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The first YouTube video

October 13th, 2006

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow…

Here’s the first video that was uploaded to YouTube. This is one of the company’s three founders Jawed Karim, currently a grad student at Stanford.

Yes, this is how a $1.65 billion company got started.

More about this story…

As you may know from reading this blog, I’m a nut when it comes to Internet history.

Here’s some perspective, fact correction and fun on the Google/YouTube deal.

First, some perpective…

Before the Google acquisition, practically no one knew what YouTube was. As big as it’s become, I doubt event 10% of the US population had even heard of it.

So there is tremendous room for growth for YouTube.

If we go back eleven years to 1995, we’re looking at the Netscape IPO. That single event, more than any other, is what put the World Wide Web on the business world’s radar.

Netscape’s super-successful IPO is what lit the fuse to the Internet gold rush that followed.

I think we’re going to see the same phenomenon with the YouTube acquistion. Yes, some of us have been tracking the opportunity in Internet video for years, but for all practical purposes Google’s YouTube purchase was the starting gun to a race that’s only just getting under way.

Second, some facts…

Most press accounts I see talk about YouTube’s two founders as being Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.


There were actually three founders and in some ways  the most important one is Jawed Karim who came up with many of the core concepts the service is based on.

Rather than be involved in the operations of the company, Jawed decided to go back to grad school at Stanford, but you can be sure his pay day on the deal is huge. (He’s one of the compay’s largest invididual share holders.)

Third, some fun…

As proof that all big things have to start small (and often appear unpromising in their beginnings), here’s the very first video that was ever uploaded to YouTube.

I guarantee no one could have predicted that a year a half later this ‘crazy’ idea would be looking at a $1 million dollar pay day, much less a $1.65 billion one.

But that’s how it works some times.

If you’ve got an idea, pursue it!




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Ken McCarthy was one of the pioneers of the movement to commercialize
the Internet and was involved in early tests of what have become
Internet promotion mainstays like e-mail marketing, banner ads, and
pay-per-click advertising.  If you go to Google Video and search the
term "marketing,"  a short film about his work is often in the top ten,
if not the number #1.

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Copyright: Ken McCarthy, 2006

Reprint rights: You may reprint this article in full as long as you print it in it’s entirety including the P.S.

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  1. October 13th, 2006 at 12:37 | #1

    The NY Times published yesterday an article mentioning the roll of Jawed Karim on YouTube. And you are correct; probably YouTube is what it is because of him.
    Interestingly, he wants to become a CS professor, but I guess with all the money he has and will have when the actual acquisition takes place, he can do whatever he wants to.
    Before starting YouTube the three founders had made some nice inroads and have made some nice money. They used to work for PayPal and collected big when Ebay bought it.

  2. Harry
    October 13th, 2006 at 13:11 | #2

    From what I have watched on youtube is 99% just crap If google want to be part of that its their business. If you sleep with swine you wake up covered with dung

  3. J
    October 13th, 2006 at 13:33 | #3

    You may be right according to your perspective (which is your reality) – but what do the internet users using it want?
    Well, they must want “crap”…
    Obviously Google sees SOMETHING in Youtube…
    More ad revenue…
    Distribution channels for access…
    More traffic…
    And other vision we don’t see.

  4. October 13th, 2006 at 13:43 | #4

    Cool stuff, Ken ! Thanks for the info … I have just posted on the news and linked back to you .. was looking for trackback link thou !

  5. October 13th, 2006 at 14:01 | #5

    Sure, YouTube has a lot of stuff on it that frankly I wouldn’t spend three seconds on.
    And there’s a lot of stuff in text and photos on the Internet that fits the same description.
    On the other hand, YouTube has a range and depth of video offerings that is not only unsurpassed online, but would give many “real world” video archives a run for their money.
    In fact, I think only the Library of Congress and the Museum of Broadcasting in NYC can complete with YouTube’s collection.
    I happen to be a passionate fan of all kinds of music, especially old rock and roll, jazz, and classical music.
    If you’re a music fan, search YouTube for Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix,
    Miles Davis, John Coltrane, even Arturo Toscanini and you’ll find stuff that will blow your mind. They’ve made the dream of TV on demand real.
    I confess that for a long time I underestimated YouTube and thought it was just for kids. Wrong.
    Their big sale aside, they’ve created a great resource for the Internet and changed the course of media history.
    I admire these guys tremendously, and not just for the money they made, but for having an original idea and seeing it through and creating a valuable resource for all of us. That’s what the Internet is all about.
    These guys are right up there with the guys who started Netscape, Yahoo, and Google itself for rocking the world with a good idea. God bless them.

  6. October 14th, 2006 at 06:07 | #6

    Hello Ken.
    What can I say about this thing?
    => If you have winning ideas in the internet-world, you can make millions.
    Those results are simply IMPOSSIBLE for any offline “traditional” business. I know many traditional entrepreneurs with big money, but they have more than 50 years each one…
    And they have invested a full life to grow their businesses…
    Internet is the perfect and winning world of profits.

  7. October 17th, 2006 at 12:12 | #7

    What is next for internet video? Now that there are so many online videos, organizing content among the many providers may become a central issue to this new market. A good solution is needed, since sifting through hours and hours of video to find what you really want is not very feasible.
    At OVGuide (Online Video Guide), we are taking the business model of providing users with a content provider choice before they do a search. Based on what you are looking for, you may decide on using a site with a different slant on their content.
    As more specialized sites come to being, the choices of where you can look will grow. For example, if you are looking for a cooking video, you might want to search a site focused on food videos. A researcher interested in current biotech demonstration videos probably does not want to search YouTube, even though there may be available information on it. What they really want is to search a resource that is most likely to give them what they need (e.g., perhaps a university video library).

  8. November 26th, 2006 at 14:31 | #8

    would you please tell me a reason for not to visit my web site?

  9. March 2nd, 2007 at 07:53 | #9

    While there is a lot of junk on Youtube, there is business content there as well. I have included it in my blog space and found it a great tool, especially now that Clipmarks 2.0 allows clipping video and posting direct to your blog or web site.

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