Photo of Ben Rubin


Ben Rubin

The cofounder of a live-streaming video app explains what makes it tick.

Year Honored


Ben Rubin is talking about the key qualities of Meerkat, an app that helped fuel a live-streaming craze this year. Type in a subject, press a button to start filming with your smartphone camera, and Meerkat sends out a tweet with a link that your friends can click to watchand comment on if they want. That’s all it had to be, he says: “The medium is new, and if you make a complicated product in a medium that already makes people uncomfortable, you end up with zero adopters.”

One thing Rubin couldn’t control, however: after Meerkat got popular, Twitter began offering a similar app, Periscope, and cut off Meerkat’s access to its network. That made it harder for new users to find friends who also use Meerkat. The company has since let users connect Meerkat to their Facebook profiles.

Rubin envisions live-streaming eventually giving rise to a new form of entertainment: “an ongoing live show that is taking place in real time and involves the audience and everyone. Something where you’re no longer the couch potato; you’re part of the script.”

—Rachel Metz