A startup keeps searching for its winning formula:
While their neighbors toiled away, building unglamorous businesses, Justin.tv’s March 19, 2007, launch became an immediate sensation. The San Francisco Chronicle did a front-page story. Ann Curry, in an excruciating Today show interview, lectured Kan. “Fame, I have to tell you, Justin, has a price,” she said. But it was all fun, at first. Kan took the camera with him to the park, to business meetings, even to bars, where it made for awkward small talk. When one young woman took him back to her place one evening, he left the camera in the dark outside the bedroom; the gang back at Justin.tv headquarters overdubbed the video stream with audio from a porn movie. On his walk back to his apartment, Kan encountered a group of cheering viewers.
‘If this doesn’t scare the shit out of TV networks, it’s only because they don’t understand it yet,’ Graham told the San Francisco Chronicle. On NPR’s All Things Considered, he declared: ‘Their ultimate plan is to replace television.’ It was fortunate for television, then, that Kan and his friends knew very little about running a business. ‘We had one week’s worth of a plan,’ says Kan, laughing at what he describes as his youthful folly. ‘Today, I have an understanding of the world, and of the entertainment and media industries, of how people consume content,” he tells me. “But at the time, I had no idea.’