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Maker Spotlight: Nerd or Die

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Caleb Leigh

Product Owner, Marketplace

January 29, 2024

Welcome back to our Maker Spotlight series and Q&A with none other than Nerd or Die (NoD)! You may know them best for the fantastic tools they make for content creators, or perhaps their work in graphic design and digital art.

This spotlight is part of a new series showcasing Makers on Elgato Marketplace. We’re excited to dive into the story, products, and insights from the Nerd or Die team! So let's kick off our conversation with an exclusive Q&A session.


Introduce yourselves

Caleb (Elgato): Hey, Nerd or Die crew! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today and letting us pick your brain.

I know many folks are familiar with your work, whether they realize it or not. In fact, you’ve worked with well over 3M customers over the past ten years! Could you introduce yourself and your team's expertise to those unfamiliar with your brand?


Nathan (Nerd or Die): If you've ever wondered who does a lot of visuals at Nerd or Die, it's me, Nathan. Working on projects for Nerd Or Die allows me to flex my background in graphic design, motion design, and marketing. Everything from concepting to fleshing out designs to marketing them come from my desk. 

Living on the Gold Coast of Australia, I spend most of my free time swimming at the beach, hiking in the hinterlands, or enjoying the local cafes with my wife and daughter. When I'm not busy turning pixels into magic, you'll catch me playing some FPS and adventure games—while occasionally tinkering with ideas on my Twitch stream.


Derek (Nerd or Die): Hey Caleb, we're very happy to be a part of the Maker spotlight! I'm Derek, the founder and co-owner of Nerd or Die. Like Nathan, I wear many hats at Nerd Or Die. I'm the original founder and current CEO, and I primarily focus on web and widget development. Additionally, I lead business development and handle all technical aspects related to running our site.

With my background in web and graphic design, I enjoy being deeply involved in most product development processes from inception to completion. Over the past 10+ years, Twitch and content creation has been my life. Nevertheless, if I do take a step away from work, I'm just your average Florida man. I'm not the kind you see in crazy headlines, but rather someone who enjoys gaming, drumming, and watching content on Twitch and YouTube.

Origin story

Caleb (Elgato): We love a good origin story. What sparked the idea for Nerd or Die originally? 


Derek (Nerd or Die): Around 2011, my initial goal was to create a fun blogging website focused on gaming and "nerdy" culture. As time went on, I found myself watching and commenting on YouTube videos, occasionally stumbling upon livestreams. It was around the time when Twitch changed its name from JustinTV that my interest in the streaming world took shape.

I decided to try my hand at streaming and encouraged my friends to do the same. However, I soon realized that the barrier to entry was quite high for many people. This is what led me to create a (now unlisted) playlist about OBS Classic in October of 2014. I remember spending all day in my bedroom-office learning to edit videos, create animations in Photoshop (yes, I didn't use After Effects), and delve as deep as I could into OBS. For several weeks, it was practically all I did.

After that experience, I knew I wanted to push Nerd or Die as far as it could go. I began designing more complex stream layouts and alerts for myself, friends, and YouTube subscribers. The success of our panel maker, scene maker, and Overwatch overlays on YouTube led to requests for custom projects. It got to a point where I was overwhelmed with requests, so over time I created a marketplace on our website that featured myself and other designers—which is where I met Nathan. And now we're here!

What's a day in the life like?

Caleb (Elgato): Your team is fully remote. What does an average day-in-the-life look like on the team? 


Nathan (Nerd or Die): Being such a small team, we’re very agile, so every day is different depending on the goals we have at that moment. If we had a template for what a day looks like, it would start with catching up on the previous day’s Discord discussions, followed by addressing any customer service tickets and helping our community troubleshoot where we can—whether it’s our product or not. Then the creativity gets a chance to shine. That might be development of a new product, optimization of existing products, marketing ideas, or articles and videos for the website. It’s always different!

Fueling innovation

Caleb (Elgato): For as long as I can remember, innovation has been an enormous part of NoD’s ethos regarding new products. How do you continuously push the boundaries of what’s possible in the ever-changing content creation space?


Nathan (Nerd or Die): For us, it’s about chasing what we’re passionate about. If someone on the team is really into an idea, we’ll push for it and see what happens. Most of the time it’s adding something small but unique to a product to see what the reception is. If it’s appreciated by our community, sometimes it’ll become a staple item in all products going forward. Beyond that, we like to experiment with ideas a lot. This is how projects like Mouse Accuracy, the Maker, and Discord Avatar Maker come to fruition. With the exception of Maker, they’re not necessarily connected to the streaming space, but passion projects that were built from curiosity.

Derek (Nerd or Die): To add just a bit to that, I think our involvement in the space has given us an ability to understand not just what a streamer would want, but their audiences as well. From there having open and honest communication between team members is key. In the creative field it can be rough to hear any sort of feedback—especially negative—about something you're excited about. We're not afraid to offer and accept critique about our ideas or take risks on projects we're unsure of. This way, we're aware of pitfalls before we run into them during the design process.

Caleb (Elgato): I absolutely love the tools your team creates. I actually didn't know about the Discord Avatar Maker, either! I'm gonna have to give this a shot for our server animations.

The future of content creation

Caleb (Elgato): As you look into your crystal ball, where do you see the future of the content creation space headed—and how is Nerd or Die preparing to play a part in it?


Derek (Nerd or Die): I have a lot of ideas about where things are going in terms of content, but honestly a new breakout game could change things dramatically. So I'll stick more to the technical side of things where I think higher-quality streams—with improved bitrate and visual clarity—is the next big jump for livestreaming. We can already see this is a focus for Twitch in particular with their recent announcements of AV1.

This naturally comes with the problem of requiring higher-quality alerts and widgets. However, we have some plans to make products that we believe will perform well on almost any streaming device, as well as provide improved visuals for higher-definition streams.

Nathan (Nerd or Die): My gut feeling is the live-interaction dial will be cranked to 11. VTubers and VR creators have already blurred the lines between what we currently know and where I think it’s heading. But the idea of having a real connection between the creator and the audience will continue to get stronger with more ways to interact in the virtual space. What those tools are, I’m not quite sure, but there’s a possibility that things will get weird. I believe the future is bright for smaller creators as they’re empowered to build real connections and offer more to their communities.

Caleb (Elgato): Better quality streams are absolutely where it's at, I agree. I think faster download speeds has been the biggest catalyst for this to happen. It'll be interesting to see how sites like Twitch roll this out and further optimize it in 2024. For VTubers, I really hope they continue to see a bigger slice of the overall pie. They bring so much creativity to the industry. We have to continue enabling them, anyway we can.

Working with Elgato

Caleb (Elgato): Tell us about your journey with Elgato. How has your partnership over the years impacted your business and products?


Derek (Nerd or Die): Sure! We've been working with Elgato for a long time now, since before it joined Corsair. I actually remember one of the first times we got on a call with them, which was to discuss Stream Deck. After that call, I knew that—like us—they wanted to push streaming forward for both the viewer and the streamer.

When making designs or products that work with Elgato products we simply have more confidence in what we're making. This is because we know the products will be supported long term for both the customers and developers.

Wisdom to share

Caleb (Elgato): Your team has inspired coders, designers, and tinkerers worldwide to start creating within the content and livestreaming space. What nuggets of wisdom would you offer new Makers getting started on Elgato Marketplace?


Derek (Nerd or Die): Use your own products from the perspective of someone completely new to content creation. A lot of people coming to a marketplace are new to intermediate creators.

If you can, have a friend or community member use them as well. You'll be amazed what you can see from the lens of someone else. There's been so many times that we thought something was easy to use—when it wasn't—and the feedback provided to us has always resulted in a better-to-use product.

Nathan (Nerd or Die): Completely agree with Derek here. Keep the new streamers in mind. You’ll capture new and veteran streamers. Start small and perfect it. Once you’ve mastered that small thing, build upon it. Rinse, repeat. I see a lot of creative types (myself included) attempt to build the end product immediately and ultimately overwhelm themselves.

Let's talk favorites

Caleb (Elgato): I want to take a second and put you on the spot. What are some of your favorite products (both from your team or the community) on Elgato Marketplace and why? 


Nathan (Nerd or Die): Firework (alerts): This one is just so fun. It can be used as is, but the best part is the streamer can add any image or video of their own into the alerts. Let the memes shine bright (then explode).

Flow (chat): This one looks simple, but from a technical standpoint there’s a lot going on to make this work in just about any chat scenario. Whether you’re a new streamer or chat is moving so fast it’s impossible to read, it will adjust the animation speed dynamically to suit. Outside of that it looks great for just about any aesthetic. Lots of room for customization.

Iridescent (overlays): One of our all time favorites is Iridescent. The style is nothing like we’ve done before—or since—and it was a hit. The full package includes an incredible level of customization and incredible, beautiful widget designs. This one involved everyone from our team and we are proud of the result. 

StreamOS (overlays): A love project spearheaded by Derek so he can relive the glory days of Windows 95. The overlays themselves are beautiful, but it’s the widgets that are the real hero. Goal widgets that look like we’re experiencing a very slow installation, alerts that help us fall in love with pop-up ads again, an old-school chatbox and an event list with the appearance of an Excel spreadsheet.

Radiance (alerts): We can’t go past our most recent alerts. This is our first step into full-screen alerts as well as dabbling into the 3D space. Simple from a technical standpoint, but with a big impact for any streamer. 

Sneak peeks

Caleb (Elgato): Are there any sneak peeks, collaborations, or upcoming projects you can share with the Elgato community?


Derek (Nerd or Die): I sort of dropped a hint about a new product type already…but, I can say that I think we have some really cool projects for the Vtubers and Glitch-enjoyers coming soon.

Caleb (Elgato):


Caleb (Elgato): Before you get back to creating, where can the community find you on social media? 


Derek (Nerd or Die): The best place to follow us would be on X and YouTube. Thanks once again for having us!

Wrapping up

As we wrap up with our Maker Spotlight, I want to give a huge thanks to the team at Nerd or Die for sharing their story and insights with us. It’s been an absolute blast peeling back the layers of this creative powerhouse. 

Whether you’re a new streamer, content creator, or working professional with an online presence, Nerd or Die’s portfolio of products is your secret weapon to look your best anywhere online. 

You can dive into Nerd or Die’s full portfolio of Marketplace products and don’t forget to follow them on X and YouTube to stay in the loop for the latest news and updates. Cheers to Nerd or Die for being such a stellar partner in the Maker program and for continuously pushing the boundaries of digital creativity.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating and listing your products on Elgato Marketplace, check out our docs on how to become a Maker.

Until next time, keep pushing the boundaries of creativity and stay tuned for more inspiring stories and spotlights from the Elgato community.