The site that was…

Way back on April 1st of 2003, 4 long years ago, we started a site called NowStream.com. The idea was simple: Allow people to broadcast live events from anywhere to anyone. We had a few broadcasters setup here in Las Vegas and a few others scattered across the country. Version 1.0 was decent, but it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t up to my (insanely) unrealistic expectations. So we put all our weight behind it and attempted to get version 2.0 done and out the door.

There were a lot of technical challenges to overcome. We didn’t make the right choices in the long run, but we made the right choices at the time. Windows Media was our streaming solution which meant Windows servers (ugh!). The rest of our site was powered by LAMP and was being designed to scale to our wildest dreams.

Designing a huge system that ‘just works’ is, I’m assuming, every geeks dream. It sure is one of mine. And we had several huge systems to design: a live-streaming solution, a community-fostering system, and an administrative system to make sure everything was working. I can’t think of anything more exhilarating. Programmers live for stuff like this.

Things didn’t work out so well however. Our team worked their butts off and did everything in their power to make 2.0 happen, but the timing just wasn’t right. The market wasn’t ready and neither was I. We ran out of money and had to let it go. It was one of the most difficult experiences I’ve ever gone through in my life.

The effect of that defeat still lives with me today. The biggest pain has come from the growing ‘socialization’ of the web since then. Not a jealous pain because of the extreme financial success of sites like YouTube, Flickr, and others, but an empty pain that comes with not fulfilling the dreams an aspirations of others. Everyone we talked to about NowStream.com loved the idea. People thought it would be the coolest thing. Watch almost anything happening anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities!

We could have been a part of moving the Net towards its ultimate goal: communicating and interacting with one other through every means possible. Being able to watch something happening anywhere on the planet right now is one of the next natural steps. One of the next evolutionary steps.

We were on the cusp, ahead of our time. 4 years ago. 4 long years…

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