#86: Mitch Long AKA OG Pickle [Networking] – Building brands for influencers and becoming a professional streamer

January 04, 2022

#86: Mitch Long AKA OG Pickle [Networking] – Building brands for influencers and becoming a professional streamer
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Mitch Long (also known as OG Pickle) is a professional streamer, Twitch Partner, and PUBG Partner.

Mitch Long (also known as OG Pickle) is a professional streamer, Twitch Partner, and PUBG Partner.

PUBG Partners have an average concurrent viewership of 150 + on Twitch or 50,000+ subscribers on YouTube and they broadcast at least 3 times per week.

That’s a high bar – and being a Twitch Partner has a high bar too. Within a 30 day period, you must stream for 25 hours, Stream on 12 different days, and average 75 concurrent viewers.

Mitch also played a major part in the development of the Maverick brand with Logan Paul and other influencer brands as well.

In this episode, we talk about Mitch’s experience building brands for influencers, the opportunity for creators today to sell merch, how Mitch found initial traction on Twitch, and how Networking played a role in his success.

Follow OG Pickle on Twitch

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Mitch Long  00:00

So when I first started, I would stream on days my buddies were having a poker night, because they were good buddies. They're really good friends. And I said, guys, I'm going after this, can you please turn my stream on some off zero viewers? I turned my own stream on on my PC, they turn it on IVF five years and now I've got a little bit of traction.


Jay Clouse  00:18

Welcome to Creative Elements, a show where we talk to your favorite creators and learn what it takes to make a living from your art and creativity. I'm your host, Jay Clouse. Let's start the show. Hello, welcome to another episode of Creative Elements and Happy New Year. Are you a new year, new you type of person or a new year, same you type of person? In all seriousness, I hope your 2022 is off to a good start. I hope you've had some time to think about this new year and what you hope to accomplish. Right now, I'm a new year, new puppy person, our little Golden Retriever puppy, Ted, came home a little bit over a week ago. And we're hard at work training that little guy. And I'll be honest, it's not easy. We've got to have eyes on him at all times to make sure he's safe and happy and not peeing on our floor. Which means that at any given time, unless he's sleeping, Mallory or I need to be on puppy duty, and that's tough for workaholic like me, but I'm trying to be patient, trying to slow down trying to realize that life is not all about work. Life is about the puppies. Anyway, if you want to follow along with our puppy adventures, Mallory created an Instagram account for Ted at TED Clouse on Instagram. When it comes to my new year. My biggest priority for this year is this show. So you can expect more great guests this year, maybe even some more bonus solo episodes, I got a lot of great feedback on my most recent solo episode over Christmas. So thank you for that feedback. And that means that since I'm taking this seriously, I would love your help and support leaving a rating or review on Apple podcasts or now Spotify, sharing the show on your social media or with friends, it all goes a long way. I also want to diversify the types of creators on the show even more. So if you have a creator that you want to hear from someone you've been following, and you like their work, please shoot me a message on Twitter at Jay Clouse, or on our Instagram at Creative elements.fm. I love getting guest requests because it's an easy way to send a cold message to someone saying, Hey, I'm getting requests from my listeners to have you on the show. It's really easy for them to say yes. One area we haven't explored much up to this point is gaming and Twitch streaming. Sometimes those things go hand in hand, but not all the time. You have gamers who stream on Twitch. But there are other types of streaming too. So to get us moving in that direction. Today, I'm interviewing a good friend of mine, Mitch long.


Mitch Long  03:02

I've been streaming probably since 2015. I've been doing YouTube content. There's some deep YouTube videos, I'll show you Jay where I was I was trying to like I was always a huge fan of Achievement Hunter. They were like an Xbox based like six man group where they would just do commentary and play games. And I thought like that is my dream job. I actually applied and they turned me down. They inspired me a lot to go and get into gaming. I thought like look how much fun these guys are. And naturally I'm an entertainer at heart. Like I love to make people laugh and I love to you know, do things that bring people joy, even when I'm having a bad day because that helps me lift up because I know there's something bigger here in life I suppose.


Jay Clouse  03:41

Online Mitch is known as OG pickle. He's a twitch partner and a pub G partner as well. Pub G being the game player unknowns battlegrounds, a battle royale shooter that pits 100 players against each other in a struggle for survival. Pub G partners have an average concurrent viewership of 150 people on twitch or 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, and they broadcast at least three times per week. That's a really high bar. And being a twitch partner has a high bar to within a 30 day period, you must stream for 25 hours stream on 12 different days, an average 75 concurrent viewers. Now I'm not sure if you've ever tried to go live on any platform Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, but 75 concurrent viewers is really tough. And at the risk of trying to do too much with this interview. Another reason I wanted to bring Mitch in what to talk about the opportunity for creators to sell their own branded merchandise because he has a really fascinating story and background there too.


Mitch Long  04:46

When I first started, I got into branding, we made brands for some very, very famous influencers throughout my career before getting into streaming and the digital audience the importance of all that stuff. I was kind of behind the scenes. And even before that, we owned a t shirt store We're here in Columbus, Ohio where Jay and I are at called lamp apparel where we would just make parody shirts of whatever happened in pop culture. Funny that day someone got arrested, a football team made a horrible play like we would be the first company to come out with T shirts and do that.


Jay Clouse  05:13

Those shirts included an illustration of former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel, after he notoriously was caught gambling in Las Vegas wearing a wig and a fake mustache. And as you'll hear in this interview, lamps, apparel was often seen in the media, because of its edgy timeliness, or because it was being worn by other influencers.


Mitch Long  05:33

Influencers started to becomes the focal point it was less about sponsoring other brands and utilizing celebrities and athletes and musicians and cetera, and YouTubers. Now were coming on the map. And it was about having your own brand. Right? It was about why am I Hawking Nike stuff if they're not really doing anything for me, I'm boosting their equity, their digital presence, their legitimacy, and I'm not really doing anything for myself. And that paradigm shift happened around 2017.


Jay Clouse  06:00

Mitch has had the opportunity to work with a lot of influencers, including a seminal opportunity creating the maverick brand with Logan, Paul, but a quick look over mitches Twitter also shows photos with the Kansas City Chiefs, Travis Kelsey. And even Mr. beast who had some nice things to say about Mitch is streaming. Og pickles is the most



average stream you'll ever find. He also makes me hug him a lot. I don't know what.


Jay Clouse  06:27

So in this episode, we talk about Mitch his experience building brands for influencers, the opportunity for creators today to sell merch, how Mitch found initial traction on Twitch and how networking played a role in his success. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen. You can find me on Twitter at Jay Clouse or on Instagram at Creative elements.fm tagged me say hello, let me know that you're listening. And now let's talk with Mitch.


Mitch Long  07:01

I was one of four guys on the team. And my boss Brandon, who has gone on to do some really really big things in the industry as well used to call me pickle when I'm coming What's up Hey girl, how you doing pickle blah, blah, blah. And I just assumed that was my nickname. He called me that etc. And then we started hiring more people and then other people became pickle. And I said, Wait a second. You can't just call me pickle now everyone else's pickle. It's very confusing, etc. And he said, Well, don't worry, you'll always be the OG pickle. And for some reason and I don't know that j or I can answer the question but nicknames stick and for random reasons. Somebody in a hallway must have heard that Z. Gates of Valhalla had opened my Zen had reached its maximum peak and Og pickle has stuck in since become OG OG pickle pickle pickle, and a whole variety of different extensions. Beyond that,


Jay Clouse  07:53

what was the year that you guys had the t shirt shop on High Street.


Mitch Long  07:56

So I was I was actively involved at the beginning of 2013 is kind of like an unpaid intern, I had a video camera. And I've always been passionate about film J even when we were kind of growing up. We all like to film stuff and video cameras and running around and creating movies and stupid things that just let our ideas get onto digital scenes. I wanted to I wanted to come to lamp and bring them something like they were doing posts and they had designers and graphics, like I found a niche I found like where I could work, I'm like, hey, this movie stuffs gonna be a thing I've taught myself to edit. I can shoot stuff, okay, but I'm willing to like, you know, do this for free as I learn and get, you know, feedback from the internet and social media and such and grow through the, to the fires, so to speak of Reddit, but 2013 to probably 2017 was the peak of it and 2015 being like the maximum where we were, you know, getting called out by cease and desist from a lot of companies and having fun and learning how the world works behind the scenes both in legality and in digital economy, so to speak.


Jay Clouse  08:56

Real talk I want to talk about that. The cease and desist thing, not because I want to get into like any specific charge you guys did, but um, a lot of people like they're getting started and for good reason. They're very careful to do things by the book by the letter. And like that makes a lot of sense. That's probably a really smart thing to do. But also I've just seen a lot of people who have used some provocative stuff as a springboard in the repercussions like weren't super severe. So like, talk to me about like, what happens when you step over the line a little bit in a cease and desist comes?


Mitch Long  09:32

I actually actively encourage stepping over the line look, everyone can do normal and safe you're actually probably going to have a more difficult self difficult time marketing yourself or creating separation when you do everything so by the book now I'm not asking you to break the rules in terms of super legal but I am saying try to find ways to bend them try always find ways to separate yourself. The most successful people if you go and listen to more people on this podcast or the more people that you respect and follow in entrepreneurship, probably told you they did something pretty Crazy and ask for forgiveness later. Like that's a real quote. And there's a reason for that, quote, I don't need you to go out there and set fires ablaze and try to, you know, make yourself into some of these vilified people you see in the digital space, but also, you know, taking risk is a huge step. And the second part of your question is, is that of the consequences aren't that bad, like when, when we've used art, and we we've kind of gone to that nebulous of like, oh, well, that doesn't say his name, but it looks exactly like him on the t shirt, then people are kind of figuring that out. And like, we've used they're kind of like pseudo slogans that they have said, but don't own the IP for, you know, you're gonna you're going to garner the interest of people that also want to make that same kind of money, especially when it comes popular all law, the people that think that it's their own IP, or deservedly so cease and desist aren't that scary. Most of the time, the legal or lawyers aren't actually out for blood like no, nobody, the rule of thumb behind the scenes, and this is not something that anyone should take to heart, but nobody really wants to go to court. Unless someone is owed like hundreds of 1000s of dollars, it's not really worth going to court, because by the time you pay your legal fees, and you do all this stuff, it just kind of doesn't add up too much. It's just kind of a verbal victory, rather than actual, you know, money you've made back. So, you know, there's a lot of there's a lot of companies behind the scenes that will cease and desist, but don't actually have any intention of just like driving you into bankruptcy. And I think that fear is what you're talking about, Jay, it's that fear of like, Oh, if


Jay Clouse  11:26

I take a risk, and I get a cease and desist, I'm buying companies over, my life is over, I'm going to jail. Like there's a balance there with how far you go. But taking risks and asking for apologies later, certainly is the the step you can go there. Yeah, I've never gotten a cease and desist personally, but it was very freeing. When I realized that was like, the next step. Most the time when you went over the line is like you get that and you cease you desist. And it kind of goes away? Because yeah, like you said, it seems like most people are just trying to optimize for, hey, stop putting this out there because it has a risk to our brand. We're going to tell you to stop nicely. And if you don't, then we're gonna have problems. And it's like, okay, I guess correct.


Mitch Long  12:06

I think people just are scared of talking to lawyers J. Like, if you want to go to the human psychological element of it, it's not so much being sued. It's that you don't go get a lawyer like you go to the doctor or like you go to the grocery store or you go get a haircut or any of those services in the industry lawyer is kind of like usually you're in trouble. Like, oh, no, like I have to lawyer up right. So in a certain regard, I think this always boils down to don't be afraid to go to the lawyer like it's not that big of a deal. They know what they're doing. And they usually all know each other too. So when something happens they go Hey, bro, like we're gonna stop just go away and the company goes, well, it's good to see we golfing on nine on Sunday. He's like yep, all right, cool. We're done. Let's send this Alright, so yeah.


Jay Clouse  12:46

So talk to me then because there's a period of time where I kind of lost track of what you're up to and then like realize you're doing some ridiculous crazy stuff with influencers and merch so how did this like T shirt concept where we're like being kind of edgy and we're taking like pop culture turn into influencer stuff? Yeah, actually dated back to 2017. That's where the the emergence kind of happened where we were an edgy t shirt store we


Mitch Long  13:10

were getting into TMZ a lot like our shirts were going viral. People were seeing them we were known as that like, Goofy. What the heck are these guys doing type company? Unfortunately, we also live in Ohio where Logan Paul is also from and regardless of what you think for them, I'm going to tell you my story. And and you can you can decide yourself how you would have gone but Logan came to our shop one time for a vine he was filming him and Roman Atwood. Roman asked if you could bring Logan and we were like, sure we don't care. Like we didn't know what influencers were. It was such it was like, Oh, you're on Vine. Cool. Like we didn't really understand the power of social media at the time. We were just, you know, make do our own route our own digital equity and that was shirt sales. Well, about 900 people showed up for this video, random people. I mean, he tweet evened it out, 200 out or whatever. And 900 people showed up our store and was sold out. Everything was bought like they emptied us they liquidated us Yeah, it was nuts. And so we basically said What are influencers? Dude? I don't know what this is like, this is crazy. I don't know what I'm looking at. But there's something here. So long story short, we kept in touch with Logan, we'd give him free clothes, he'd wear our clothes, like he'd wear the lamp apparel like clothes in his vlogs if you go back to their vlogs he's wearing only our gear because he liked the way it felt. We use the tribal lens similar to homage here in Columbus and other really really like throwback retro style shirts are really comfy. And then one day we said in 2017 Hey, why are you wearing our stuff? Why don't you wear your own? We'll just make it with your stuff on there. And Maverick was born. And again, I reiterate whatever you think about him is doesn't matter to me, because we helped build and pioneer the stepping stones into what was now everybody has merch and you're nothing without merch and you don't go to Nike anymore and then brand deals are wack and why aren't you making your own and you know, we've done a lot of really big influencers since since then some I can talk about some I can't talk about We've done the top 1%. And I can guarantee you've seen the brands that I've had a very large portion of helping put together.


Jay Clouse  15:07

What's that like, behind the scenes, creating that type of stuff? Because I've been to a warehouse where you guys were at it was huge. And I was like, This is insane. Can you talk a little bit about that, you know,


Mitch Long  15:17

you're really good at this. If you just go do it, you're gonna fail, and you're gonna find yourself, but you can find out how to do it. It's really like, I wasn't an expert in ink, and presses and different types of heat transfers versus graphic prints with ink. And I didn't know about certain print on demand and how they wash versus house. Like, I didn't go into school knowing that or leave college knowing that sometimes you just got to go in and do it. And you scale through stepping stones. You know, like, my advice is less about how do you do it and more about how you don't take unnecessary risk and how you do it the right way without like overstepping and getting too confident and getting that extra warehouse, when you probably could just, you know, rent for a while. You know, my advice pertains more to that of how you don't get too much inventory, and in certain ways to not make pitfalls. But at the end of the day, if you just go out and do it, and you are not afraid to fail the same way, you're not afraid to get a cease and desist. You certainly you certainly can can get there. It just it takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of networking, it takes some luck to I mean, you have to you have to differentiate yourself. And that goes back to our original thesis Jay where it's like, influencers if you want to work in the industry, like the guy there was just a guy the other day, he quit his job and went up to Logan Paul and said, I quit my $100,000 job I want to work for you. That's a great start. But then Logan's follow up question what was it? He said, Okay, you film Well, do you edit? Or do you do and the guy didn't have an answer. And that's where he lost his pitch. Right? So it's kind of a two part questions. One, you have to be really good at what you do specialize and be freaking awesome. And two, you have to take that risk you have to set you have to, you know, set them with a premise because if you're not taking up their time as far as influencers or businesses or an opportunity somebody else wants it to. So you have to think about how you, you know, have a memorable impression. So, long story short shades. It's a little homogenization of all three of those things, luck, hard work, and then not being afraid to take a weird, like, make people be like You're weird.


Jay Clouse  17:07

After a quick break, Mitch and I talk about whether or not there is still an opportunity for creators to create and sell branded merch. And a little bit later we dig into how someone can succeed as a Twitch streamer. So stick around, and we'll be right back. Welcome back to my conversation with Mitch long, aka OG pickle. Before the break, Mitch told us the story of how his team helped Logan Paul launch the maverick brand. And of course, I think every creator would want to create and sell merch, if that was a reliable means of diversifying revenue for their business. But there's often a first mover advantage to things like this to where the first cohort of people to offer it find success, but it becomes less and less viable for people as time passes. So I asked Mitch, if he thinks that branded merch is still on the rise as an opportunity for creators.


Mitch Long  17:55

Great question, actually great question and for maybe not even being as intimate with this scene as you are. That's that's that's a fantastic question. I'm gonna give you kudos there. In 2017 It went like this. Logan Paul puts on T shirt. There's very little competitors out there. There's very little anyone else with merch it's seen as a luxury like you got to be a million subscribers to get merch, right. And that's how companies treated because it acquires risk in inventory and designers in time and it's very scary, right? It's a risk for the company to share profit with an influencer. All Logan had to do back in the day on a vlog was go oh Logan, what's poppin go buy my merch shop look@bo.com Look at bol.com/shop and everyone remembered it like it was a Coca Cola brand and the sites flooded and is sold out because there was nobody else through time and saturation and competition through not just my company but other competitors and people finding ways to do it cheaper, better, faster print on demand knowing no screenprint no held inventory pre sales like all these really strategic activations around giveaways and fly outs and all kinds of illegal gambling lottery type picks. So if you buy merch we'll give you a million dollars of wild stuff. It's now 2021 Everyone has merch I mean I have merch I'm a I'm a tier three Twitch stream influencer Jay I mean the podcast can have merch you can go to any numerous companies with the Amazon model and get the stuff on demand. You don't even have to like do you can just like upload an image now and it like puts it on the shirt for you wherever you want it like it's it's so saturated that merch will always be a part of finding a physical connection to an influencer. No, no different than tour merch, but no different than Toro merch I guarantee the Lumineers or you know AC DC or whoever doesn't go out and say that that's their number one sales point. Right? So it's it's kind of very similar to that now.


Jay Clouse  19:41

Yeah, I never really participated in this until literally this week I saw Jack butcher put out a tweet of a sweater he did that just had the word internet across the chest like it was like a University T. And I was like, yep, finally I'm going to buy that thing. So I think there's some opportunity to sell but if someone's listening to the show, and they're a creator, or maybe even me, like when should I be playing about, okay, it makes sense to do this now.


Mitch Long  20:03

I don't think there's a time limit anymore. There is no luxury I think, look, micro influencer merch in comparison to scale can't be compared in dollars because you'd be compared to how much conversion you have as far as your brand. So if you have 10 followers and you have nine people buy, that's when you should have merch, right? If you have 100,000 followers and nine people buy, you should still probably have merch, even though your conversion rate sucks. So to me, it's no less than asking now. Should I have Twitter and Instagram for my business? Or my personal brand? The answer's yes. Should I have merged for my brand? Yes. And there are easy ways to do it. Should I have a website? Probably should I have a way for them to connect to me through different activations or get in touch with me or like it's all a part of a all tides rise the same type mentality? And I think I put merch on the same pedestal social media now, where once it was, Oh, you have a Twitter? What the heck is that? Now everyone has Twitter? Oh, yeah, merge. Now everyone has merged.


Jay Clouse  20:59

You guys had all the infrastructure. So I'm sure you did your own printing for your stuff. But someone getting started and they're like, Okay, in do you think they should just start with print on demand?


Mitch Long  21:07

Yes, I think the one the one pitfall people make is they want to come out and have their stuff look like gold. I don't think that's the expectation of your your communities. I know a lot of people will take pride in what they do. And they take pride in having the stuff feel and look just like Under Armour. But it's just not a realistic expectation. In a way people get hung up on thinking that quality is going to be a huge issue when they're slight differentiations when they realize or don't realize that they're their number one critic that someone just wants to connect with you. And I've had really bad toward merch. You know, I've had I've had tall tech and some of these really uncomfortable warmers, but I love this band. And you know, even if I don't wear it, or I wear it occasionally, it's not about the comfort of the fit. It's about what do I represent. And I'm a walking billboard for XYZ. And so giving yourself an option to even have that connection, we're super fans can buy your stuff or be walking billboards to invite new fans to understand who you are, or great conversations around your brand. You shouldn't limit that the same way you shouldn't, you know, deprive yourself of going viral on Twitter or having an email for somebody to get ahold of you.


Jay Clouse  22:14

Yeah, that's kind of the unlock. I've had recently thinking about this exact topic, because I've been thinking about just community generally, or on my work a lot lately now that I'm dabbling in the NFT space and hanging out a lot of discord, including your discord. Now, it's like, Alright, I know the, the margins aren't gonna be high on print on demand. But that's not really the point. The point is like, how do I deepen and build different relationships with people who really, really care, and even create, like, connectivity and access and conversations with those people, because like, they support me, I want to support them, I want like this really tight knit group of people who just love the show, for example. And that's just awesome. I feel like that's something I've under valued.


Mitch Long  22:55

There's a lot of companies out there now where they'll hold all the inventory, like it's literally print on demand, you can and if you if you really don't have the time, ethicacy money, whatever it is understanding of how domains work and creating websites, you can use it, there's like, it's to the point where it's so saturated, that you can if you don't mind having streamelements.com backslash co slash Jay Clouse on your thing, and you don't have any pride or I wouldn't even say pride, like you're just indifferent on the branding aspect of pushing your data to somebody else's site, they'll literally host your domain. Put all your shirts up there, you can easily customize it set the pricing. I mean, it's nuts. And then there's others like Printful, where if you have Jay clouse.com, now, you can you can just drop the app in and then they put all your stuff on the site from beanbags to hats to mugs with the drop of a logo. So I mean, thinking about where I came from and 2017 where you pretty much had to like chop the wood down heat the furnace, but the first belt the A and you know, it's seeming so like archaic. Now, it's turned into a tech cycle of making this super, super easy for everyone to participate because there's money to be made and people are always continually buying products like that. Now that we've explored some of niches journey in the influencer space, I wanted to dig deeper into his experience gaming on Twitch, as I shared in the intro, Mitch is now a twitch partner as well as a pub G partner,


Jay Clouse  24:21

which are statuses that come with some pretty high requirements.


Mitch Long  24:25

Gaming has always been an addiction and I use that not lightly I could I can be tired from staying up with my kids all night have zero energy I couldn't even get to work on time. But if you said we'll be there at nine o'clock the game I'm immediately testosterone like I'm just adrenaline and every like I'm just ready to go I'm like let's game yeah, you're right. But I've been gaming since way way back in the Sega Genesis and I just never quit I got every system growing up and and now in 2015, there was this route where Justin TV was becoming twitch. And you had this ability to entertain and inspire and I already had a little bit of Following just being around these influencers, that I kind of was leveraging a little bit of influencer love and you know, shout outs from some buddies, plus, you know, my love for gaming addiction, so to speak plus entertainment, it was just like the perfect synergy of like, oh my gosh, I love all three of these things. I can be on the stage and play video game and people talk to me and maybe pay you it was worth a shot for me.


Jay Clouse  25:21

What were your expectations of when that might actually have a financial return on your time?


Mitch Long  25:28

You know, it's tough because I actually came with it the right way. I had a full time job. I didn't bet the house on becoming a streamer. I didn't quit my job and go into it thinking like, oh, yeah, we're gonna start, you know, I kind of had a mix. Did I think it would take a long time? Yeah. Did I think it would take as long as it did? No. So I was kind of in that, like, you know, at a certain point, you're like, you think you're at the peak of the mountain and you look up and you're like, oh, my gosh, I have so far to go. And that's where a lot of people quit. So I you know, I had an expectation that it would take a year or two. before I've really got to where I am now. It's about your four or five. So it's like, it's a lot of work and consistency and having to love it every day. No different than building a business in a physical world. It's the same in the digital realm, too. I think people just have an expectation that viewers come quicker and easier and just want to come see you every day. Yeah, I didn't realize you were doing it that early on. I just didn't have anybody watching and I was really bad at it. That's why if you didn't know I was doing it on in 2015. I was actually under the guise of Og pickle gaming. I didn't leverage my own personal Twitter's I made it a completely separate entity. I didn't do anything to network. I didn't do anything to I just made the mistake that probably honestly, 90% of people make on Twitch. I just flipped the switch on. I said going live and then I just doot Doot doot Oh, nobody showed up today. That sucks and got off, you know, and I didn't think about the consequences of making changes adjustments what I'm doing wrong, what I'm doing right, what I could be doing better?


Jay Clouse  26:57

Well, given that you're using, like a pseudonym, obviously, you worked a lot of influencers who use their actual name. How do you think about trying to build a business behind your literal name for your brand? Have you seen like, do you have reason to believe that it's a path to go versus Naco?


Mitch Long  27:14

I've changed my stance on this in the beginning, at the very early stages of it. I used OG pickle because it was a brand. It's fun. It's a pickle, it's kind of catch here. You know, like pickles are just a weird thing. Right? Like you just like to pickle like somebody says it's kind of quirky fun in your ears. And also, it's a pickle they're like, some weird looking fruity vegetable looking thing. Right? And everyone's got opinions on it either way. And I love that I thought, you know, either you love or hate pickles. Like that's not a that's not like, ah, you know, sometimes I like turkey other days, I don't write. And I ran with it. And there was there was two parts. One, I wanted to start a family and have this anonymity where nobody knew who I was and protect myself because if I screw up online, and it's in my name, that's easily getting back to the Logan Paul's the world and work and stuff. And then this not being my full time job. It's not really worth risking a salary, to go pursue the passion project where I say something bad or I make something bad or I make an assumption or a bad judgment call in the moment, which can happen. Like, I'm not, I'm not saying it can't, I'm just saying if it did, as I've grown in year five, I'm a lot different than I was in year one. I've learned that it's less about being this boastful brand of I'm the pickle I am who you should think of and worship me. And I've learned it's more about this human emotion of connectivity and community and being there as like a beacon of of kindness and an ear and giving back and kind of finding this feedback of like, Hey, we're just here for you and, and you make me feel good, but I don't care about the game. And once I kind of realize that I've started to shift my Twitter handles I'm always going to be OG pickle but I've actually added Mitch to it, because I think it adds a level of personality. Like I almost like taking off the Darth Vader helmet and you're just like hey, like I'm just a normal dude. And I've seen probably five to 10x My returns wow these past months where I've done this and stopping stopping this paradigm shift where it's about the influencer and the brand it is it will always be about that but now it's about like, Dude, we get it. There's a million just like there was merch back in the day Dude, we get it. You have merch? It's dude we get it. You have an awesome brand but like I kind of just want to know Mitch a little bit like that's why I watch I don't watch because I worship this OG pickle symbolism I watched because like Mitch is a nice guy. And Mitch contacts me and Mitch answers my Discord questions. And Mitch, thanks me when I give them a sub. And I think I've gone that route. And it's worked for me and I think it would work a lot for micro influencers who are trying to make their way up.


Jay Clouse  29:44

When we come back, Mitch and I talk about what it takes to be successful streaming on Twitch and how he found initial traction right after this. Hey, welcome back. We haven't covered Twitch much on this show so far. So I wanted to talk to Mitch about the past. After success in streaming, what should someone know who wants to get started? And do you need to be a gamer to succeed as a Twitch streamer?


Mitch Long  30:07

I think setting expectations is the number one goal setting realistic expectations. Like, you wouldn't go into a project trying to build a house and think you'd have it done in a week. Right? Like you. There's materials and there's concepts and there's setbacks, and there's budget, and there's time and efficacy, like there's just so much more to it. So number one is, make sure your mental health is in check, and you feel good about it. Because it's not an easy journey. You have to be confident and you have to love this not this like it like I'm gonna play in passing. You have to love what you do no different than your podcast. Yeah, you have to love podcasting to get through the sea of podcasts that are out there. There's a billion of them. Everyone's got a podcast, I can start a podcast tomorrow, right? Please don't, I won't know. I'll just join you. We'll just do it up. We'll just add another one. But one is set realistic expectations, like know what it's gonna take and know how much time you can realistically set aside a day and be consistent with that. Like it's okay to not be live. It's okay in the beginning. Like, if you're gonna say, Mondays at five, I have time after work Saturdays at 1pm. I know I can do it and Sundays at 2pm. I can do it. Do those three days and do them really well. And get super consistent the same way you got consistent about posting on socials and posting every day or twice a day at 10am 6pm. Whatever. You know, you have your Kayden says as someone who wants to get in this, you know you can do it. And if you lack consistencies, find that consistency. So two parts set realistic expectation and find consistency in what you do. Not biting off more than you can chew in the beginning because burnouts very real in these industries to find something that brings you joy. Right, Jay, you said it. You said it really, really good. Really, really well. Really, really good. He said it really? Like I'm an influencer. I don't have to know English informatics. We said it really well. You don't have to just do gaming on Twitch like the evolving industry in Twitch is both multifaceted. There are people making money just being in hot tub streams right now live. It's like what? What, like grand crazy or what we're what you take of it, whatever. There's people doing art. There's people that do origami. There's people that do stand up comedy, there's people that do TED Talk, ask there's people that do armchair psychology ask there's people that body paint, there's people that skydive or run or just do IRL, walking around the city. Like you have to find something that brings you joy, it just so happens that video games what I grew up with bring me joy. But if you are an artist, and you want to get out there and you want to try to explore these new means of of technology that are offering the ability to grow digital communities, then just do it. Just go into the art scene and double down on it and try it that way and give it a go.


Jay Clouse  32:33

You stream for three to four hours at a time. That sounds crazy to me. How do you do that? Is that what most people


Mitch Long  32:41

do? Most people actually go like eight if you're a full time streamer. i i Yeah, it's their like full time jobs. I have a full time job. Awesome side gigs. Plus, I just bite off more than I could chew because I'm a sicko in the head. And then I get my kids from, from daycare, I feed book clean, bathe, put him to bed, and then I served for four hours after that. I just love what I do. I mean, when people when people say that, you know it feels storybook ask and it feels like corny and people like oh yeah, you love what you do on call like, but when you really find join something and you truly love it. It's not like work like by the time I look at the clock, like it's very, very rare occasions when I tell myself like we done yet. And mostly it's just because it's fatigue. It's not mental fatigue. It's just like fatigue, like, I gotta go to bed because I got a meeting at seven, right? But when you love it, you find that passion energy. And I encourage everyone not to be this corny, like, you know, queue the queue the movie soundtrack behind me. But if you're in a job or something that you hate, and you actually dread getting up in the morning, like, make a change, like just do it. Because you're highly marketable, you can go get a new job. And if you fail taking a risk, you can always go back to those similar jobs because you've already had one you know, you know what it takes to get it. And so long story short, it just doesn't feel like work. I love this. I love being in it. I love entertaining that much.


Jay Clouse  33:58

weird question, Does your wife come on the stream? Now?


Mitch Long  34:03

Like we don't it's not even a part of the dialogue by her choice. Like I signed up for this.


Jay Clouse  34:08

That's exactly what I was wondering because I like I have the same question myself. If this was something I was gonna jump into. It's like how do I manage that dynamic with a relationship?


Mitch Long  34:15

Yeah, it's it's by choice. And I think as you are going into that to Jay, it's a similar thing. Congrats by the way, it's going to be her choice and how you develop that into your own content is one of two ways One embrace, and it becomes a character in the show a real character, but it becomes like, you know, another character that's in the room and people cheer when she comes in because they're team her not team you Right? Like that's fun. Like it becomes a real like, pseudo sociology kind of thing. And then there's the night and if she's one involved, she's not involved and there is no involvement. Now there are like questions like, you know how she feel about Ah, she thinks I'm crazy lalalalala moving on, right. There are just two steps. You can go about it and it is black and white and there is no pseudo it's if she can Is your mind great? If she doesn't, then there is no story arc for that and you just don't even bring it up. You don't you don't shed it the light and privacy is a very real thing is because while I see the good and online there is also very bad in online.


Jay Clouse  35:13

Totally. One of the things that scares me about live as a format, whether that's Instagram, live Facebook, live streaming on YouTube streaming on Twitch, if you don't have people who are anticipating that you go live or available and interested to watch when you do go live, when you're starting out, it seems like you're performing to an empty room. And you could do that for a really long time, which just feels awful. So like somebody starting out, how do you cope with that?


Mitch Long  35:39

You have to you have to do two things. One, you have to know that this is just a temporary phase because this is part of the process. And it's the most unfun part of the process. Like when I'm playing games, for example, I can give you an example. I just talked to myself, I was like, Oh my gosh, there's a guy over there. This is gonna be crazy. All right, here we are. Here's we're gonna do it. We're gonna take this grenade, I'm gonna throw it I'm gonna throw it off this bill. Oh, just wait, wait, this is gonna be great. I just had to talk to myself for a very long time. Like nobody was. I'm not talking like that example I'm in. I'm not talking anybody. There's nobody there. But if somebody stumbled in I had to be prepped as if I'm not just like completely mute just like looking at a clock. Nobody's gonna want to watch that. No one's gonna want to stroll into a stream and be like, Okay, this guy's like, just only on the game like because it's about them twitches about the commute. It's about chat. It has nothing to do with the game. Sometimes it does. If you're pro level ask. But even those guys, if you look at sub comparisons to like entertaining streaming versus like just absolute sharpshooters, it's the creators that make so much more money. It's no different than saying a YouTuber makes more money than a professional photographer. Why? Because it's just a crazy different, you know, dynamic. So one is love the process and don't get down on yourself and to the mistake people don't make it's like ask your friends. Ask your personal intrinsic connectivity network you've already built. You got a mom, you got a dad, great. You got a cousin, you got a grandma, you got an uncle, you got best friends, too. When I first started, I would stream on days, my buddies were having a poker night, because they were good buddies. They're really good friends. And I said, Guys, I'm going after this, can you please turn my stream on so I'm off zero viewers. I turned my own stream on on my PC, they turn it on IVF five years. And now I've got a little bit of traction. And now one person would trickle in. I'm convinced that I'm cool. And they would stay. Right. Two people will come in only one of those would stay one would leave. And then I would ask more friends I would use my Facebook and all these old schools things but you still have a ton of tractability on Facebook, if you said, Hey, cousin Jenny, I haven't talked to you too much. But I'm live often I would love to talk with you if you want to comment and like connect with me and just like, have a back and forth like I know I miss you. You miss me too. Here's a really good way. People came. I had so many people were like, Dude, what are you doing since high school? Oh my god, this is your gaming now. Like I had so many reactions and so much talking points that I go back and say, And fun fact, all those guys that supported me at poker matches are my moderators. Now, they get paid when I get big money sessions. And these are avoidable swords and, and power. And, you know, I've given a lot of gifts to them, because the money has been good. And you know, one of one of my moms and I are going out to Vegas next month, and I'm flying them out. And we're just having a good time. And it's kind of reciprocating itself. But don't fail to see your own network. Even when you think you have no social network and the strange public, you have one in private and use it and get yourself off to zero.


Jay Clouse  38:19

Dude, love that. You're so good at it too. And like a non pressure casual way, like the last time I texted you like, Hey, I'm streaming come on some bitcoin. I was like, okay, dropped in within like 60 seconds, you were like, Hey, Jay, welcome. And you started talking to me? And I'm like, This is awesome. So I started talking back in the chat. It was awesome. How was the discoverability? on Twitch? Like, are people just stumbling in off the street for the first time to your streams a lot? Or does it go a lot of word of mouth,


Mitch Long  38:44

Twitch is terrible. I am successful on the platform, I probably could be more successful if I put the energy into different platforms and went as hard as I did. But I just don't have that kind of energy left anymore. Twitch discoverability is really difficult. I'll be honest with you. Finding ways to do that is very difficult. If you trust the concept of a logarithm. If you trust just how it will do naturally, you probably will see the slowest success ever. You know, one of the points that I make is about networking. Twitch is all about networking. And having a good product. If you have a good product, you have confidence in your networking, you can go talk to people. And sadly, for those that are listening, that are going to take a little bit advice from me and learn a little bit. All we're doing is stealing from other people's communities. There's only one bucket of Twitch viewers, specifically smaller buckets and specific games that you're playing. Right if you're consistent. So all you're trying to do is convince other people that your product is better than others. And in doing so, sometimes you have to play with other people. I mean, that's that's one of the ways that I grow. Now I don't maliciously go and do that. I'm telling you, what's the intrinsic nature of human psychology behind the scenes. I go because I generally want to play with somebody, you will meet people that generally just want to steal from you too, right? There's no different than IRL, right? Like that's just that's just like do you actually want to work with me? Do you actually like me or you know, you'll Have those questions. But networking is key. You have to be able to put together a good product first before you even reach out to so and so again, we talked about that Logan Paul example on the podcast, I have a ton of people that reach out they want to play with me. But if my next question is what do you offer? Besides, I'm a nice guy, like, look, I'm really nice when it comes to twitch. I'm really kind. And I try to give people opportunities because I came from zero to, but if you really have nothing to offer me, it's very difficult for me to open up my community that I work so hard to give you access like you've been here since the beginning. Spending time in someone's chat for a very long time earns that if somebody of two years who has continually talked chat with me been there for me, answered me reached out, I'm way more apt to bring them on board. If they have a passion project, then somebody that I don't know, that's that's like, offering nothing or has some viewership, right? So it's taking the consideration time and a networking and how you even not just people that are asking you, but how you position yourself for the next because all you're trying to do is if you have five years to play with someone with 10 If you get 10 Viewers try to play with somebody with 20 If you have 20 Viewers try to play with someone who's 40 If you have 40 Viewers try to have someone who's 7070 viewers 140 200 600 500. And that's that's the ladder you try to to try to chase but just this little finger said Chaos is a ladder. So if you're trying to build your your viewership, and everyone's just kind of borrowing from each other because


Jay Clouse  41:28

the the pie is not growing super quickly, seems like community takes a huge precedence in this this world. So how do you think about like building and cultivating community from from your viewers,


Mitch Long  41:41

you have to find a way to authentically do it. Because it is the end all be all. If you have no community, you have no conversion, you have no trust, you have no backbone, you have no support on your high days, or there's no supporting your loading. Like they're all mundane, then, for me a community. Community is about authenticity when when you get the opportunity. First and foremost, you have to have a good product that attracts people, they have to say to themselves, Oh, I really like this guy. What's he about. And then when you that moment, it's and they gave you that window, you have to prove it to people that you're there for them, you're not there for their money you're not there for I mean, all communities are different in terms of whether you build them on Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, whatever, you know, Triller tick tock, only fans like legit, I'm not even like trolling here. It's about what the community necessarily is seeking. And in something like Twitch where they're constantly chat, and talking to you during the game, what they're looking for is usually instant feedback, validation support and comfort in certain ways. Because you would never watch a video gaming chat during it unless you were looking to get a two way street with this. And so for me, it's about fostering this, taking all those into consideration. The one thing I want to foster is mental health. A lot of people that are on this platform have a very tough time, they won't talk to you about it, they won't say it. But what I found out behind the scenes on Discord is that people are not in a really good spot, they flip you on, not to watch pubg Not to watch fortnight not to watch, they watch you because you bring them joy, you give them companionship, you make them laugh, you make them, you know, feel like they're in something bigger, because outside the internet, they might be in some shit. They might hate their job. Their wife left them, they had a passing away of a family member. They're lonely. They're depressional. Like those are like a lot of people on Twitch seek that because they're missing one of those things. And even if it's just basic community, you're alone or a little bit, you'd like to chat and you like to go back and do your thing. Great, you're happy. But you know, one of those things is usually the key. And I try to take that into consideration when I pushed that start button. And that seemed to foster a lot of really good relationships.


Jay Clouse  43:40

How hard is it to move someone from like first time viewer of your stream to getting into your discord community.


Mitch Long  43:47

Anything that creates some kind of next task, whether it's too many steps on a website, whether it's to get up off your butt, you hear a really cool clip, like maybe on Twitter and you're like, hey, go to my Spotify and Subscribe. Like that step is really tough. It really is seemingly mundane is that is to get them to leave a webpage that takes point three seconds to load or an app that takes point seven seconds to start up. It's really difficult to get people to convert. So I've had to create very unique initiatives to get people to join discord. One word of mouth like your super fans are gonna join great Hey, you want to stay in touch with me? Check out the discord exclamation mark discord in the chat right now you can talk to me behind the scenes that give them benefits, right like basic benefits. But what I've done is I've created the Bitcoin marbles that you talked about, and I give back I create an incentive. I have sponsors I convert that money to Bitcoin and we give it away why to it's speculative. It's fun, people are fearful, but kind of excited about it. I happen to know a lot about it, and I'm changing people's lives legit, I'm legit changing lives. They won't realize it for five to 10 years, but I'm giving away I've given away about $20,000.15 to $20,000 in the last seven months in Bitcoin and that if you think about compounding over, you know, years of years have used it so that's a lot of money. Raised number two a 10 Rata taken on first place. Write me out make sure you message me on Discord Rata congratulations on taking home first place and let's see there's gonna take home second place right now emoji pickle in the hot booth with all my friends here in Bitcoin marbles. Man is the last one before the year. I appreciate everyone donating all year. appreciate everything you've done for me appreciate everything you've done for others, but man, we're doing some kick ass stuff here in this chat, I promise you that. I'm teaching a little bit so they get that knowledge base, they get the incentive base, they get that community fun. Oh my god, congrats. You wanna do that? Sick, right? And we get people very excited to give to others because some people don't want to stream they just wanna be charitable to others. There's rich people out there that just want to give back and I'm that vehicle to do so. But spinning all those things into a closing point. You have to be part of the discord to get your money so that ah like it's at the end of the day. It's still like that. The rug like Oh, dude you want that's awesome. Make sure the discord so I can verify it's you and then I can send your money and boom these things. I've been boosting my Discord like crazy.


Jay Clouse  45:57

Yeah, cuz I would assume and tell me if I'm wrong here. I would assume that if I'm in the discord, I'm deepening my relationship with Mitch with the community, I'm more likely to show up to the next stream too. So like it's, it's just like, I know, okay, you're here watching awesome. I want to go deeper. I need to get you into discord because that's where we're gonna learn more about each other. I can have more direct interaction where people aren't watching me right now. It seems like that would be the move.


Mitch Long  46:20

Yeah, it's it is it's it's like it's like, hey, I want more. I really appreciated this time today. I'd like to learn more about your community. I'd like explore and it's on me to provide incentive if they just land on a page where it's just like, hey, cool. Here's my here's like, like you just like I'm a party with no cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, people are gonna probably leave, right. Like you have to think of it as like, what's my incentive, but if I have access, like, I've got a guy that does yoga, and he does really good mental health, so if you want to go live with him and do yoga, like six in the morning, like I've done that, and I incentivize it. I have a girl that makes soaps and she wants to sell soaps and has really cool like really good smelling soaps. I have a guy that talks about Bitcoin. I have a guy that talks about stocks. Now these are all different people. So you know, I take the passions that I that is a part of probably why they fall into baiting. Oh, he's financially literate. He likes to talk about stocks and IPOs ICOs and all these like futuristic technologies. He likes talking about gaming, you know, so I have I have funnels that when they land in the discord, they can pick the little sub community or sub Reddits of what they want. You want to learn more about Bitcoin go talk to my boy, Big Sky crypto, he'll help you out every day. You want to talk about stocks by Boyd Barrett talks about it. You want to talk about pub G, there's a million people in there talking about what?


Jay Clouse  47:29

Well, not just this isn't just true of Twitch communities, like a lot of community is about connection and companionship. How do you protect yourself and your own mental health when, you know, you could have hundreds of people in a community who are there because they enjoy watching you? They might want to chat? Just like all the time. How do you keep yourself from spending all your time in discord or being like somebody's lifeline all the time. You have to create


Mitch Long  47:56

that early on. You have to be very transparent that even even like the jokes or the little corpse or the things they're trying to get you to pick up on that's like validating their behavior is shut down immediately. And it doesn't I think I think the best compliment you gave me today is I try to do things like not salesy. Like in when someone's doing that I I don't like make it like entertainment. I stopped the show. I'm like, Hey, bro, like, I just can't do that. But I got to get to home. Like I can't chat with you every day. I appreciate you though, like I really do. And thank you for being here. And if you need me, I'm I'm gonna answer my time, I promise I'll answer but like I got I got obligations. You know, I can't play with you. I'm sorry, bro. You can't join. Like, I can't just ask this guy. Like, they're really polite ways to excuse someone without offending somebody. So it's finding your tone of voice for sure of how you would like to address those. But more importantly, it's you got to shut that down early. Because there are people that become codependent there are people that will subscribe to you and say I just gave you $10,000 And now you won't do this. I think there are people that do that. And like they were streamers are dicks, too. They're like, he's like I did give you 10k You can take 30 minutes of your day and find time and set it up. Right? I think some people are dickheads about it. And like way too dramatic. Like, oh, you read my stream and you give me money and not you know, you expect something, okay, you can still give a little reciprocation like shut up, like you're drinking your own Kool Aid too much. So it's a balance between how much you're willing to reciprocate. If you're willing to reciprocate and understanding that there are consequences to reciprocation of if somebody is giving you their time, talent and or money and how you shut that down needs to be in your tone of voice. So it's really a combination of those three. And the last one is just don't be a dick. Like I understand there are people on the other side of the screen.


Jay Clouse  49:30

If I'm thinking about getting started streaming, how much should I invest in like my equipment to start because it seems like the bar is getting higher all the time. You just show me like you have three camera angles and you have like a whole setup where you can just like see yourself dancing from overhead. That's awesome. But if I'm getting started what's like the bare minimum that I need to have to give myself a shot?


Mitch Long  49:49

No, I think that's a critical mistake. I think that's a fallacy that is growing, but it's a fallacy nonetheless. You don't need good shit start there's still streamers that have made it with no webcams, bro. Like there are people out out there that that, think of it as if you got into anything else. If you were getting into guitar, are you really gonna go out and buy like a $3,000 guitar? Probably not, you're probably gonna whittle around and see if you're passionate about it. And you're going to play on this $300 little Blinky thing. And if you really love it, you've maximized the use of it, then you invest in another. But it's not about having $10,000 worth of equipment. In the beginning, I didn't. I started on my setup was embarrassing. I streamed off an iMac with like a black magic converter to an Xbox and it was GARBAGE. It looks like it was GARBAGE. But I had a great product and personality and people stayed and I was consistent. I was always there. And then it became less about how many frames per second and when is Mitch going to show up. And it's your job to create that paradigm shift. But do not make the mistake of thinking you need to buy all the things and have the best of stuff. Treat streaming no differently than you would if you got a passion into bocce ball golf or, you know, basketball and I'm just gonna go out and buy millions of dollar stuff, try to get good at it.


Jay Clouse  51:04

Man, I am blown away by people like Mitch who can stream for three to eight hours per day. That feels like such a big performance to me. But when you're doing something you love, it might actually just be the easiest, most enjoyable way that you could spend your time. And it was good to hear that you shouldn't invest in crazy gear right away if you want to get started streaming I love niches analogy of if you're going to learn guitar, you wouldn't start out with buying a crazy expensive $3,000 guitar until you know that you're going to really use it. I'm definitely thinking about creative elements merch. I have some leftover stickers in the old artwork style, but nothing yet in the new artwork style. I've actually been thinking about creating some shirts or sweaters with some of the actual elements mentioned on the show. So if that sounds interesting to you a message me and let me know. If you want to learn more about Mitch, you can visit his Twitch at its OG pickle or on Twitter at its OG pickle links to both are in the show notes. Thanks so much for being on the show. Thank you to Emily Klaus for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Nathan town 100 for mixing this show and Brian Skeel for creating our music. If you liked this episode, you can tweet at Jay Clouse and let me know and if you really want to say thank you, please leave a review on Apple podcasts or on Spotify. Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you next week. The long aside Sonic universe