Jason Citron - Building the Third Place - [Founder’s Field Guide, EP.4]

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By Patrick O'Shaughnessy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

My guest today is Jason Citron, founder and CEO of Discord. Discord is one of the largest and fastest growing social networks in the world. It started as a place for gamers to congregate online, but thanks to how easy it makes it to create a community of any type and its offering of text, audio, and video as means of communication, it has expanded far beyond gaming. It has the potential to become the default digital “third place” that we go to find belonging in a variety of online communities. With over 100 million users, it’s also one of the most interesting communications service businesses since the original social networks rose to power.

Our conversation focuses on his background prior to Discord, Discord’s founding and growth, its business model and how it has evolved over the past 8 years, and what the future holds for Discord. As we talked, I had this sense that I’d be willing to go work for Jason, and I think you’ll see why. I hope you enjoy our wide ranging conversation.

This episode is brought to you by Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft for Startups is a global program dedicated to helping “enterprise-ready” B2B startups successfully scale their companies. If you’re a founder running a B2B company targeting the enterprise, you should definitely check them out.

This episode is also sponsored by Vanta. Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Show Notes

(3:17) – (First question) – Lessons from his time as a video game developer

(7:58) – Going from game developer to game development platform

(12:23) – From his first startup to Discord

(16:33) – Expressing the hypothesis of discord

(20:10) – How to know what signal to build upon

(22:11) – Early adoption of Discord

(26:17) – Getting the word out about Discord in the early days

(30:43) – Creating more than just a platform, but creating a third place for people to congregate

(32:38) – The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community

(32:55) – The evolution and expansion of the types of community using their platform

(37:27) – Discord’s business model and how it’s evolved

(41:32) – Enhancing communication through Nitro

(45:05) – Big principles for company building at Discord

(51:22) – His thoughts around competitive advantage for the platform

(52:55) – Creating a holistic experience for the users

(55:45) – What bothers him the most when hiring

(57:47) – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

226 episodes