Steve Chen: Youtube | Introduction | Pre-Launch | App Marketing | Udacity
- Articles, Blog

Steve Chen: Youtube | Introduction | Pre-Launch | App Marketing | Udacity

My name is Steve, Steve Chen,
I am most well known for being one of the co-founders
of YouTube and one of the probably the earliest
employees of PayPal, PayPal link. And a little known fact I was also one
of the earliest engineers at Facebook for about 3 months before so that was kind of this in sandwich
between PayPal and starting YouTube. I was working at Facebook and so
in 2005 when I was filing my taxes, I was filing taxes with both PayPal,
Facebook and YouTube on it. And I don’t think anybody else
can make that claim, ever. [LAUGH] I think for a while there, so
I left YouTube in about 2009, 2010. And probably for the first 12 months
there, was trying to figure out, because all throughout the twenties and even
early 30 was just working on startups. And it was always the kind of, there’s
no difference between Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday there’s no
difference between whatever, 9 AM and 3 AM in the morning. And so I’ve been doing that for
over a decade, and I was always thinking throughout
that decade while I was having fun. There were all these other things
just starting to get into coffee and photography and headphones and
just speakers and watching all these movies that came out throughout all that
time that I never got a chance to watch. But after the first 12 months I just
realized that none of it is as fun as kind of the challenge and
the excitement, the sort of just everything that
motivates people to start companies. Nothing really compares to that, so got back into starting a company and
so that’s what I’m doing now. I went back to Google, Google Ventures
as an entrepreneur in residence for about 18 months and
got the support from Google Ventures. And then just about a month and a half ago in August of 2015, left
Google Ventures because we were ready to start getting external funding and
doing our own hiring. With the early days of
YouTube started and sort of in that 2005 time frame. I think that the idea and
domain name itself, we bought it on Valentine’s Day,
so February 14th 2005. There was another co-founder,
Chad Hurley, we were in Menlo Park California and
if you can imagine we search for a YouTube on Google and
zero results came up, right. And so we went out, bought the domain name and
started talking about this site. The site itself originally the idea was,
it’s a little embarrassing to talk about but it was actually
supposed to be kind of a dating site. It was supposed to be a dating
site where instead of posting your personal pictures and your personal
introduction you would post a video and that would just aggregate
everything together. A little introduction to yourself but
you would actually see this person and be able to interact with them. Which you know we started developing
all the back end was still more or less the same as of what
you see with YouTube today. Being able to upload videos. Being able to transcode videos. Being able to embed these videos onto
different sites out there on to social networking sites. And the development of the site
took about three months. And we launched in May of 2005. And for the first week,
it was a total flop. We didn’t get a single video uploaded. That was within the category domain of what we thought the site
was going to be. Nobody was introducing themselves
using the site as a video dating site. However, what we saw was that
videos were being uploaded and so within that first week,
we quickly changed. Again the back end of the site,
we made exactly the same. It was just changing, instead of
searching for male or female in the age, you would just search for whatever
you wanted to search for in a video. And the look and
feel of it was changed a bit, but it was a very quick
two day effort to convert what was a sort of a dating video
site into a general video site. And one of the things is,
Chad, I met Chad, the other cofounder at PayPal, the first
day I moved out here to California. He was the original designer of PayPal
and I was one of the first engineers and we worked on a number of projects
together at PayPal, And same thing, I think one of the ideas of startups and
success of startups is this idea of pivoting from what
you’re originally starting to do and something else instead. And PayPal, many people know what
it is now, many people use it as a P2P payment service or
personal business payment service. But when it first started, it was
this palm pilot security application that one, it never really got off
the ground as a security app. And two, these days I don’t know
many people that still own, carry around palm pilots. But the valuable lesson there was just,
if you take a look at what the users are doing, what the user feedback is,
and if people aren’t using it, taking that technology and maybe pivoting it
to something that the users will use. And we did that at PayPal when we
took the security side of it and created a payment service on top of it,
and the same thing at YouTube. And in the beginning it was not so, the relationship with MySpace
started with just the ability for MySpace users to embed HTML onto
their profile pages and YouTube had an HTML snippet that you could copy and
paste and put into your MySpace profile. After a while it became more of
a formal relationship because so many of their users were using YouTube,
but it became almost a marriage. That if YouTube went down, so much of the content on MySpace
would not be available to view. So we started actually formalizing
that relationship when we became, we became aware that so many of
their users depended on our service. I think especially early on in
a start up in a company when you have very limited internal resources,
right. I think some of these partnerships, especially early on when you
don’t get a lot of these invites, a lot of people asking you to be
a partner, you get easily excited by it. I do think that it’s
valuable to not be overly aggressive in accepting
some of these partnerships. So early on at YouTube but sort of an example of this was,
we had a lot of people asking us for white labeling the product and
just removing YouTube off the label, removing sort of any references to
YouTube, and they just wanted us and were willing to pay hundreds to
thousands of dollars for this. And at that time,
that meant a lot for a YouTube. But at the end of the day,
we always still hinged on the fact that the brand name of YouTube
was very important to the product. And the earlier the company I think, the more resource starved the company,
the harder it is to make that decision. But I do think that it’s very
important to actually choose the right partnerships that actually
will help the company in the long run rather than just something in
the next few months or next few weeks. I think that there are even a few
companies that wanted to put their own video player on YouTube. When I was there, we didn’t allow it. I think now YouTube has
accepted some of those deals. But I think it’s a whole
different world by this point. And some of these guys, I mean they
just, it’s like ABC or something, there’s like only one unique
creator of this content, you either do it their way or
you’ll never get their content. I think it’s important to
approach the question of any kind of partnership or
any kind of agreement is looking at it, from their perspective what they benefit
from a deal in the making with you, and I think in the case of
YouTube it was always the same. We didn’t provide the revenue share,
really. We didn’t do the sort of ads early on, at least when we were there prior
to the acquisition by Google. So when we did these deals it was always
for marketing purposes, it was always. Yes, prior to the acquisition of Google,
there was still not a lot of ads coming in, so
there was not a lot of ad revenue, so there was not a lot of the revenue
share that you see on YouTube. So, what can we actually offer
the content creators out there. It was really still for, at that time, it was really still for
short length content. So things are 30 seconds to two and
a half minutes. It wasn’t for long length. In fact, we had a rule that no content
could be longer than 10 minutes for the large chunk of the start of YouTube. And so it was for short-length content. It wasn’t for, so you wouldn’t upload an entire 30 minute
episode of The Daily Show or something. You wouldn’t upload
an entire two hour movie. One, we didn’t allow it. And two, we didn’t want
the platform to be seen as that. It was still for short pieces of
content that was uploaded to the site. So when it came to actually working
with these content creators, we branded YouTube as a way to be able
to market your longer form content. So it was just maybe seen as a place,
a platform to show movie trailers for your movie, but you wouldn’t actually
upload the entire movie onto YouTube. I think that’s gradually evolved and changed over a period of time as higher
quanlity content has become possible. A bandwidth of 30 getting cheaper,
people are more accustomed to watching this content on multiple devices now
that YouTube actually offers and caters to watching the same content
on multiple devices at one time. But at the time during 2005 all the way
throughout 2007 it was always sort of short form content,
it wasn’t the same quality. And it was a way to be able to get more
people that would have not heard your music or would’ve not heard your movie
be able to use the two minute length to be able to showcase whatever
it is that you wanted to show.

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

2 thoughts on “Steve Chen: Youtube | Introduction | Pre-Launch | App Marketing | Udacity

  1. We have the same name and come from Taiwan too lol except I'm Steven but I check your real name it's Steven so what a coencidens

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *