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Pretty soon you won’t be able to walk down the street without bumping into an internet entrepreneur broadcasting his life 24/7. When it rains Justin.tv‘s, it pours.
This weekend we learned of Ustream.tv, a project that’s “eerily” similar to Justin.tv, as co-founder Brad Hunstable puts it. The company has the same ultimate goal as Justin.tv — to build a platform for interactive live streaming. And now, they have the same demo product — a twenty-something Asian-American male entrepreneur accompanied by a camera. (Except in Johnny Ham’s case, the camera’s not strapped to his head, but instead carried by his girlfriend.)
Ustream angel investor Chris Yeh says the similarity between what Justin and Johnny are doing is not just a coincidence. “I don’t think we would have ever contemplated broadcasting live 24 hours a day because we thought it was boring. And we were dead wrong. There’s 150 people watching Justin sleep.” He says when he saw the swell of interest in Justin.tv, he pushed the guys to take the plunge and put Ham on camera.
Ustream had actually gone live in mid-February after more than six months of work, signing bands and minor celebrities to use its streaming broadcast platform. But Ham was convinced to take it to the next level, and quit his job as a pharmaceutical sales rep Friday.
Instead of using the antics of his roommates as subject matter, he’s taken to hanging around Los Angeles hotspots in search of celebrities. They call it “Liverazzi” (which probably sounds better when they say it than when I sound it out).
Ham has already caught David Spade, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Ryan Seacrest, and Britney Spears on camera, and has big plans to utilize the interactive nature of the site to involve fans in the paparazzi process. Unfortunately the archives aren’t posted to the site yet, except for this crappy taping of a computer screen broadcasting Johnny meeting Paris Hilton’s parents.
Hunstable and Ham are “very enthusiastic and very unfamiliar with the ways of Silicon Valley,” says Yeh, who is currently acquainting them with the ways of Sand Hill Road. In fact, the two founders met at West Point and split up when Ham was shipped off to Iraq.
Ham admits the Ustream experience makes for a strange juxtaposition. “I was an aide to a two-star general, and here I am live-streaming paparazzi.”