In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera. But I was nervous, I felt like there were people watching. It was weird.” After a few weeks of broadcasting he began to find his rhythm.If a customer was in on the joke, Abuhamdeh would banter with them a bit.He shared stories from his home life, and slowly began to invite fans into it, broadcasting from his apartment, from a cousin’s wedding, while driving in his car or getting a haircut.Of course, anyone getting premium goods outside the partner program gets no cut. He tunes in to the channel of a user named Flippin Ginja, a red-headed teen and amateur gymnast who is lounging on his porch swing.
He works behind the counter at a deli in Brooklyn, a small shop that does a brisk business in snacks, coffee, and cigarettes. I started to act like people were there watching, and that’s when they showed up.” Abuhamdeh’s routine was subtle."I was running a media technology agency for a while and trying to shove this down the throat of every client, but nobody wanted it," Sideman says.Watching a You Now stream can be an overwhelming experience."It is a dream that a lot of people have been thinking about for a long time," Sideman told me, relaxing at a conference table in his midtown New York office."It is a holy grail." In the 1990s Sideman studied art and technology in New York.