I think our prime customers are: 1) People who want to reach an audience, either because they're sharing something on their mind, or something that's happening in the world around them. A celebrate; a protest; their dog running on the beach; refugees crossing a border; or a fleeting thought they want to share with others. Our job is to give them reach, and to give them that reach quickly and easily. 2) People who want to see the world, now. Our job is to let them do that quickly (literally, FIRST). When something happens in the world, we want Periscope to be the place where you naturally go to. And when somebody you care about is showing something or sharing, you should be able to see that too. That's why, as part of our vision, we think about Periscope (hopefully, in the future) being a platform for "Truth". What you see is happening. It's not edited or filtered. It's real. It's now. It's truth.
Hari Jeevakumar@harijeevakumar
Hi @kayvz, can you talk about a time when you failed at something and what you learned from that experience?
Sallar Khorramshahi@sallarkhorram · CBO @ CrowdFundingPlanning.com
Where do you see Periscope (Live Stream specifically) headed as it's own social medium? Also, any enhanced analytic plans in the works for Periscope?
AJ@alanaut24 · Engitrepresigner
Hello @kayvz! Why did you choose mobile over a web based application and what new feature are you most excited about implementing?
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@alanaut24 We wanted Periscope to be a way for people to discover the world, through other people's eyes. Most of the interesting things happening in the world aren't in your living room where your desktop/laptop is :) So building a tool for people to use on the device in their pocket was important.
Brent Summers@brentsum · Founder, Code-Free Startup
@kayvz Thanks for coming by: 1. if you could go back to the earliest days of Periscope, what would you change and why? 2. How's your experience been working with @sacca? :)
Chris Sacca@sacca · Chairman, Lowercase Capital
@brentsum I will say that I have felt very lucky to "work" with @kayvz. To be clear, I am just a user and an investor in the parent company, no actual working together. But, during the pre-launch and launch period I became pretty obsessed with Periscope. That meant that Kayvon had to weather a barrage of 24/7 DMs from me, at least a hopefully small percentage of which were helpful to him and the team. But to sum it up, I am a fanboy.
Kayvon Beykpour@kayvz · Co-Founder & CEO, Periscope App
@brentsum 1. it may sound cheesy, but i'm not sure I'd change a thing. Every roadblock, challenge and point of frustration we got to helped us ultimately get to where we are now. 2. @sacca and I got introduced in the few weeks leading up to our launch. It's rare to see somebody so excited about a product, and to be so proactive about evangelizing it with friends/peers. So I have huge appreciation for how much time/effort he spent in spreading the word and believing in the product.
John Owen@thejohnowen · Program Mgr, Wright State Research Inst
@kayvz What's the biggest thing communities (universities, government, service businesses & nonprofits) should be doing to support entrepreneurs and their startup businesses?
Zach@hellozache
@kayvz How did you come up with the idea to start Periscope? What inspired you?