The lie we’ve deliberately slipped in our previous article is about Windows 7 being dubbed “Windows Se7en“.
This stylization was never used for Windows OS but it was however created and used for “Seven”, a 1995 American detective-psychological thriller film starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey.
Well folks, if past April was the month when Microsoft cut its last tie with Windows XP, May was the month for 9 years celebration since YouTube’s first BETA. So for today we thought about telling you a few less known things about it.
And given the nature of this article (“less known things about…”), today there will be no lie hidden inside the content.
YouTube was founded by 3 youngsters named Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, collegues at the -then- internet startup Company PayPal.
Chen and Karim had studied together computer sciences while Hurley had studied design.
In fact it was Hurley who designed PayPal’s logo.
PayPal being soon acquired by eBay, it paid bonuses to its employees and this is where the first funding of the future “YouTube” website came from.
The idea of the website was initially inspired by a -then- instantly sucessfull dot com Company named “HotOrNot”.
The HotOrNot website allowed users to upload their own photos and let other users rate their attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 10.
Hurley, Chen and Karim wanted to do the same but with videos instead of just photos.
If this sounds to you more like a dating-service business, well, then you’re right as that was precisely the initial intention of the three.
HotOrNot was really hot since it also inspired Mark Zuckerbeg to create Facebook’s predecessor named FaceMash.
It was very popular and not surprisingly it quickly got acquired by a company owning several online-dating businesses. Unfortunately this cannot be said about its “video-version” attempt by Hurley, Chen and Karim because it failed in just a couple of months.
But then (or at least legend has it so) two things happened: Karim was unable to find footage of some worldwide-discussed events such as Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction (to say the least) at the Super Bowl and the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
And the second thing was that Hurley and Chen found themselves unable to share a video shot from a dinner party in San Francisco in 2005 due to email attachements limitations.
Well, no matter if truth or legend, fact is their website’s purpose changed to hosting any kind of videos, uploaded by anyone, for anyone to view and comment, without requiring any player download or login procedures.
The name “YouTube” is about anyone (the “you” part) and the idea of television-like broadcast (as “tube” is a very popular English word for TV-set, as older TVs had cathodic tubes).
In other words, “you appearing on the tube” or, as their own official slogan says, “broadcast yourself”, which also explains the logo where “You” is next to the word “Tube” depicted within a screen.
And that was it really.
All pieces were in the right place, the puzzle was complete and success came in as a storm.
YouTube got serious funding from Sequoia Capital, a legendary investment Company (we will soon dedicate an article to it) whose brilliant and inspirational investing made most important Internet companies take off and just one year afterwards, in November 2006, Google (another Sequoia Capital raised Company) bought it for a mind-blowing 1.65 billion USD.
A funny detail about YouTube’s furious success, so to speak, is about a Company named Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, based in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Their website domain name was “utube.com” and they couldn’t understand why all of a sudden their site got flooded with traffic.
After they figured things out (and lacking better inspiration) this Company sued YouTube claiming that their business was hurt but their claims were dismissed so they started using another domain name, utubeonline.com while utube.com is until now a video-themed landing page for bad spellers.
YouTube’s current statistics are jaw-dropping: more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube (that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth) and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
In January 2012, more than 2 years ago that is, YouTube streamed more than 4 billion videos per day!
It is hard to even imagine the storage space and processing power required by such figures and numbers while keeping in mind that the service must run smoothly all the time on all kind of devices.
This hugest video repository contains about everything human: cool things, weird things, nice things as well as boring, stupid, interesting, inspiring, educational and again weird things, produced at either amateur or professional level.
But you already know that for sure.
What you might not know, however, is that according to a YouTube engineer (James Zern), about 30% of YouTube content generates about 99% of its traffic.
To continue our “less known” theme for this article: Chad Hurley got married with the daughter of internet tycoon James J. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics (world leader in movie visual effects and 3D-imaging in the late 80s) and Netscape (mid- to late 90’s), when, as co-founder with some 5 mil. USD investment he earned around 2 billion USD during the internet boom period.
In 2010 Hurley stepped down from YouTube CEO position he’d held until then and focused on other businesses.
One of them was founding AVOS Systems together with YouTube mate Steve Chen and purchasing in 2011 from Yahoo the social bookmarking web-service named Delicious (formerly known as del.icio.us).
Just few months later, a completely redesigned version (3.0) of the website was launched but too many of the old features were either removed, disabled or temporarily unavailable while the support forum of the site was completely removed, the shocked users being moreover advised to use exclusively emails for communications.
The resulting completely negative user reaction spelled the imminent disaster that followed very quickly despite various efforts of providing new features such as connecting to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
One year after the purchase, AVOS sold Delicious to Science Inc. which purchased the website without keeping the Company’s staff.
Well, you win some you lose some they say.
Odd thing though, both happened in just one year and both were result of certain ideas and vision.
So no wonder that another business project of Hurley’s (but this time through another partnership) is totally different from IT and Internet; it’s a mensware line named Hlaska (from Hawaii and Alaska) and includes products such as clothes, wallets and bags.
Let’s not finish before asking you: do you tube?
We do, even if we’re only at the beginning.
But stay tuned for our tutorials there, they’ll come shortly.
Bye for now, folks, and thank you for reading this!