Ustream cofounder and CEO John Ham left the company last week.
We asked a bunch of people close to the company. They paint a picture of an inexperienced CEO and management team that didn’t know how to run a company.
These sources asked to remain anonymous because they maintain relationships with people at the company.
We emailed Ustream with the details of this story three times over three days, but the company declined to comment.
This is what sources say:
- One source said Ham would get distracted and prioritise time and energy toward making sure people like P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg and Ashton Kutcher were happy. He wanted to make sure he had time to rub elbows with them. Another source disagreed with this view.
- One source said Ustream is misreporting its pageviews, a key metric for success at a web-based startup.
- One source said Ustream isn’t making money, and that it is bringing in funding to continue to survive.
- A couple sources said Ham was the head of what was described as a “bro’s club,” where the executives write you off as an idiot if you disagree.
- One source said Ham and his crew burned through Ustream’s funding by getting a huge office space and tricking it out with the stuff a typical startup with a lot of money coming in buys, like chic white furniture and cool gadgets.
- It was very difficult to implement product changes and the leadership would set ridiculous deadlines, one source said. Ustream’s servers were based in Hungary and it took probably several more days to put product changes — even minor changes — in place than it would for a company like Twitter or Groupon.
- One source told us that the board might have finally been fed up with Ham and wanted to bring in someone more familiar with premium content deals. It’s a model that Justin.tv, another streaming site, has embraced and it has proven to be very successful. But it also helps that Justin.tv is able to quickly push out new products, the source said.
When Ham left, a Facebook thread emerged where former Ustream employees cheered on his departure.
After we wrote about the Facebook thread and its comments, I was contacted by an unnamed individual that called himself an “ex employee” at Ustream. He said he left a comment on our post, which read as follows:
Ham is your classic example of the problems in Silicon valley. “Hi, I went to Stanford, so fund my company because regardless of what I do, I went to Stanford and we will be successful.” Poor manager, poor leader, average idea, dismal execution.
Are you a current or former Ustreamer and know what’s going on? Get in touch with me at 646 376 6054 or [email protected] or
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