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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.
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.
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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.
His broadcasting schedule swelled from one or two hours a day to appearing live in four two-hour sessions. “I was using up around 70GB of data each month, and I’m with Verizon so you know that’s not cheap.” He was addicted to the interaction with the audience, but couldn’t afford to keep up with his costs.
Now I make more every month on You Now than I do from my work at the store,” Abuhamdeh tells me. We become friends.” A couple of times he’s broadcast from his bedroom while sleeping. They want to see everything that you do.” You Now launched back in September of 2012, but for its first year and a half struggled to find traction.