November 15, 2013

An interview with John Ham

John Ham (his less active Twitter) is the founder and CEO UStream - an interactive broadcast platform that provides video streaming services to more than 80 million viewers and broadcasters. This interview is from 2011. 

Lessons learned
  • He used to work with finance in the military, but his entrepreneurial endeavors began when he was 7 and began walking dogs to make money for a bike. It was actually a good experience since he learned how to turn an idea into reality by finding customers, how to get paid, and so on. While in the military, he co-founded a company similar to UStream but with photos. After 9/11, they had to abandon the idea since the military sent him to South Korea. Unknown what the other co.founders were doing, but they were also in the military.
  • One day, the same co-founders who had founded the photo site asked themselves: "Why isn't there this thing that will allow anyone to go live on the Internet?" They had realized that there were soldiers abroad who wanted to be connected to their families in the US, and they wanted to do that through video. Skype existed, but you could only connect one-to-one with Skype and soldiers abroad in a war-zone have limited time and resources. So there was a need for a soldier to connect to his entire family at once. This was in 2007 so the infrastructure was there. 
  • The first early design of UStream was created with the drawing tools in Microsoft Word. In the beginning they funded the idea with their own money.

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews