YouTube and the Rise of the Killer App

The other YouTube founder — Jawed Karim — has posted a low-key but very interesting video on the origins of YouTube. Definitely worth watching, in particular for how he puts it in (recent) killer app context.


  1. While the presentation was interesting, I was bemused by his total misunderstanding of the progression of social type websites. The cause for me is clear; he is a child of the internet.
    Despite his claims to the contrary, CompuServe and AOL created social networks way back in the stone age of the eighties and nineties. They provided discussion groups, news dissemination and images. Yes, many of it was crude, but they clearly laid the groundwork and provided an incubation of many of the ideas that are now ubiquitous in the internet today.
    The interesting thing about YouTube is what a crude web site it still is. I use it, but find the experience frustrating. By itself, it should not have succeeded.
    He does identify the important of email in YouTube’s success, but I think he underestimated the importance of what could be called viral linking. People sending a link to that one in a thousand funny, poignant, whatever video from one person to another.
    One important key was when media people started getting these links. They started writing about it. I also suspect shows like John Stewart realized they could do viral advertising through YouTube.

  2. Thanks for link to video.
    surely a great lesson for any wanna be entrepreneur. Jawed really mentions what is the unique value
    I like this one.”There is no one called as expert. For some thing unique and you identify the opportunity you are the expert, If they are experts why dont they make the product”
    Very motivating and tones of interesting facts. Must see..

  3. If there’s a “total misunderstanding” it’s this comment “By itself, it should not have succeeded”.

  4. Dear pwb:
    I understood the value of VC’s. I am sure by itself nothing has a value. I dont know where google would have been with out Ram and other vcs, Same with the youtube. I am not being harsh. When you pitch some thing people always say its not good and come with lame arguments. Some of them are challeninging. But I am just mentioning the so called experts may not be right one every stuff. There is always a great value lies with in you.
    It came out as we together pitched couple of technology idea and so called experts argument was very naive. probably I have to find a better arena.

  5. Daniel Nerezov says:

    I think the presentation would have been better if jawed talked about all the other video networks that were around before youtube (i.e. vimeo)
    the thing I’ve learned from the video is about creating a hits based business model (i.e. banking on user generated content to result in viral hits)
    bill volk is doing great stuff with user generated ringtones at

  6. pwb,
    I not only stand by my comments, I was being generous. Karim admits they were tanking with just what they had. It wasn’t until they started a viral marketing campaign that the site began to take off. (Incidentally, MySpace did the same thing.)

  7. Richard Rodgers says:

    I enjoyed this…I found particularly interesting the way he built up a) predecessor web sites and b) secondary technologies that led to YouTube. Makes me want to look at what secondary technologies are about to hit and what they mean for up-and-coming web sites.
    I’m particularly interested in web-based business hosting solutions (i.e. bundled e-mail and calendar hosting, file storage, etc.) that makes it possible for small businesses to ditch their servers. We’re a 10-person office and the only reason we still have a server is MS Exchange’s sync to our Treos (well, okay, fear of change probably is a factor).
    I’d be interested in Paul or anyone else’s comments on this space. Google and Yahoo aren’t there (yet). Is anyone else there?

  8. Thanks for the link to this interesting and insightful video. It is always wonderful to see what the founders of a company went through.