How a Failed Dating Site Changed the World; YouTube at 15
Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. Not exactly household names, but I would be willing to bet you have used their most famous creation.
Hurley, Chen, and Karim were early employees of another influential website, PayPal. Their original idea for what eventually became YouTube was born out of a failed attempt to launch a video dating site. After the dating site failed, the trio realized they had created a site with an easy way to upload and share videos.
Karim said the inspiration for YouTube came after the 2004 Super Bowl Half-Time Show featuring Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction. Karim couldn't easily find videos of the incident online, leading to the idea of using their video sharing site as a way for users to upload their own content.
On April 23, 2005, Jawed Karim uploaded a video of himself standing in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo and it changed the internet forever. Me At The Zoo became the first video on the newly created YouTube. It's still on the site today.
After the trio secured millions in initial investments by venture capitalists in 2005 and 2006, on October 9, 2006, Google announced they had acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock. Not a bad return on the initial investment. In 2019, YouTube generated $15 billion in revenue.
In 2020, YouTube is a household name. Like Xerox, FedEx, and Google, YouTube has become a verb. "I YouTubed it." It's hard to imagine a time when we couldn't easily find videos of cats doing cute cat things or instructions on how to fix a leaky faucet. Or a place where a former PayPal employee could post a video of elephants at the zoo.
Happy birthday YouTube.
Wikipedia contributed to this article.