The First YouTube Video

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 perspective…

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 acquisition. 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 company’s largest individual 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