The social media circuit has drastically changed the life of everyone across the globe in the last twenty years. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have connected people and brought them closer. The yawning gulf in terms of geography is now nearly non-existent. Despite so many social media platforms, websites, and what not—YouTube is in a league of its own. Anyone with internet connectivity would have seen video on YouTube at least once in their life. YouTube is the womb that gave birth to many sensations; without the video sharing website, there would have been no Pewdiepie, HISHE, T-Series and thousands of other video creators.
Jawed Karim, an American-German technologist and entrepreneur, was one of the three minds behind YouTube. Jawed Karim's net worth is $160 million as of March ,2020.
Jawed Karim Education
Jawed was born to Christine and Naimul Karim in Merseburg, East Germany. He enrolled at the University of Illinois in the department of computer science. Javed left the university before completing his graduation and joined PayPal; he was one of PayPal’s earliest employees. He later completed his graduation and obtained his degree in computer science in 2004. Jawed then joined Stanford University and earned his master’s degree in computer science.
The Motivation Behind YouTube
At PayPal, he met Steve Chen and Chad Hurley. The absence of video clips of Super Bowl XXXVIII and the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami gave Jawed the idea of a video sharing platform. The controversial half time segment of the Super Bowl with Janet Jackson was a rage at that time, everyone wanted a glimpse. However, Hurley and Chen have mentioned the website “Hot or Not” as the motivation behind creating YouTube. Whatever may have been the inspiration, we are glad to have YouTube today!
After the necessary measures and steps were in place, the ‘YouTube’ domain name was activated on 14th February 2005. A series of developments followed. Later, the company commenced as a venture capital-funded technology startup. The company received a funding of 11.5 million USD from Sequoia Capital and an 8 million USD funding from Artis Capital management. The funding helped YouTube in various ways and not just financially. Initially, the company was headquartered at San Mateo, California, right above a Japanese restaurant.
The first YouTube channel was “jawed” by Karim, and the first ever video on YouTube was a video uploaded by him and titled “Me at the zoo”. This video was recorded by his high school friend Yakov Lapitsky. This video featured Karim at the San Diego Zoo. The video has more than 55 million views till date.
After launching YouTube, Karim became an adviser to the company as he wanted to complete his studies, subsequently joining Stanford University. However, striking a a balance between his studies and YouTube commitments became difficult, and he became an informal advisor YouTube during its launch in 2005.
In 2005 itself, YouTube got its first one million views video, a Nike advertisement featuring the legendary Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho. The video showed Ronaldinho receiving his pair of “Golden Boots”. In the same year, YouTube launched its beta site after receiving funds from Sequoia Capital.
The NBC Deal
Following a broadcast of “Lazy Sunday”, fans started posting the clips of the show on YouTube. The clips received more than 7 million views. However, NBC demanded the videos be pulled off from YouTube. This incident paved way for the Content Verification Program under YouTube’s policy. It allowed copyright holders to easily identify the infringements. After a few ugly spats, YouTube made a deal with NBC. This deal helped NBC enter the world of digital broadcasting. And, this was just the beginning of YouTube’s several partnerships with industry bigshots.
As an informal advisor, jawed didn’t receive major share of YouTube’s earnings. Much of the time, he remained unrecognized until Google’s arrival. Google bought YouTube in the year 2006 for a whopping 1.56 billion USD which gave Karim received 137,443 shares of the stock. The value of the stocks amounted to around 64 million USD. In the year 2006, Karim delivered a lecture at the annual ACM Conference of the University of Illinois on YouTube’s history.
Opposition To Google+ And YouTube Collaboration
In 2013, Google made major changes to its policy. A user needed a Google+ account for posting a comment on any YouTube video. The move faced backlash and was widely opposed by the YouTube community. To voice discontent against the new policy, an online petition was signed by a number of users. The petition gained around 240,000 signatures. Karim too was not in favor of the policy change; to oppose the Google+ intervention, he updated the video description on his first video to “I can’t comment here anymore, as I don’t want a Google+ account”.
After the protests from the YouTube community, Google apologized for forcing Google+ users to use their real names and subsequently, Google dropped the policy of integration of Google+ with YouTube. In 2018, Google permanently disabled Google+ services after it failed in both consumer and developer adoption.
Investments And Partnerships
Karim launched Youniversity Ventures in March 2008 in partnership with Kevin Hartz and Keith Rabois. In April 2009, he invested in the initial Seed round of Airbnb Inc. Karim became one of the initial investors of the company.
Jawed Karim’s story is an example of it comes down to identifying niche and then working on it. A video sharing platform may be mainstream today but that wasn’t the case in early 2000s. He had a major say in YouTube’s decision to collaborate with companies like Google and NBC, a significant reason behind the popularity YouTube enjoys today. No one could fathom that a small video showing a guy introducing an elephant at the zoo would change video sharing and streaming forever!