Startup bets everything on New Year’s Eve

Startup bets everything on New Year’s Eve

New
Year’s Nation spends 364 days a year preparing for one big event: A
nationwide party linking four time zones on New Year’s Eve.



new_years_nation.03.jpgRevelers in New York City celebrated the dawn of 2007 at New Year’s Nation’s New York City party.

"There’s so much
happening with technology," said Yogman, 36. "I wanted to integrate it
into nightlife on the biggest night of the year."

Yogman’s
background is in television: He worked as a production associate on
Michael J. Fox’s sitcom "Spin City," where a weekly cast and crew
happy-hour gathering led to Yogman’s first Manhattan soiree. In
December 1997, the owners of the bar they frequented, the Chelsea
Brewing Company, mentioned that they were looking for somebody to
market their New Year’s Eve party.

"Save your money," Yogman
told them. "I’ll fill your bar." In less than a month, by calling
friends (who called their friends …), Yogman says he found 700
partiers.

 

jann_headshot.03.jpgNew Year’s Nation founder Jann Yogman

 

He’s hosted a Manhattan party every New Year’s since.
"Everybody kept saying, ‘This is such a great event, I wish there was
something like it where I lived,’ so I knew there was an opportunity,"
he said.

Three months before New Year’s Eve 2006, Yogman decided
to go for it. But he didn’t want to host separate parties around the
U.S. He wanted to host one party, even if it had to be under multiple roofs.

Yogman turned to a Dallas technical consultant, James Bruce of Oxygen Sound,
to orchestrate the live feeds. Last year, Wi-Fi connections linked the
party’s five venues, but the connections proved flaky and occasionally
dropped.

 

party_la.03.jpg

 Partygoers
in Los Angeles shared a virtual link-up with attendees in four other
cities last year. This year, the party expands to eight cities. 

 

Technical challenges

This year, New
Year’s Nation will run on Slingboxes. The consumer devices, designed
for watching broadcast television on Internet-connected devices like
PCs and mobile phones, are surprisingly useful for managing remote
video broadcasts, according to Bruce. From his home base in Dallas, he
can receive video from each of the event’s locations, mix it up with
graphics and text messages from partygoers, re-encode the stream, and
send it out via Windows technology for display on the venues’ plasma
screens.

The biggest challenge is ensuring reliable Internet
connectivity at each venue – something Bruce said remains a great
unknown until the actual event. Dallas Internet services provider The Planet serves as New Year’s Nation’s data center, and so far has weathered the giant usage spike the one-night event generates.

"It’s
an unbelievable amount of resources that go into something like this at
any time, and especially near a holiday, just trying to get the video
switches and other gear," Bruce said. Limited funding for
infrastructure adds to the challenge.

"You always want to park
a satellite truck outside the venues, but until the event becomes
bigger that’s hard to line up," Bruce said. "It’s on the table for next
year."


Continue this story on –> cnn

 

 

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