CohhCarnage reflects on his 2,000 day Twitch streak, how his channel almost died and more

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▲ Ben "CohhCarnage" Cassell opened up about his journey on Twitch.

 

Ben “CohhCarnage” Cassell is one of the largest Twitch streamers on the platform. With a little over one million followers, CohhCarnage, who often goes by "Cohh," specializes in strategy games --mainly RPGs-- and has turned his one-time hobby into a full-blown career. Cohh, who is in his mid-30s, is known for his community he dubbed the "Cohhilition," his relatable personality and entertaining gameplay. Over the weekend, Cohh sat down with InvenGlobal to discuss his journey on Twitch.

 

Part 2 of the conversation can be found here.

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A little over a week ago, Cohh did something he had not done in over five years --2,000 days to be exact-- ...he took a day off.

 

That’s right. For almost five and a half years, Cohh would wake up, turn on his Twitch stream at 8 a.m. EDT and entertain an audience for, typically, eight or nine hours, then log off and do it all over again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. The allure of the “weekend” where one can kick back and relax while catching up on errands or sleeping did not exist in Cohh’s world. Every day was the exact same.

 

On Sunday, April 7, that changed.

 

He awoke alongside his wife, Laina, and ate breakfast with his two young children, Roen and Kai, and enjoyed his first day off by spending it relaxing in the only way he knew how:

 

“It was an eerie experience, to be honest. It is kind of funny because everyone, of course, was wondering what I was going to do on my day off and what I did was play video games. Funny enough I played EverQuest which is a game I played 20 years ago and shaped me growing up and I loved it. It was fantastic. I hung out in my offline chat with my community so, for once, I kind of got to see [My Twitch stream] from the outside and just relax with them. Of course, I spent a lot of time with my family as well which was great. It was a great morning to wake up to because not only was it kind of my first day off but I was very pleased that we got as far as we did and it was definitely a day where I looked back and reflected on how far we have come in 2000 days.  It was a very good day.”

 

Initially, when he first started taking streaming more seriously on Twitch, his goal was simple: stream every day for six months. That soon turned into a year, then two then four and ended with 2,000 consecutive days streaming for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

However, all good things must come to an end and for, Cohh, it was time.

 

“Well like I said in the video the big thing was my family. I am definitely a different person now than I was when I started. It is much more family oriented, being available.  And most importantly is that with a streak especially one that doesn't really have an ending you always have that pressure in the back of your head too kind of schedule everything around it and make sure you are on an anytime you are making plans you have to continue it in your head to think about I need to make sure I get on for my hour and all that stuff so I kind of wanted to alleviate that pressure. It really made sense to do it and I love that I did it but I'm just not really in a state of my life where is something I need to do anymore.  So the kind of close that chapter and move on to the next one was a lot of the goal.”

 

The video he’s referring to is one he posted on his Youtube channel where he talked about the reason behind ending the streak when he did, what inspired it, people he thanked, etc.

 

 

Not every single stream was peaches-and cream-though. There were a fair share of moments that could have ended the streak, according to Cohh:

 

"There were a couple of days that were extremely difficult due to sickness.  I definitely remember a stream where I had to have a container near me for the time that I was on stream.

 

Strangely enough, the two kids that I have had during this time we're not that difficult. I have an extremely supportive wife which is one of the reasons that the streak got to 2,000 days and, thankfully, both of my kids were born early in the day. So I hung out with my wife for hours then I went home and streamed for a little bit. It actually worked out pretty well."

 

2,000 days of memories

 

A lot changed in Cohh’s life during his streak. His channel grew from tens of thousands of followers to over one million, he had two children and he is now able to employ numerous full-time individuals to do a wide range of tasks from moderating his chat to helping improve his production value to managing his website and servers.

 

When asked to reflect on his journey, Cohh took a moment to express his gratitude for those who helped him reach the heights he's at now.

 

“It was kind of interesting because on the day that I was off was some of the first time I have been able to [reflect] because it was finally, you know, when you do the same thing for every single day it kind of feels like a week that doesn't really end. So it's kind of great to just kind of look back and most importantly I was really happy with how things worked out. There were a lot of decision-points throughout the 2,000 days and there are a lot of things that could have gone differently. I got lucky a lot of times and I got very unlucky some others. But being able to kind of say that we got to this point was probably the best part of it. I've been taking this journey on Twitch in parallel with hundreds of other people and I've met hundreds along the way. I'm very cognizant that it could have not gone this way and I try to use that perspective to appreciate everything that I get all the time. It was a big day of appreciation, that is the keyword.”

 

▲ There was almost a time when Cohh almost gave up on streaming.

 

Those “lucky” and “unlucky” moments that he is referring to really have to do with how Cohh approached streaming prior to the success he was able to achieve. As he tells it, there was a real possibility he was going to leave Twitch behind and go back to working in technology, something he had done for years prior.

 

“Right before the streak my channel almost died on Twitch. I did not understand Twitch. I was streaming 12 hours per day. I wasn't being aware of how I was doing it. I did not have a schedule.  It was the kind of thing where, because I was putting a lot of effort in but not really using a lot of thought behind it, I drove my channel into the ground and I got to the point where I had to kind of take a few weeks to either decide to do this a different way.

                                                                                                                                                      Photo: @LainaCarnage
▲ Cohh admits that he couldn't have kept his streak alive without the support of his wife, Laina.

 

The decisions that I made before the streak like going safe-for-work, the time I started sticking to a schedule, the time I started to stream every day at 8 a.m and when I just started treat Twitch like my job. I worked in IT for four years and you kind of get through the grind of you doing the same thing every day and you're in a professional environment. I realized that that environment wasn't really  being done on Twitch. It was just kind of a hobby-site in a lot of ways. Of course, there were some of the top-end channels that were doing it and the production value was great and a lot of them inspired me to go in the directions that I did. Making the switch from a hobby to a profession and making all of the subsequent decisions that came with that was probably the most significant change that I made.”

 

Once he was able to grow his channel, establish a core viewership and do what he does best --entertain-- the special moments that began happening on-stream over the years bring a smile to his face when he talks about his favorite moments.

 

 

“I have proposed for someone. I proposed for someone on stream and the person said ‘Yes’ so that was pretty amazing. I had another person ask me but that was on April 1st so that was suspect [laughs]. Christmases are amazing. It is really something to be in an environment where people know they could come to this area to feel better around the holidays. I post New Year's Eve parties where I stay up with my community to celebrate the new year. All of those times are really meaningful. There is really no other medium like Twitch that can bring together thousands and thousands of like-minded people in real time all to experience the same thing together. On some of those nights we are literally talking about a stadium full of people all hanging out doing the same thing.”

 

What now?

 

One day after his first day off since 2014, Cohh was back to work. Thousands turned out for his stream and business resumed as usual. But now that something he has worked for for so long has come to the end, what can possibly be next for this goal-oriented work machine?

 

“‘What's next?’ is always the question for me. The streak, funny enough, was a small part of what the channel is to this day is and where it is going. I have a lot of big plans in terms of infrastructure. We just opened a brand new merchandise store, we have a lot of fun partnerships coming up this year and we have some excellent new opportunities coming up with games. The thing that keeps me going it just wanting to provide the best possible value for the people that support the channel. My driving force is not only continuing to produce content but continuing to make sure that all content I make today is the best content I can make. So it's just a constant series of attempted improvement as I kind of move forward."

 

 

 

Over the next few months and going forward, Cohh is looking to take more scheduled days off to enjoy the little things in life that he wasn’t able to prior.

 

“The things that I am looking forward to most, especially when traveling, is not having to worry about streaming wherever I'm going. I can just disconnect for a while. I've basically been connected for five and 1/2 years and, even if I'm not doing it immediately, having zero pressure to disconnect whenever I want to is by itself liberating and definitely removes a lot of stress. I am looking forward to just going to family reunions for a few days and not having to worry about anything, going to the beach, in a few years I'm sure we're going to want to take the family to Disney and do things like that.”

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